The Big Conversation
With their party's presidential nominee warning about a "rigged" election in the fall, Texas leaders so far aren't talking about plans to enlist poll watchers to monitor voting locations in November.
The Tribune's Jim Malewitz wrote that "Texas law allows candidates and political parties to appoint a limited number of poll watchers as long as they follow a litany of rules. But a robust monitoring effort like the one Trump is calling for is rare in the United States."
Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton "have been speaking plenty over the past month about protecting the integrity of elections. ... But they have not addressed Trump’s poll-watching effort. Abbott’s office declined to comment for this story. A spokeswoman for Paxton said she was asking her boss if he’d like to comment; he did not respond Wednesday or Thursday."
It's also unclear for what the Trump poll-watchers would be monitoring since recent court rulings mean that Texas voters are still allowed to vote without presenting photo ID.
Trib Must Reads
In Corpus Christi, Veterans Still Facing Long Waits at Clinics, by Alana Rocha — VA staffing shortages in the Corpus Christi area have created monthslong waits for many of the veterans trying to see primary care doctors, dentists and other specialists.
Growing Zika Threat Prompts New Calls for Medicaid Expansion in Texas, by Edgar Walters — Advocates for the uninsured are hoping the threat of Zika will spur Republican leaders to consider a massive expansion of subsidized health care to the low-income Texans they say are most vulnerable to the disease.
Analysis: That Silly Perry Vs. Cruz Idea? Don’t Be So Quick to Dismiss It, by Ross Ramsey — Ted Cruz and Rick Perry are well known across Texas, able to raise money inside and outside of the state, and demonstrably ambitious. The speculation about a 2018 matchup will probably come to nothing, right?
Feds Ending Five Private Prison Contracts in Texas, by Johnathan Silver — Private companies will lose their contracts to operate five federal prisons in Texas under a U.S. Department of Justice plan announced Thursday to phase out private management of federal lockups nationwide.
How a South Texas School District Spurred a Massive Turnaround, by Kiah Collier — After five years of landing on the state’s list of low-performing schools, a tiny South Texas district that drew national headlines for cutting its sports program to ward off closure is now meeting state academic standards.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice to Request Budget Cut Exemptions, by Johnathan Silver — On Thursday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice presented a legislative appropriations request to its governing board that offered $28 million in cuts. Officials added that they would seek an exemption from further cuts.
Corrections Agency Punishes 4 in Prison Officer's Murder, by Johnathan Silver — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has disciplined four employees in connection with an inmate's murder of French Robertson Unit correctional officer Mari Johnson in July.
Perry, Polls and Praying in Court (Video), by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn — In the Roundup: Rick Perry shames the father of a fallen Muslim soldier, a new poll out shows Ted Cruz could lose to at least one fellow Republican in 2018 and the Texas AG weighs in on the legality of praying in court.
(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)
San Antonio lawyer Watts, cleared of fraud, blasts feds, San Antonio Express-News
Kids will attend school for fewer, longer days when they head back Monday, The Dallas Morning News
Complaints, police call lead to voter fraud investigation, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
State fees create relentless cycle of poverty, legal case says, Austin American-Statesman
Does Harris County discriminate against poor defendants?, Houston Chronicle
Grass-roots office for Clinton campaign opening in Lubbock, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s Campaign, The New York Times
Poor and Uninsured in Texas, The New Yorker
Quote to Note
“If you lose that, it’s not like losing the campaign. Two of the codefendants lost today — they were convicted on all 66 counts, and they’re going to go to prison for several decades.”
— Democratic political consultant Christian Archer, after a jury acquitted Mikal Watts, a San Antonio personal injury lawyer who is active in Democratic politics, of committing fraud in trying to win money from oil company BP following the 2010 Gulf oil spill
Today in TribTalk
How to make Texas government less transparent, by Joseph Larsen — All areas of government benefit from transparency. But sunlight is most necessary at that juncture where private enterprise is paid out of the public burse.
News From Home
The full program for the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival, featuring conversations about the future of health care, the sharing economy, Zika, abortion, standardized testing, higher ed funding, border security and, of course, Donald Trump, is now available. To view the Festival schedule & purchase tickets, visit texastribune.org/festival.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg
• San Antonio & the Legislature: The Election and Beyond on Sept. 14 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin
• TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center
• A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo
• A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville