News Roundup: Harlem Globetrotters Honor Harris County’s Record 17 New African-American Female Judges

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 30, 2019 1:57 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 Harlem Globetrotters honored the 17 African-American women newly elected during last year’s midterms to serve as judges in Harris County. The Globetrotters recognized eight of the judges during an event at Law Elementary School in Houston Tuesday.

“Where my ladies at?! Make some noise ladies,” said Globetrotters star Torch George.

George talked about the significance of this new group of judges.

“They’ve motivated a nation. They’ve motivated me,” George said.

George is one of less than 20 women who’ve played for the Globetrotters since the team was founded in 1926.

Members of the House Public Education Committee kicked off their first hearing of the 86th Texas Legislature Wednesday morning. State Rep. Dan Huberty, a Houston-area Republican, chairs the committee.

“Alright, quorum’s present. Welcome back everybody. It doesn’t seem like we left does it? I mean, what the hell?” Huberty quipped.

Mike Morath, the head of the Texas Education Agency, or TEA, testified on a range of issues, including the impact of Hurricane Harvey on schools. He told state representatives the TEA still doesn’t have updated figures on the amount of damage schools sustained.

“Unfortunately, no, we don’t have any better estimates than we did many moons ago, which is roughly $900 million in damage to school. Theoretically, FEMA and insurance should be covering 90 percent of that,” Morath said.

Morath said it could take 12 to 24 months to get a more exact estimate. But a survey that assesses damage to facilities closes at the end of the week.

Two special elections for seats in the Texas House were held Tuesday. But just one had a conclusive win. In El Paso, Democrat Art Fierro won the contest. He had called for voter support and turnout in a video posted on Facebook Tuesday.

“Help me make a difference for teachers, help me make a difference for law enforcement, help me make a difference for transportation,” Fierro said in the video.

Fierro will finish out the term of former State Representative, and fellow Democrat, Joe Pickett who stepped down due to health issues. Meanwhile, the race in Houston is headed for a runoff. Democrats Christina Morales and Melissa Noriega are vying for Carol Alvarado’s former seat. Alvarado, also a Democrat, left the House after winning a special election to the state Senate.

The Texas secretary of state’s office says it’s working with county officials to make sure its list of possible ineligible voters is accurate. The list cross-referenced the names of people who indicated they were not U.S. citizens when applying for IDs over the last two decades, but who also registered to vote during that time. But some of those people have become citizens since then. KUT’s Ashley Lopez explains.

The state is getting in touch with those local officials who had a lot of questions when that advisory came out. Local officials are looking through the lists and they’re like, “I don’t think this is entirely accurate.” So the state is going back now and looking through it and saying, “We’re working with the counties to verify that our list is OK.” They’re probably finding out that a lot of people on that list are naturalized.

Meanwhile, the League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing state officials violated the Voting Rights Act when they advised local registrars to remove alleged noncitizens from their voter rolls.