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This is a good read: "The three Republican prairie-state governors might as well be one"


Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in northwest Iowa. He is author of the book, “Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland.”

One-two-three they step in time, the governors of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. They move as one on immigration, abortion and wearing masks in public. Within hours of one saying something, you hear two echoes.

The three states that meet where the Missouri River merges with the waters of the Big Sioux have completed a political revolution in the last generation. Republicans rule here now almost without opposition. All three governors enjoy huge GOP majorities in their legislatures and rarely need to think about accountability — or Democrats. They dwell instead on sustaining a politics that was unimaginable just 25 years ago.

Last year, Kim Reynolds, the Republican governor of my Iowa, got a tip from actor and fellow Hawkeye Ashton Kutcher that one of his buddies had organized a covid testing enterprise in Utah. Reynolds soon issued a $26 million no-bid contract.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, also a Republican, followed suit, issuing a contract of similar size to the same outfit. Tests were delayed or lost. The firm declared itself blameless, and that was that. Nothing more was heard from either side of the Missouri.

Reynolds and Ricketts are simpatico with Gov. Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota. Their three-way tour de force came during a surge of covid infections racing through Midwestern slaughterhouses in April 2020. The trio coordinated with the North American Meat Institute (representing the giant meatpackers, which were hobbled by a sickened workforce), and then with Trump Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, to order meat cutters back to work through the Defense Authorization Act.

The governors threatened to deny unemployment benefits to workers who felt vulnerable. They pledged to shield the firms from liability for workers’ compensation or litigation. They suppressed or prevented testing — or gave the companies the green light to do it themselves. Anything to keep the cheap pork loins rolling.

The three governors are of melded mind, opposing any limits on agriculture and resisting President Biden’s climate plan (even though Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota will profit mightily from more wind turbines and solar arrays — and not so much from fracking). They all moved in some way to ban “vaccine passports.” They retweet each other’s tweets. It has grown familiar.

All three jumped on Biden a few weeks ago when his administration asked states for help in situating refugee children temporarily with families until their cases could be processed. Reynolds took to conservative talk radio to declare that it was not her problem, it was the president’s. Ricketts seconded that motion. Not to be outdone, Noem tweeted, “My message to illegal immigrants… call me when you’re an American.”

It makes me wonder: Is someone calling this tune? If I trundled down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, who would I find behind the curtain? Because it is sort of uncanny.

I called around to check with folks in the know, but the consensus view is that we may be past the age where any one person calls this dance. Instead, they say, we are living in a giant feedback loop, where a crazy idea can find its way into the political bloodstream in a matter of days; within a few weeks, it can easily become law.

The thinkers and writers at some think tank test a message on talk radio; the host tweets that out to generate audience and attention; soon, the quip or idea shows up as a GIF on Facebook. Next, some political consultant hosts a focus group; Fox News and its imitators pick up on it, and soon, an outside adviser suggests that a governor should tell child refugees, “Hasta la vista.” The advisers talk, someone texts the chiefs of staff, and it soon comes out in the wash.

Maybe so. What I am sure of is this: Republicans grabbed ahold of most statehouses a decade ago and are busy harvesting their gains. The once-a-decade redistricting this year will empower them further. The three governors know where the GOP base is — right where Donald Trump left it. Their lockstep actions are a measure of the grip the former president still holds out here where the wind blows east from the Rockies’ backside.

The base in Nebraska is rumbling that Ricketts should run for president. He is term-limited in 2023. He has plenty of money — the Ricketts clan owns the Chicago Cubs.

Noem is touted as a real contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Reynolds will defend her seat next year and appears to be in good shape after Republicans swept Iowa last November.

Not long ago, voters here elected (and reelected) the likes of Tom Vilsack and Tom Harkin, Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson, Bob Kerrey and Chuck Hagel. You wouldn’t know it these days.


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14 minutes ago, Cartmann99 said:
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Laser focused on the issues most important to the people of Oklahoma, I see. ?

