State Capitol Highlights
AUSTIN — Texas now boasts its own Domestic Terrorism Task Force, established by order of the governor in the wake of the deadly Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso.
Twenty-two people were killed and 24 injured by a suspect firing a militarystyle assault rifle in a popular shopping venue.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 14 said the task force’s job will be to analyze and provide advice on strategies to maximize law enforcement’s ability to protect against acts of domestic terrorism. The first meeting is set for Aug. 30.
“Our top priority is to keep Texans safe in their communities,” he said, adding that “Texas is stronger when we come together in pursuit of a shared goal, and today’s actions are vital steps in our ongoing fight against extremism and violence. We stand united against those who wish to bring harm to our state, and together we will build a safer future for every Texan.”
Meanwhile, Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to:
•Conduct a state intelligence assessment on the domestic terrorism threat;
•Establish a Domestic Terrorism Section within the Texas Fusion Center to proactively seek, assess and monitor domestic terrorism and other mass casualty threats;
•Coordinate with the designated regional fusion centers in Texas to increase the detection and monitoring of domestic terrorism and other mass casualty threats;
•Establish Domestic Terrorism Teams comprised of DPS Special Agents to provide immediate direct support to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces and increase the number of special agents to conduct domestic counterterrorism investigations;
•Increasing the number of DPS special agents and analysts in the Texas Anti-Gang Centers conducting investigations of criminal gangs affiliated with Neo Nazi and White Nationalist groups and networks espousing terrorist attacks.
TEA releases ratings
The Texas Education Agency on Aug. 9 released preliminary financial accountability ratings for more than 1,100 school districts and charters across the state.
According to the agency, 87 percent earned the highest preliminary rating possible for 2018-2019. A school district or open-enrollment charter is assigned one of four possible letter grades — A, B, C or F — and a financial management rating of Superior, Above Standard Achievement, Meets Standard or Substandard Achievement.
Ratings for 2018-2019 are based on annual financial reports provided to TEA by districts and charters for the 2018 fiscal year.
See story in this paper for local rankings.