US border battle, migrant bus to DC and teacher shortage

There are big topics unfolding in Texas this week: the border battle, migrant buses to DC that have plenty of empty seats, and the growing trend of teacher shortages in local schools.

FOX 7 Austin’s Rudy Koski and a panel of political analysts discuss these issues in more detail in “This Week in Texas Politics.”

KOSK: Here we are back in the LBJ Penthouse to talk about This Week in Texas Politics. And the hot topic in Texas politics right now is still the border crisis. But there are also other issues like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke making the news by being covered up and then making his own. The former head of Planned Parenthood, a high profile campaign manager. There have been several state legislative hearings on issues such as temporary paper abuse, vehicle tags, a growing shortage of teachers and the increase in electric cars on the road. How will the state replace lost gasoline tax revenue? We will talk about it. But first, let’s start with our headlines, and we’ll start with Steven Tyler in Box Four Dallas. What is your title?

DIAL: Borders and buses.

KOSK: Greg Groogan with Fox 26 Houston. What is your title?

GROOGAN: Title 42. Is the word invasion a hyperbole?

KOSK: Patrick Svitek with Texas Tribune. Patrick, what is your title?

SVITE K: I agree with everyone so far. The 42 Fallout title continues.

KOSK: And political consultant Mark Wiggins, what’s your title?

WIGGINS: Nothing replaces Texas teachers.

KOSK: And let’s get off the board right now and talk about the border, Patrick. Title 42, is there a valid replacement at this time or does it remain?

SVITE K: Right now the Biden administration, it looks like they’re going ahead with their plan to reverse that policy at the end of May, but they’re trying to reassure people, including some in their party, that they have a plan to cope with the expectation of an even greater influx of migrants once this policy ends.

DIAL: Building on what Patrick said, the Biden administration needs to come up with a plan, and it needs to come up with a plan that actually has bipartisan support.

GROOGAN: I was just thinking about the repercussions. We’re talking about all of the South Texas infrastructure and major cities being overrun. We are talking about public schools with thousands more students. We talk about the health care safety net. I think it turns out that what could be a single-digit run in November turns into a double-digit four-for-four loss for Beto.

WIGGINS: So you’ve already seen Beto thread the needle on this and say the administration needs to have a plan if they want to scrap Title 42.

KOSK: Patrick, some hearings that took place about the National Guard. There are two big issues that caught my attention, first, the lack of state deployment death benefits on this current deployment and all other state deployments, and then also the lack of flotation devices.

SVITE K: Revelations like these continue to fuel this narrative. I think this mission was put together in a hurry, not carefully thought out.

KOSK: Mark, I know you’re watching the education topics that came up in the committee hearings and a discussion you and I had. The teacher shortage that is already there and getting worse. What is your concern? Is this the dormant problem of the session? It’s coming.

WIGGINS: The shortage of teachers will be the number one problem in public education next term. And, you know, it comes at a very risky time when you’re talking about public education, the way public education is being discussed right now.

KOSK: So even another hearing took place that you monitored. I know it was about temporary vehicle tags as well as electric cars and their impact on gas tax. Greg, I know this is a problem in the Houston area as well. What is their importance in the next session?

GROOGAN: I don’t know how we can map the genome, but we don’t know how to do better with these paper plates. It’s crazy.

DIAL: Now they’re also considering adding things like QR codes, different colors, and a corporate sticker that can go in the car when you have a temporary tag. And so, I mean, that’s a huge problem. He has been associated with dozens, if not hundreds of violent crimes.

KOSK: Another transportation problem but related to the border, Governor Greg Abbott’s migrant buses bound for Washington, DC. Few people take these buses, as few as ten go there. And now the White House is kidding. Patrick, is it time to put the brakes on this program?

SVITE K: I don’t know if it’s time to end it, but I think, you know, whatever the initial momentum was behind this plan, I think it’s backed off a bit.

WIGGINS: And now you have Democrats accusing the Governor of encouraging illegal immigration by offering these rides, which is really an expert level troll.

GROOGAN: People don’t get off those free Texas buses. They stay here. However, there are 233,000 apprehensions or encounters in the month of March. That’s twice the population of Beaumont, Texas in a month.

DIAL: I really think he continues. I think he will continue to move money around to make sure, on his terms, that the border is his number one priority.

KOSK: Very well. Let’s end this week with our only word of the week. Mark, we’ll start with you. Your word of the week.

WIGGINS: That’s the interim.

KOSK: Patrick, your word.

SVITE K: Bus.

KOSK: Steven, your word.

DIAL: He took my Word. Frontier.

KOSK: And Greg, your word of the week.

GROOGAN: I’ll expand on that, Border-less.

KOSK: And with that, we wrap up another week in Texas politics.

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