News Roundup: Ken Paxton Tries to Block Voter Registration Ruling

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 28, 2018 7:13 am

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

The state of Texas wants a federal appeals court to stay a lower court’s decision ordering changes to its voter registration procedures. Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Friday.

Paxton is fighting a ruling that found Texas violates a provision of the National Voter Registration Act known as the motor voter law. That’s because the state fails to register people to vote or update their registration when they update their driver’s licenses online.

Beth Stevens is with the Texas Civil Rights Project, an organization that sued the state over this issue, and ultimately won the case. Earlier this month, she explained that it shouldn’t be too challenging for the state to start letting people register to vote when they transact with the Department of Public Safety online.

“So, through the process of the litigation, we get to ask questions of the state, right, through discovery, and we found out that basically this change is very easy to make,” Stevens says. “It’s a change of their computer system, so that when folks who transact online say, yes I want to register to vote, that information then gets sent on through the system, in the exact same way that they already do, if you transact with DPS in person.”

In contrast, Paxton argues the lower court’s 45-day deadline is too tight to make these changes. He adds that implementing the new system and developing a court-required statewide public education plan could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized in Maine Sunday for low blood pressure and fatigue.

That’s according to a tweet from his spokesman, Jim McGrath.

McGrath said Bush will likely remain in the hospital for a few days for observation and adds he is awake, alert, and not in discomfort. Bush was also hospitalized late last month after the funeral for his wife Barbara Bush.

Former astronaut and artist Alan Bean died in Houston Saturday at the age of 86. Bean, who was born in Wheeler, Texas, was the fourth person to ever walk on the moon.

He touched down on its surface in 1969, when he was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing.

Bean actually left something behind on the moon – his silver astronaut lapel pin. He told NPR about the pin in a 2016 interview.

“It’s what I think about often when I look at the moon at night, I’ll look up and think about that pin up there – just as shiny as it ever was – and someday maybe somebody will go pick it up,” Bean said.

Bean retired from NASA in 1981. He then used his experiences in space to inspire his work as a painter for the next four decades of his life.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has once again extended a deadline for Hurricane Harvey victims in temporary housing.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance will now last through June 30. Before this extension it was set to expire on May 31.

The Houston Chronicle reports that, since Harvey, more than 50,000 Texans received aid through this program.