By the way- just how does a state governor end Joe Biden’s reckless policies and this terrible, intolerable injustice of a limited supply of ChikFilA sauce? 

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1 hour ago, Cartmann99 said:
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Ted Cruz was whining about this too.

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Funny how there is not a single policy issue that Repugs can take issue with, and all they can come up with is Mr Potato Head, Dr. Suess, and a sauce shortage at a fast food chain.

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I nominate “Fighting Against PETA’s Vegan Agenda” as a post count.

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Someone's calling out CovidKim about cutting unemployment benefits.


That’s what makes me queasy about Reynolds’ decision to yank the rug out from under thousands of Iowa families. There were over 26,000 Iowans receiving ongoing unemployment benefits as of last week, according to Iowa Workforce Development. While they’ll still get state benefits after mid-June, many of these people were counting on that extra $300 a week to help bridge the way to a new job.

People make decisions about returning to work that fit their individual situations, which aren’t so easily pigeonholed. Some Iowans need assistance while they go back to school for a new career. Others can’t afford child care. Some may have health conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated, and they aren’t able to go back to offices that don’t require masks or social distancing. Other loyal workers are waiting for their original employer to reopen and hire them back. A few may still be dealing with physical and mental symptoms from having COVID.

Reynolds said employers have complained about people applying for jobs, as they must do to receive unemployment benefits, and then not showing up for interviews. That happens regardless of whether job seekers are getting extended unemployment, because some people are rude like that. It’s a waste of time and money for the business, but not as big of a waste as it would be to hire someone who doesn’t want to be there and who leaves as soon as they can. Businesses that can’t compete with unemployment ought to rethink their compensation and workplace climate.

Iowa had a workforce shortage before the pandemic. Eliminating extra benefits won’t change the fact that this is a low-wage state with dying rural communities, a lack of affordable housing and child care, limited access to health care, waning educational opportunities, a filthy environment and a cultural climate that turns off young, creative professionals. Too bad the actual solutions to those problems don’t lend themselves to the simplistic and divisive political rhetoric that gets Reynolds invited on FOX News shows.


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On 5/19/2021 at 12:03 PM, 47of74 said:

Reynolds said employers have complained about people applying for jobs, as they must do to receive unemployment benefits, and then not showing up for interviews.

Our idiot government proposed a requirement to apply for 20 jobs per week to get unemployment benefits and were promptly shouted down by big business, not least because their portals would be overwhelmed. I can't be the only person who's "applied" for jobs way outside my expertise/level to make up a quota then.

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The latest dumb fuckery out of Des Moines


Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law early Thursday morning, preventing K-12 schools, cities and counties from mandating masks.

The law goes into effect immediately. It passed 53-35 in the House and 29-17 in the Senate.

“The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I am proud to be a governor of a state that values personal responsibility and individual liberties. I want to thank the Iowa Legislature for their quick work in bringing this bill to my desk so that it can be signed into law.”  

This means schools cannot mandate face coverings for students and employees. City and county mask requirements for private businesses are also banned.

And people wonder why the fuck I haven't been looking at employers in Iowa in my new job search.  Here's why.

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Oklahoma teacher says summer class canceled due to bill that bans teaching critical race theory



A teacher is disappointed with Gov. Kevin Stitt after one of her summer classes was canceled due to House Bill 1775, which bans educators from teaching certain concepts of race and racism.

Melissa Smith told KOCO 5 that she's taught race theory-type classes for six years and is confused why there's an issue now.

"I'm not happy. This is information everyone needs to know," Smith said.

The high school and community college teacher said House Bill 1775 has caused her to lose a class she was supposed to teach this summer at Oklahoma City Community College.

"I've actually been teaching race and ethnicities in the United States for multiple years," she said.

The recently signed legislation restricts what can be taught about racial divisions through history in Oklahoma classrooms.

"I got an email a week or so ago, saying due to this new law, they were canceling my completely full race and ethnicities class," Smith said.

