Leading House Republicans Get a First-Hand Look at the Texas Border

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.”

By Alexandra HartFebruary 24, 2017 7:49 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) arrived in the Rio Grande Valley yesterday for a tour of the US- Mexico border. Ryan led a delegation of four House Republicans on a whirlwind tour of the region to see firsthand the challenges of securing the border.

The trip comes as President Donald Trump ramps up immigration enforcement and prepares to ask Congress to fund a border wall. During the six hour visit – Ryan’s first to the area – he traveled with border patrol agents by boat, helicopter and on horseback.

Ryan also met with business leaders and local politicians, including the Starr, Hidalgo and Cameron County judges, and mayors from McAllen, Harlingen and Brownsville. Meanwhile, about 100 protestors gathered outside the McAllen Border Patrol station, the McAllen Monitor reports.

After the tour, Ryan released a statement praising border patrol agents, and saying that “more tools and more support are needed for them to do their jobs effectively.”

Opening statements began this morning in the trial of John Wiley Price.
He’s the Dallas county commissioner accused of accepting nearly $1 million in bribes. Wiley also faces charges for mail fraud and tax evasion.

Dallas Morning News reporter Kevin Krause covered the story.

“The prosecution is going to make a pretty basic case which is that price accepted this money specifically to help companies that were seeking contracts from the county as well as other kinds of approvals. So they are going to allege a quid-pro, or a pay to play system, where Price used his influence on the commissioners court for money – which the governments says is almost a million dollars.” Krause says.

Price is considered one of the most prominent African-American politicians in North Texas. He’s credited with increasing the number of county contracts for minority–owned businesses since he took office in 1985.

Krause says that fact is likely to play into the defense’s strategy. “During the jury selection, his attorney asked some of the potential jurors what they think about racial diversity, and minority set asides for contracts, I think that’s going to play a role.”

Krause also says that Price’s supporters believe the case to be politically and racially motivated. “If you look at some of the other political corruption cases in Dallas over the past decade, they’ve all been African-American politicians. Also, in this case the companies that are accused of paying the bribes are mostly owned by whites and they were not charged…so that kind of adds fuel to the fire. And I would expect hat’s something the defense is going to bring up. “

Price maintains his innocence.

Get your cameras ready for those roadside bluebonnet portraits: Wildflower season may come early this year. That’s according to a forecast this week from the University of Texas’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

Ample fall and winter rainfall, plus warmer than usual weather this month will likely lead to earlier wildflower blooms. In fact, some varieties, like the purple Texas mountain laurels can already be seen in some parts of the state.

Wildflower season may last longer too – rather than an explosion in March and April, blooms may be spread out over the course of several months.