It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.
This week was the deadline for Democratic presidential candidates to qualify for the third debate in Houston, in September. Ramshaw says the two Texan candidates, Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke, both “squeaked by.” And they’ll be standing right next to each other on the debate stage, she says. The debate will be a make-or-break moment for both of their campaigns.
“They absolutely have to break out,” Ramshaw says.
Also, the new Texas Safety Commission met for the second time since the El Paso mass shooting on Aug. 3. During the meeting, Gov. Greg Abbott addressed some language he used in a fundraising email a few weeks ago. Ramshaw says Abbott used some “noisy political rhetoric” to convey what some interpreted as an anti-immigration stance. But that’s problematic since the shooting; the alleged shooter claimed to be targeting Mexicans.
“The Republican Party really needs to be making inroads with Latino voters, and I think this kind of rhetoric that speaks to the farther right of the Party is dangerous for them long term,” Ramshaw says.
More than 800 new laws will go into effect over the Labor Day weekend. Ramshaw says one standout law is the new legal smoking age, which will be 21 years old, except for military service members. Another law legalizes lemonade stands statewide. And, those without a license can still carry their handguns for a week after a natural disaster declaration.
Written by Caroline Covington.