News Roundup: Democratic Lawmakers Want Probe Into ICE’s Force-Feeding Of Hunger-Striking Detainees

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen CabreraFebruary 20, 2019 12:59 pm

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

Nearly 50 lawmakers are calling for a probe of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, after it was revealed that the agency was force-feeding detainees.

Last week, ICE abruptly stopped involuntarily feeding hunger-striking migrants who are in custody, after a U.S. district judge said it had to stop the practice on two men.

Now, a group of Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General to investigate conditions at ICE detention facilities.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso is leading the effort, along with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon.

Former U.S. Senator from Texas, and current ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison was honored with a mayoral proclamation in Houston Tuesday.

“And therefore I, Sylvester Turner, mayor of Houston, proclaim Feb. 19, 2019 Kay Bailey Hutchison Day in the city of Houston,” Mayor Turner said during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Hutchison was the first female senator to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, and served from 1993 to 2013.

As state lawmakers gear up for the 2020 election, they’re turning to experts for insight.

Tuesday, the Texas House Committee on County Affairs heard from political scientists predicting record-breaking voter turnout.

Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall has more:

University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray says though Beto O’Rourke’s run for Senate did energize midterm voters, something bigger was at play.

“Probably a third of that hype was Beto, and two-thirds of it was what was happening nationally,” [Murray says.]

He says record turnout in other states shows President Trump was the biggest force in motivating voters in opposition and support.

“Look at those margins in the Panhandle; President Trump helped get that vote out,” [Murray says.]

He says since Trump will be running in 2020, he projects historic statewide turnout on both sides of the aisle.

Sen. John Cornyn wants the next U.S. treasury coin to honor former President George H.W. Bush.

Cornyn has introduced a bill that would authorize the treasury to mint $1 coins bearing the likeness of the 41st president.

The presidential coin program was suspended in 2016. It last produced a coin honoring former President Ronald Reagan.

Congress would have to approve restarting the program, and the coins could not be circulated until two years after Bush’s death. Bush died Nov. 30, 2018.