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The Brief: Aug. 31, 2015

Not much is known about Shannon Jaruay Miles, who was arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Harris County Sheriff's deputy Friday night.

Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was shot to death at a Houston gas station late Friday night.

The Big Conversation

Authorities in the Houston area continue to look for a motive in the shooting death of a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy Friday night.

Shannon Jaruay Miles was arrested after being questioned early Saturday morning. But, as the Houston Chronicle reported, not much is known about the man who appeared to have never before met the victim, Deputy Darren Goforth. Miles did not leave much of a footprint on social media. A family friend described him as "a quiet and secluded kid" and that he "kept to himself."

He also had been arrested multiple times between 2005 and 2009, the Chronicle reported, for charges from criminal mischief to evading arrest to a firearms charge.

The shooting drew quick condemnation from state leaders on Saturday and it drew national attention throughout the weekend. The gas station where Goforth was killed had been turned into a makeshift memorial by Sunday where more than 1,000 people attended a vigil, the Chronicle reported.

And the Tribune's Edgar Walters reported that local law enforcement adopted language used by protesters against police violence to talk about the shooting of Goforth.

“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters at a Saturday press conference. “Well, cops’ lives matter, too.”

The Chronicle also had details of the "old-fashioned police work" used to track down the pickup truck owned by Miles after video footage taken at the gas station was unable to yield a usable license plate number.

Trib Must-Reads

2011 Budget Cuts Still Hamper Schools, Data Shows, by Kiah Collier – As Texas prepares to argue a school finance appeal before the state Supreme Court, the latest figures show districts still are grappling with staffing cuts, swelling class sizes and flat test scores exacerbated by the 2011 budget cuts, an examination by the Tribune found.

Analysis: A Political Summons With No Answer, by Ross Ramsey – When political people stumble, the opposition usually pounces. But that only happens when the opposition is ready.

Castro Questions Sanders' Commitment to Latino Community by Patrick Svitek – U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, questioned Sunday whether U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has done enough to engage the Latino community in his presidential bid.

UT-Austin Removes Confederate Statue by Luqman Adeniyi – The Jefferson Davis statue will no longer cast a shadow on the University Texas main mall after its removal Sunday morning.

Texas Asks Full Appeals Court to Hear Voter ID Case, by Jim Malewitz – Continuing to protect a voter identification law that courts say discriminates, Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a full federal appeals court to reconsider his arguments about why Texas’ requirements at the polls do not violate the Voting Rights Act.  

Cruz, Perry Make Anti-Establishment Pitches to the Faithful, by Patrick Svitek – The two GOP presidential candidates from the Lone Star State rallied thousands outside the South Carolina Capitol on Saturday, looking to lay claim to religious voters in the key early voting state.

Judge Casts EPA Rule into Muddy Legal Waters, by Jim Malewitz, Kiah Collier and Ally Mutnick — After a setback in court Thursday, can the federal government enforce its controversial "Waters of the U.S." rule in Texas? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says yes. Texas says no.

State Bungled Earlier Complaints About Group Home, by Terri Langford — State investigators failed to respond to prior complaints about an illegal assisted living facility in Austin shut down by Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday, the Tribune has learned, and one of Paxton's employees is under investigation concerning powers of attorney related to the case.

Today's 31 Days, 31 Ways Story

Grant Program for Military Bases Gets Infusion of Funds, by Alana Rocha and Ally Mutnick  The state is refueling a grant program that helps the state's 15 military installations pay for facility upgrades.

Relaxed Food Stamp Rules Meant to Help Felons, by Liz Crampton — Starting Sept. 1, a new Texas law will allow people with felony drug convictions to qualify for food assistance, ending the lifetime ban they currently face. Supporters hope the change will reduce recidivism as it helps felons get back on their feet.

A Funding Boost For Texas' Parks, by Michael Stravato and Neena Satija — For years, the Legislature has been stockpiling hundreds of millions of dollars meant for Texas’ parks in order to artificially balance the budget. House Bill 158 scales that down.


Texas about to lay down new laws, Houston Chronicle

New Texas law takes aim at erroneous gun-ban signs, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Another high-profile loss for Public Integrity UnitAustin American-Statesman 

Texas Supreme Court to again hear that state is shortchanging schoolsThe Dallas Morning News

Humana suddenly drops Baylor doctors out of network, Houston Chronicle

Texas has mixed record on environmental cases against EPA, Austin American-Statesman

Low oil prices could stick around, San Antonio Express-News

U.S. presidential hopeful Sanders gains ground on Clinton in Iowa poll, Reuters

GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz heads to Fort Worth StockyardsFort Worth Star-Telegram

Quote to Note 

“Hiroshima is coming. Greg Fenves will rue the day.” 

Kirk Lyons, the lawyer for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on Sunday's removal of the Jefferson Davis statue at the University of Texas at Austin.

Today in TribTalk

Enact better policy to keep teachers from leaving, by Katie Plemmons — Unless we take the all-too-important step of implementing sound education policy, hard-working, dedicated and experienced teachers will continue to leave the profession.

Texas must fix its mental health hospital system, by David Lakey — State lawmakers must make restructuring and replacing Texas' outdated mental health hospital system a top priority.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor on Sept. 4 in Austin

•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and GOP Primary Debate Watch Party on Sept. 16 in Austin

•    A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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