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Abbott Lays Out Goals on School Choice, Abortion Restrictions

Also, Abbott replaces a pair of "holdovers" on the Texas Ethics Commission.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to a large crowd of state leaders at the Texas Education & Workforce Summit Sept. 19, 2016 at the ...

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday called for the expansion of Texas' charter school system to ensure that 60 percent of young adults will have a two- or four-year college or university certificate by 2030.

That 2030 objective is the heart of a state plan known as "60x30," and at the Texas Charter Schools Association conference in Austin, Abbott praised charters for their contributions toward that goal.

"Texas will be the home of intellectual capital and you will have laid the pathway for that," Abbott said. "The beginning of laying that pathway does not begin in higher education and does not begin in high school. It begins from early education."

Abbott also called for the eradication of waiting lists in charter schoolswhich he called a "civil rights issue," arguing that all children in the state should have the right to attend the school of their choice.

"It's your tax dollars, they are your kids. It should be your choice where you send your kids to school in the state of Texas," Abbott said.

At a dinner later on Wednesday in Austin for the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, Abbott hailed measures passed last session as a "good start" on restricting the practice in Texas. However, he added, "there's a lot more that we need to do next session."

The governor went on to tout his LIFE Initiative, which he unveiled last year in response to undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for research. Among other things, the initiative aims to outlaw "the sale or transfer" of fetal tissue in Texas.

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Abbott on Thursday morning tapped Dallas lawyer Chad Craycraft and former state District Judge Katie Kennedy to serve on the Texas Ethics Commission. They replace Bob Long, whose term expired in 2015, and Tom Harrison, whose term was up in 2011.

Harrison resigned earlier this year amid pressure by groups like Empower Texans — which has long tangled with the commission — over members staying on the commission after their terms have expired. Last month, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus appointed former Rep. Steve Wolens to the eight-member panel, replacing another holdover, Paul Hobby.

After Abbott's appointments Thursday, one holdover remains on the panel: Wilhelmina Delco, whose term expired in 2015. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is responsible for picking Delco's replacement.

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This weekend marks an important date for football fans around these parts: the resumption Saturday of hostilities between the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oklahoma on a football field in Dallas.

But for many politicos around Austin, the game serves more as a tie-in and encore to a lollapalooza of fundraisers set to happen the day before.

As of late this week, Texas Weekly had received notice of 14 fundraising receptions scheduled for Friday at various locations in Dallas ahead of Saturday’s game — kicking off at 8:30 a.m. (!) with a pancake breakfast for Dallas state Reps. Cindy Burkett and Kenneth Sheets and running all day through a 5 p.m. fundraiser for Flower Mound state Sen. Jane Nelson.

Two more fundraisers are scheduled for Thursday. Our advice if you’re headed to Dallas? Stay hydrated and pace yourself. It’s going to be a long day.

A full listing of those Friday fundraisers is in today’s Texas Weekly calendar.

Disclosure: The Hobby Family Foundation, the University of Texas at Austin and Planned Parenthood have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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