News Roundup: At NRA Conference, Ted Cruz Says Corporate America Is ‘Going After Liberty’

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 29, 2019 12:41 pm

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

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told attendees of the National Rifle Association’s convention this past weekend that Second Amendment rights are under attack. During his speech, the Republican lawmaker went through a list of who he considers to be opponents of gun rights, such as Democrats running for president in 2020. He singled out a few contenders, including former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

“You’ve got my old opponent, Beto O’Rourke, who first made national news doing a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives, opposing the Second Amendment,” Cruz said.

Cruz narrowly defeated O’Rourke to reclaim his Senate seat in 2018.

The Texas Senator also criticized the “media” and “corporate America.”

“The new tool that they’re going after liberty is they’re trying to use their force in corporate America, so you have banks threatening to cut off funding the Second Amendment,” Cruz said.

Cruz also pointed to companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, which stopped selling assault rifles in the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Just last month, the retailer announced it was going to stop selling firearms entirely at 125 locations across the country.

A statewide sales tax holiday for emergency preparedness supplies ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday night. Eligible items include flashlights that cost less than $75 and emergency ladders that cost less than $300.

Kevin Lyons of the Texas Comptroller’s Office says shoppers should be aware that delivery, shipping, handling and transportation charges are considered part of the total price.

“So, for instance, if you buy an emergency ladder that is $290, and then the delivery is $15, then that means the whole price is $305, and then that item would not qualify to be exempt from sales tax,” Lyons says.

The Texas Comptroller’s office estimates Texans will save more than $1.6 million in state and local taxes.

There are four weeks left in the Texas legislative session, and the two bills with the highest priority, other than the state budget, still haven’t made it to the Governor’s desk. Ben Philpott with KUT News has more information about what could happen this week to bills about property taxes and public school funding:

The Texas House made increasing public school funding its top priority, and the chamber voted out $9 billion in additional funding several weeks ago. The Texas Senate focused early on attempts to slow property tax increases, and passed that bill several weeks ago as well. Since then, much of the action has been behind the scenes, as lawmakers negotiated versions of the bills that could be voted out of the opposite chambers. This week, that work continues. The Texas Senate Education Committee could vote Tuesday on its version of the school funding bill, sending it to the full Senate for a vote. And on Tuesday, the Texas House could once again try to pass the Senate bill that would slow how quickly property taxes increase. The bill has been on the House agenda three times, only to have the vote postponed each time.