AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters Wednesday that Texas is prepared for the next Hurricane Harvey. The comments came after Abbott participated in a briefing with President Donald Trump and federal officials to prepare for the upcoming storm season.
While Abbott said they are not expecting the "same level of activity that was seen in 2017," he told reporters of the 10 to 16 storms expected this year, five to nine could turn into hurricanes.
Meanwhile, Trump suggested that many Texans had to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard during the storm because they were in boats watching it. Abbott said he had “no information one way of another about that.”
Wednesday's briefing came the same day the Texas Education Commissioner released the criteria he’ll use to decide how to waive state ratings for Harvey-affected schools.
More than 1100 schools affected by the hurricane likely won't be punished for low academic performance this year, according to the Texas Education Agency.
According to the released rules, schools must meet at least one of the following criteria in order to receive a waiver:
- closed for at least 10 instructional days
- ten percent of teachers were homeless
- ten percent of students were homeless or enrolled at another school
- school had to hold classes in a different location or share its campus through winter break
Schools and districts that don't automatically receive a waiver under the commissioner's criteria can appeal.
Although schools are now out for the summer, state lawmakers will soon begin looking into ways to better protect Texas students. Monday, a newly formed Senate committee will begin looking at ways to tighten school security, including limiting access points and improving screening. Later this month, a House committee is set to look at "red flag" laws, which allow for the temporary removal of firearms from someone who poses an immediate danger.
But lawmakers aren’t the only ones looking into ways to better protect Texas schools. Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks will join us in the studio Wednesday night to discuss his push to form a Round Rock ISD police department.
The race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rouke is turning personal. Wednesday, Cruz’s campaign accused O’Rourke of ignoring his “mom’s tax fraud” while wanting local businesses to pay taxes on sales made across state lines. Cruz called O’Rourke a ‘hypocrite’ in a statement released Wednesday.
“Rep. Beto O’Rourke has been campaigning on ethics in government, but he’s been hiding his mother’s conviction for tax fraud, his personal stake in her furniture company and his profiting from the company,” said Cruz campaign spokeswoman Emily Miller. “Texans deserve elected officials with strong values and ethics.”
O’Rourke’s mother owned Charlotte’s Furniture and in 2010 the company was convicted of tax fraud. The store was fined $500,000 and ultimately agreed to pay $250,000, the El Paso Times reported.
Cruz alleges O’Rourke was financially connected “to this criminal activity” because he and his mother co-owned the shopping center where the store was located.
O’Rourke’s campaign told the El Paso Times the case has long been resolved and he has not concealed anything related to it.