MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

Class Dismissed

The Texas Lege finally acted on the public school funding issue, with the House and Senate each passing the other’s priority school finance reform bill on Monday, according to the Texas Tribune. Lawmakers waited until the eleventh hour to pass the legislation—there are only two days left in the special session. The House passed Senate Bill 16 to form a commission to look at future school funding reform, and the Senate voted Monday night to pass House Bill 21, which would give public schools an immediate $351 million infusion to help address the struggles of small rural schools and students with special needs. HB 21 also adds $212 million to a health insurance program for retired teachers. But as the Dallas Morning News notes, there’s still a lot of work to be done this session on school finance, and “with time so short,” the legislative harmony could fall apart just as soon as it came together.

Deep Trouble

A former South Texas police chief is facing federal drug charges for allegedly working as a member of a drug trafficking organization, according to the McAllen Monitor. Ex-La Joya police chief Geovani Hernandez was arrested by federal agents over the weekend after a federal investigation revealed his ties to an unidentified drug trafficking organization. Court records show Hernandez allegedly had been working with a middleman for drug traffickers, and told several confidential informants that he was helping run drugs over the border. Hernandez also allegedly told an informant that he was a close friend of Gulf Cartel Plaza boss Juan Manuel Loza Salinas, also known as “El Toro.” In November, Hernandez also appeared as an actor in a narco-corrido, or drug ballad, music video for a song about running cocaine from Mission to Houston, which isn’t exactly lying low. Hernandez had been working with the Progreso Police Department as a “provisionary sergeant” at the time of his arrest—Progreso officials announced that Hernandez was no longer with the department effective Monday.

Hazing Scandal

Seven deputies at the Bexar County Jail were put on administrative leave for allegedly participating in a hazing incident at the facility, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced on Monday, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The incident happened at a house party on Friday night, when six deputies on the elite Special Emergency Response Team at the jail allegedly hazed a seventh deputy. Salazar said the hazing involved county-issued handcuffs, shackles, and a stun gun. The deputies were placed on leave after video of the incident surfaced. All of the deputies involved viewed it as a joke—apparently involving a deputy’s four-year-old daughter in the hazing process—but Salazar certainly isn’t laughing. “It’s not to be tolerated. It’s not something I’m going to stand for,” he said at a Monday press conference. The deputies could face criminal charges, including hazing, unlawful restraint, and child endangerment.