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House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, said Friday he opposes a push by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to end tenure for new professors at the state’s public universities and to revoke it for faculty who teach critical race theory, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Phelan, speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, said the feedback he has gotten indicates ending tenure would make it more difficult for universities to recruit professors. That includes those with conservative viewpoints, who benefit from tenure’s protection against being fired for openly sharing their ideology.
Brian McCall, chancellor of the Texas State University system and a former Republican member of the Texas House, said eliminating tenure would “put the state at such a disadvantage,” the Statesman reported.
“Tenure exists for a reason, and that is to get thought out,” McCall said. “We’re not running Vacation Bible School. We’re teaching physics and various things that are science and not subject to certain opinions.”
Critical race theory is a college-level approach to studying racism in society. It is not taught in Texas public schools below the college level.
Cartels designated as terrorist organizations
Amidst a growing national fentanyl crisis, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
“Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, and Texans are falling victim to the Mexican cartels that are producing it,” said Governor Abbott. “Cartels are terrorists, and it’s time we treated them that way.”
The Biden administration recently awarded nearly $1.5 billion to support efforts to address the opioid crisis and support individual recovery efforts. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is receiving nearly $53 million as a result.
Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Deadline nears to register to vote
Eligible Texans have until Oct. 11 to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election. The secretary of state’s office is running a “VoteReady” campaign to educate Texans about the ID requirements for voting in Texas, as well as ID requirements for those eligible to vote by mail.
“I want to ensure that all Texans are informed, prepared and ready to make their voices heard,” said Secretary John Scott.
The race for governor highlights the ballot, but voters have plenty of other choices to make down the ballot. For more information, go to votetexas.gov. Early voting runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4.
TCEQ expands lead testing in schools
A new online portal will help schools and child-care facilities test their drinking water for lead, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The free statewide program “trains participants to collect samples, tests their drinking water for lead, and helps them take action to reduce lead in drinking water,” according to the agency’s news release.
TCEQ offers free sampling materials, training in collecting samples, laboratory testing and support for participants. Any Texas public school or state-regulated child-care facility is eligible. For more information, go here: https://tinyurl.com/mpsr3ddf.
Any level of lead in blood is considered unsafe and can be harmful to children’s health, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 cases still waning
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Texas during the past week dropped to 25,081 with 151 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 1,910 lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Sunday, down slightly from the previous week.