Tag Archives: Gov.

Gov. Wolf Joins PSU Athletes and Lawmakers to Celebrate NIL Legislation

Governor Tom Wolf today joined Penn State University (PSU) athletes, university leadership and lawmakers at Beaver Stadium to celebrate the passing of Act 26 of 2021 allowing Pennsylvania collegiate athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

The governor was joined by student athletes including speakers Anna Camden and Jahan Dotson, President Eric Barron, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour, Senator Jake Corman, and Representative Ed Gainey.

“Pennsylvania is home to many outstanding student athletes who devote countless hours of their time, effort, and passion to achievement both in the classroom and on the field,” said. Gov. Wolf. “This new chapter for athletes across Pennsylvania will allow collegiate athletes to finally earn compensation for endorsements without sacrifice to the sport they have dedicated much of their lives to play.”

Act 26 of 2021 amends the Public School Code to allow athletes at Pennsylvania colleges to earn money from endorsements, such as sponsorships and appearances, and still be allowed to compete. Act 26 does not allow student athletes to receive payment for playing a sport or athletic achievement; rather, Pennsylvania’s new law provides student athletes with an opportunity to benefit financially from their NIL.

“At Penn State, our 800+ varsity student athletes have raised the bar for dedication, work ethic and pursuit of excellence,” said Pres. Barron. “They pursue challenging academic programs and spend rigorous and exhausting hours practicing. They compete at the highest levels, and contribute to campus life in countless ways. Our student athletes are an impressive group, and it’s our responsibility to do everything possible to ensure their success beyond college.

“Name, Image and Likeness rights is an important step in realizing that goal. And we appreciate that Pennsylvania has enacted a bill that gives student athletes the ability to earn compensation based on their NIL.”

“We’re excited for our student-athletes and this opportunity made possible by the Pennsylvania NIL law,” Vice Pres. Barbour said. “Our students now have an opportunity to capitalize on their name, image and likeness, and engage in entrepreneurial activity and exploration, which will serve them well from a skill building and experience perspective, as well as the opportunity to be compensated. This is the right step in allowing student-athletes the same opportunities that all students on campuses have always enjoyed.  We are appreciative of the Governor and Legislature’s leadership and support.”

“This step toward fairness for athletes aligns with changes taking place in other states and at the national level within the NCAA,” said. Gov. Wolf. “It will also help to ensure that Pennsylvania colleges and universities remain competitive to future athletic prospects. This is an exciting moment for athletes and colleges in Pennsylvania, and I am proud to sign the law allowing for these opportunities.”

Gov. Burgum wants to get North Dakota carbon neutral by 2030. It’s a tall task.

And in the two months since the announcement at the state’s largest oil industry conference, both sides have looked for more specifics on what exactly needs to be done to achieve such an ambitious climate milestone in under a decade.

Burgum’s carbon target comes as climate change has lately taken the forefront of nationwide political and economic priorities. President Joe Biden opened his administration with a series of warning shots to fossil fuel producers, as well as ambitious climate goals of his own — among them a plan to slash U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030. At the same time, Wall Street has increasingly prioritized investment in low-emissions and clean energy projects — a trend that has put stress on the funding channels of the world’s leading fossil fuel companies.

Burgum has been clear that North Dakota will reach its target through “innovation, not regulation.” And governor’s spokesman Mike Nowatzki noted that the 2030 target was issued as “a challenge and invitation” to the state’s leading industries — one that doesn’t include a rubric or rigid government instructions on how to get there.

Much of the vision fits into steps the state is already taking, measures that Burgum has said could turn North Dakota into a vast carbon sink for the rest of the region.

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According to the state’s Energy and Environmental Resource Center, North Dakota’s distinctive geology has the capacity to store between 76 billion and 252 billion tons of carbon dioxide, potential that Burgum said could be used to absorb the carbon output of other states. With the higher end of that storage range, Burgum noted, North Dakota could store the entire country’s carbon output for fifty years.

