Bill to ban Chinese citizens and government from buying Texas land gains steam among Republicans
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst filed a bill that would ban citizens, governments and entities from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from purchasing land in the state, part of what she and other Republicans have said will help stem foreign influence in Texas.
Country’s first cotton bale comes from Valley, once again
Last year for the first time in 60 years, the nation’s first cotton bale to be produced and ginned did not come from the Rio Grande Valley but instead from Nueces County’s Priestly Farms. A combination of early-season drought followed by excessive rainfall pushed back cotton planting in the Valley, and Priestly Farms near Robstown took advantage by picking the nation’s first cotton bale on July 18. But the weather was more cooperative this year, and the country’s first bale of 2022 was produced by Wesley Vanderpool of Alamo and delivered to the Willacy Co-Op. “Agriculture remains one of the key economic sectors in the RGV even with the rapid growth and expanding trade we have experienced in the region,” said Sam Simmons Jr., Harlingen Cotton Committee chair. The Harlingen Cotton Committee is still searching for sponsors to reach the $10,000 goal to support students pursuing a career in an agricultural–related field.myrgv.com
After backlash, Abbott ends secondary truck inspections for vehicles coming from Nuevo León, Mexico
After heavy bipartisan backlash, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday ended a Texas DPS checkpoint for commercial trucks coming in from Nuveo León after striking a deal with Gov. Samuel Alejandro Garcia Sepulveda.
Border backlash: Abbott under fire after commercial traffic shutdown at Pharr bridge
With commercial traffic on the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge still at a halt for the second day in a row, Gov. Greg Abbott is facing bipartisan backlash for the inspection policy he initiated that sparked a protest by Mexican truckers frustrated by the dayslong crossing delays it has caused.myrgv.com
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Trump’s man in Texas, has quietly amassed influence — to the detriment of fellow Republicans
Patrick urged former Gov. Rick Perry to mount a challenge to Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking a third term. He’s taken the already considerable power concentrated in the state’s No. 2 job to another level, forcing opponents from races and tightening his grip on the Senate.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s challengers take aim at his ethics, relationship to indicted political aide
Miller’s top challenger is state Rep. James White, a Hillister rancher, who is running a hard-charging campaign calling out the incumbent for creating a scandal-prone culture at the commission.
Black Texas farmers were finally on track to get federal aid. The state’s agriculture commissioner wants to stop that.
Sid Miller is challenging a debt relief program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture saw as a way to correct historic discrimination. An advocate for Black Texas farmers says the challenge “pushes us back even further.”
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s political consultant indicted on charges of theft, bribery in hemp license scheme
Attorneys for Smith said he has not broken any laws. Miller, who is seeking reelection and facing a competitive primary, said Tuesday evening he's "not ready to throw [Smith] under the bus" and believes the indictment was politically motivated.
Texas officials speak at Qanon-affiliated event where Trump adviser Michael Flynn encouraged military coup on U.S. government
Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, Republican U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller each delivered remarks at the event. Marketing for the event included a logo featuring a cowboy hat with the letters “WWG1WGA” around its band, a QAnon motto.
Analysis: After the blackouts, a whiff of the 2022 elections in Texas
Maybe the latest announcement from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was just the sound of a political gnat hitting the windshield. Miller was unveiling his response to the blackouts that knocked Texas off its feet last month. Miller hasn’t said what he’ll do in 2022, but it was notable when he joined Texas GOP Chair Allen West in a demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion before last year’s elections. (That assessment goes double for West, a one-term congressman from Florida who has never run for government office in Texas.) “Mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation,” they wrote.sacurrent.com
Analysis: After the blackouts, a whiff of the 2022 elections in Texas
Maybe the latest announcement from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was just the sound of a political gnat hitting the windshield. Miller was unveiling his response to the blackouts that knocked Texas off its feet last month. Miller hasn’t said what he’ll do in 2022, but it was notable when he joined Texas GOP Chair Allen West in a demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion before last year’s elections. (That assessment goes double for West, a one-term congressman from Florida who has never run for government office in Texas.) Ad“Mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation,” they wrote.
‘We should have been a priority’: Consumers may feel the pinch at checkout after Texas farmers hit hard by winter storm
ST. HEDWIG, Texas – Farmers across Texas were hit hard by the recent winter storm and rotating blackouts that knocked out power in many communities. Consumers can expect to feel the effects at the grocery store, with empty shelves and higher prices for some products. But the Scotts could not make it through the 2021 winter storm that left much of Texas without power. State relief for farmers is not available, and federal funds are slow to trickle in, according to the agriculture commissioner. The Texas Department of Agriculture has the STAR Fund, which is made up of private donations that help farmers during a disaster.
Texans running out of food as weather crisis cripples supply chain
A Fiesta grocery store in South Austin saw a shortage of some goods as customers stocked up early in the week. From farm to table, freezing temperatures and power outages are crippling the supply chain that people rely on for food every day. Some are storing their remaining rations in coolers outside, and trips to the grocery store often do little to replenish pantries. Several food banks affiliated with Feeding Texas have also started providing food supplies to emergency warming shelters in the state’s major cities. AdFor Texas residents, disruptions to the food supply chain, often combined with continued power outages, mean eating non-perishable canned goods or leftover items like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Texas has $2 billion in COVID relief funds left to spend. Advocacy groups are anxiously watching.
With only two weeks before the funding expires, Texas’ state government still hasn’t spent about a quarter of the $8 billion it received from the federal coronavirus relief bill. In March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury assigned $11.24 billion to local and state governments in Texas. The state distributed $1.85 billion to smaller jurisdictions and has been distributing the remaining $8 billion through its health, education and emergency agencies, among others. The funds can pay for expenses incurred only until Dec. 30, according to federal guidelines. On Monday, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said the remaining funds should be used to help rural hospitals and food banks.sacurrent.com
Texas has $2 billion in COVID relief funds left to spend. Advocacy groups are anxiously watching.
Boxes of food and hygiene products from the Central Texas Food Bank at LBJ Early College High School. (Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)With only two weeks before the funding expires, Texas’ state government still hasn’t spent about a quarter of the $8 billion it received from the federal coronavirus relief bill. In March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury assigned $11.24 billion to local and state governments in Texas. The state distributed $1.85 billion to smaller jurisdictions and has been distributing the remaining $8 billion through its health, education and emergency agencies, among others. On Monday, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said the remaining funds should be used to help rural hospitals and food banks.
After attending rally downplaying COVID-19, Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller has the virus
Wikimedia Commons / USDATwo months after participating in a protest downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller confirmed in a statement that he's contracted COVID-19.Miller, 65 — a Republican with a history of posting racist and sexist remarks on social media — confirmed his positive test in a written statement Wednesday. "Friends, I just got news that I have tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, will be quarantining at my ranch,” Miller said. "Miller made headlines shortly before the November election by joining fellow firebrand and Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West in a protest outside the Governor's Mansion. He and other speakers at the so-called "Free Texas" rally blasted Gov. "Quite frankly, governor, your cure is worse than the disease," Miller said as he addressed the crowd.We'll see if Miller's diagnosis changes his opinion.sacurrent.com
The Latest: Australia leader to go slow on Pfizer vaccine
If approved, shots could begin within days for health care workers and people in nursing homes. Shots would then begin for health care workers and nursing home residents. ___CANBERRA, Australia — Australian researchers say they have abandoned development of a potential coronavirus vaccine because it produced false positive results on HIV tests. A health ministry statement says the government will first vaccinate health care workers, particularly those who deal with COVID-19 cases. ___HONOLULU — Hawaii expects to receive 80,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine in December for health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says he has tested positive for coronavirus
It is unclear how Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller contracted the coronavirus or whether he has received medical attention. Credit: Juan Figueroa for The Texas TribuneTexas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said Wednesday evening that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the second known statewide elected official to test positive for the coronavirus. "Friends, I just got news that I have tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, will be quarantining at my ranch,” Miller said in a written statement. The first statewide elected official to publicly confirm a positive coronavirus test was Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann in May.
The Latest: India's case level a third of its September peak
India’s health ministry says some coronavirus vaccines are likely to receive licenses in the next few weeks. ___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:About 50% of Americans will take the new coronavirus vaccine, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey. — EU drug regulator hacked, data on COVID-19 vaccine accessed— UK probing if 2 allergic reactions linked to vaccine— Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf tests positive for coronavirus___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas state official who has been critical of measures ordered by Gov. According to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Tuesday reached 3,287, up 130 from Monday.
State GOP Chair Allen West, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller join anti-Greg Abbott protest outside Governor's Mansion
Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West speaks to a crowd gathered at the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday to protest business closures and mask mandates. The "Free Texas" rally featured speeches from Texas GOP Chair Allen West and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, both of whom invoked the governor critically. "And if the governor did not get this resolution, I'm gonna leave it right here, at the gates of the Governor's Mansion." Alt text: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller speaks to a crowd gathered in front of the Governor’s Mansion to protest statewide business closures and mask mandates. "I told him that true leaders don't pick and choose when they do what is right," West said.
Texas Supreme Court pitches out Republicans' request to delay early voting in the state
Sanford NowlinIn a defeat to members of the right flank of the state's Republican Party, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that early voting in the state can move ahead on October 13.This summer, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order adding six days to early voting for the November general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that changes to election processes shouldn't come at the 11th hour, he added. "When the record fails to show that petitioners have acted diligently to protect their rights, relief by mandamus is not available," Hecht wrote. "The sole dissenter on the eight-judge panel, Justice John Devine, wrote that the suit raises issues of constitutionality and that the timing didn't justify dismissing the suit.sacurrent.com
Texas Republicans sue to stop Gov. Greg Abbott’s extension of early voting period during the pandemic
In July, Abbott added six days to the early voting period, moving the start date up to Oct. 13 from Oct. 19, citing the coronavirus pandemic. West said in the same statement that he opposes the "extension of early voting through the decree of a single executive instead of through the legislative process." Using the same rationale, he previously extended early voting for the July primary runoffs. Abbott's expanded that option to the entire early voting period. Because the 17th day before this year's November election is a Saturday, the early voting period had been slated to commence the following Monday, Oct. 19.
Texas Republicans sue to stop Gov. Greg Abbott's extension of early voting period during the pandemic
In July, Abbott added six days to the early voting period, moving the start date up to Oct. 13 from Oct. 19, citing the coronavirus pandemic. West said in the same statement that he opposes the "extension of early voting through the decree of a single executive instead of through the legislative process." Using the same rationale, he previously extended early voting for the July primary runoffs. Abbott's expanded that option to the entire early voting period. Because the 17th day before this year's November election is a Saturday, the early voting period had been slated to commence the following Monday, Oct. 19.sacurrent.com
Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller says he’d ‘certainly expand medical marijuana’
After touring a state-licensed Austin-area marijuana facility last week, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller indicated he would like to see the program expanded. “I would certainly expand medical marijuana. Critics say Texans with ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or glaucoma should be allowed access to medical marijuana. While Miller expressed the need to expand medical access to marijuana in Texas, he stopped short of advocating for legalizing the drug recreationally. While Miller doesn’t have a vote in the Legislature, his agency does oversee the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators in Texas.
At least 187 Texans received mystery seeds mailed from China. State officials warn they shouldn't be planted.
At least 187 Texans have reported receiving mystery packets of seeds in the mail from China. An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. Intentionally keeping or planting the seeds would be illegal, Miller said., because they are an illegal product. First, it was a China virus, then it was murder hornets. The phrase "China virus," used by President Donald Trump and defended by politicians including U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, has been criticized as racist and anti-Chinese.
In false Facebook posts, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller accused George Soros of paying protesters to "destroy" the country
The posts from those local officials have prompted calls for resignation from the states top GOP officials. One post from Miller on Sunday included an image of Soros with accompanying text that read, Climate change didnt work. The Anti-Defamation League has reported that hundreds of thousands of social media posts in recent days have falsely suggested that he is behind the recent protests. Fact-checkers have debunked multiple fake flyers circulating on social media purported to be from organizations linked to Soros that were offering people money to protest. Miller has a history of posting incendiary and false statements on his social media channels, including on a Facebook page that has more than 800,000 followers.
Doctor, nurse practitioner dipping into own pockets to provide rural health care in Texas
So we-- we're-- we're trying to keep 163 rural hospitals open and from, you know, going out of business. Sharyn Alfonsi: Any sense of how many hospitals-- rural hospitals are at risk right now in Texas? And I'm-- I'm afraid this pandemic-- we're gonna-- we're gonna continue to lose health care providers in rural Texas and across the nation. That's left one out of five rural Texas counties without a doctor. Things like colonoscopies and lab services that usually make up half the revenue at the state's rural hospitals.cbsnews.com
Rural Texas hospitals and clinics on brink of closure as state prepares to reopen from coronavirus shutdown
Nurse practitioner Elizabeth Ellis makes a house call in rural Texas CBS NewsTexas, like other states, will begin a slow, gradual re-opening of business Friday. But health care providers in rural areas of Texas tell Sharyn Alfonsi if COVID-19 outbreaks get worse in rural areas their financially fragile care systems could become overwhelmed. Hospitals already teetering on the brink of financial collapse lost precious revenue from nonessential surgeries and procedures like colonoscopies the state cancelled to prepare for the pandemic. "I'm afraid-- this pandemic we're going to continue to lose healthcare providers in rural Texas and across the nation," he tells Alfonsi. And what frightens me is that all of America's critical access hospitals, especially here in Texas, are at risk of closing."cbsnews.com
Students Can Pick Up Meals During Coronavirus School Closures
Starting March 17, students in the National School Lunch program can pick up breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at any campus. Workers will distribute meals curbside at Kingsborough Middle School, Harlandale Middle School, Leal Middle School, and Terrell Wells Middle School. Pickup locations are Candlewood Elementary, Hopkins Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Olympia Elementary, Wagner High School, and Judson High School. Campuses offering meals are Camelot Elementary, Castle Hills Elementary, Clear Springs Elementary, Coker Elementary, Colonial Hills Elementary, Dellview Elementary, East Terrell Hills Elementary, El Dorado Elementary, Fox Run Elementary, Harmony Hills Elementary, Huebner Elementary, Jackson-Keller Elementary, Larkspur Elementary, Longs Creek Elementary, Montgomery Elementary, Northern Hills Elementary, Northwood Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, Oak Meadow Elementary, Olmos Elementary, Redland Oaks Elementary, Regency Place Elementary, Ridgeview Elementary, Royal Ridge Elementary, Serna Elementary, Stahl Elementary, Steubing Ranch Elementary, Walzem Elementary, Wetmore Elementary, Wilshire Elementary, Windcrest Elementary, and Woodstone Elementary. Breakfast will be available from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pickup locations are Brackenridge High School, Burbank High School, Edison High School, Fox Tech High School, Highlands High School, Sam Houston High School, Jefferson High School, and Lanier High School.therivardreport.com