Marijuana and Gun Laws at Odds, Beer-to-go and More New Laws, New Mayor Johnson Ushers in New Era in Dallas

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, Dallas and the campaign trail.Points from Austin1. For years, Joshua Raines has been using marijuana illegally to treat the epilepsy and PTSD he developed during his five years in the Army. He's been eligible for a legal prescription of medical marijuana since 2015 but has resisted seeking one.If he did, the veteran and Purple Heart recipient would give up his right to purchase a gun."Why am I going to give up one of my rights because I found an organic plant that some are uncomfortable with?" he said. "I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to trade my rights like baseball cards."2. Texas beer drinkers will be able to buy six-packs while visiting their favorite breweries starting on Sept. 1. Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 1545, letting adults buy beer from craft breweries as they can in every other state in the union.The so-called "beer-to-go" bill was part of legislation that made sweeping changes to alcohol sales in the state, including expanding the number of liquor store permits an individual can hold. At the bill signing ceremony at Austin Beerworks on Saturday, the governor hoisted a German-style pils and declared, "Here is a toast to freedom itself in the Lone Star State."3. The governor also signed the budget into law Saturday. And in a break from the past, Abbott did not veto a single thing lawmakers' requested.The $250.7 million, two-year budget was seen as bloated by some staunch conservatives, but its main items were to increase spending on public schools and reduce school property taxes.4. Abbott also signed several bills that will further loosen Texas' permissive gun laws. Pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association said the session was very successful. Here are the places where and ways how it will soon be easier to carry guns in Texas.5. Several bills didn't pass muster with the governor, however. Most notably, a bill that would have made parents place children under 2 in rear-facing car seats. It was one of dozens of bills that Abbott vetoed late Saturday.Bob's breakdownBob Garrett is the Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. A fifth-generation Texan, he has covered state government and politics for decades. Here, Bob offers his take from the Capitol. Gov. Greg Abbott is selling how great a job the Legislature did this year to both in-state and national audiences. The governor's office produced slick videos after each of his big bill-signing ceremonies this month - on human trafficking, mental health, school finance, property tax constraints, Hurricane Harvey and "Beer to Go." Explained Abbott spokesman John Wittman: "We're just promoting all the great work that the governor and the Legislature did this session." Abbott has professed to have no national political ambitions, jesting that he can imagine no better job than Texas governor. However, the second-term Republican is spinning the legislative session's results as supposedly great gains for "freedom," and is getting some favorable notice in conservative publications such as the Washington Examiner. On Tuesday morning at 7:22 a.m., Abbott will appear on Fox News' Fox & Friends. Added Wittman, "You can expect some other national TV hits this week."  Continue reading...

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