On top of this “geologic jackpot,” North Dakota is home to a growing list of energy ventures that could chip away at the state’s carbon footprint.

“We’ve got a lot of good things happening here,” said Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford. “Hearing all this is what brought the governor to the 2030 goal of carbon neutrality.”

Sanford said that to reach the goal, the state will need an all-fronts approach that includes cutting carbon emissions, expanding renewable energy and a major focus on carbon capture.

North Dakota is home to multiple ambitious carbon capture ventures, including the recently unveiled, $ 1.5 billion plan to retrofit the state’s largest coal-fired power plant, Coal Creek Station. That project would pair the carbon storage technology with new wind energy development, a combo that Sanford called a chance to “have our cake and eat it too.”

The importation of carbon from other states is also key to the governor’s goal. Two companies, the Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions and the Texas-based Denbury Resources, are each planning large-scale pipelines to transport carbon dioxide from out of state, allowing North Dakota to either permanently trap the carbon in the ground or inject it into oil fields to ramp up production in aging wells.

There’s not a consistent standard dictating who gets credit for that carbon—North Dakota or the state who produced it—and the governor’s office believes shipping carbon across the boarder should factor into the 2030 goal.

“Would it not count for something for us to be sequestering that much CO2?” Sanford asked. “That’s got to be a positive on a scorecard for us somewhere.”

Government climate goals can vary substantially, and a lack of consensus on how to report progress can lead to confusion when it comes to measuring carbon footprints. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 23 states have established statutory or executive greenhouse gas emissions targets, encompassing a breadth of different benchmarks and timelines.

Warren Leon, the director for the Clean Energy States Alliance, said the biggest difference between Burgum’s proposal and the goals adopted in other states, “is the almost exclusive reliance on carbon capture and storage.” For most states, carbon capture is expected to play a modest role on the road to 100% clean energy, while Leon observed that in North Dakota the technology is expected to carry the bulk of the load.

Leon and the Clean Energy States Alliance have maintained a state-level clean energy tracker of their own, though North Dakota doesn’t appear on the list because its target wasn’t established through formal means like legislative statute or executive order.

Ben Lilliston, the head of rural strategies and climate change at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minnesota, noted that government climate goals are often criticized for being overly vague and said it’s tough to gauge whether North Dakota’s target is achievable without seeing a more specific plan. Among other details, Lilliston said he would like to see breakdowns of the relative weight carried by carbon storage versus emissions cuts, more on the implications for energy, agriculture and other economic sectors, as well as regular reporting plans to monitor progress along the way.

“There’s a real feeling of urgency that we need to be focusing on cutting emissions,” said Lilliston, noting that for many in the environmental community, balancing out emissions with carbon storage isn’t enough. “We can’t sort of capture our way out of this or sequester our way out of this.”

Both Lilliston and Leon said that they are unaware of any other state that has set a timeline for net-zero or carbon neutrality as early as 2030. Among the states that have adopted formal carbon neutral goals, Michigan has set a deadline for 2050 and California aims to reach the mark by 2045, according to the Clean Energy States Alliance tracker.

Within North Dakota’s energy and agriculture sectors, Burgum’s target has required some smoothing over. Sanford said that part of the process since the announcement has been assuring industry leaders that the target won’t disrupt their current business models.

“Frankly, it’s ‘Don’t be alarmed,’” the lieutenant governor said of their message to industry. “This is just accumulating a scorecard for ourselves as North Dakotans of what you are already doing. This is not to put new regulations on you or change what you are already doing.”

For North Dakota’s top oil lobbyist who introduced Burgum at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in May, the governor’s announcement came as “a complete surprise.”

“The reaction was, I think, well okay, what does that mean?” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

But Ness added that his organization supports the “fabulous” vision to reduce the carbon footprint of North Dakota oil production — a step he said may proves critical for sustaining financial investment in the state. When it comes to the implications for his industry, it may be too soon to know.

“The nuances of the details of the wording mean a lot to various people, oftentimes very different things,” Ness said. “At this point it’s a little early to tell.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at [email protected]

Poll shows Matthew McConaughey highly favorable for governor against Gov. Abbott

While it’s not 100% sure actor Matthew McConaughey will be running for Texas governor, he seems to already be a fan favorite against current Gov. Greg Abbott.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows the actor and Texas native gaining a lot of attention.

According to the poll, 41% of voters said they would like to see him run. The other 47% said they wouldn’t.

SEE RELATED STORY: Run for Texas governor now ‘a real consideration,’ Matthew McConaughey says

Wondering what the poll says about Abbott?

Well, it depends on who you ask. Most Republicans said Abbott deserves to be reelected. Meanwhile, most Democrats and Independents say he does not deserve to be reelected.

In general, 49% said Abbott was favorable, 43% said he was unfavorable and 7% said they haven’t heard enough.

Based on this poll, it’s safe to say McConaughey and Abbott would have a fairly competitive run. That’s if McConaughey commits to a political run.

Another man to keep your eyes on is Texas GOP Chairman Allen West.

West announced Sunday he is running for governor.

“I’ve not been in elected political office for about a decade, but I can no longer sit on the sidelines and see what has happened in these United States of America and … the place that I call home,” West said in the video, which was preceded by West reading aloud the Declaration of Independence to the churchgoers gathering on July fourth.

West’s campaign launch comes about a month after he announced his resignation as state party chairman. The resignation is effective July 11, when the State Republican Executive Committee is set to meet to pick West’s successor as chair.

According to the new poll, 25% of voters said West was favorable, 10% said he was unfavorable and 65% said they haven’t heard enough.

SEE RELATED: Allen West announces he is running against Gov. Greg Abbott in Republican primary

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Author: KTRK
Read more here >>> ABC13

Gov. Abbott signed more than 1K bills this session. Here are the 20 he vetoed.

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 20 bills during the legislative session, marking the fewest vetoes he’s issued since he was elected Governor in 2014.

Bills can earn a veto for any reason the Governor determines. Often, the explanation relates to a conflict with existing statute, precedent on previous legislation, or unintended consequences he thinks the new bills may cause.

Of the 9,999 pieces of legislation filed between the House and Senate this session, 3,803 bills were passed by both chambers and sent to the Governor’s desk. According to Texas Legislature Online, he signed 1,034 of them and allowed 105 of them to become law without his signature.

Second Look

One of the bills he vetoed was House Bill 686, which would have allowed Texas prisoners serving lengthy sentences to have their cases reevaluated after serving half of their sentence. The bill, known as “second look” legislation, specifically applied to people convicted of first-degree and capitol felonies that were committed when they were young than 18.

“The bill, which addresses parole eligibility for juvenile offenders, admirably recognizes the potential for change and encourages rehabilitation and productiveness in the young offender population,” Abbott wrote in his veto statement. “As written though, the bill’s language conflicts with jury instructions required by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which would result in confusion and needless, disruptive litigation.”

Abbott also claimed HB 686, which was one of the few criminal justice reforms with bipartisan support this session, would “cause disparate results in parole eligibility for juvenile offenders by failing to account for all circumstances in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.054.”

State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, who authored the measure, shared his thoughts on the veto Saturday night on Twitter.

“Defeated is a word. Tired is a word. Exhausted is a word. The word I choose tonight is determined. I also choose the word undeterred. We will get there. Today is not the day, but that day will come,” Moody wrote.

Abbott noted he looked forward to working with Moody to pass “meaningful reform on this important matter.”

Anti-Hazing

Among the other vetoes Abbott dealt was a bill to update the state’s hazing laws.

Senate Bill 36, would have created a higher education task force focused on mental health services and hazing. SB 36 aimed to add law enforcement officers to the list of groups that a report could be submitted relating to school-related hazing, and the offense would no longer have had to be made in writing. The bill also would have protected people reporting hazing incidents.

