“A trial beginning today in San Antonio to determine the constitutionality of Texas’ 2013 redistricting maps is expected to set the stage for changes to state and congressional districts ahead of the 2018 election.” The judges “will not hear opening arguments but will go straight into hearing evidence from a number of plaintiffs, according to court records.” Evidence about the state House maps is expected first, followed by evidence about the congressional maps.” (San Antonio Express-News)
THE FIELD. Former Housing and Urban Development official Judith Canales (D) is considering a run against Rep. Will Hurd (R) and said possible redistricting won’t affect her decision. She served as a “administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs in the Department of Agriculture” and is “based in Eagle Pass, where she once served as assistant city manager. … Speculation also has focused on Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hulings, who attended Harvard Law School and served nearly two years as the deputy chief counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” (San Antonio Express-News)
THE STAKES. “It’s unclear when the panel will rule after this week’s hearing wraps up. But local election administrators have said they need clarity on district boundaries by October so they have enough time to prepare for the March primaries, send out voter registration cards and meet other electoral deadlines. If the court rules that the 2013 maps must be fixed ahead of the elections, it could set off a scramble to finalize a version of the state maps that are acceptable to the court without delaying the upcoming elections.” (Texas Tribune)
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"President Trump issued a series of executive orders Friday that could gut federal employee unions’ ability to negotiate with agency leaders and represent workers, as well as reduce the time it takes for an agency to fire people for poor performance or misconduct. Billed as the first step toward broad civil service reform, senior administration officials announced in a call with reporters on Friday afternoon three executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire poor performers and ordering harsher treatment of union representatives."
Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg."