Lone Star watch by Ed Sterling
TEXAS governor Greg Abbott pledged to retain and write more state anti-Iran laws in a meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.
Abbott made the promises during a business-development tour of Israel on January 18 when he and Netanyahu, above, met “to discuss Texas and Israel’s historic bond”.
Abbott said afterwards that he had also discussed how he could further solidify the relationship between Israel and Texas.
He said he had told Netanyahu that Texas would “maintain its Iran divestiture policy” and that he would “seek new laws to strengthen Texas’ prohibitions on the investment of public funds in Iran”.
He said legislation he plans to promote would require Texas’ state and local-governmental entities, not just the state’s various retirement funds, to divest investments in Iran.
It would also close loopholes in Texas’ Iran-divestment law after examining them to determine where and how any exceptions can be minimized or eliminated altogether.
It is not the first time Abbott has involved himself in Iran’s affairs. In September, he sent a letter to the Texas US congressional delegation stating his opposition to last year’s nuclear deal between that nation and the UN security council’s five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – plus Germany.
On July 14, 2015, president Barack Obama signed the agreement, with the White House calling it “a comprehensive, long-term deal that will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon”.
Supreme court to hear Texas deportation case
AN IMMIGRATION case that originated in Brownsville is to be reviewed by the US supreme court.
Styled now as United States v Texas, the case challenges the Obama administration’s November 2014 executive order affecting deportation policy for undocumented immigrants.
The case is scheduled to be argued before the court in April, with a decision expected in June.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton reacted to the supreme court’s January 19 announcement that it would hear the case by saying the court “recognizes the importance of the separation
Texas is leading a 26-state coalition against the president’s immigration plan. Federal courts have ruled in the states’ favor three times, most recently in the
US court of appeals for the fifth circuit.
Paxton: Legality of daily online gaming is pure fantasy
THE STATE’S attorney general has come out against the legality of daily fantasy sports leagues, which have begun to dominate the world of online gaming.
Ken Paxton issued an opinion on the issue last week in response to a legislative inquiry by state representative Myra Crownover, a Republican from Denton and chair of the house of representatives’ public-health committee.
Crownover had asked the attorney general whether “daily fantasy sports leagues” are permissible under Texas law and whether it is legal to participate in fantasy sports leagues where a gaming house does not take a “rake” and the participants only wager among themselves.
Issuing his opinion on January 19, Paxton said: “Paid daily ‘fantasy sports’ operators claim they can legally operate as an unregulated house but none of their arguments square with existing Texas law.
“Simply put, it is prohibited gambling in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event and the house takes a cut.”
He said that, unlike some other states, Texas only requires “partial chance” for something to be construed as gambling; it does not require that chance predominate.
He said his opinion makes clear that “traditional fantasy sports leagues are, as a general rule, legal under Texas law”, adding: “In those leagues, participants generally split any pot among themselves, so there is no house that takes a cut.”
Jobs end year on high note
LAST YEAR ended with another month of growth in Texas employment as 24,900 jobs were added during December, according to the state’s workforce commission.
The boost brought the figure for the year to 166,900, commission chair Andres Alcantar said on Friday.
But the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.7 per cent during the month, up from 4.6 per cent in November. Even so, it remained below the national average of 5.0 per cent, Alcantar said.
Citing figures compiled by the US department of labor statistics, the commission said Texas’ professional and business-services employment surged in December with the addition of 12,500 positions, the industry’s largest over-the-month gain since November 2014.
TWC officials also said the state’s education and health-services industry recorded Texas’ second-largest employment gain over the month by adding 7,400 jobs, marking 21 consecutive months of growth and a total of 66,700 jobs added since January last year.