Abbott called the plan a “worthy effort to further clarify the anti-hazing statute,” but argued the House added an “unnecessary provision” that would “simply grow government” by creating the task force.

“It is important to ensure that students receives mental-health services, and Texas’s existing agencies and institutions can already study the issues that would be addressed by this vast new bureaucratic entity,” Abbott wrote, noting that the Senate author’s “good idea” was “undercut” by the House sponsor.

Other vetoes

Abbott also vetoed a bill to expand animal cruelty laws, calling it “micro-managing.” He also nixed a plan to toss out hypnotically-induced statements in a criminal trial, citing a late addition in the House that would have expanded the scope. Additionally, he vetoed a bill that would have added criminal trespass to the list of offenses for which law enforcement can cite and release Texans as a Class B misdemeanor, rather than arrest. He explained the bill might tempt agencies to mandate cite-and-release policies rather than allow officers to arrest.

His other vetoes included SB 1109, requiring public schools to provide instruction on child abuse prevention, as well as information about family violence and dating violence.

“These are important subjects and I respect the Senate author’s good intentions, but the bill fails to recognize the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction,” Abbott stated.

Abbott also canned the effort to voluntarily create habitats for bees, birds and other pollinators in and near solar energy sites. He said “voluntary laws are not needed to drive public behavior.”

The Governor has line-item veto power in the budget, which is the only piece of legislation in which he can yield that power. He signed the entire budget, but vetoed Article 10, which funds the Legislature, as retribution for Democrats walking out on the second-to-last day of session, which caused the elections overhaul bill not to pass.

Abbott vetoed 58 bills in the 86th regular session, and vetoed 50 bills in the 85th regular session. He vetoed 42 pieces of legislation in his first session as Governor, the 84th regular session, in 2015.

The entire list of vetoed bills is available on the Texas Legislature Online website.

Author: Wes Rapaport
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Gov. Abbott vetoes funding for Texas Legislature and its staff as punishment for Democrats’ walkout on elections bill

Texas Politics

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference where he signed two energy related bills, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) — Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday followed through on a threat to veto a section of the state budget that funds the Texas Legislature, its staffers and legislative agencies.

The governor’s move targeting lawmaker pay comes after House Democrats walked out in the final days of the regular legislative session, breaking quorum, to block passage of Senate Bill 7, Abbott’s priority elections bill that would have overhauled voting rights in the state. The move also killed bail legislation that Abbott had earmarked as a priority.

In a statement, Abbott said that “funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session.”

“I therefore object to and disapprove of these appropriations,” the governor said.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner of Grand Prairie called the move by Abbott an “abuse of power” and said the caucus “is exploring every option, including immediate legal options, to fight back.”

“Texas has a governor, not a dictator,” Turner said in a statement. “The tyrannical veto of the legislative branch is the latest indication that [Abbott] is simply out of control.”

Since Abbott issued his threat earlier this month, other lawmakers and political leaders have raised concerns over how the move could impact staffers and legislative agencies that are funded by Article X, which is the section of the budget he vetoed, such as the Legislative Reference Library and the Legislative Budget Board.

“I’m just concerned how it impacts them because they weren’t the ones who decided that we were going to break quorum, it wasn’t their decision, right?,” said House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, in an interview earlier this month.

Questions have also been raised about the constitutionality of the move, which according to the Legislative Reference Library is unprecedented.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who heads the Senate, had expressed support for Abbott’s proposed veto, saying the move could force Democrats to come back for a special session.

The biennial budget at hand covers the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1. If lawmakers are back in Austin for a special session before then, they could pass a supplemental budget to restore that funding.

Lawmakers are paid $ 600 a month in addition to a per diem of $ 221 every day the Legislature is in session, during both regular and special sessions.

The Legislature is expected to convene for at least two special sessions, Abbott has said in interviews. One, set for September or October, will focus on the redrawing of the state’s political maps and the doling out of $ 16 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds. Before that, the governor has said he will call lawmakers back to work on the elections and bail bills as well as a number of other issues he has not yet announced.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Author: Cassandra Pollock, Texas Tribune
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Gov. Greg Abbott downplays electric grid concerns as Texans are told to conserve

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday downplayed concerns about the reliability of the Texas electric grid while millions continue to be told to conserve energy because of unexpected outages and demand.

“Everyone who has been trying to make a big deal about the power grid over the past two days, I have found were the same people who called me a neanderthal when I opened Texas 100%,” Abbott said during a press conference on his plan to build a wall along Texas’ southern border with Mexico. “They were hoping that there would be a power failure.”

While the request from ERCOT that Texans reduce their energy consumption during peak times — 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — through Friday caused many to see flashbacks of February’s extreme winter storm, Abbott said the announcement was the first example that communication has improved since then.

He added that reforms made by the state legislature to the electric grid – like requiring electricity providers to prepare for extreme weather – will take time to implement.

“I can tell you for a fact, as we’re sitting here today, the energy grid in Texas is better today than it’s ever been,” Abbott said.

This image shows the inside of ERCOT’s control room located in Taylor, TX. The control room operators monitor energy levels inside Texas’ power grid around the clock. (Courtesy: ERCOT)

ERCOT briefed members of the Texas House Wednesday morning about the issues facing the grid this week. The unexpected failure of thermal generation plants, less wind power generation than projected, and higher demand for power led to the call for conservation, according to state Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat, who was on the call.

Howard said the state legislature took important steps to improving the electric grid in the legislative session that concluded last month but said lawmakers have yet to address fluctuating market prices and the need to weatherize natural gas providers.

Less than a week before ERCOT would issue its conservation warning, Abbott announced that “everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”

“We have much more to do and just about anybody else who’s been involved with this will say that,” Howard said.

Terry Hillis, a retired Leander man, typically stays out of politics – he’s locked in on ERCOT developments.

“For anyone to stand up and say, ‘well, we really don’t have a problem,’ it’s crazy! Of course we have a problem,” he said.

Author: John Engel
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Gov. Gavin Newsom marks California’s reopening with a lottery, a Hollywood robot and no mask.

With crowds at the Disneyland entrance, traffic jams on the Los Angeles freeways and triple-digit heat from Sacramento to the San Fernando Valley, California’s governor celebrated the reopening of the state’s economy on Tuesday, raffling off 10 prizes of $ 1.5 million each to people who had been vaccinated against Covid-19.

“We are here today, June 15, to turn the page,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, hosting the event from Universal Studios Hollywood with an assortment of Minions from the “Despicable Me” movie franchise and the “Transformers” robot hero Optimus Prime.

Speaking without a face covering, the governor said it was time “to move beyond capacity limits, to move beyond these color codings, move beyond social distancing and physical distancing, and — yes, as you saw me walk up to the stage — to move beyond mask coverings.”

The nation’s most populous state officially ended most of its coronavirus health restrictions just after midnight, lifting gathering limits on bars and restaurants, and largely dropping face-mask requirements for vaccinated people.

California has been in better shape economically than most states, although its tourism sector “really had the sledgehammer taken to it,” Mr. Newsom had noted on Monday. The state’s unemployment rate remains about 4 percentage points higher than before the crisis and higher than the national average, largely because of layoffs at restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions.

Spending on California tourism fell 55 percent last year. Half of the industry’s work force — some 600,000 employees — lost their jobs in the first month after the pandemic hit.

But overall, California’s economy has emerged from the pandemic with preternatural strength. The state budget is running a record surplus, largely because so many tech start-ups went public and so many white-collar employees were able to continue to work remotely. Mr. Newsom is preparing to issue his second round of statewide stimulus checks, this time including taxpayers earning less than $ 75,000 annually.

And tourist attractions, such as the Universal Studios theme park, are bracing for a rebound. Disneyland, which had reopened to in-state visitors before this week, was jammed on Tuesday as the park expanded its rules to welcome out-of-staters and announced its fireworks shows would return in July.

Jerry Nickelsburg, an adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the director of an economic outlook called the U.C.L.A. Anderson Forecast, said that the state’s relative economic health appeared to be linked to its public health measures. He added that the data supported the governor’s repeated claims that California had economically outperformed Texas and Florida, both of which were largely open throughout the pandemic.

“California was one of the most rapidly growing states in the last expansion, and all the factors that led to that still exist,” Mr. Nickelsburg said.

What has been good for the state has been good for Mr. Newsom, who is facing a recall campaign against him. But his approval ratings have improved as the pandemic has receded, and his fellow Democrats, who control the Legislature, now are weighing whether to expedite the anticipated fall election so that he can capitalize on post-pandemic good will.

And Mr. Newsom has been ebullient in recent weeks as he has barnstormed the state, giving away $ 50,000 vaccine lottery prizes in the run-up to this week’s grand prize drawings.

“Today is a day to reconnect — to give people hugs, to remind them we’re not out of the woods yet, to remind them we’re all in this together,” the governor said on Tuesday.

“Protect the planet, protect each other,” Optimus Prime added. “Autobots, roll out.”

Author: Shawn Hubler
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Austin Mayor Adler: Gov. Abbott 'doesn't seem to care' about 'unreliable' ERCOT power grid

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler directed a strong message at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday — after ERCOT, the commission that directs 90% of the state’s power, released a conservation alert.

On Monday, ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Commission of Texas, drew national contempt for urging Texans to conserve energy due to many forced generation outages just months after millions were left without power for days during February’s historic winter storm. The incident is widely acknowledged as a colossal failure on the part of ERCOT. It’s faced ferocious scrutiny since.

Now, Adler is calling on Abbott to do something about it.

“It’s Day Two of conservation warnings from @GregAbbott_TX delicate power infrastructure,” Adler tweeted Tuesday morning. “It’s still technically spring and Texas is experiencing late-summer temperatures, power plants offline, and the governor is tweeting about a border wall that he can’t fund.”

Adler poked at the governor’s Tuesday announcement that he’d solicit individual donations to fund construction on the Texas-Mexico border wall. The mayor called Abbott’s priorities in question, saying the governor would likely care more about keeping the power reliable if it affected Texas business.

“Maybe when a corporation tells the governor that an unreliable power grid is bad for business, he’ll finally listen,” tweeted Adler. “He doesn’t seem to care about whether it’s bad for people.”

Last week, Abbott signed two bills into law that will change the number of ERCOT board members, give state leaders more say in new appointments, and will also require power providers on the ERCOT grid to weatherize equipment and communicate further about outages. Abbott said these changes adequately addressed the grid’s issues, saying: “Bottom line is that everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Abbott has not addressed the alert via Twitter or through an official statement. Adler’s comments refer to one of Abbott’s tweets about Texas business: “Texas ranked #1 again,” the governor tweeted in response to a state award for attracting development projects. “…Thanks to all the job creators in Texas.”

Author: Russell Falcon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Gov. Abbott says he’ll share plans next week for Texas

share plans next week for Texas

DEL RIO, Texas (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he’ll share plans next week for the state to build a wall along the Mexico border, but he offered no other specifics about how the project would proceed.

This particular announcement drew a standing ovation and cheers Thursday evening from the crowd gathered at Abbott’s border security summit in Del Rio. He also discussed several other initiatives he said would “secure the border and restore order.”

Abbott held up a stack of papers and told the crowd Texas lawmakers allocated $ 1 billion in the latest budget to fund border security efforts. He also announced the formation of a new governor’s task force on border and homeland security, which he said will meet every two weeks to come up with “every solution to make your border safer.”

That task force, Abbott explained, would include members of his office, the attorney general’s office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the state commissions on law enforcement and jail standards.

Abbott invited local landowners like John Paul Schuster to the summit as well. He said he encounters migrants on his ranch in Kinney County, 25 miles from the border, almost daily in recent weeks.

“The other day at the house was a gentleman, he was by himself. He was dirty. He had been traveling through the brush,” Schuster explained. “As he approaches the house, there he is got a long sleeve hoodie on jeans and a backpack. Okay, good guy or bad guy? What’s in that backpack?”

“You only got just five or six seconds to make that decision. Good guy. Bad guy. Yeah. Are they gonna stop and talk to me? Are they gonna keep coming at me?” Schuster said, adding he and his wife carry a gun almost all of the time, even at home at the dinner table.

“I don’t want to have to kill somebody, and I don’t want to,” Schuster said, tearing up.

Ahead of the governor’s summit, he said the government needed to come up with a better plan to help.

“I don’t ask a lot of the government, I work hard, we work hard, pay our taxes, that’s justifiable. But we need help,” Schuster said.

Following the summit, Schuster said he was hopeful Abbott’s new proposals would help.

The summit also included county sheriffs, police chiefs, county judges and mayors to talk about how the state is trying to secure the U.S./Mexico border, a press release from Abbott’s office said. It also focused on “collaborative strategies between state government, local city and county officials, law enforcement, and landowners to secure our border communities and ensure a safer future for all Texans.”

Along with Abbott, TDEM Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Military Department Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris and Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at the Del Rio Civic Center.

The summit came after Abbott made comments to FOX News’ Sean Hannity that he wants to arrest “everybody coming across the border.” Two law enforcement members that confirmed the summit last week to our news partners at Border Report are hoping the summit “sheds light” on Abbott’s comments.

Abbott said Thursday he’ll sign another disaster declaration next week to create this plan.

“What this will do, it will focus on making arrests,” Abbott said. “The Department of Public Safety will work with local officials to arrest anyone who enters our state illegally and is found trespassing against them. We will be arresting a lot more people in the future, so more jail space will be required.”

Abbott made disaster declarations in 34 border counties due to the influx of migrants trying to cross the border. In response, migrant advocates in the Rio Grande Valley issued their own counter-declaration, saying Abbott’s move was “a transparent attempt to distract from his failed leadership,” and unfairly mischaracterized the border communities. It pressed for more support for those communities, not more law enforcement.

Migrant advocates criticize Abbott’s approach, pointing to other Republican state leaders who have tried ramping up enforcement during surges in the past.

“This isn’t a new tactic, necessarily. And Texas governors in the past have also tried to sending National Guard troops or Department of Public Safety officers to the border. We’ve seen little, if any effect of that. Most of the changes in migration flows at the U.S.-Mexico border come either from changes in U.S. federal policy or changes in the degree to which Mexican immigration authorities are enforcing immigration laws in the interior of that country,” Jessica Bolter with the Migration Policy Institute explained.

While Abbott largely pointed the finger at the Biden administration for the current crisis, Bolter explained that’s not the only factor weighing on migrants flocking to our border.

“Their plans to migrate depend much more on the conditions that they’re experiencing in their home, in their home countries, and then what they’re hearing about, whether that’s from smugglers or from others in their social networks, about who’s being able to cross the border at the moment,” Bolter said.

Kate Huddleston, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement Abbott’s plan is “unlawful” and threatens to harm families at the border, creating trauma for young kids.

“Abbott is also undermining the right to seek asylum by jailing those fleeing danger and punishing them for seeking refuge in the U.S. Additionally, Abbott’s proposed border wall will harm border communities and the environment,” Huddleston’s statement reads. “In this plan, Abbott is yet again scapegoating immigrants in an effort to distract from his own failures in governing and managing actual crises in Texas — like the historic winter storm that led to the deaths of more than 150 Texans  — with cruel results.”

Author: Will DuPree
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin