The Brief: Travis County GOP Looks To Rein In Controversial Chair

The party took action days before Robert Morrow, the incoming chairman whose vulgar and conspiracy theory-laced posts to social media made national headlines, takes the reins.

Author Robert Morrow was elected chairman of the Travis Co. Republican Party on March 1, 2016.

The Big Conversation

The Travis County Republican Party moved late Tuesday to limit the responsibilities of its new party chairman, a controversial figure who signaled he’d continue making the same incendiary statements that shook up local politics earlier this year.

The Tribune’s Patrick Svitek wrote that the party’s executive committee approved the establishment of a committee that will “assume many of the duties typically held by the chairman” in an effort to limit future chair Robert Morrow’s power. The executive committee also voted to move the party’s funds to a new group – Friends of the Travis County Republican Party.

Morrow, the “bombastic” new chair, will take control of the party in five days. He unexpectedly beat the current chairman James Dickey during the March 1 party primary elections, “winning the reins of the Republican Party in a liberal hotbed in Texas that is nonetheless home to a number of top Republicans such as Gov. Greg Abbott,” Svitek wrote.

Morrow drew national attention for his political conspiracy theories and sexually explicit remarks that he frequently posts on Twitter, and he has made it clear he has no plans to stop now that he has earned the chairmanship.

After the hearing, Morrow said he was not concerned with the party’s plan because it would “still allow him to use the platform of chairman to draw attention to his crusades against former and current elected officials. His targets include Lyndon B. Johnson, the Clintons and more recently, Land Commissioner George P. Bush,” Svitek wrote.

"Those changes are fine with me because I want to facilitate the continued functioning of the Travis County Republican Party,” Morrow said. "However, I will continue to hold the bully pulpit and continue to hold political criminals of both parties accountable."

Trib Must Reads

Doctors, Telemedicine Companies Meet to Plot New Course, by Edgar Walters — Lobbyists for doctors' groups and the telemedicine industry hope to hammer out a compromise over the state's rules governing long-distance health care by the end of the summer.

Report: Texans Finding Better Deals on the Power Market, by Jim Malewitz — Texans who shopped for electricity in 2014 paid more on average than folks who only had one power option — but the difference was smaller than in years past.  

Analysis: Effort to Silence Whistleblower Keeps Story Alive, by Ross Ramsey — “Shut up” is nearly always a terrible response. It escalates a disagreement. It’s obnoxious. It hardly ever works. It is a clear signal that someone is losing the argument, their patience — or both.

Filemon Vela's Letter to Trump Wows Washington, by Abby Livingston — U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela's colleagues see him as a quiet, hardworking congressman, not a bomb throwing firebrand. So they're still marveling that the Brownsville Democrat wrote the infamous letter that chapped Donald Trump's ass.

Cornyn, Cruz Push for Recovery of Nazi-stolen Artwork, by Khorri Atkinson — Decades after Nazis confiscated paintings and artwork from thousands of Holocaust victims, Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are setting aside their fractious relationship and trying to make it easier for descendants to recover heirlooms. 

After Outcry, Judge Delays Sanctions in Immigration Case, by Julián Aguilar — The Texas-based judge that earlier this year put a hold on President Obama’s executive order on immigration decided on Tuesday to also suspend a controversial punishment he had recently issued to the administration’s attorneys.

The Day Ahead

• The House Committee on Business and Industry meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol extension to discuss supporting shared economy growth and the regulatory powers of property owners associations.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Cruz: I'm not ready to endorse TrumpPolitico

Is the Texas Democratic Party platform too rosy on fracking?Austin American-Statesman

Texas Regulator: Trump U Preyed on 'Novice' Investors, The Associated Press

Trump visit to Texas offers opportunity for Dems, Houston Chronicle

Kennedy: Donald Trump might lose Texas — if GOP takes a Libertarian lean, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Activists plan protest for Donald Trump’s Dallas visit, The Dallas Morning News

Cruz ally calls for delegate revolt, The Hill

Slot machines back in action on Texas Indian reservation, San Antonio Express-News

Alleged Baylor victim said Art Briles, coach knew about assaultHouston Chronicle

67 Texas foster children slept in state offices in March and April, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

Like many other voters, I’m watching and listening and assessing what he says and what he does and I think that’s what millions of voters are doing and that’s the way the democratic process is meant to operate. I think voters are going to do that from now right up until Election Day. I’m giving it time and watching and assessing.”

 — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in an interview with MSNBC on whether he will endorse Donald Trump for president

Today in TribTalk

Broken school finance system is opportunity for school choice, by Wade Emmert — School choice might just be the motivation legislators need to tackle the daunting task of education financing reform, and it's already one of the state's top priorities for the 2017 legislative session. However, legislators would be hard pressed to build school choice onto the current funding scheme.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin