Time now for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels, political reporter for The Texas Tribune.
Four Texas Democrats ask Biden to halt federal drilling restrictions:
On Wednesday, President Biden issued an executive order halting oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters. But it met some unlikely opposition – from four Texas Democrats.
“Those four Texas Democrats … are U.S. representatives Vicente Gonzalez, Henry Cuellar, Lizzie Fletcher and Marc Veasey,” Samuels told Texas Standard. “And so what they’re arguing against the order is that Biden would be banning what they call ‘responsible energy leasing,’ which could eliminate jobs and decrease the country’s gross domestic product, among other things. Biden, meanwhile, has cast the order as a measure to slow the pace of climate change and avoid pollution of public lands.“
U.S. Supreme Court voids two lower court rulings on Texas’ pandemic abortion ban:
“Those two rulings from the lower court sided with Texas GOP officials who argued that a March executive order from the governor regarding non-essential medical procedures prohibited abortions under all but a few narrow circumstances,” Samuels said. “So while that executive order from Gov. Abbott ended over the summer and that allowed abortions in the state to resume, Planned Parenthood argued that leaving the lower court rulings on the books would set a harmful legal precedent for abortion rights advocates. So the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday voided those two rulings from the lower court.”
Abbott nudges Texas Legislature to protect businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits:
“[In] his State of the State [address] that he gives at the beginning of each legislative session, [Abbott] is expected to lay out his priorities for this session,” Samuels said. “He said earlier that he’s pushing state lawmakers to protect individuals and companies that open businesses during the pandemic against coronavirus-related lawsuits. … I believe the Texas Civil Justice League has already drafted a one-page framework outlining some of what lawmakers may tackle. And potential legislation is still being finalized. But I think what we’re expecting is that Sen. Kelly Hancock will really take the lead on this in the Texas Senate.”