A “Black Lives Matter” protest turned tragic when a sniper fired into a crowd estimated at 1,000 people in downtown Dallas at about 9 p.m. on July 7.
Dozens of shots were fired, reportedly from an assault rifle, leaving five police officers dead, and seven police officers and two civilians wounded. Police pursued a suspect identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, a former U.S. Army reservist, and killed him in a parking garage using a robot-propelled explosive device early on July 8.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an open letter titled, “A Time To Come Together,” published in The Dallas Morning News on July 8. Among his comments, Abbott wrote: “Texas is an exceptional state with exceptional people. We’ve faced tough challenges in the past, but we have come together to overcome those challenges. In the coming days, there will be those who foment distrust and fan the flames of dissension. To come together -- that would be the greatest rebuke to those who seek to tear us apart.”
Flags were ordered to half-staff in honor of the slain police officers.
Profs sue over ‘carry’ law
Three professors employed by the University of Texas at Austin on July 6 filed a lawsuit in federal court in Austin, seeking to stop the state’s 2015 “campus carry” law from taking effect on the UT campus.
In part, the plaintiffs asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction before the start of fall semester classes on Aug. 24, prohibiting any state statute, rule, regulation, or policy from taking effect that would compel them to allow the concealed carrying of handguns in their classrooms, or which would authorize imposition of sanctions if they bar the carrying of concealed handguns in their classrooms.
Tax allocations are set
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on July 7 announced his office would send cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts $624 million in local sales tax allocations for July.
The allocations, based on sales made in May by businesses that report tax monthly, amount to 2.3 percent more than the comptroller’s office distributed in July 2015.
“The cities of Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth saw noticeable increases in sales tax allocations,” Hegar said. “Energy-centric cities such as Houston and Midland continue to see decreases in sales tax allocations.”
On July 5, Hegar said state sales tax revenue in June totaled $2.2 billion, down 0.8 percent compared to June 2015. “Sales tax revenue growth continues to be hobbled by reduced spending in oil- and gas-related sectors. Despite the recent increase in oil prices, spending is below even the reduced levels seen a year ago,” he added.
Ed Sterling is the director of member services for the Texas Press Association in Austin. Contact him at 512-477-6755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.