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Amazon, Bathrooms, 'Taking A Knee' Cap A Fractious Week In Texas Politics

Álvaro Ibáñez
Wikimedia Commons
An Amazon fulfillment center.

If you thought (or hoped) the mention of the controversial "bathroom bill" would never come up again, think again.

In competing to snare the location of Amazon's second headquarters, a mega-big get for whichever city the online retail giant selects, several Texas competitors including Houston, Dallas and Austin have wondered whether their bids might be crimped by Texas' dalliance with a new law limiting bathroom access to a person's birth gender.

To be sure, the legislation failed to be approved in both the regular and special legislative sessions. But supporters have suggested it might be filed again in 2019, not a good sign to Amazon that is among many large Fortune 500 corporations that say such laws are discriminatory and warned Gov. Greg Abbott against making the controversial idea law.

Dallas business tycoon Mark Cuban is among those who think that even the possibility of Texas' considering the measure again could drop-kick any Lone Star State site from the list of finalists.

From the supporters, there were crickets.

Then came the new controversy over NFL teams kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality, racial bias, U.S. foreign policy, President Trump, you name it. "Taking a knee" has become the latest craze after Trump blasted pro football players, which prompted entire teams -- including the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones -- to drop on one to show their support for free speech.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, took a knee in the U.S. House to show her support, followed by other lawmakers.

Former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro irritated some fellow Democrats by suggesting that the party in Texas that hasn't held statewide office in two decades, and that so far has been unable to sign up a sparkling sure-thing candidate to run for governor, maybe should concentrate its efforts on lower-ballot races that they might be able to win.

You know, targeting Republicans like indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton. Or U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, whom Democrats hate more than almost anyone. Or Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has developed a bad habit of making headlines for controversial things he says or does.

Then there was the unpleasantness between Gov. Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester over Hurricane Harvey recovery funds -- and how fast they were, or weren't arriving in the Bayou City.

You really can't make up stuff this good.

From Mike Ward, the Houston Chronicle's Austin Bureau chief, and Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, comes Texas' leading online podcast about Lone Star politics -- now coming to you in collaboration with Texas Public Radio. We've got the lowdown on all the political action under the Pink Dome in this week's Texas Take, a weekly insiders look at Texas politics -- and what it means to average Texans.