TSTC Launches Center for Employability Outcomes

With the launch of a new initiative on Monday, the Texas State Technical College System could help revolutionize how colleges align their curriculum with workforce demands and help their students match up better with employers’ needs.

The Brief: A New Leader for the UT System

The Brief: A new leader for the UT System; Congress holds hearing on Red River fight; TSTC Launches Center for Employability Outcomes; TSTC launches Center for Employability Outcomes; ICYMI: Castro invites Perry to discuss border with Texas Reps; GOP Senate nominees speak out against historical racing.

Texas law that speeds shutdown of troubled charter schools is put to the test

A new law designed to make it easier to close down chronically troubled charter schools is getting its first tests this year. The Texas Education Agency has revoked the charters of five operators since February, including Honors Academy and its Dallas-area campuses. Three others, including the Deion Sanders co-founded Prime Prep Academy, have appeals pending.

Van de Putte proposes five debates in lieutenant governor’s race

With a little over three months to go before Texas voters select their next lieutenant governor, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte on Monday challenged Republican Dan Patrick to five debates in September and October. Van de Putte, a state senator from San Antonio, proposed debates in her hometown, Dallas, Austin, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley.

Bias, bad math plague Irving ISD election system, court told

A statistics expert testified Monday that Irving ISD’s Hispanic-majority voting district is an illusion of bad math. And a lawyer suing the district said the illusion supports a “deep-seated racial prejudice” among white voters. If a judge in the federal voting rights lawsuit agrees, he could force the school district to change its entire election system.

Julián Castro celebrated as newest Latino Cabinet official

Julián Castro has been Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for less than a day — and he’s already being celebrated as the newest Latino addition to the president’s Cabinet. Hours after the former San Antonio mayor assumed his post Monday, he was feted at a Capitol Hill event for his achievements as a Latino American.

Deal Allots $17 Billion for Overhaul of V.A. Care

House and Senate negotiators announced an agreement Monday on legislation that would allocate about $17 billion to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs’ sprawling and beleaguered health care system. But the deal does not give the department everything that officials there have said is needed to fix its problems.

Cruz lifts hold on State nominees

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Sen. Ted Cruz lifted his hold on State Department nominees after FAA officials briefed him this morning on their decision to bar U.S.-based airlines from flying to Israel for 36 hours last week. “I appreciate the FAA’s efforts to respond to my questions, and so I have lifted my hold on State Department nominees,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.

House GOP scales back border bill in scramble for conservative support

  • suggested by John Reynolds

“I don’t like big bills,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). “The one thing I’ve learned in my time here in the House is that, when you hear the word ‘comprehensive,’ what it means in a loose translation is, ‘we got some really bad provisions that would never pass, so we need a big, comprehensive law so we can hide the bad laws in it.’ ”

Former Fort Worth doctor’s situation described as ‘grave’

A colleague and close friend of Dr. Kent Brantly called his situation “grave” as the former Fort Worth doctor continues to be treated for the deadly Ebola virus in a West African isolation unit. Brantly, 33, who completed his medical residency at JPS Health Network in June 2013, tested positive for the Ebola virus last Wednesday and has shown symptoms.

LCRA to crack down on those who pump water illegally

The LCRA estimates there are about 6,000 pumps running from the Highland Lakes to homeowners’ yards. Some are being operated legally, and others are not — something the river authority hoped to fix by beefing up enforcement. Additional personnel will be brought in from other departments, including the LCRA Rangers, to perform increased lake patrols beginning Aug. 1.

Castro, Perry in a war of words

In an escalation of a war of words between Rep. Joaquin Castro and Gov. Rick Perry, the San Antonio Democrat sent a letter to the Republican governor Monday, sharply rebuking him for deploying the National Guard to the border in response to the recent surge in undocumented immigrants from Central America.

Paxton dodges questions after speech to sheriffs

Paxton's remarks instead were largely biographical and focused on his opposition to President Barack Obama. The complaint, filed by Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based government watchdog group, alleges that Paxton committed a felony by referring clients to a North Texas investment firm without registering with state authorities, as required by the law. The group revealed the complaint Friday, though it was filed a week earlier.

Chasnoff: Border myths encourage militias

Few could discern whether Friedman, a humorist, was actually serious, but it didn't matter; he lost the race. Nine years later, Perry is still governor, and he's definitely serious about a new plan to stop undocumented immigrants, a proposal that's even more ridiculous and irresponsible than Friedman's.

10 active militia groups patrolling Texas-Mexico border

Militia groups along the Texas border have grown to more than 10 active “teams” from El Paso to the Rio Grande Valley, despite warnings from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and state lawmakers. More than 30 photos obtained by the San Antonio Express-News show dozens of members carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing masks, camouflage and tactical gear, providing a first glimpse of the militias.

California governor takes dig at Texas guard plan

California Gov. Jerry Brown took a not-so-subtle dig at Texas' decision to deploy National Guard troops to the border, saying Monday that he expects it to be a short-lived measure and that "wiser minds will prevail."

Deal unveiled to fix VA backlogs

Facing public outrage and an August recess deadline, congressional negotiators reached a breakthrough Monday in a $15 billion overhaul of veterans' health programs that have been plagued by long waits and deceptive scheduling practices.

Lawmakers' trips to Baku conference raise ethics questions

A Houston Chronicle analysis of reports that Stockman, Poe, Meeks and the seven other U.S. lawmakers later filed with the House Ethics Committee show that none disclosed any sponsorship of their Baku conference trips by corporations, foreign governments or lobbyists. Taking a foreign trip to a conference sponsored by corporations that employ lobbyists appears to be a violation of congressional ethics rules, according to the House ethics manual.

Carly Fiorina Taking 2016 Temperature

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in California in 2010, is diving back into electoral politics. For now, her work is focused on pushing back against Democrats' claim of a Republican-led "war on women" in the 2014 midterms. But her recent moves in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire have convinced some she's eyeing a bigger prize come 2016.

Spending Big to Fight Big Donors

An unlikely alliance of liberal intellectuals, big donors and Republican strategists has hit on a solution to the influence of big money in politics: even more money. Starting Monday, the recently formed Mayday “super PAC” began a $12 million advertising campaign to help elect lawmakers of both parties who support proposals to diminish the influence of big donors.