The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a forever stamp honoring President George H.W. Bush during a ceremony at Texas A&M University Wednesday. That’s where Bush’s presidential library is located.
Robert M. Duncan is chairman of the USPS Board of Governors. He says honoring the 41st president with a stamp is especially appropriate because he loved to write letters.
“Over the course of his life he wrote literally thousands of now-cherished letters to family, friends, supporters, even adversaries. I know I still have my first letter from George Bush when he was chairman of the Republican National Committee,” Duncan says.
The first-day-of-issue ceremony coincided with what would have been Bush’s 95th birthday. He died in Houston this past November.
Gov. Greg Abbott has now signed another priority bill into law.
This Republican-backed measure is aimed at slowing the growth of property taxes in Texas.
Senate Bill 2 will require voter approval if cities and counties want to raise local property tax revenues more than 3.5% a year. Right now, the cap is 8%.
A ceremonial bill signing took place Wednesday at Wally’s Burger Express in Austin. Owner Robert Mayfield thanked lawmakers for supporting the bill, noting that small businesses have often been forgotten in the conversation about property taxes.
“When you see a proposal for a property tax increase what you normally hear the talk about is there’s going to be a property tax increase and it’s probably going to be another 200 dollars for each homeowner – they never mention businesses at all,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield said property taxes for his business have increased by 80% since 2016.
The measure has been criticized by city and county officials in fast-growing areas who say the cap will make it harder for them to pay for important services like public safety.
The Southern Baptist Convention, which met in Alabama this week, has decided to make it easier to expel churches that mishandle cases of sexual abuse.
Laura Isensee with Houston Public Media has more on changes the thousands of church representatives are enacting following a Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News investigation into widespread abuse – that included churches harboring predators.
Some of the details of the changes are still being worked out.
But members at the Southern Baptist Convention approved a new “credentialing” committee. It will review complaints against affiliated churches and then share their findings with the SBC’s executive committee. That group would have the final call on whether to eject a church from the network.
The sexual abuse crisis has become a flash point at the annual meeting of the country’s largest Protestant denomination.
This year in a wide-ranging investigation, the Houston Chronicle found that nearly 400 Baptist leaders, including preachers, youth pastors, employees and missionaries, faced credible allegations or criminal convictions of sexual abuse.