Monday, June 01, 2020

The Weekly TexProgBlog Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance is Zooming the TDP convention.

In creating an event for nearly 12,000 delegates that heads into full public swing from Monday to Saturday of next week, Texas Democrats believe they have created a template for a national party that might have to make some or all of its August nominating convention, now scheduled for Milwaukee, virtual. 
“We really believe that we are designing something that is going to make our party stronger, make our party more accessible, allowing more people to participate in the convention and learn about who Texas Democrats are, what we’re fighting for and using the technology that we have to pave that way for the future,” said Brittany Switzer, the party’s senior brand director who led the effort with Hannah Roe Beck, the party’s convention director.

This link should let you jump the Statesman's paywall.  Lone Star Republicans will be convening in Houston in person next month.

“We have been developing plans to safely move forward with a spaced-out convention,” Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey told the American-Statesman on Tuesday, referring to a gathering of about 7,500 now planned for July 13-18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. 
He said the event will observe appropriate social distancing and respect for face masks even though they won’t be mandated, something anathema to party activists. 
“We are confident we will continue to lead the way in showing how we can safely reopen Texas,” said Dickey, also expressing confidence that Gov. Greg Abbott will give the OK for a convention that may serve as trial run for the GOP National Convention Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, N.C.

More from the TexTrib via Progrexas.

The timing of the convention also comes as the country continues to be gripped by protests over the death of George Floyd, the black Minnesota man who died after he was pinned to the ground by a white police officer using his knee. The party made a number of last-minute changes to its convention as a result, scheduling a moment of silence for Floyd during the Monday kickoff, giving more prominent speaking time to those who can speak to racial justice and adding a panel discussion Monday that features several black leaders. Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, is set to participate in a separate panel two days later.

With just a bit more on the NeoAmerican Revolution manifesting here in Deep-In-The-Hearta ...

Milton "Big Pokey" Powell, a friend of George Floyd's, called for police to be held truly accountable when they commit violence against civilians.  DosCentavos implored local leaders to change law enforcement culture after the murder of Floyd, and others killed in recent weeksGrits for Breakfast despaired at the lack of progress in police reform.  And blogging in the abstract, Socratic Gadfly explained how issues of the duopoly and lesser evilism extend to the Supreme Court, when one looks outside the lens of reproductive choice and sexual choice rights, and especially when one looks through the lens of criminal justice issues and minorities.

Kuff unpacked the convoluted Supreme Court ruling in the state's vote-by-mail lawsuit.  Michael Li at the Brennan Center offered a similar analysis in a 9-count Tweet thread.

Chris Chu de Leon writes for the Texas Signal about how Bernie Sanders changed Texas.

Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly illustrated how the Electoral College diminishes the Lone Star State's political power.  (There's actually an easy fix.)

And for some election-related developments ...

Living Blue in Texas blogged about the most important November elections that nobody is talking about: the four Texas Supreme Court races.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities, Austin's liberal think tank, has repurposed.

The Southeast Texas Record provides us two legal updates.

After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Food Management Partners -- based in San Antonio, Texas – has paid $1.3 million to 3,000 employees for violations of the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). WHD found the restaurant management company -- which does business as Hometown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, and other brands in the U.S. -- missed payroll in March 2020, and by doing so, failed to pay required minimum wage and overtime wages to 3,000 employees at more than 75 locations.

Last week, the Harris County Commissioners Court appointed attorney Christopher Hollins as interim county clerk -- a move that seemingly created a conflict of interest for both the county and its new employee.
In July, the commissioners court voted to hire the Hollins Law Group, as well as three other firms, on a contingent-fee basis to represent the county in a lawsuit alleging it overpaid for insulin due to a price-fixing scheme. 
And while municipalities hiring outside counsel is nothing new, the Texas Local Government Code, however, does prohibit counties from paying salaried officers fees for work performed outside of their regular duties. 
Houston attorney Mark McCaig unearthed the contract Hollins signed with Harris County, posting the details on a blog at Big Jolly Times.

This Wrangle, indeed this blog, relies heavily on Tweets, as regular readers know.  So while there are plenty of complaints being lodged against social media these days, the junior senator from our Great State does not have a valid one.

But Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer does.

One environmental news update.

And one notable passing.

Lost in the avalanche of police brutality against police brutality protests, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic meltdown is the occasional bright spot: bipartisan cooperation to celebrate the beginning of PRIDE Month.

Let's wrap this Wrangle with another happy thing you and your family can do: Have a fun day of picking fruits, vegetables and flowers at this Houston-area farm

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