By Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott on July 18 authorized Adjutant General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard to arm personnel at military facilities across Texas.
Abbott’s action comes following the July 16 shooting on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., that resulted in the deaths of four U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor. A suspect was killed at the scene. An investigation is in progress.
“It is with a heavy heart that I issue this order,” Abbott said. “After the recent shooting in Chattanooga, it has become clear that our military personnel must have the ability to defend themselves against these type of attacks on our own soil.
“Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our service men and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base.”
Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard, referred to collectively as the Texas National Guard, are administered by the adjutant general.
Senator urges recapture
State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, on July 13 posted a statement regarding the recent escape and disappearance of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a federal prison in Mexico.
“As a senator who represents over a third of the Texas-Mexico border, I’d like to propose that if Mexico needs help keeping him behind bars once he is found, I know just the place: Texas,” Uresti said. “I find it incomprehensible that he was able to escape from a maximum-security prison. I urge Mexico to pursue and hold responsible those who aided in the escape and move swiftly to bring El Chapo back into custody.
Sales tax holiday is set
State Comptroller Glenn Hegar on July 14 released an announcement promoting the annual sales tax holiday scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7, through Sunday, Aug. 9.
Annual sales tax holidays were initiated by the Texas Legislature in 1999. Most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 are exempted from sales tax, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend, Hegar said. Lists of items that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the comptroller’s website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.
Shoppers will save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during this year’s sales tax holiday, according to the comptroller’s office.
Navigate Life site debuts
The Interagency Task Force for Children with Special Needs, supported by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, on July 6 launched NavigateLifeTexas.org, a website to help families who have children with disabilities and special health care needs.
According to the task force, the site “was built for anyone who needs to find relevant, comprehensive, and accurate information about services in Texas for children with disabilities and special health care needs. A Spanish version of the site is at AvancemosJuntosTexas.org.
Visitors can enter their ZIP code to search for support groups, services, and events that are specific to their region. Data provided on the site has been vetted by parents, physicians, parent organizations, subject matter experts, and state agencies.
5th Circuit hears arguments
Oral arguments in a preliminary injunction appeal in State of Texas, et al. v. USA, et al. were made before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 10.
This is another step in a case brought by Texas and 26 other states who are challenging President Obama’s November 2014 executive order allowing an estimated 4 million undocumented residents to remain in the country and offer them a path to citizenship. Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller argued for the states.
On May 26, the Fifth Circuit denied the Obama Administration’s request to begin implementing the order after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction on Feb. 16, halting the president’s executive action on immigration from taking effect.
Eat local, Ag chief says
State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on July 9 encouraged “all Texans to mark their calendars and eat out during the month of July for the eighth annual GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up.”
Participating restaurants are hosting local events “offering the finest Texas produce, meats, cheeses and beverages. By dining out during Restaurant Round-Up, folks will give back to our economy and support our incredible chefs, farmers and ranchers. Eat out this month and enjoy a large helping of Texas,” Miller said.
Diners will also be helping to feed hungry Texans. Participating restaurants will give back to their local communities by contributing to local food banks as part of Restaurant Round-Up.
RRC chief testifies in DC
Texas Railroad Commission Chair David Porter on July 14 testified before the U.S. Agriculture Committee in Washington, D.C.
Porter suggested to lawmakers that allowing Texas and U.S. producers to compete in international energy markets would “create jobs and economic prosperity for American workers and continue to strengthen the nation’s economy.”