News Roundup: A.R. ‘Babe’ Schwartz, Liberal Legislator That Championed Texas Beaches, Dead at 92

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 13, 2018 12:53 pm

A former member of the Texas Legislature, renowned for pioneering environmental legislation has died.

A.R. “Babe” Schwartz passed away at his home in Houston on Friday. Schwartz, a liberal, represented his native Galveston in the State Senate throughout the 1960s and 1970s, after several years in the Texas House.

In 2006, Schwartz spoke with the Texas Legacy Project about legislation he helped craft legislation that guaranteed the public free or unrestricted access to beaches.

“Free means in the law today that you cannot be denied a free access to the beach if you can get there,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz was 92-years-old.

27 people were rescued from high water in Chalk Bluff Park about 100 miles west of San Antonio Sunday. Heavy rains caused the Nueces River to flood.

A video the National Weather Service posted on Twitter captured the rushing waters.

The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office said all rescued park visitors received medical attention, but no major injuries were reported.

The Republican Party of Texas is suing to try to get a Democrat off the ballot for the State Senate District 19 Special election run-off.

That race is between Democrat Pete Gallego and Republican Pete Flores. Both are vying to fill the seat once held by longtime Democratic state senator and convicted felon, Carlos Uresti.

The state GOP claims Gallego does not live in the district, which stretches from San Antonio to West Texas; instead, they contend he lives with his wife in Austin.

James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, spoke with the Austin NBC-affiliate KXAN.  “If you’re running for the Texas Senate you have to have lived in that District for the year preceding and you have to live there while you serve in that Senate District,” Dickey said. “And it is very clear Pete Gallego has not lived in Senate District 19 and does not live in Senate District 19.”

Gallego’s campaign calls the lawsuit “frivolous” and “a desperate move,” and says he meets the residency requirement to run.

While the Texas economy has been red-hot in 2018, it’s likely to cool off in the second half of the year. That’s according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. As Houston Public Media Florian Martin reports, slower growth could, in part, be attributed to Hurricane Harvey.

Laila Assanie, senior business economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said wage pressure caused by a historically tight labor market and slower export growth will likely cool down the state’s economy.

“Additionally, Houston’s growth – which makes up 25 percent of the state’s employment – will likely cool in the second half as Hurricane Harvey-induced activity dissipates,” Assanie said.

After Harvey, construction as well as retail and restaurants experienced strong job growth. That gave Houston’s economy a big boost.

Despite the expected slower growth in the second half of this year, Assanie said jobs in Texas will still grow by more than average.