This Week in Texas Politics: The fight over books, the border and dog chains

The review of certain school books was launched by the chairman of the state House General Investigating Committee and is one of the top stories in Texas politics this week. 

Officials with several school districts in the Austin metro area tell FOX 7 Austin that they are trying to decide how to respond to the investigation by Committee Chairman Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth). He sent a letter on October 25th to the TEA demanding an accounting of more than 800 books that may promote controversial ideas like critical race theory. 

Leander ISD and Lake Travis ISD were noted in the letter.  

Friday morning on a North Texas radio show, Krause defended his investigation and indicated that just because a book title is on his list doesn't mean there is a problem with it. 

Representative Krause wants a response from TEA by November 12th. A spokesperson with TEA declined to comment on the investigation. Officials from Leander ISD, Lake Travis ISD as well as Round Rock ISD, tell FOX 7 Austin the request is going through a legal review.

The FOX 7 Panel also discussed the fight over police funding in Austin. The deployment of the Texas National Guard to Del Rio as a new migrant caravan approaches. Legislation signed by Governor Greg Abbott, including the ban on tethering down dogs. The panel also noted the possibility of a new political fight regarding a federal mandate to have children vaccinated.

RUDY:  Well, it was a week in Texas without a Special Session, but that doesn't mean we didn't have any politics in this week in Texas. Let's get right to it and start off with our headlines for the week in politics. We'll start off with news veteran Neil Spelce, Neal?

NEAL: My headline is a French phrase,"plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." The more things change, the more they're the same.

RUDY: Gromer Jeffers, with The Dallas Morning News. Your headline for the week.  

GROMER: It's a prelude to the 2022 elections. The special sessions are over, but you still see lawmakers jockeying for positions for next year.

RUDY:  Brian Smith St. Edward's University Your headline for the week.

BRIAN:  Part-time Legislature considers meeting full time.

RUDY: And political consultant Mark Wiggins, you're a headline for the week?

MARK:  (The School Book investigation by Rep Matt Krause) I'd like someone to ask, where did that Rep Krause come up with the list of almost a thousand books? I find it hard to believe he sat there and came up with all of them himself.  

RUDY: And let's start off with that great school book investigation launched by Representative Matt Krauss, who, by the way, is also running for attorney general. Brian, is this just a political move instead of, an election political move, and not necessarily a true investigation?  

BRIAN: Yeah. Krauss is the third person in a two-person race for attorney general. He's got to break out, and he's going big here with his big list, as Mark said of a thousand books

RUDY: Gomer, on a Dallas morning radio show, Representative Krauss did not reveal where he got his list that Mark was asking about, but he said the list could expand. It could be smaller. And he also said that if a book is on the list, it doesn't mean that there's a problem with the book. So what's your take on this?

GROMER: Krauss could be using this to curry favor with Republican voters in the primary who care about this issue. We'll see if it works or not. It is a crowded field with George P. Bush. Eva Guzman, and of course, the incumbent Ken Paxton.

MARK:  I mean, the legality, I think, is going to be sorted out over the coming days or so. But the wisdom of attacking schools and school teachers, many of whom vote in Republican primaries ... that remains to be seen.

RUDY:  Neal, there's another issue involving the state getting into local politics, and you wanted to talk about this. This is Prop A in the city of Austin. What strikes you about this one?

NEAL: Well, two things about it that are important to me, at least one is the proposition really hits at the heart of this issue of police defunding, it goes all over and what the voters have been asked to decide should Austin police be funded at a greater level and they spell it out specifically. The other thing is that I'm concerned about the arguments against the proposition that says; well, if you have to increase funding for police, you're going to have to cut funding for libraries and for parks and for homelessness, et cetera. Well, that's a hollow argument in this sense. It is nothing on that ballot that says you have to cut any place else. So I think the arguments, politically out there, so far have resonated pretty much on both sides with a lot, a lot of demagogues. But again, it's a political election. What would you expect?  

RUDY: Brian, in previous discussions an issue came up where you ended by saying Abbott hates dogs. Well, the governor proved that he doesn't hate dogs. He signed that anti-tethering legislation along with several other bills, some extremely controversial. Was this a victory lap for the governor as he signed all those bills earlier in the week?

BRIAN: In a lot of ways it is. He had a big wish list and he got everything he wanted. When we think about the tethering law, a lot of that symbolic politics. But as I said before. People love their fur babies, and this makes it right. So for it, a victory lap. I don't think he's going to get bullied into a fourth session.

RUDY:  Gromer mentioned earlier that everything is setting up for the next big election. We've got this pivot going on to Del Rio with the migrant caravan that's on the way. The battle between Texas and the federal government. We've got another fight that's looming, possibly with child vaccinations, and that, will the federal government mandate child vaccinations. And the governor tweeted out this week that he's giving cover to everyone ( on federal mandates ). He has a ban on mandatory vaccinations, does this fight really pick up next week?  

GROMER: We'll see what happens. But I think the move the move is in the federal government's court now, the ball's in the federal government's court.  

RUDY:  Let's wrap it up with our one word for the week. Bryan, your word mandates grammar. Prelude Neal, your one word.

NEAL: Elections.

RUDY: And Mark Wiggins, your one word for the week?

MARK:  All tricks, no tricks.

NEAL:  That's not one word.

RUDY: And with that, we'll wrap up this week in Texas politics 

This week in Texas Politics: The end of the third special session
This Week in Texas Politics: Border, transgender bill, and school shootings
This Week in Texas Politics: Border surge and gubernatorial race
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