This Week in Texas: May 19, 2021

Posted May 19, 2021 in The Mignon Memo

12 Days Until Sine Die

Marihuana Decriminalization Bill Revived

This week marked the first time a cannabis penalty reduction bill has been voted out of a committee: House Bill 2593 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) would reduce penalties for THC concentrate or edibles. The bill is now headed to the full Senate.

In a nutshell, possession of a single cannabis gummy currently carries a felony charge. Under HB 2593, that charge would be reduced to a Class B misdemeanor.

Of all the cannabis-related legislation, HB 2593 is one of the most bipartisan. Republican supporters of the legislation – including representatives of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition – touted the broad support for the bill in the Texas House.

Texas Cities Ease Back to Pre-COVID Living

Some of Texas’ largest cities began to ease months-long pandemic-era restrictions on gatherings and lift mask mandates on businesses this week. Texas’ COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have plummeted to the lowest numbers the state has seen in a year.

At the same time, Gov. Greg Abbott announced yesterday that public schools can no longer require masks on their campuses starting June 5. The decision was part of a new executive order that bans cities in Texas from mandating masks.

Starting Friday, any government entity that tries to impose a mask mandate can face a fine of up to $1,000.

Potential Attorney General Primary Heats Up

George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and current Texas land commissioner, has yet to declare to run against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, but both fired warning shots this week in advance of what could become a particularly rancorous battle in the Republican primary.

Bush has been seriously mulling a run against Paxton for months but is promising to make his intentions public in early June.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Paxton came out swinging against his fellow Republican in a radio interview. “He’s kind of got this mentality that he’s going to be president someday,” Paxton said.

Only in Austin…

Legislators are rolling through the ups and downs of legislative session…from celebrating birthdays like Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) to showing up to the Senate floor and realizing you threw two different shoes into your bag like Sen. Carol Alvarado (below).