Bill to ban Chinese citizens and government from buying Texas land gains steam among Republicans
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst filed a bill that would ban citizens, governments and entities from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from purchasing land in the state, part of what she and other Republicans have said will help stem foreign influence in Texas.
Country’s first cotton bale comes from Valley, once again
Last year for the first time in 60 years, the nation’s first cotton bale to be produced and ginned did not come from the Rio Grande Valley but instead from Nueces County’s Priestly Farms. A combination of early-season drought followed by excessive rainfall pushed back cotton planting in the Valley, and Priestly Farms near Robstown took advantage by picking the nation’s first cotton bale on July 18. But the weather was more cooperative this year, and the country’s first bale of 2022 was produced by Wesley Vanderpool of Alamo and delivered to the Willacy Co-Op. “Agriculture remains one of the key economic sectors in the RGV even with the rapid growth and expanding trade we have experienced in the region,” said Sam Simmons Jr., Harlingen Cotton Committee chair. The Harlingen Cotton Committee is still searching for sponsors to reach the $10,000 goal to support students pursuing a career in an agricultural–related field.myrgv.com
Border backlash: Abbott under fire after commercial traffic shutdown at Pharr bridge
With commercial traffic on the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge still at a halt for the second day in a row, Gov. Greg Abbott is facing bipartisan backlash for the inspection policy he initiated that sparked a protest by Mexican truckers frustrated by the dayslong crossing delays it has caused.myrgv.com
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Trump’s man in Texas, has quietly amassed influence — to the detriment of fellow Republicans
Patrick urged former Gov. Rick Perry to mount a challenge to Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking a third term. He’s taken the already considerable power concentrated in the state’s No. 2 job to another level, forcing opponents from races and tightening his grip on the Senate.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s challengers take aim at his ethics, relationship to indicted political aide
Miller’s top challenger is state Rep. James White, a Hillister rancher, who is running a hard-charging campaign calling out the incumbent for creating a scandal-prone culture at the commission.
Black Texas farmers were finally on track to get federal aid. The state’s agriculture commissioner wants to stop that.
Sid Miller is challenging a debt relief program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture saw as a way to correct historic discrimination. An advocate for Black Texas farmers says the challenge “pushes us back even further.”
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s political consultant indicted on charges of theft, bribery in hemp license scheme
Attorneys for Smith said he has not broken any laws. Miller, who is seeking reelection and facing a competitive primary, said Tuesday evening he's "not ready to throw [Smith] under the bus" and believes the indictment was politically motivated.
Harris County Won’t Have To Throw Out Mail-In Ballots From Voters 65 And Older Who Received Unsolicited Applications – Houston Public Media
Conservative activist Steve Hotze and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller were among those who tried to block the mailings, which they said flouted state law.houstonpublicmedia.org
Top political aide to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller arrested in alleged scheme to take money in exchange for hemp licenses
The top political consultant to Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was arrested Thursday on allegations that he participated in a scheme to solicit money and campaign contributions for state hemp licenses issued by Miller’s Texas Department of Agriculture.
Analysis: After the blackouts, a whiff of the 2022 elections in Texas
Maybe the latest announcement from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was just the sound of a political gnat hitting the windshield. Miller was unveiling his response to the blackouts that knocked Texas off its feet last month. Miller hasn’t said what he’ll do in 2022, but it was notable when he joined Texas GOP Chair Allen West in a demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion before last year’s elections. (That assessment goes double for West, a one-term congressman from Florida who has never run for government office in Texas.) Ad“Mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation,” they wrote.
Party Politics: ERCOT Under Fire – Houston Public Media
Co-hosts Brandon Rottinghaus and Jeronimo Cortina delve into the latest news in national and local politics. This week on Party Politics, co-hosts Brandon Rottinghaus and Jeronimo Cortina discuss the fallout over ERCOT’s handling of the Texas power-grid crisis, the hearings in Congress over President Biden’s appointees, and Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller’s apparent affinity for a clean vehicle, among other stories. NATIONAL TOPICSNomination battles: Neera, Garland, Becerra, HaalandTrump TaxesNewsmax anchor attacks Biden dogs! Party Politics is produced by Troy Schulze, the audio engineer is Todd Hulslander. Subscribe to Today in Houston Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.houstonpublicmedia.org
Texans running out of food as weather crisis disrupts supply chain
"Texans running out of food as weather crisis disrupts supply chain" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. From farm to table, freezing temperatures and power outages are disrupting the food supply chain that people rely on every day. Some are storing their remaining rations in coolers outside, and trips to the grocery store often do little to replenish pantries. For Texas residents, disruptions to the food supply chain, often combined with continued power outages, mean eating non-perishable canned goods or leftover items, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy.chron.com
Texans running out of food as weather crisis cripples supply chain
From farm to table, freezing temperatures and power outages are crippling the supply chain that people rely on for food every day. Some are storing their remaining rations in coolers outside, and trips to the grocery store often do little to replenish pantries. Several food banks affiliated with Feeding Texas have also started providing food supplies to emergency warming shelters in the state’s major cities. AdFor Texas residents, disruptions to the food supply chain, often combined with continued power outages, mean eating non-perishable canned goods or leftover items like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Residents around the state have also taken to social media to share their stories about struggling to find food or an open grocery store.
Texas has $2 billion in COVID relief funds left to spend. Advocacy groups are anxiously watching.
With only two weeks before the funding expires, Texas’ state government still hasn’t spent about a quarter of the $8 billion it received from the federal coronavirus relief bill. In March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury assigned $11.24 billion to local and state governments in Texas. The state distributed $1.85 billion to smaller jurisdictions and has been distributing the remaining $8 billion through its health, education and emergency agencies, among others. The funds can pay for expenses incurred only until Dec. 30, according to federal guidelines. On Monday, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said the remaining funds should be used to help rural hospitals and food banks.
The Latest: Australia leader to go slow on Pfizer vaccine
If approved, shots could begin within days for health care workers and people in nursing homes. Shots would then begin for health care workers and nursing home residents. ___CANBERRA, Australia — Australian researchers say they have abandoned development of a potential coronavirus vaccine because it produced false positive results on HIV tests. A health ministry statement says the government will first vaccinate health care workers, particularly those who deal with COVID-19 cases. ___HONOLULU — Hawaii expects to receive 80,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine in December for health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says he has tested positive for coronavirus
It is unclear how Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller contracted the coronavirus or whether he has received medical attention. Credit: Juan Figueroa for The Texas TribuneTexas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said Wednesday evening that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the second known statewide elected official to test positive for the coronavirus. "Friends, I just got news that I have tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, will be quarantining at my ranch,” Miller said in a written statement. The first statewide elected official to publicly confirm a positive coronavirus test was Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann in May.
TX Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller Turned A Boring Job Into Radical Right-Wing Launchpad
Related Stories Sid Miller Is Still An AssholeSince first getting elected to the top spot in the state Department of Agriculture back in 2014, Miller has taken every opportunity to insert himself into the limelight. “I just spoke with the President,” Miller wrote in the subject line of a post-election email blast on November 7. With the oh-so subtle subject line “Vote Fraud is REAL and WIDESPREAD!” Miller launched another broadside against the November election. Since Hightower was unseated by Republican-convert and future governor Rick Perry in 1990, the state agriculture department was predictably boring until Miller showed up. “In a world where partisanship sells, Miller is the chief architect and salesman of that,” Rottinghaus said.houstonpress.com
The Latest: India's case level a third of its September peak
India’s health ministry says some coronavirus vaccines are likely to receive licenses in the next few weeks. ___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:About 50% of Americans will take the new coronavirus vaccine, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey. — EU drug regulator hacked, data on COVID-19 vaccine accessed— UK probing if 2 allergic reactions linked to vaccine— Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf tests positive for coronavirus___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas state official who has been critical of measures ordered by Gov. According to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Tuesday reached 3,287, up 130 from Monday.
State GOP Chair Allen West, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller join anti-Greg Abbott protest outside Governor's Mansion
Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West speaks to a crowd gathered at the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday to protest business closures and mask mandates. The "Free Texas" rally featured speeches from Texas GOP Chair Allen West and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, both of whom invoked the governor critically. "And if the governor did not get this resolution, I'm gonna leave it right here, at the gates of the Governor's Mansion." Alt text: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller speaks to a crowd gathered in front of the Governor’s Mansion to protest statewide business closures and mask mandates. "I told him that true leaders don't pick and choose when they do what is right," West said.
Early voting can start Oct. 13, as scheduled, Texas Supreme Court rules
Early voting in Texas can begin Oct. 13, following the timeline the governor laid out months ago, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, rejecting a request from several top Texas Republicans to limit the timeframe for voters to cast their ballots. Greg Abbott ordered that early voting for the general election in Texas begin nearly a week earlier than usual, a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Abbott added six days to the early voting period through an executive order, an exercise of the emergency powers he has leaned into during the virus crisis. Abbott’s order to extend the early voting period has been the main way the state adjusted voting procedures during the pandemic. Abbott had also doubled the early voting period for lower-turnout primary runoff elections held in July.
