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Texas Deputy Solicitor General Matthew Frederick on Thursday, Feb. 6, defended the Electoral College system in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Frederick, arguing on behalf of Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, maintained that Texas’ method of appointing presidential electors is consistent with the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that “each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in Congress.”

As most other states do, Texas appoints presidential electors on a winner-takes-all basis to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in a statewide election.

The case, brought by the League of United Latin American Citizens and several individual plaintiffs, challenges the constitutionality of Texas’ system, asserting that the voting power of minorities is diluted under winner-takes-all in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 1st and 14th Amendments.

Study: Teens, seat belts

In 2018, 111 of the 264 teens killed in vehicle crashes in Texas were not wearing a seat belt, the Texas Department of Transportation reported on Feb. 4.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths among teenagers. One simple click could help change that, TxDOT says in its current “Teen Click It or Ticket” campaign.

“For teens, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage, but when they start driving, they aren’t thinking about how their lack of experience places them at greater risk of getting in a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Tragedy can strike in an instant, which is why we hope all parents, teachers and other influencers are urging teens to buckle up each and every time, no matter how short the trip may be.”

Hegar reports revenue

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Feb. 4 said state sales tax revenue totaled $3.08 billion in January, 8.9% more than reported in January 2019.

Growth in state sales tax revenue was led by receipts from the retail trade and information services sectors, while receipts from oil and gas mining were down from a year ago, Hegar said.

In addition, January retail trade sector collections were higher than a year ago in part because more Christmas shopping days fell in December. Collections also were slightly boosted by marketplace providers and remote sellers who first began collecting Texas sales taxes in October, Hegar added.