It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune.
On Gov. Abbott’s State of the State address:
The issues that the governor laid out in his State of the State are the same issues the other big three state leaders have been talking about – school finance reform, teacher pay raises, property tax relief, school safety, disaster response, and mental health … The thing that got the most attention was the governor saying he wants to find a way to reinstate the UT-A&M football game. They’ve really managed to make it drama-free so far.
On donations to the governor’s inaugural committee:
Corporations cannot donate to lawmakers, but they can and did donate to the governor and lieutenant governor’s inaugural in a big way that gives them some access to those folks. If you were a diamond star donor to the inaugural, for example, for $100,000, even if you are a corporate entity, you are granted exclusive access to a candlelit dinner at the Fairmont, a special inaugural mass and prayer service, a photo-op with the governor, a full-page advertisement. Basically it’s just another example of the ways that you can pay to play in Texas. No laws broken.
On President Donald Trump visiting El Paso on Monday:
He used El Paso in his State of the Union address to basically say, “Look, El Paso is an example of a city where you put up a border wall, and suddenly the crime rate goes way down,” which is actually not true. The crime rate in El Paso had been dropping for a long time ahead of any stretches of border wall there. But then the next morning, Trump put out a press release saying, “On Monday the 11th of February, I’m headed to host a big Make America Great Again rally in El Paso.”