Texas Republicans sue to stop Gov. Greg Abbott’s extension of early voting period during the pandemic
An early voting location in Houston on Feb. 21, 2018. Credit: Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneNeed to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? In July, Abbott added six days to the early voting period, moving the start date up to Oct. 13 from Oct. 19, citing the coronavirus pandemic. West said in the same statement that he opposes the "extension of early voting through the decree of a single executive instead of through the legislative process." Using the same rationale, he previously extended early voting for the July primary runoffs. Abbott's expanded that option to the entire early voting period.
Top agriculture official says he’s in favor of Texas expanding medical marijuana
HOUSTON – Should Texas expand medical marijuana? Well, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller believes the state should. During a tour of the Austin-based marijuana facility Compassionate Cultivation on Thursday, Miller said he wanted to learn more about how hemp, THC and medical marijuana can help people. After meeting with a group of parents whose children use medical marijuana for autism and other conditions, Miller said he is in favor of expanding the use of medical marijuana, according to a report by Austin NBC affiliate KXAN. “I would certainly expand medical marijuana.
At least 187 Texans received mystery seeds mailed from China. State officials warn they shouldn't be planted.
At least 187 Texans have reported receiving mystery packets of seeds in the mail from China. An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. Intentionally keeping or planting the seeds would be illegal, Miller said., because they are an illegal product. First, it was a China virus, then it was murder hornets. The phrase "China virus," used by President Donald Trump and defended by politicians including U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, has been criticized as racist and anti-Chinese.
Did you get seeds from China in the mail? USDA says don’t plant them
HOUSTON – Both the U.S. and Texas departments of Agriculture are advising people not to plant any unsolicited seeds they may have gotten in the mail. According to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, these seed packets, falsely labeled as jewelry, come from China and have been mailed to people all over the country, including Texas. People are being advised not to plant the seeds as it could contain a harmful invasive plant that could cause damage to the Texas ecosystem, Miller said. “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. The TDA is asking anyone who may have received a packet to report it immediately at SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.
In false Facebook posts, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller accused George Soros of paying protesters to "destroy" the country
The posts from those local officials have prompted calls for resignation from the states top GOP officials. One post from Miller on Sunday included an image of Soros with accompanying text that read, Climate change didnt work. The Anti-Defamation League has reported that hundreds of thousands of social media posts in recent days have falsely suggested that he is behind the recent protests. Fact-checkers have debunked multiple fake flyers circulating on social media purported to be from organizations linked to Soros that were offering people money to protest. Miller has a history of posting incendiary and false statements on his social media channels, including on a Facebook page that has more than 800,000 followers.
Doctor, nurse practitioner dipping into own pockets to provide rural health care in Texas
So we-- we're-- we're trying to keep 163 rural hospitals open and from, you know, going out of business. Sharyn Alfonsi: Any sense of how many hospitals-- rural hospitals are at risk right now in Texas? And I'm-- I'm afraid this pandemic-- we're gonna-- we're gonna continue to lose health care providers in rural Texas and across the nation. That's left one out of five rural Texas counties without a doctor. Things like colonoscopies and lab services that usually make up half the revenue at the state's rural hospitals.cbsnews.com
Rural Texas hospitals and clinics on brink of closure as state prepares to reopen from coronavirus shutdown
Nurse practitioner Elizabeth Ellis makes a house call in rural Texas CBS NewsTexas, like other states, will begin a slow, gradual re-opening of business Friday. But health care providers in rural areas of Texas tell Sharyn Alfonsi if COVID-19 outbreaks get worse in rural areas their financially fragile care systems could become overwhelmed. Hospitals already teetering on the brink of financial collapse lost precious revenue from nonessential surgeries and procedures like colonoscopies the state cancelled to prepare for the pandemic. "I'm afraid-- this pandemic we're going to continue to lose healthcare providers in rural Texas and across the nation," he tells Alfonsi. And what frightens me is that all of America's critical access hospitals, especially here in Texas, are at risk of closing."cbsnews.com
Listen: Investigating Iranian cyber attacks in Texas
Listen: Investigating Iranian cyber attacks in TexasAs tensions flare with Iran, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says Iranian cyber attacks are attempted against state government systems as often as 10,000 a minute. Meantime, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says the FBI is investigating an Iranian inspired attack against his agency's website. Plus, Democrats running for the White House are campaigning in Texas perhaps more than ever. Join the conversation featuring Scott Braddock, editor of The Quorum Report, Houston Chronicle political writer Jeremy Wallace, and San Antonio Express News reporter Allie Morris.chron.com