News Roundup: Will Hurd Says Eminent Domain For Border Wall Could Hurt His Constituents

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen CabreraFebruary 18, 2019 1:06 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. Congressman from Texas Will Hurd, whose district spans 820 miles of the Texas-Mexico border, says the threat of eminent domain affects the livelihood of his constituents. The former CIA officer-turned politician was on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday to make his case.

“And in the great state of Texas, we care about a little thing called private property. And there’s going to be over 1,000 ranchers and farmers potentially impacted if the government comes in and takes their land. And this is how they do it: they say, ‘Hey, we need this land. Here’s what we’re going to give you.’ And they get to automatically take it. And then the rancher or the landowner has to go in and fight in court to make sure that they’re, at a minimum, getting what they are owed because of the price of the land,” Hurd said.

Hurd also said that the there is no need for the president’s declaration of a national emergency along the border.

A new report criticizes the transparency of Texas electric companies when it comes to fees. As Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reports, it recommends regulators do more to help consumers choose the right electricity plan:

Those looking for electricity providers often go to the Power to Choose website by the state’s Public Utility Commission. It’s meant to help consumers find the right electricity plan for them. But a report by Texas ROSE, an energy consumer advocacy group, says it doesn’t do a good enough job informing consumers about fees on top of the kilowatt-per-hour rate providers charge.

Pamela Ferris is the group’s executive director: “If there were a more standardized presentation, and the even definition of the fees, so that if you have seven different fees that are similar, you know you’re talking about the same thing.”

She says she’s found outrageous disconnection fees, for example, and some fees that violate state law.

The PUC maintains it already tries to list all fees on its website but says it’s always open to reviewing its methods.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is calling for convicted Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to pay for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall through seized drug revenues.

That got the attention of El Chapo’s legal team. Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said in a statement that using El Chapo’s money to pay for the wall is “ludicrous” because none of his estimated $14 billion has yet been seized by the U.S. government. He added, “There’s a better chance of Mr. Cruz paying for the wall.”