Vol 32, Issue 25 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act subsidies for people who buy insurance in the federal health care marketplace. That means those subsidies will continue for the more than 800,000 low- and middle-income Texans who bought their insurance on the exchange, as Texas declined to set up its own state-based exchange.

In a separate case, the nation’s high court ruled 5-4 that Texas has effectively reinforced segregated housing with its housing subsidy program, which gives incentives to private developers to provide low-cost apartments. The decision represented a victory for the Inclusive Communities Project, which argued that the way the state gave out those tax credits in Dallas packed minorities into poor neighborhoods.

State Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, announced he won’t seek re-election, although he told his constituents his work in politics will likely continue. Turner, a former NFL player who was elected in 2012, lost in his effort to oust House Speaker Joe Straus from his leadership role.

The U.S. Senate voted to give President Barack Obama “fast-track” authority for his negotiations on a major trade deal, which Sen. Ted Cruz voted against. Cruz, who had once supported giving Obama more latitude to negotiate the deal, abruptly pulled his support of giving him the authority. The final vote on the measure was 60-38, with Sen. John Cornyn voting for the bill.

Wallace Hall, a University of Texas System regent, sued the UT System chancellor to try to get access to confidential student information. Hall says the records, which were used for a report on controversial admission practices, will help him better oversee the system, but the system said the academic records he seeks are confidential under federal law.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz now leads the pack among 2016 GOP presidential primary voters, the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found. Cruz was running neck-and-neck with Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin in February. But now Cruz has surged and is leading the race, followed by former Gov. Rick Perry and Walker.

Former Gov. Rick Perry called removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse an “act of healing.” Perry, who is running for president, had faced criticism for mistakenly calling the shooting at a Charleston church last week an “accident.”

The University of Texas at Austin has set up a task force to consider removing Confederate statues from its campus. Students had previously called for their removal, but the shooting at a black Charleston church increased attention on the issue. The three statues were vandalized the night before the UT-Austin chancellor announced the task force.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

More lawmakers announced plans this week that they plan to run for re-election. Here's a quick list:

  • Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, for the Galveston County-based House District 24. He took office in 2013.
  • Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, for the Brazoria County-based House District 29. He took office in 2013.
  • John Wray, R-Waxahachie, for House District 10, which covers Ellis County and part of Henderson County. He took office in 2015.
  • Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, for House District 113 in Dallas County, which she's represented since 2013. She was first elected in 2010 from House District 101.
  • Dan Huberty, R-Houston, for House District 127 in Harris County. He first took office in 2011.
  • Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, for House District 21, which covers part of Jefferson County and all of Orange County. He first took office in 2015.
  • State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, for Senate District 20, which he's represented since 2003.

Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a handful of senior staff appointments this week. They are David Maxwell, director of Law Enforcement; Adrienne McFarland, deputy attorney general for Criminal Justice; and Rudy Montoya, chief information officer.

GOP Senate District 1 candidate Bryan Hughes received endorsements from Texas Right to Life and a quartet of conservative leaders: Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford, Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams, Concerned Women for America State Director Ann Hettinger and Heidi Group President Carol Everett.

Former San Antonio Congressman Charlie Gonzalez has joined the international Ogletree Deakins law firm to advise and represent businesses in labor and employment law.

Jeff Yates has been named the new director of the Conservative Republicans of Texas political action committee. He is a Houston-based political consultant and former executive director of the Harris County Republican Party.

Jerome Greener is the new state director for Texas’ chapter of Americans for Prosperity. He had held the position on an acting basis during the recently concluded legislative session and was offered the job on a permanent basis based on his performance during the session.

Mike Collier, who ran last year as the Democratic nominee for state comptroller, announced that he has a new gig: finance co-chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

Houston mayoral candidate Bill King has named Sarah Pennington Tropoli to his campaign team as neighborhood consultant.