It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels political reporter for The Texas Tribune.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference Thursday in which he laid the groundwork for announcing relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in Texas. Abbott said he plans to lift statewide restrictions if the trend toward lower hospitalization rates continues, and as more Texans receive vaccines.
After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fired aides last year (they had accused him of accepting a bribe from a campaign donor) the aides then sued Paxton. A court filing that has only now come to light that describes the nature of the alleged bribe. The aides believe that Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, who helped Paxton remodel his Austin home, gave a job to a woman with whom Paxton was having an affair.
“In return, they allege that Paxton used his office to help Paul’s business interests, and also to help him settle a lawsuit,” Samuels said.
At the the Capitol this week, Senate finance committee members chastised Paxton for giving millions in raises to workers at the attorney general’s office in a time of budget constraints, and outside the legislative authority granted to Paxton.
Next week, the state will roll out a $1.3 billion rental assistance program to aid tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 80,000 Texas households could qualify. The Tribune has more information about how to apply.