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Greg Abbott Threatens Election Observers, Texas Education in Court and Hangings in Gainsville

Chris Eudaily | Texas Public Radio

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is threatening an international democracy observer group with criminal charges if they interfere with Texas election locations. The education system in Texas is on trial this week to answer the question: Is the present system violating the state’s constitution? 150 years ago there was a hanging in Gainesville that claimed the lives of 40 men.

Europeans a Threat to Reliable Poll Results?

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is convinced that election fraud is rampant in the state and that it’s so bad there needs to be voter I.D. laws in place to fight it. However, Abbott, a Republican, says he doesn’t want international observers sticking their big European noses in Texas ballot boxes on election day to make sure the polling is on the up and up.

The state’s top prosecutor doesn’t want the observers near election sites and is threatening criminal charges if the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe interferes with the voting process while observing democracy in Texas. The group has responded by issuing a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Thomas Rymer is the Spokesperson for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

Is the Way Texas Funds Education Unconstitutional?

The Texas education system went on trial this week in a Travis County district courtroom. Hundreds of school districts are arguing that the way Texas funds education is hopelessly broken. The lawyers for the poorer school districts say there isn’t enough money coming from Austin to provide the education that the lawmakers demand. Property-wealthy school districts say they can’t support a "share the wealth" system. Charter schools are also involved in the case – they want more deregulation and more state funds.

The case has the potential to dramatically reshape education in Texas and how we pay for it – including higher taxes coming from somewhere. But first the question has to be settled: Is the present system violating the state’s constitution?

Tedrah Robertson is the Communications Director for the Equity Center, a group fighting for equality in Texas schools school districts that are chronically under-funded, an is involved in the case; Robertson sat through this week’s testimony, and shares some updates on what is happening in the courtroom.

A Hanging in Gainsville

During the past year or so there have been plenty of commemorations and celebrations about the sesquicentennial of the civil war. But there was one historic event in Gainesville Texas that happened 150 years ago this month.  It was the Great Hanging at Gainesville that claimed the lives of 40 men who were lynched because they may have had opinions against slavery.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi