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July 18, 2024      2:02 PM

Usually understated, Sen. Johnson blasts Abbott for accepting $10 million from school voucher supporter

“Our kids should not be pawns in these grotesque power-of-money games,” he said. “But here we are.”

Fresh off a Democratic primary victory in which he was criticized by some members of his own party for working too closely with Republicans, Sen. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas, blasted Gov. Greg Abbott this week for accepting giant contributions from an out-of-state billionaire who supporters school vouchers. In his reelection bid against retiring Rep. Victoria Neave Criado, D-Mesquite, Sen. Johnson maintained that he could be an effective senator for Dallas County by working with Republicans when appropriate but also strongly opposing them when core values are at stake.

In an email to supporters, Johnson did just that by asking plainly: “Is policy for sale in Texas?”

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July 17, 2024      5:59 PM

Despite headwinds nationally, campaign finance reports in Texas show political spending already ramping up among Democrats hoping to flip seats in November

Democrats have a tendency to signal at the outset what their budgets will be, allowing TLR and others to backfill Republicans with precision heading into the fall elections

Welcome to The Leftovers.

For those who haven’t seen the HBO’s three season show, of which season two was filmed in Central Texas thanks to film incentives, it’s a secular take on the Rapture! Suddenly, one day, 2 percent of the world’s population disappears. Those left behind are indeed leftovers. That’s sort of what the Capitol landscape feels like following a bruising primary.

But the primary is over and it’s time for political professionals to start focusing on how legislative races may play out in the fall. Given the numerous upsets in seats trending one way or the other thanks to the campaigning of Abbott and Paxton, some Democrats’ unease about President Biden’s mental fitness, the attempted assassination on former President Trump, it’s fair to ask who knows what will happen in November?

At this point, it’s also fair to say there are a little more than a dozen races to follow and the money following the candidates and incumbents too.

So, here we go:

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By James Russell

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July 17, 2024      2:28 PM

Patrick creates special Texas Senate committee on hurricane preparedness of course Chaired by Schwertner

Vice Chair King. Members are mostly from coastal or coastal-adjacent districts: Alvarado, Bettencourt, Creighton, Hinojosa, Huffman, Kolkhorst, LaMantia, Middleton, Miles, Nichols, Zaffirini

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July 17, 2024      1:36 PM

Please join us in helping the Pink Granite Foundation inaugural Back to School Supply Drive

Help support the students of Manor ISD during the month of July for the Pink Granite Foundation’s inaugural Back to School Supply Drive.

You can take advantage of Prime Day by visiting our Amazon Wish List. Depending on your browser, you may have to right click that and open it in a new window. Or if you prefer to shop local, you can always drop off items personally – just text Jo Cassandra at (512) 709-8789 to coordinate.

Thank you for making a huge difference in the lives of kids of all ages within the Manor school district for the upcoming academic year with a simple act of kindness.

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July 16, 2024      4:10 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick raised $4 million and has $27 million cash on hand

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July 16, 2024      1:46 PM

School voucher hearing on the first week of school

Texas House Public Ed Chair Buckley sets a hearing including a school voucher discussion on Aug 12, the first week of school for major ISDs like Dallas and Houston

There are several other items as well on the posting that suggests the chair will cut off testimony at 6pm.

Some new information that might come be discussed: A new ProPublica report on vouchers in Arizona that have proven a budget buster in that state. Depending on your broswer, you might need to right click and open in a new tab. From the report:

In 2022, Arizona pioneered the largest school voucher program in the history of education. Under a new law, any parent in the state, no matter how affluent, could get a taxpayer-funded voucher worth up to tens of thousands of dollars to spend on private school tuition, extracurricular programs or homeschooling supplies. In just the past two years, nearly a dozen states have enacted sweeping voucher programs similar to Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account system, with many using it as a model.

Yet in a lesson for these other states, Arizona’s voucher experiment has since precipitated a budget meltdown. The state this year faced a $1.4 billion budget shortfall, much of which was a result of the new voucher spending, according to the Grand Canyon Institute, a local nonpartisan fiscal and economic policy think tank. Last fiscal year alone, the price tag of universal vouchers in Arizona skyrocketed from an original official estimate of just under $65 million to roughly $332 million, the Grand Canyon analysis found; another $429 million in costs is expected this year.

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July 16, 2024      9:07 AM

Pennsylvania TikTok investor Jeff Yass has now contributed $10 million to Abbott this cycle

Abbott's latest report includes $4 million from Yass, the pro-school voucher billionaire from PA

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July 15, 2024      12:35 PM

Some Texas GOP lawmakers call on Rep. Crockett to resign for proposing elimination of Secret Service protection for felons

Here is the letter signed by 3 senators, 14 House members, and 10 GOP nominees.

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July 14, 2024      9:46 PM

Video: The potential political fallout from Hurricane Beryl

There's not much that surprises Editor Scott Braddock in Texas politics anymore, but his jaw was on the floor when Abbott didn't at least truncate his overseas trip during a hurricane: An agreement to bring 100 jobs to Texas "is a great press release when you don't have millions of people without power in your state."

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July 14, 2024      2:30 PM

Finally in Houston after Hurricane Beryl, Gov. Abbott lashes out at CenterPoint and threatens the company with executive action

Abbott said "Had I been here the entire time, there would be nothing that would be different." The company meantime sped toward an estimated 90 percent restoration of power for its service area by Monday

Finally back from his junket in Asia, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday afternoon appeared in Houston for the first time since the landfall of Hurricane Beryl. True to form, he seized on the anger Houstonians feel toward the electric utility for the region and threatened executive action against the company.

During a news conference alongside businessman and GOP donor Mattress Mack at Gallery Furniture, Abbott took direct aim at CenterPoint, accusing the company of dereliction in the wake of the storm that left millions without power while Abbott was on an economic development trip – a trip he did not cancel nor truncate to address the disaster which unfolded shortly after he departed.

"Had I been here the entire time, there would be nothing that would be different,” Abbott said after he was asked by a reporter about the overseas trip. He went on to say “there were no unmet needs” after he had just railed about the lack of electricity for millions over the last week. He was referring to the state’s responses to local governments after the storm.

Abbott said he wouldn’t wait until the regular session next year to act. But he did not say anything about calling a special session even as he promised to work with lawmakers to craft legislation aimed at better electric reliability along the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast.

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By Scott Braddock

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July 13, 2024      7:20 PM

Texas Ag Commissioner Miller was at Trump rally when shooting broke out and says it was intense

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was about 30 feet from former President Donald Trump when shooting broke during a rally in Pennsylvania.

“I never did duck down,” Miller said, adding that he was looking around for the shooter. “I looked around and I was the only standing up, so I probably looked like an idiot,” Miller said.

“I was standing up on the front row as close as you can get,” he said. “A lady behind me caught a stray bullet.” Miller said Trump “looked good after it all quieted down.”

As Trump “waved a fist up in the air” the people around Commissioner Miller started chanting “USA! USA!” he said.

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July 12, 2024      2:59 PM

People on the Move

A staff shakeup, lobby moves, new lobby shop, and more

Now that’s the kind of hurricane you might want to flee the country for if you didn’t have a key leadership role in the region. I’ll leave it at that for now but plan to unload about it in the next edition of the Texas Take Podcast, which will drop here later today. You might have to right click that link and open a new tab. Or you can just search “Texas Take” on your preferred podcast app.

Meantime, there were quite a few significant career moves the last couple of weeks to pass along.

The drill is simple: If you want everyone in the Texas Capitol community to know about your new gig – or for all of them to know about someone else’s new job – send the scoop anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com. If you could use “POTM” in the subject line, that would rock because it nearly guarantees I won’t mess up and lose track of it.

Thanks so much to all of you who make it possible.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move.

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July 11, 2024      4:59 PM

Gov. Patrick blasts President Biden and media over allegation that Texas was slow to ask for federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Beryl

Amid finger pointing over a federal disaster declaration, veterans of hurricane response say the focus now should be restoration of electricity above all else; it appears Abbott left Patrick to fend for himself when the governor departed for Asia, leaving a gap in continuity of governance while a disaster was imminent

He just cannot help but always try to have the last word even when hundreds of thousands of Texans just want to know when their electricity service is going to be restored.

Appearing at a news conference in Houston, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday morning spent most of his time at the microphone angrily pushing back against President Joe Biden’s claim that the Chief Executive Officer of the United States had trouble this week getting in touch with state leadership as Hurricane Beryl ravaged a large swath of Southeast Texas and knocked out power to millions.

President Biden told the Houston Chronicle that it had been difficult to reach Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s gallivanting overseas during a disaster.

Acting Gov. Patrick said flatly that Biden’s claim is a "total lie or he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.”

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By Scott Braddock

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July 11, 2024      2:50 PM

In the wake of Hurricane Beryl, coastal utilities update PUC Commissioners about next steps and start looking toward future storm readiness

Centerpoint on the hot seat: “If our customers see crews standing on the side of the road or in their trucks, it may be to cool off, take a break, stay safe”

The Public Utility Commission of Texas heard from utility operators about their disaster response protocols at a meeting today as they struggle to restore power to more than a million people in the Houston region following Hurricane Beryl. Of course, all eyes are on Centerpoint.

"This will be the first step in this process, not the last step," PUCT Chair Thomas Gleeson said at the opening of the meeting. "And we will probably end up filing a report as we head into the legislative session about our learnings and potentially some legislative solutions that we may need."

Representatives from AEP Texas, Texas-New Mexico Power, Entergy Texas and CenterPoint Energy all spoke about their ongoing efforts to restore power to the region.

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By James Russell

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July 11, 2024      2:02 PM

General Investigating Chair Murr says Paxton is wrong to claim another impeachment is imminent

Here is the full statement from Andy Murr, Chair of the Texas House General Investigating Committee:

“No one should assume that Ken Paxton is ever telling the truth. This is the same man that said he didn’t do anything the whistleblowers accused him of doing and later turned completely around and conceded that he did.

There is absolutely no truth to Mr. Paxton’s farfetched fantasy that the House General Investigating Committee is meeting to talk about him.

Our committee’s agenda was never related to the Attorney General; the House General Investigating Committee will be convening on a completely unrelated matter. Consistent with the committee’s longstanding policy to not comment on matters under its jurisdiction, the subject of our hearing remains confidential.”

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July 11, 2024      9:20 AM

Rep. Allred to report a little more than $10 million cash on hand

He raised $10.2 million in the second quarter, per his campaign, which has raised a total of about $38 million so far

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