"The Brief: Texas Officials Speak Out Against #AthletesWhoKneel" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
The Big Conversation
One Texas official has taken his frustration over athletes who choose to sit or take a knee during the national anthem to a new level — boycotting the NFL.
On Friday, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller posted a Facebook status update announcing that he would not watch any more games until athletes are required to stand for the national anthem. In his post, Miller said he’s “had it” with players who “disrespect to our flag, our national anthem, and our great country.” He continued, “Roger Goodell will finally decide to do something when he sees his ratings and advertising income drop like rocks. In the meantime, I'm done!”
As the Tribune’s Bobby Blanchard reports, no players for the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans have kneeled during the national anthem. However, a group of middle schoolers playing for the Beaumont Bills in the Bay Area Football League took a knee during the national anthem on Saturday.
The movement to not stand during the national anthem began in late August with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. While the athlete, who sits or kneels during the anthem to protest racial injustice, has found support among fellow players, other notable Texans, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, have denounced the silent protest. On Monday, Cruz tweeted, “Here's a peaceful protest: never buy another shoe, shirt, or jersey of rich spoiled athletes who dishonor our flag.”
Trib Must Reads
Texas Sees an Unusual Lull in Executions, by Jolie McCullough — It's been more than five months since the last execution in Texas, an unusual gap for the nation's most prolific death penalty state.
Legislature to Blame for Mexican-American Studies Textbook, Ed Board Members Say, by Kiah Collier — Hundreds of Hispanic advocates, activists and elected officials from across the state on Tuesday called on the Texas Board of Education to reject a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook they blasted as blatantly racist and which many academic scholars have deemed historically inaccurate.
Ted Cruz Meets with Mike Pence, Still Declines to Endorse Trump, by Abby Livingston — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was resolute Tuesday in declining to endorse Donald Trump, despite meeting with the GOP nominee Mike Pence.
Fenves Announces $15 Million in Aid for UT-Austin Students, by Matthew Watkins — During his annual state of the university speech, University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves announced plans to increase financial aid and cultivate diversity among faculty and students.
Key Texas Lawmakers Show Little Appetite for Medicaid Expansion, by Edgar Walters — Comments by high-ranking Texas Republicans indicate that the state’s long-running tug-of-war with the federal government over Medicaid expansion is unlikely to change course.
Texas Again Ponders Calling for Constitutional Convention, by Nicole Cobler — With the next legislative session on the horizon, lawmakers on Tuesday began debating the notion that Texas should join a call for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution.
Children, Vulnerable Should Be Focus of Next Session, Straus Says, by Patrick Svitek — Texas House Speaker Joe Straus previewed the next legislative session on Tuesday, saying it should focus on making sure children and other vulnerable Texans are not left behind as the state grows.
Texas Lawmakers Explore Paring Back Free Tuition for Veterans' Kids, by Matthew Watkins – State lawmakers on Tuesday explored what should be done about the spiraling costs of a veterans tuition program known as Hazlewood.
Texas' Uninsured Rate Continues to Fall, by Alexa Ura — Texas' rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday.
The Day Ahead
• Tribune CEO Evan Smith leads a discussion with San Antonio state legislators Rep. Lyle Larson and Sen. José Menéndez focusing on the issues at play in the run-up to the 85th Legislature — and what they mean for one of the state’s largest and fastest-growing cities and its surrounding communities. The lunch-hour event takes place at the UTSA Downtown Campus and will be live streamed on the Tribune’s website for those unable to attend in person.
• The House Committee on Investments & Financial Services meets to examine the short-term lending industry in Texas and study the adequacy of consumer access to credit and the effectiveness of consumer protections.
• The Senate Education Committee meets to study school choice programs enacted in states across the nation.
• The Senate State Affairs Committee meets to monitor requirements for guardianships, monitor the establishment of a public integrity unit under the authority of Texas Rangers and examine the practice of using public funds and employees for the payment processing of union dues.
• The Senate Transportation Committee will receive an update on the formulation of a plan to eliminate toll roads during a morning meeting at the Capitol.
(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)
For Every 10 U.S. Adults, Six Vote and Four Don’t. What Separates Them?, The New York Times
Risky Decision Looms for McCaul, National Journal
University of Texas study estimates 10B recoverable barrels of oil in Eagle Ford patch, San Antonio Express-News
Cruz forks over $100K to boost endangered Republicans, Politico
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticizes NCAA decision to pull events out of North Carolina because of its LGBT law, The Dallas Morning News
Simone Biles' Olympic drug-testing records hacked by Russian group, Houston Chronicle
Ex-Texas assistant AG talks about Trump U probe in pro-Clinton PAC video, Houston Chronicle
Poll: Trump up 6 over Clinton in Texas, The Hill
Child Protective Services moving too quickly on proposed foster care fix, senator frets, The Dallas Morning News
Quote to Note
"Your story is part of the American story. Everyone deserves to have their story told in a fair and accurate manner.”
— State Board of Education Chairwoman Donna Bahorich, R-Houston, speaking to the public at the outset of a hearing Tuesday on a controversial proposed Mexican-American studies textbook
Today in TribTalk
Reversing the opioid epidemic in Texas, by Patrice A. Harris — The opioid public health epidemic will not be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach. Physicians, legislators, and other state leaders must all work together.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• Meet the New Guys: A Conversation With Incoming Members of the Texas House on Sept. 15 at The Austin Club
• A Conversation with Pete Gallego, Candidate for Congressional District 23 on Sept. 22 at The Austin Club
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin
• The Washington Post's Politics & Pints with Chris Cillizza: TTF Edition on Sept. 24 at Scholz Garten
• 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
• The Texas Response To Zika on Oct. 18 at BCBSTX Headquarters in Richardson
• A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville