News Roundup: After State Put a Wrench In Plumbing Regulation, The Revived Board Gets An Earful

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 16, 2019 1:53 pm

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

The Texas agency regulating plumbers met publicly Monday for the first time since the state Legislature failed to pass a bill keeping it open.

State lawmakers not only phased out the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, they briefly deregulated the entire industry.

That prompted calls for a special session of the Legislature.

Instead of going that route, Gov. Greg Abbott took executive action extending the life of the agency through 2021.

Board members took comments from a packed house Monday.

One person who spoke was Diane Villareal, with the group, #71KPLUMBSTRONG, which is a grassroots campaign that began after this year’s legislative session. Villareal says legislators will face consequences if they’re not responsive to the concerns of plumbers.

“This cannot and will not happen again. We won’t survive another ambush from either side,” Villareal said.

Villareal added that her group was already reaching out to state lawmakers to educate them about the plumbing industry.

A private memorial service will be held for Ross Perot in Dallas Tuesday afternoon. As KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports, the invitation-only event will be streamed online.

The public H. Ross Perot, who died last week at age 89, ran twice for president, became a billionaire businessman, and gave millions of dollars to nonprofits. Those included hospitals, veterans, and arts organizations. He and his family were also supporters of KERA.

Perot also had a well-known private side, so in addition he donated money anonymously, wanting no publicity. He also protected his family, says longtime friend Kern Wildenthal, president emeritus of UT Southwestern Medical Center

“He was brilliant, tenacious, dedicated, really cared about other people, his family first and foremost, but many others as well. Was impatient and wanted change quickly. But above all he wanted to do good for others and he did that through actions and through his philanthropy,” Wildenthal said.

A 2 pm. invitation-only service will be at the Highland Park United Methodist Church.

Several Republican Congress members from Texas have condemned President Donald Trump’s racist tweets telling four Democratic women of color in Congress to go back to where they came from.

Congressman Will Hurd, a vocal critic of the president, said on CNN the tweets were not only racist and xenophobic but also inaccurate.

“It’s also behavior that’s unbecoming of the leader of the free world. You should be talking about things that unite us not divides us,” Hurd said.

Austin-area Republican Chip Roy and Congressman Pete Olson of Sugar Land also criticized Trump’s statements.

Rep. Roy stopped short of calling Trump’s tweets racist during an interview with the Texas Tribune.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that chamber will vote on a resolution condemning the tweets soon.