You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Texas governor doesn't 'want to see' border wall in Big Bend


Whether Texas scales back on nearly $1 billion in border security spending or pursues a North Carolina-style transgender bathroom law will depend on what Donald Trump does in the White House, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday.

Despite expecting Trump to build new physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, Abbott said he doesn't want a wall cutting through some places.

"There are serpentine regions of the Rio Grande where it would be extremely challenging to build a wall. There are parts like the Big Bend region — we don't want see a wall in the beautiful Big Bend National Park," Abbott said.

Texas is home to Trump's newest cabinet picks: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, whom the president-elect has selected for secretary of state, and former Gov. Rick Perry. Perry was chosen to lead the Energy Department, according to two people with knowledge of the decision who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the decision ahead of the official announcement. Texas has been involved in more than 40 lawsuits against the Obama administration, and a Trump presidency is likely to dull eight years of antagonism with the federal government.

But Abbott also told reporters in his Capitol office that choices Trump has yet to make will impact major issues confronting the state's Republican-controlled Legislature next year. Texas spends $800 million a year on border security — the cost of hundreds of new troopers, patrol boats and spy planes — but that price tag is likely to face renewed scrutiny with a state budget crunch looming.

Abbott said Texas could scale back on those costs depending on what a Trump administration does along the 1,200-mile border with Mexico. Any changes in policy from Washington, however, may not come before Abbott must sign a new state budget next summer.

Abbott said he also wants to see whether Trump rolls back an Obama administrative order requiring public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The order came after North Carolina passed a bathroom law requiring transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate — drawing national backlash and causing the state to lose concerts and sporting events.

Business groups in Texas are already urging state leaders to not follow in North Carolina's footsteps. Yet Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Trump surrogate, has a called a "bathroom bill" one of his top priorities for next year.

Abbott, however, signaled he is taking a more cautious approach.

"This isn't an issue that should be determined without a full evaluation of all the information," Abbott said. "So we're in the information-gathering stage right now."

___

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Ohio man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria
Ohio man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria

An Ohio man is in federal custody, facing charges related to attempting to provide material support to terrorist group ISIS. FBI agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force on Wednesday arrested Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, at Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport. Alebbini was on his way to Syria to join ISIS fighters, the FBI said. Authorities said...
DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: UT police investigate incident near Dean Keeton, San Jacinto streets
DRIVE-BY SHOOTING: UT police investigate incident near Dean Keeton, San Jacinto streets

University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a shooter following reports of a shots fired on campus Thursday morning. Just after 10 a.m., in the vicinity of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets, a man in a white sedan fired a gun at an unidentified person that he apparently knew, University police said in an email sent to faculty and staff...
Smugglers caught with $380K worth of cocaine in pants, Customs officials say
Smugglers caught with $380K worth of cocaine in pants, Customs officials say

 Two men face smuggling charges after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers said they found pounds of cocaine hidden under the men’s pants during an inspection in New York. Officers found the men last week while checking passengers arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic...
NEW NOW: Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez praises Democrats who fought 'sanctuary cities' bill
NEW NOW: Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez praises Democrats who fought 'sanctuary cities' bill

Hours after the Texas House gave preliminary approval to a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez praised Democratic representatives for their efforts to quash the measure. “They truly listened to leaders in both law enforcement and communities of faith, as well as the people we are sworn to protect and serve...
Michael Flynn being investigated by DOD; was warned in 2014 about taking foreign payments
Michael Flynn being investigated by DOD; was warned in 2014 about taking foreign payments

The inspector general of the Department of Defense has opened an investigation into whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn reported money he received for a speaking appearance in Russia. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Maryland), released three documents Thursday that confirmed the investigation, ABC News is reporting. One of the letters Cummings...
More Stories