by Dan Quinn

Violent weather and flooding have killed at least nine Texans since Friday. This month the Texas Supreme Court criticized the state's broken and inequitable system for funding public schools but didn't require the Legislature to change it. The state's shockingly dysfunctional Child Protective Services is failing abused and neglected children. And the state's attorney general is under indictment for financial fraud. Texas clearly has plenty of real problems. But today Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held a news conference at the Texas Capitol to announce that his "fight" against transgender kids who want to use the restroom in peace is "just beginning." Really. Read More

This morning the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter to public school districts across the country advising them that federal law requires them to protect transgender students from discrimination and allow them to use bathrooms and locker rooms "consistent with their gender identity." Naturally, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has been on potty patrol every single day this week, wanted to rail against the letter and called a press conference, which started only a few minutes after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state's formula for funding public schools was constitutional. That court ruling carries with it heavy implications for the state's schools and whether they'll be adequately funded in years to come. Read More

It's hard to imagine a more disgraceful demonstration of ignorance, fear-mongering and bullying. That's what we're seeing as one of the state's highest elected officials joins with religious-right groups in demanding that the Fort Worth Independent School District rescind a policy allowing transgender students to use the restroom in peace. Read More

The religious right’s vicious and deceitful attack on Planned Parenthood — part of a long war on abortion and other other reproductive health care services for women — appears to be backfiring in a big way.

Last year anti-abortion activists released a number of deceptively edited, undercover videos that suggested Planned Parenthood was illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses. Religious-righters and their political allies — like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — demanded that authorities investigate and prosecute Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood officials strongly denied the charges and pointed out that the videos had been edited in a way designed to smear and embarrass the organization. Moreover, they argued that the video makers used fake government IDs and made other false representations in order to get into private conference and health care clinics when making the videos.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did launch an investigation, but it turns out that grand jurors in Houston appear to believe Planned Parenthood instead of the lies coming from anti-abortion fanatics.

A Harris County grand jury has declined to indict Planned Parenthood officials in Houston. Instead, the grand jury has handed down indictments against two people involved in making the videos. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were indicted on charges of tampering with a government document.… Read More

Well this is a bit of a surprise.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, speaking to Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith on Friday, pretty much said that if Kim Davis or someone like her doesn’t want to do her job, she can quit. In yet another surprise, Patrick added that, though he disagrees with it, the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriages is now the law of the land. The comments are a departure from his fellow Texas religious-righters who have spent months calling the ruling “lawless” and cheering for Davis to both keep her taxpayer-funded paycheck and the right to discriminate against committed same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses from her taxpayer-funded office.

Applause for the the lieutenant guv? Hold on. It may be he only said so because he painted himself into a rhetorical corner. Here’s how it went down.

Patrick’s comments came during a long conversation with Smith at the start of this year’s TribFest. The two were chatting about a law going into effect next year that will allow concealed handguns on the state’s college campuses. Smith pointed out that some professors have expressed opposition to the law. Here, according to the Austin American-Statesman,… Read More