This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Posted August 21, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Governor Greg Abbott Forms Domestic Terrorism Task Force and Texas Safety Commission in Response to El Paso Mass Shooting

Last week, Gov. Abbott announced the Domestic Terrorism Task Force to combat hateful acts of extremism in Texas following the recent shooting in El Paso. On Monday, he announced the Texas Safety Commission, which will develop an immediate action plan for the state of Texas.

The first Texas Safety Commission meeting will take place at 10:30am Thursday, August 22nd at the Texas Capitol; a second meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 29th in El Paso.  The Domestic Terrorism Task Force will hold its first roundtable meeting with Gov. Abbott on Friday, August 30th.

Ruth Ruggero Hughs Appointed New Texas Secretary of State

On Monday, Gov. Abbott named Ruth Ruggero Hughs Texas’ new Secretary of State.  She previously served on the Texas Workforce Commission as the Chair and as the Commissioner Representing Employers – she was appointed to the three-member Commission in July 2015 and became Chair in August 2018.  Secretary Hughs will be considered for confirmation by the Texas Senate during the 87th Legislative Session in 2021.  David Whitley, the previous Secretary of State, was not confirmed during the legislative session which ended in May of this year.

As Secretary of State, Hughs will serve as Texas’ Chief Election Officer and as senior advisor and liaison to the Governor for Texas Border and Mexican Affairs, and as Chief International Protocol Officer for Texas.  The Secretary of State’s office provides a repository for official and business and commercial records required to be filed with the state, publishes government rules and regulations, commissions notaries public and serves as keeper of the state seal and attestor to the Governor’s signature on official documents.

Representative Jessica Farrar Resigns House Seat; Representative Dustin Burrows Departs as Caucus Chair

Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) announced she will retire from the Texas House at the end of September in order to give her successor a leg up on the next legislative session.  Rep. Farrar served in the House for 25 years; she was named Vice Chair of the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee and also chaired the Texas House Women’s Health Caucus during the 2019 legislative session.  In 2011, she served as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.  The special election for her seat will be November 5th.

Additionally, Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) resigned his post as Chair of the Texas House Republican Caucus.  Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), Caucus Vice Chair, will take over as Chair until the next election of officers prior to the 2021 legislative session, per caucus bylaws.

Texas Capitol Does Its Part to Conserve Energy During Heat Wave

In an effort to help reduce the demand on the state’s power grid during the current August heat wave, the Texas Capitol has dimmed the lights throughout the original building and the extension.  Sounds like a good time for a road trip to cooler climes…

Only in Austin…

Monday’s El Arroyo sign reflected the feelings of many UT fans and Austinites after the untimely death of Cedric Benson, the former Texas Longhorns and NFL star who died in a motorcycle crash Saturday night in Austin.  In a tribute to their friend and teammate, former Longhorns Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin’s cupcake shop, Gigi’s Cupcakes in Bee Cave, released a limited edition cupcake featuring an image of Benson on burnt orange buttercream frosting.