This Week in Texas Politics: Syrian Refugees and Textbook Reviews

Politicians speak out on whether Syrian refugees should be allowed to come to Texas and the State Board of Education has decided against a review panel for textbook errors.

By Emily DonahueNovember 19, 2015 6:31 pm,

This week, politics were dominated by Gov. Abbott’s statement that Texas would not accept refugees from Syria, citing ISIS as a very real threat to the state. Texas Tribune editor Emily Ramshaw, our go-to guide for navigating the tangle that is Texas politics, says it’s not as simple as a governor closing the state’s door.

“The answer, at least from the legal scholars we’ve talked to, is that governors don’t have that right because a lot of these decisions are made by the feds,” Ramshaw says. “But the state doesn’t have to make it easy for them.”

But Abbott wasn’t the only Texas official to speak out against resettlement. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller posted an image (pictured right) on Facebook comparing Syrian refugees and rattlesnakes.

“We’re used to him putting these outlandish posts on Facebook that then we find out later some political consultant did,” Ramshaw says. “In this case, his political consultant came out and said, ‘No, no, this was Sid Miller himself.'”

Another big story this week was the State Board of Education (SBOE) deciding not to appoint a panel to review textbook errors, even after a Houston mother pointed out that a ninth-grade textbook called slaves “workers.”

“[The SBOE’s] own review of the textbooks has been kind of controversial,” Ramshaw says. “This debate happens every single time but I think what’s fascinating was it was a pretty divided vote.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.