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Inside Texas Politics: Bill would aim to ban hair discrimination in 2021

DeAndre Arnold was suspended from school in Mont Belvieu, Texas because he wears dreadlocks. Now, his dreadlocks could change state law.

DALLAS — This week on Inside Texas Politics, we'll get you caught up on what is happening around the state. A few of our major headlines: a Houston fight over dreadlocks is going statewide, why cities want a piece of the sales tax pie, and questions about whether delegates will be distributed in Texas on Super Tuesday.

Watch the full show below:

NEWSMAKER

By now, a lot of people have heard of DeAndre Arnold. DeAndre lives near Houston. He was suspended from the Barbers Hill Independent School District in Mont Belvieu, Texas because he wears dreadlocks. His story made national news. The 18-year-old was even invited to the Academy Awards. Now, his dreadlocks could change state law. 

RELATED: After black student suspended over dreadlocks, some Texas lawmakers want to ban hair discrimination

RELATED: Texas teen won't be able to walk at graduation unless he cuts his dreadlocks

State Rep. Rhetta Bowers, D-Garland, is a member of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Members of the caucus are working on a bill for the 2021 legislative session called the CROWN Act. That bill would ban discrimination based on hair textures and styles commonly associated with race. Bowers represents the eastern portion of Dallas County. She joined host Jason Whitely and Bud Kennedy from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to discuss the bill.

STATEWIDE

Every time merchandise is bought online, Texas collects a sales tax. There is a quiet debate underway over which city should get the sales tax. There’s also talk of changing state law, which could impact anyone who sells online. Ross Ramsey, co-founder and executive editor of the Texas Tribune, joined host Jason Whitely from Austin to discuss why cities want to change the law on online purchases. Ross and Jason also talked about how presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg sees an opening as a moderate candidate after former Vice President Joe Biden’s poor performance in Iowa. 

MY VOICE, MY OPINION

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson ran and won his election by saying the city would make decisions using data. However, Cydney Walker, from Coffee and Politics 101, argues that data might not bode well for people of color with this week’s My Voice, My Opinion.

NEWSMAKER 2

There is some confusion as we get closer to Super Tuesday on March 3. Democrats said delegates would not be distributed on election night. Then the Secretary of State said they would. 

RELATED: New Texas election process has Democrats expecting a delay in Super Tuesday delegate totals

Cliff Walker, the deputy executive director for the Texas Democratic Party, joined host Jason Whitely from Austin to discuss whether Texas voters will experience the same voting problems that voters had in Iowa.

FLASHPOINT

The New Hampshire Democratic Primary is Tuesday. Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have the momentum right now.  How viable is Sen. Elizabeth Warren moving forward? That question sparked the debate in Flashpoint. From the right, Wade Emmert, the former chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party. And from the left, Rich Hancock from VirtualNewsCenter.com.

ROUNDTABLE

Ross Ramsey, Bud Kennedy, and Berna Dean Steptoe, WFAA's political producer, joined host Jason Whitely to give perspective on Texas Democrats’ pulse after losing the special election in Fort Bend County and the caucus chaos in Iowa. 

RELATED: Iowa caucus: Democrats announce next steps to ensure results are accurate

RELATED: Iowa disaster has Nevada Dems 'evaluating' their caucus plan

RELATED: Michael Bloomberg campaigns in Houston a day after Republicans win big in Fort Bend County

Ross, Bud, Berna Dean, and Jason also weighed in on whether Texas Republicans have an easier road ahead to winning in November after the U.S. Senate vote on impeachment.

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