5 things to know: Wednesday

5 things to know: Wednesday

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Civil political discourse seemingly a thing of the past

LUBBOCK, Texas - Political discourse is just about as American as baseball and apple pie but doing it in a civil manner has eroded. 

The ability to sit down and have a friendly conversation about politics is seemingly a thing of the past. 

"These days everyone has this constant stream of information coming at them from their smart phone," said Cole Shooter, a Lubbock attorney who is also involved in the Republican Party. "They're going on social media and seeing things that may or may not be true or they're in some sort of echo chamber to where everyone is pariting their ideas and the second that someone disagrees with it they can get some sort of adrenaline rush by defriending that person or just completely attacking them and they don't have to go face to face with these people."

Dan Epstein, a Texas Tech political science professor said it is easy to get out of hand.

"I think that in some ways as people have lost those linkages to those things that claim oh this is for everybody, it's not for some people and those other people are bad and as they replace those linkages with politics and especially parties, that I believe people have drawn away from the idea of a universal belonging identity," Epstein said.

Epstein and Shooter said with the deep political divides egged on by the anonymity of social media platforms, there is likely no end in sight to this disagreeable discourse plaguing America.


Group proposes hotel, motel tax for multi-purpose arena

LUBBOCK, Texas - A proposal is in the works to build an arena that can house dirt events. This comes just less than 2 months after the city voted to abandon the auditorium and coliseum and give it back to Texas Tech. 

Randy Jordan represents a grass roots group who is taking this initiative. 

"We envision a venue center that will have an arena that we seat we hope around 6,000 people," Jordan said. "We envision having an exhibit hall that would be compatible to have all kinds of events."

In order to fund it, Jordan's asking Lubbock County Commissioners to consider using hotel/motel taxes. The current tax sits at 13 percent. Jordan wants to increase it by 2 percent. He claimed that will raise $2.7 million a year, then that money would be used in a bond to fund the facility. 

John Osborne with the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance explained it is essentially asking the city to raise taxes for the 6 million visitors coming here each year, but that most competing cities are already at a 15 percent hotel/motel tax rate. 

The Commissioners Court will have to make a decision by August 20th for it to make the November ballot. 


Supreme Court rules in favor of Trump travel ban

LUBBOCK, Texas - The supreme court upholds President Trump's travel ban. It's a deeply divisive 5 to 4 decision which allows the policy to remain in place indefinitely. 

It upholds travel restrictions on five predominantly Muslim countries; Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Syria. It also includes North Korea and elected office-holders from Venezuela. 

"The proclamation, the travel ban allows for exceptions and waivers," said David Strange, immigration attorney with the Whittenburg law firm. "So a person from one of the targeted countries can nevertheless enter the United States through and exception or a waiver."

People who also previously had a Visa can continue to enter the country. The travel ban is indefinite, but the Trump administration indicated that if any of these countries meet the extreme vetting requirements it'll be removed from the list.


The Latest: In Oklahoma, Republicans ousted over teacher pay

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on primaries and runoffs in seven states (all times local):

It was a mixed bag for teachers running for political office in Oklahoma but a bad night for incumbent Republicans who voted against a tax package earlier this year to fund a teacher pay raise.

Several GOP incumbents who voted against the tax hikes were either ousted from office or pulled into a runoff against a fellow GOP opponent, a signal some teacher candidates say bodes well for them in November.

Of the 10 "no" voters in the House who were running for re-election, two were defeated outright on Tuesday night - Reps. Chuck Strohm of Jenks and Scott McEachin of Tulsa. Seven others were pulled into an Aug. 28 primary runoff against fellow Republicans.

Four other Republican incumbents lost on Tuesday, including one who lost to a teacher.


GOP immigration bill faces likely defeat in showdown vote
  
WASHINGTON (AP) - A far-reaching Republican immigration bill is careening toward likely House rejection.
  
A defeat would be a telling rebuff of GOP leaders, who crafted the measure as a compromise between the party's conservatives and moderates.
  
GOP lawmakers are already considering the alternative of passing legislation by week's end curbing the Trump administration's contentious separating of migrant families.
  
The House plans its showdown roll call on the Republican immigration bill for Wednesday. Democrats are set to vote solidly against it.
  
The measure would give some young immigrants a chance of citizenship, finance President Donald Trump's proposed border wall and bar the Homeland Security Department from taking children from immigrant families caught entering the U.S. illegally.
  
House Speaker Paul Ryan says the measure is "a great consensus bill" but Democrats call it "punitive."

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