Her students won't be able to take her class even though it was required for some to graduate. Also, Smith won't be paid.

"This was a huge chunk of my income," she said.

When Stitt signed the bill, he said, "We can and should teach the history without labeling a young child as an oppressor or requiring he or she feel guilt or shame based on their race or sex. I refused to tolerate otherwise."

Smith said she doesn't teach that one race is superior over another, but her classes and students do talk about racism and privilege.

"To learn that there are actual disparities between the races in terms of education, housing and income," she said.

Smith also points out her class is offered at a college where students chose to take it. The class is not forced upon anyone.

"It's interesting that these adults, who are paying for their own education, can't take the classes that they want to attend," she said.

Oklahoma City Community College officials said they are looking into the law to see if the class could still be offered in the future.


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Abbott threatens veto of pay for lawmakers after Texas House Democrats kill GOP-backed elections bill


AUSTIN — After a dramatic walkout by House Democrats upended the GOP’s divisive elections bill, this year’s edition of the Texas Legislature ended Monday afternoon with a punctuation mark — and a lot of hugging.

Gov. Greg Abbott stamped the exclamation point after a weekend of discord over the voting measure. He not only threatened to call an additional special session — beyond the one already planned — but said he’d veto a section of the state budget that funds the Legislature and its associated agencies. That would mean lawmakers’ pay, and that of their staff members, cuts off by September.

Speaker Dade Phelan, after gaveling out his chamber in early afternoon, told reporters his guess is the Republican governor will call lawmakers back in late summer. That would be for a 30-day gathering separate from one planned in fall, after census data needed for redistricting rolls in.

Why late summer?

“Because after Sept. 1, our staff doesn’t get paid,” Phelan said, chuckling, with a nod to two of his communications office employees. “No one in the building gets paid after Sept. 1. I assume we’ll be back in August.”

As he spoke, just 15 hours after the Democrats’ quorum break killed the voting bill, Phelan dismissed suggestions it might leave a bitter taste — and hurt members’ ability to work together.

“You saw a very congenial atmosphere today. People of both parties were hugging each other and telling everybody, ‘Have a good summer. I want to see you — but not too soon,’” he recounted.

Day 140 of the 87th regular session was different, though. Yes, many lawmakers’ families were on hand, selfies were taken, resolutions were passed in commendation of employees who, after decades of service to that quintessentially Texan institution known as the Legislature, won’t be back. Richmond Rep. Jacey Jetton is the House GOP caucus’ freshman of the year. Houston Rep. Ann Johnson is the Democrats’ star frosh.

Senators were almost weepy about how, because of COVID-19, the absence of chaplains and “pastors of the day,” taken as a public-health measure, created a new and meaningful tradition: The members themselves give the opening prayer each day.

“Giving prayers was wonderful and brought us together,” said Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who’s called “dean” because he’s been a member of the Legislature since 1972.

Quorum break fallout

But House Democrats’ quorum break — the result of feeling trampled by the majority party all session and frustrated by a voting bill they viewed as a GOP attempt to suppress Black and Latino voters — didn’t exactly generate universal sweetness and light.

Edgewood GOP Sen. Bob Hall said he and his party’s activists are furious.

Speaking of Abbott’s vow to veto the budget’s two-year appropriation of $410.4 million for the Legislature and its support agencies, Hall said:

“It kind of bothers me, with the worry it’ll put in the staff. I mean, these people have families to feed. … But how do we make sure we’re going to get the Democrats to come back? It’s just a shame … we have to do something like that to get people” who agree to public service to not go AWOL, said Hall, a military veteran. “I see no service to the people of Texas by tucking tail and running and hiding.”

Veteran Flower Mound GOP Rep. Tan Parker, putting it more diplomatically, said, “There’s a lot of disappointment.” And the session’s end left some with a sense of incompleteness, he said.

“We don’t feel like we got something done,” Parker said.

Already, though, many members on Monday were looking ahead to special sessions to come, jockeying for their issues to make the second-round agenda.

