Elections 2020State HouseStatewide NewsThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Democrats Take Aim at New Congressional Districts, Lawmakers Decry Budget Cuts, Abbott Appoints New Judges

This week — The DCCC adds three new districts to its list of targets, state leaders come under fire for budget cuts, and Abbott appoints new judges.
August 28, 2020
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Three New Congressional Districts Targeted by National Democrats 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added three new Texas congressional districts to its list of targets this week, represented by Reps. Van Taylor (R-TX-3), Ron Wright (R-TX-6), and Roger Wiliams (R-TX-25) — all of whom have opted to run for reelection.

Prior to this announcement, the DCCC had specifically targeted seven Texas districts: 

  • Dan Crenshaw, Congressional District 2
  • Michael McCaul, Congressional District 10
  • Chip Roy, Congressional District 21
  • Pete Olson, Retiring, Congressional District 22
  • Will Hurd, Retiring, Congressional District 23
  • Kenny Marchant, Retiring, Congressional District 24
  • John Carter, Congressional District 31

In 2018, Taylor won reelection with 54.2 percent of the vote, Wright with 53.1 percent, and Williams with 53.5 percent.

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State Leaders Under Fire for Agency Budget Cuts

With the end of Fiscal Year 2020 looming and state leaders dictating agency budget cuts, some lawmakers are voicing concerns about affected programs.

This week, outlets began reporting that $1 billion in cuts would be made between the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years due to drastic revenue shortfalls in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Specifically, legislators raised concerns about the lack of legislative oversight in this process. 

House Appropriations Committee member, Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), tweeted, “Legislators have been left in the dark and out of the process despite being responsible for the budget,” and contradicted comments from Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen asserting that fiscal planning is “being done exactly as it always is — it’s being done transparently and openly.”

State Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the Health and Human Services budget, tweeted that “the last thing that should be considered are cuts to the state’s healthcare budget…especially programs aimed at helping women and children and other vulnerable populations.”

In July, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced a stunning projected deficit of $4.6 billion in this biennium resulting from $11 billion in lost revenue, due to the effects of the pandemic, government-mandated lockdowns, and correspondingly lackluster oil and gas market.

The latest state budget, passed by the legislature in 2019, topped a quarter-trillion dollars for the first time in Texas history.

Governor Abbott’s Latest Judicial Appointments

In addition to making moves in preparation for or response to Hurricane Laura, Governor Abbott appointed new judges to a variety of courts in the last week. 

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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.