By Michael KinsleyPublished August 18, 2018 9:18:10In recent months, Texas has seen a spike in the number of lawsuits alleging racial discrimination against the state’s political and administrative elite.
In August, the state Attorney General filed two class action lawsuits alleging a range of racial discrimination by a variety of agencies, and in January, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress over the investigation into the death of Eric Garner.
While the legislative body’s hearings on the issue of racism in Texas are still ongoing, the governor has been publicly backing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which is investigating alleged racism within the state.
In his annual State of the State address on Monday, Gov.
Greg Abbott said the “State of the Nation” speech was “the time to discuss the urgent need for a comprehensive reform of the state government’s structure and functions,” which he said included “taking the power to determine whether or not an employee can hold a position and the power of that position to the states people.”
He also said that he had been calling for changes in the state constitution to make it more inclusive of minorities and women.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Republican governor has also signed into law legislation that would increase the amount of money the state can spend on public education, including increasing the funding for charter schools and creating a fund to help students and families afford college.
While some critics have called for Abbott to resign over the claims, the Texas Tribune reported last week that the governor had called for an end to the investigation after it was revealed that one of the DOJ officials involved in the Garner investigation had previously worked for the Republican Party of Texas, the party Abbott heads.
The Austin American said that the new law was intended to address the lack of diversity within the department, and that it would create a fund for students and family members to pay for college.
According the Tribune, Abbott’s office said that although the new legislation does not affect the investigation of the Garner case, the move “is consistent with the governor’s support for the DOJ investigation into alleged racial discrimination in the State of Texas.”
The Republican governor also recently signed into effect a rule that requires the Department of State to publish an annual report on the state of the public education system.