While Abbott, as governor, decides the list, he also feels some pressure to collaborate with lawmakers so voters won’t think state leaders are just wasting time and money. A special session can be pricey for taxpayers and cost upward of $1 million.

On Monday, Abbott said elections and changing bail procedures will be on a special session call, but offered up no clues as to the timing.

“Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas, which is why these items, along with other priority items, will be added to the special session agenda,” he said in a statement. “I expect legislators to have worked out their differences prior to arriving back at the Capitol so that they can hit the ground running to pass legislation related to these emergency items and other priority legislation.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been broadcasting his wishes for days, publicly pressing Abbott to make lawmakers reconsider his priority bills that died in the House — on bail changes, transgender youths, taxpayer-funded lobbying and “censorship” by social media platforms, such as Facebook, which removed former President Donald Trump.

Democrats are making the case for items such as Medicaid expansion, an issue that gained virtually no traction this year in the GOP-dominated Legislature.

“I certainly wasn’t looking forward to coming back, but I would like to see us talk about things that I think everyday Texans are looking for us to focus on,” said Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston. “A lot of these social issues that we were forced to deal with don’t really do anything to stimulate our state’s economy.”

Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, is pressing for any special session to include more electric grid reforms, including ratepayer relief and more robust winterization.

“Those are the real issues that keep us safe and sound at home. Cultural stuff, I don’t have much time for that,” he said.

Playing to the GOP base

Republicans such as Georgetown Sen. Charles Schwertner, though, sees it differently.

“It’s important that we accomplish some of the priorities of our Republican base, and we didn’t do that and we need to work on that,” he said.

Battles over social issues such as abortion, permitless carry of hanguns and requiring pro sports teams to play the national anthem drew attention that obscured steady progress on a raft of “good government, conservative bills,” said Houston GOP Sen. Paul Bettencourt.

Echoing Patrick, Bettencourt said he doesn’t blame House Democrats for being tempted to use their limited powers as a minority party to stall action — especially, after House Republican leaders recessed their chamber for two days late in the session.

“They have to use their tools,” Bettencourt said of the House Democrats. “Now the governor has a bigger hammer.”

The intense partisanship of 2021 came after a session rocked in its second month by a crippling winter storm, which upended lawmakers’ priorities.

Already, the coronavirus outbreak put a damper on the social events that typically dominate the slower, early months of session, but that help build a rapport among members, especially the freshmen.

“It definitely hurts because in those first two months everybody’s here working, but they’re working in their offices,” Sen. Drew Springer said of members’ isolated start to this year’s session. Springer, R-Muenster, served several terms in the House before being elected to the Senate last year.

Abbott’s threat

Abbott’s threat to wipe out “Article X” of the two-year state budget, funding for the Legislature, reverberated around the Capitol.

“No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott tweeted. “Stay tuned.”

While not explicitly calling out House Democrats, whose walkout Sunday killed the elections bill, lawmakers questioned his words.

“How do you abandon your responsibilities when you use the rules in order to work the process?” said Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas.

If Abbott follows through, using his line-item veto power on spending bills, not only will Abbott wipe out Iawmakers’ $7,200 annual salaries, $211 “per diem” payments when they’re in session and salaries for their personal staff members, but he’ll also force a small army of other experts and support staff on the legislative branch’s payroll to get pink slips — at least, until the Article X section is restored.

“If you take it at face value, that eliminates the branch of government that represents the people. It creates a monarchy,” said Austin Democratic Rep. Donna Howard at a news conference by House Democrats.

She said it not only punishes legislators, but researchers, drafters and analysts used to create legislation.

Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer, brought down the curtain on the session shortly before 4 p.m.

“I normally say I’ll see you in 18 months, but I might see you in 18 days or so,” he told senators.


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Abbott really does want to be King. What a jerk.

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Abbott is being extra Abbotty here:


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1 hour ago, Ozlsn said:

Texan wave 3 in a couple of months then.

OK then - let me get this straight - commercial bakers can refuse to provide cake to a gay wedding, but the same business may not require a mask to serve customers.  Got it. :confusion-scratchheadblue:

If I lived in Texas, I would prefer Gov. Abbott be more focused on the super-special, for-Texas-only, failing and inadequate electrical grid in Texas.  

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More Abbott insanity: "Texas governor puts $250 million down payment on a border wall"


AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday he was putting a $250 million down payment on a state-led project to build "hundreds of miles" of border wall as part of a security plan he said was made necessary by the federal government's neglect of communities along the state's international river boundary with Mexico.

Flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and more than two dozen cheering Texas lawmakers, Abbott (R) signed documents authorizing several actions to address the “tidal wave” of immigration that is overwhelming border law enforcement and stoking acrimony in some communities.

Abbott, who is seeking a third term in 2022 and was recently endorsed by former president Donald Trump, opened his remarks by crediting the previous administration’s policies for slowing migration and tying his state’s perceived woes to the Biden administration’s dismantling of those programs. Trump announced Tuesday that he had accepted Abbott’s invitation to visit the border this month.

Abbott painted a bleak picture of border cities as victims of an “open border” policy he blames for the large numbers of migrants “wreaking havoc” and “carnage” on both populous and remote communities along the Rio Grande.

“Remember that the border was far more under control under the Trump administration until President Biden came,” Abbott said, drawing a dubious comparison between the 2020 migrant apprehension numbers, which were lower during the coronavirus pandemic, to 2021 figures. “But the biggest difference between the two administrations is a difference in commitment.”

Abbott authorized state officials to begin the search for a program manager for the border wall, opened a donation portal for the project and called on landowners willing to volunteer their properties for construction. He also signed a letter to be sent to President Biden demanding land taken by the federal government for border wall construction under Trump be returned to landowners.

But there were few details about other parts of Abbott’s plan. The governor is encouraging local law enforcement and state troopers to begin arresting and charging migrants with trespassing, vandalism and other misdemeanors. He promised to build jail capacity in small communities, many of which can barely manage to handle the number of inmates they already have, much less the hundreds who cross the Rio Grande every day.

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe issued a disaster declaration for his county on April 21, more than a month before Abbott issued a statewide declaration.

“We were just seeing ungodly numbers of people,” said Coe, whose county has 16 miles of river border. “It’s an invasion. We are to the point to where, what do we do? I’m getting calls every day from the local ranchers whose properties are being destroyed and groups of 15, 20 trespassing across their land. I’ve never seen it like this before.”

Coe worked with his county attorney to devise a plan to start arresting adults caught on private property with criminal trespassing, but was soon out of space in a county jail that holds 14. His six deputies are using discretion to lock up those migrants they deem a priority either because they have violent criminal records or represent an acute danger.

Abbott said he asked the state’s jail standards commission to find more space and determined they have about 1,000 extra beds within the state. But to carry out the governor’s stated goals, border law enforcers interviewed say the state would have to ease capacity restrictions locally and the potential for human rights violations worries them.

Border officials say they welcome the attention and additional state resources to help bolster things such as their 911 communications systems and hire more deputies and attorneys to jail and prosecute offenders. Others wonder whether the effort is worth it.

“I don’t know if it’s practical or feasible, but I know it’s expensive,” said LaSalle County Judge Joel Rodriguez, whose county more than 60 miles north of the river has seen a dramatic uptick in vehicle pursuits and crashes involving human smugglers.

The pandemic has created a budget deficit of more than $1 million as the county awaits state or federal reimbursement for its expenses, Rodriguez said. The county increased the sheriff’s budget by thousands, but Rodriguez worries about his overtaxed officers.

“I don’t know if there is an easy solution, but the governor is trying,” he said.

In Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley, where the bulk of river crossings occur, Judge Richard Cortez is as frustrated as many of his neighbors with the federal response to the increasing immigration, but he has questions about Abbott’s plan.

“You don’t put more resources into a policy that’s failed us,” Cortez said. “Arresting people isn’t going to solve the issue of people coming in the first place. All it does is delay the ultimate inevitability of release. You spend six months in jail, now what? We are back to where we were.”

Migrants charged with state crimes would be entitled to a hearing, bond, an attorney and a variety of resources that Cortez said could bog down the judicial systems of large metropolitan areas such as his.

“We all have the same goals, but it’s the how to do it that concerns me,” he said. “What will we accomplish?”

Sheriff Joe Martinez’s Val Verde County hosted a border summit Abbott held last week and the private meetings the governor had with ranchers and landowners, who represent a vocal and influential group of border residents but do not speak for all.

They gave detailed accounts of fences being damaged, burglarized houses, stolen vehicles and general fear of groups of strangers on their property.

“It’s one thing to hear about this on the news, but when you sit in a room and listen to 150 people tell it, that’s something,” said Russell Boening of the Texas Farm Bureau, which has been documenting the experiences of ranchers in border communities. “It’s not really a partisan issue. It’s a safety [issue], it’s a humanitarian issue.”

But when the governor asked which of them would volunteer their land for border fence or wall construction, not one hand went up, according to two people who attended the summit. Abbott said later, during Wednesday’s news conference, that state agencies were already engaged in helping border ranchers fence their properties.

The border wall was not a hugely popular idea among landowners during the Trump era. Many fought in court to negotiate or delay the federal government’s land-taking over concerns a wall would cut them off from the river their ranches depend on for water, irrigation and recreation.

Abbott said border barriers “slow the incredible inflow” and create “no-trespass zones” to facilitate a greater number of arrests. State-owned land would be included in the border wall construction.

“It is my belief based upon conversations that I’ve already had is that the combination of state land and volunteer land will yield hundreds of miles to build a border wall in Texas,” he said.

Sheriffs in the borderlands worry that the numbers could increase further once Title 42, which expels most apprehended adults back to Mexico and others countries, is lifted, something Abbott mentioned Wednesday would happen soon based on indications from federal officials.

Martinez said Abbott was right. The border communities need help and it hasn’t come quickly enough from the federal government. The sheriff has asked the state for six additional deputies and a boat to help recover bodies — they have come across nine since Jan. 18 — in a timely manner. He also needs more jail space.

The local magistrate holds hearings for about 30 or 40 people a week during normal times. With 400 to 500 people crossing the border daily in Val Verde County, under the governor’s plan, Martinez estimated that about 100 people a day would have to be processed in court.

“That’s a lot of people,” Martinez said. “Look, I think we are on our own out here to deal with it. Now, the governor is stepping up. We’ll see how that turns out. Something has to be done because we can’t sustain it forever. I don’t know if it’s the right or wrong thing but it’s something.”


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Please remind people you know about Greg Abbott's record when he announces his inevitable presidential campaign. :pb_sad:

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10 hours ago, Cartmann99 said:

Please remind people you know about Greg Abbott's record when he announces his inevitable presidential campaign. :pb_sad:

At this point, I wouldn't trust Abbott to run a kindergarten bake sale.

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Gov. Greg Abbott vetoes criminal justice bills, legislation to protect dogs, teach kids about domestic violence


Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 20 bills that were passed during this year’s legislative session, including two criminal justice priorities of the House speaker, legislation that would have banned tethering dogs outside with heavy chains and a bill that would have required students to be taught about the perils of domestic violence.

The 20 bills in total that were vetoed mark the fewest made by Abbott since 2005. There were 1,073 bills passed by the Texas Legislature in total.

Abbott vetoed 13 bills authored by Democrats and seven by Republicans. 12 of the vetoes targeted bills that originated in the House, and eight were from the Senate.

His most explosive veto came Friday when he signed the state budget but used his line-item veto to reject funding for the Texas Legislature, its staffers and legislative agencies. The move was retribution after Democrats broke quorum in the final days of the session to block the passage of Senate Bill 7, a GOP elections bill that would have overhauled voting rights in the state.

Abbott‘s office declined comment for this story.

Criminal justice priorities

Among the bills Abbott vetoed over the weekend was House Bill 686, which would have allowed for earlier parole eligibility for inmates convicted of certain crimes if they were younger than 18 years old when the crime was committed. The bill would have required parole panels to consider the inmate’s age and mental state at the time of the crime, among other factors, when determining parole eligibility.

HB 686 was authored by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, and included in Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan’s bipartisan criminal justice priority package called “Smarter Justice, Safer Texas.”

In his veto statement, Abbott said that while he commends the bill’s author for encouraging and recognizing rehabilitation among young inmates, he felt the bill conflicted with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, “which would result in confusion and needless, disruptive litigation.”

Moody and Phelan declined comment for this story.

Another House criminal justice priority bill vetoed was Senate Bill 281 by state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, which called for the ban on using statements obtained through hypnosis in a criminal court. If passed, the bill would have helped bring an end to a controversial practice that law enforcement in Texas used close to 1,800 times over the course of 40 years, according to a Dallas Morning News investigation.

Abbott said he objected to a late amendment to the bill that would have barred statements that a person makes long after the hypnosis from being used as evidence in a criminal trial. He said that change “would dramatically expand its scope in an unacceptable way.”

Hinojosa could not be reached for comment.

Protection for Dogs

Another bill that fell victim to Abbott’s veto was Senate Bill 474, known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act. The bill would have made it illegal to chain up dogs and leave them without drinkable water, adequate shade or shelter. It also called for a ban on tethering dogs with heavy chains.

“I’m disappointed in the governor,” said Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville. “I don't agree with everything he does, but I respect him when it comes to quality of life and protecting life. I want to include dogs in that issue.”

Abbott said Texas already has the statutes in place to protect dogs from animal cruelty, and the penalties proposed in Lucio’s bill seemed excessive.

“Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization,” he said in the veto statement.

Shelby Bobosky, executive director of Texas Humane Legislation Network, a nonprofit that lobbies in support of animal rights, said the organization’s members are devastated by the veto, and the bill would have “clarified the vague language that makes the statute completely unenforceable.”

“All the elements Governor Abbott cited as ‘micromanagement’ were carefully negotiated compromises that addressed concerns from lawmakers in both parties to strike the right balance for our diverse state,” she said in a statement. “The passage of the bill in both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support from rural, urban, and suburban members was the result of six years of tireless effort by THLN and all stakeholders who care for dogs inhumanely restrained outdoors.”

Animal-loving Texans created the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs on Twitter to express their disdain for the veto.

“It's not a political issue with me — it's a humane issue,” Lucio said. “We need to do our best to take care of them.”

Rural Broadband

A key issue of the legislative session was protecting and expanding broadband access particularly in rural Texas. House Bill 2667 would have provided universal service fund assistance for Texans.

Abbott named broadband access as one of his priority items for the legislative session, but he shot down the bill, saying it would’ve imposed more taxes on Texans everywhere.

The bill proposed that those receiving assistance through the Texas Universal Service Fund — which helps those in the states receive basic telecommunications services — be charged a universal fee for services. An analysis of the bill stated that recent decisions from the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which funds the TUSF, has placed customers in rural areas at risk of losing telephone services or paying high costs for services.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that there are still parts of Texas, including parts of the rural district that I represent, where you don’t have access to internet, some areas don’t have access to cell service and even some areas don't have access to landline phones,” said state Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo.

He also said broadband expansion was also signed into law through other measures, such as Senate Bill 5. This established the creation of the State Broadband Development Office, designed to expand broadband internet access, through The University of Texas System.

Other bills

Abbott also vetoed Senate Bill 1109, which would have required middle school and high school students to learn about child abuse prevention, family violence and dating violence. He said in his veto explanation that he opposed the legislation because it doesn’t give parents the option to opt out of instruction.

He also vetoed Senate Bill 237, which would have reduced penalties for criminal trespassing by allowing police to “cite and release” individuals instead of arresting them. Abbott said this change would have a “troubling impact” on businesses and homeowners in Austin that “count” on criminal trespass arrests from homeless people who refuse to leave their properties. He said it would also go against making arrests in border communities.

“It would allow [and tempt] agencies to categorically mandate cite-and-release for this crime, taking away an important tool for officers to keep Texans safe,” Abbott wrote.

All of Abbott's veto statements that were released Monday are available here.

Disclosure: University of Texas System has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Correction, June 22, 2021: A previous version of this story mistakenly said Rep. John Smithee represents the Dallas area. He represents the Amarillo area.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Of course CovidKim is having Iowa pay for her bullshit political stunts. 


Agreements between Iowa and Texas show Iowa is donating the use of state troopers and their equipment at "no cost to Texas" to fight crime along the U.S. border with Mexico. 

The agreements show Iowa troopers, tactical officers, command staff and an investigator will be part of the deployment. Iowa officials have said previously they expect to send 25 to 30 officers from the Iowa Department of Public Safety for a two-week mission this month.


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Vanderbilt Law graduate misleads the rubes in preparation for future White House run. Film at eleven.


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You may remember Patrick from this episode:

To legally change the quorum requirement would require amending the Texas Constitution:



Sec. 1. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS; PUBLICATION; SUBMISSION TO VOTERS; ADOPTION. (a) The Legislature, at any regular session, or at any special session when the matter is included within the purposes for which the session is convened, may propose amendments revising the Constitution, to be voted upon by the qualified voters for statewide offices and propositions, as defined in the Constitution and statutes of this State. The date of the elections shall be specified by the Legislature. The proposal for submission must be approved by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House, entered by yeas and nays on the journals.


Once again, you have to have two-thirds of each House present to have a quorum: ?



Let's pretend we've got two-thirds of each House present and look at the process:


(b) A brief explanatory statement of the nature of a proposed amendment, together with the date of the election and the wording of the proposition as it is to appear on the ballot, shall be published twice in each newspaper in the State which meets requirements set by the Legislature for the publication of official notices of offices and departments of the state government. The explanatory statement shall be prepared by the Secretary of State and shall be approved by the Attorney General. The Secretary of State shall send a full and complete copy of the proposed amendment or amendments to each county clerk who shall post the same in a public place in the courthouse at least 30 days prior to the election on said amendment. The first notice shall be published not more than 60 days nor less than 50 days before the date of the election, and the second notice shall be published on the same day in the succeeding week. The Legislature shall fix the standards for the rate of charge for the publication, which may not be higher than the newspaper's published national rate for advertising per column inch.

Notices have to published in every newspaper in Texas, and the county clerks of all the counties in Texas have to post a copy of the proposed amendment or amendments following the guidelines above.


(c) The election shall be held in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Legislature, and the returning officer in each county shall make returns to the Secretary of State of the number of legal votes cast at the election for and against each amendment. If it appears from the returns that a majority of the votes cast have been cast in favor of an amendment, it shall become a part of this Constitution, and proclamation thereof shall be made by the Governor.

Then we have an election where the voters of Texas vote on the proposed amendment, or amendments.

Is Abbot deranged enough to tell the state constitution to go fuck itself in order to get his way? :think:

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4 hours ago, Cartmann99 said:

Is Abbot deranged enough to tell the state constitution to go fuck itself in order to get his way

Well you could do all of that... or you can just turn up with guns and announce that that is how it now is.

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5 hours ago, Cartmann99 said:

Is Abbot deranged enough to tell the state constitution to go fuck itself in order to get his way? :think:

Yes. Yes, I would bet he is. 

The GOP is your state is desperate. They know the demographics are not good for them. There are too many black and latino people, and their numbers are only growing.  The majority of them lean Democratic, so the Texas GOP is fighting for its very existence. 

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