Politics Eye: School Safety, Dallas Abortion Resolution, and Midterm Elections

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DALLAS (TBEN) – How does Governor Greg Abbott view criticism that the laws passed by the state legislature in 2019 to address school safety do not go far enough to ensure school districts meet new standards? What is the Texas Governor Race Status? And why is the Dallas City Council voting on a resolution on reproductive rights next week?

TBEN 11 political reporter Jack Fink explores these topics and more in the latest episode of Eye on Politics.

Each week, TBEN 11 political reporter Jack Fink hands out some of the biggest political stories making headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above and stream new episodes live on TBEN News DFW every Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.

Gov. Abbott weighs in on criticism of laws made after deadly Santa Fe High School shooting

August marks the new school year for millions of Texas students, teachers and parents. This year, for many, the first day of school falls less than three months after 19 children and two teachers were killed in… Robb primary school in Uvalde.

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TBEN 11 reported on the security measures that Texas school districts are taking to ensure that families feel safe sending their children to school. Among those measures: clear backpack mandates, target practice and random metal detector checks. And all Texas school districts are required to: check the outside doors of school buildings and facilities before the start of the school year and every week thereafter.

After the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018, the state legislature passed a number of laws that increase school safety. But some survivors tell TBEN 11 those laws don’t have teeth and won’t hold school districts accountable if they don’t comply.

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While Governor Greg Abbott was in Greenville this week, political reporter Jack Fink asked him what he hopes to do about it.

“From what happened in Uvalde, we can see that those laws actually had no teeth or were not fully enforced,” he said. “We expect to do two things: firstly, we expect to agree on even more improved standards and get teeth on so there will be compliance. I would add, we will make sure that during the process at all levels.”

In a June state Senate committee hearing, the director of the Texas School Safety Center said they do not conduct compliance checks on the schools themselves because it is unclear whether they have the authority to do so. When we asked the governor if that should change, he said the following:

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“It’s changed. I’ve made an announcement about how it’s going to change, and there’s going to be an announcement about its fulfillment soon. Here’s how it’s changed. I’ve created a new position, the Chief School Safety Officer in Texas Education Agency. That person and their team will ensure that schools across the state of Texas are compliant and will work with the Texas School Safety Center, the ALERRT program, the local school ISD Police and the local law enforcement agency to ensure that certain that all these schools will follow the standards. We all agree on one thing: we want our schools to be safe. We agree that we must have the best safety standards programs and we agree that those protocols should be followed. We will run all three of these components.”


Abbott wants more improved safety standards for schools, accountability to make sure schools comply

01:15

Check-in at the Governor’s Race, Other Texas Interim Races

Campaign season really starts to heat up after Labor Day, but officially we’re less than 100 days away from the November election. So, what does the governor’s race look like, and what key issues could shape the results?

Jack Fink spoke to Josh Blank, director of research at the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin for insight.

“In terms of how predictive it is and what’s going to happen, I think there’s so much trouble in the air right now,” he said. “In some ways that’s why the race is as close as it is.”

Blank said that with so many key issues animating this race, there are many variables that could change and shift the playing field over the coming months. One of the most important issues that could play a role in the upcoming elections: abortion, gun violence, the electricity grid and the economy.

A TBEN News-YouGov Texas poll released in late June showed Gov. Greg Abbott leading challenger Beto O’Rourke 49% to 41% among likely voters. That gap is significantly smaller than Abbott’s two-figure lead over his 2018 Democratic challenger – Lupe Valdez. But the exact reason why this race is closer is still unclear.

Blank said this shift could reflect the natural progression of a less Republican state, or it could be driven by the way certain problems have emerged in Texas.

But with a lot still up in the air, Blank said the big races statewide are losing to Republicans.

“Ultimately, Texas is a competitive state right now,” he said. “It’s definitely not a swing state and it’s barely purple.”

Dallas Council Passes Abortion Rights Resolution

Just weeks before Texas’ trigger law banning most abortions goes into effect, a Dallas City Council committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass a resolution on reproductive rights.

Council members said the resolution is intended to protect a woman’s and her health care provider’s right to privacy and will not allow Dallas police and city services to investigate doctors accused of performing abortions. . The cities of Denton and Austin have passed similar resolutions.

This comes after the Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Allowing States to Ban Abortion the end of June. On August 25, a new state law that bans most abortions except to save the mother’s life will go into effect. Doctors can face felony charges, fines, and lose their professional licenses if they break the law.

Councilor Adam Bazaldua, chair of the Committee on Quality of Life, Arts and Culture, proposed the resolution.

“This is not an attempt to legalize abortion, which is beyond our local jurisdiction and authority,” Bazaldua said. “However, this is entirely within our purview to regulate the resources necessary to enforce and prosecute such legislation.”

TBEN 11 contacted the Texas Attorney General’s office to request comment on the resolution, but we haven’t heard back. The full Dallas City Council is expected to pass the resolution next Wednesday.

Read more about the resolution here or watch the video below.


Dallas Council Committee Approves Reproductive Rights Resolution, Goes to Full City Council

02:24

On this week’s episode of Eye on Politics, Jack Fink also spoke one-on-one with two congressmen about the economy, a newly passed bill to expand computer chip production in the US and the border. Watch the full episode of Dallas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson and North Texas Republican Pat Fallon of the 4th Congressional District.

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