The Big Conversation
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton approached at least two North Texas school districts about adopting a policy for transgender students that would become the basis of his lawsuit against the federal government filed Wednesday.
The Tribune's Morgan Smith reported that the Harrold Independent School District moved to adopt a policy that would trigger a lawsuit only after Paxton's staff approached its board. Smith additionally reported that two top aides from Paxton's office consulted with a second school board — this time in Wichita Falls — 10 days before filing the lawsuit. The board discussed an agenda item relating to gender-specific restrooms and had requested legal representation from Paxton's office.
"In a video recording of the meeting, Trey Sralla, the Wichita Falls school board president, introduces Paxton senior adviser Ben Williams and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Leonie, explaining that they are there to answer questions about the proposed policy," Smith wrote.
In the video, Sralla said, "This has come down from the attorney general's office, who have asked us to look at a policy here and [said] that they would be willing to on our behalf go and take this to the court system."
After discussing the proposal for about an hour, the board decided not to adopt the policy. Ten days later, Paxton hosted a press conference to announce he had filed a lawsuit against the federal government with 10 other states.
When asked how many districts Paxton had approached about the lawsuit, his spokesman Mary Rylander would not provide a specific number.
Trib Must Reads
El Paso Port Seeing Surge of Cuban Migrants, by Julián Aguilar – As El Paso draws record numbers of Cubans seeking refuge, the city's Democratic congressman said he favors repealing a decades-old provision that gives those migrants a special status here.
Analysis: An Expense to Texas Taxpayers That Carries No Explanation, by Ross Ramsey – Should taxpayers pay severance to state employees to take the sting out of unexpected job losses or to protect the uncovered tails of the elected officeholders who fire them?
State Rep. Wayne Smith Now Wants Recount in House District 128 Runoff, by Patrick Svitek – In a reversal, state Rep. Wayne Smith is now pursuing a recount in his narrow loss in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff.
Briles Fired, Starr Reassigned in Baylor Shakeup, by Matthew Watkins and Madlin Mekelburg – Baylor University has fired head football Art Briles and removed Ken Starr from his post as president in the wake of an investigation into sexual assault allegations on campus.
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Texas Libertarians dream of edging out Trump, Clinton in 2016 presidential race, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Another $1.5 billion needed to tame Bexar floods, San Antonio Express-News
Texas’ crumbling state mental hospitals need $1 billion; will they get it?, The Dallas Morning News
How the oil bust is dragging Texas behind the rest of the country, Houston Chronicle
Towns in Texas, Arizona are battlegrounds in bathroom debate, The Associated Press
Advocates push for easy release for inmates charged with minor offenses, Houston Chronicle
Rate affordability a question for wastewater plans, Corpus Chirsti Caller Times
Consumer groups oppose insurance company’s push for arbitration, Austin American-Statesman
Quote to Note
"No celebration here, just grieving and mourning. I didn’t want to be right. At times, I didn’t even believe I was right."
— Stefanie Mundhenk, former Baylor student and rape victim, on Thursday's announcement Baylor University fired football coach Art Briles and removed Ken Starr from his post as president over the school's handling of sexual assault allegations.
Today in TribTalk
With water issues, could Texas be in the same boat as California?, by Samantha Fox – Texas is no stranger to drought and flooding, of course; it’s currently out of its last drought status and suffering through another flood season. But Texas isn’t as bad off as California — or is it? The truth is, when it comes to water, these two states are more alike than they are different.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with Ryan Sitton, Texas Railroad Commissioner, on June 3 at The Austin Club
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin