The Brief: June 19, 2014
Texas' top leadership on Wednesday evening gave orders to boost spending at the Texas-Mexico border by $1.3 million a week through at least the end of the calendar year.
The Big Conversation
Texas' top leadership on Wednesday evening gave orders to boost spending at the Texas-Mexico border by $1.3 million a week through at least the end of the calendar year. The action came on the same day that the federal government opened up several overcrowded Border Patrol stations to the press to witness what has been described as an "urgent humanitarian situation."
Aside from the amount authorized by Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, there were few immediate details on how the Department of Public Safety would implement the new border security plan, reported the Tribune's Julián Aguilar. The leadership, though, indicated they favored an expanded version of a recent operation in the Rio Grande Valley that beefed up state-based security.
Action by the leadership comes as some lawmakers on the right continue to call for a special session to address the issue. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Anna Tinsley reported that one of those legislators, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, plans to head to the border next week to see things for himself.
"Stickland said he would like the Legislature to first help children who are here illegally. Then he wants the state to 'turn off all the benefits we can from the state level' — such as health care — to reduce the draw for immigrants," Tinsley wrote. "And he would like lawmakers to authorize a surge to identify and stop people benefiting from the immigration boom, such as sex or human traffickers."
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that media were given a first look at "crowded Border Patrol stations in South Texas and Arizona, where thousands of immigrants are being held before they are transferred to other shelters around the country. ... The tours were a shift from previous weeks when the government refused to provide basic details about the location of the facilities. But the tours also came with restrictions, such as no interaction with children and no on-the-record conversations with employees."
Today in the Trib
Railroad Commission's Media Policy Draws Concerns: "A key Republican lawmaker and a Democratic candidate for railroad commissioner are among those expressing concerns about the Railroad Commission of Texas' practice of preventing staffers from talking to members of the media."
Texas Parents Find Access to Medicaid Without Expansion: "Despite the fact that Texas didn't expand its Medicaid program to cover poor adults, low-income parents are increasingly obtaining the coverage through an unlikely route — the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program."
Report Shows Texas Lagging in Long-Term Care Quality: "Texas ranks third-worst in the nation on quality of long-term care for elderly and disabled people, according to a new AARP report released Thursday."
Coolers installed in seven Texas prisons in summer-heat test, Houston Chronicle
Tom DeLay returns to court to hear appeal, Austin American-Statesman
Frontline CPS workers spend only 26 percent of their time with families, San Antonio Express-News
State agency unveils draft rules on $2B in funds for water projects, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Shale's bounty, emerging markets fuel petrochemical boom, Houston Chronicle
Austin news: Two men charged with providing support to terrorists, Austin American-Statesman
NCAA hires lobbyists as athletes battle for pay, The Hill
Quote to Note
"I’m very fortunate to be here today with my wife, Erica, and I know that my brother, Joaquín, is, I think, on his way. You’ll have to forgive him. He was the second-born twin, so sometimes he’s late."
— San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, speaking about his twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, at his confirmation hearing to be housing and urban development secretary
Today in TribTalk
In Texas, the Tea Party hasn't lost its grip, by Jim Henson and Joshua Blank: "The new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll leaves no doubt about which faction of Republicans is the driving force in Texas politics right now."
Trib Events for the Calendar
• The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.
Quality journalism doesn't come free
Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support.Yes, I'll donate today