Take 2: Texas state troopers controversial policy, Twitter accepts Elon Musk’s bid

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

State troopers waistline: Texas state troopers have to slim down by the end of the year, or they will face discipline under the Texas Department of Public Safety’s controversial policy made to enforce the limit of the size of officers’ waistlines. The slim-down standards were originally introduced to the troopers in 2019, resulting in a lawsuit, which was later dismissed, from the union who represents the troopers. After the plan was delayed due to COVID-19, it was resumed. To meet the mandate, male troopers must keep their waistline under 40 inches and women under 35 inches. Of the 4,000 officers on the force, 200 don’t meet the standard. They were given a fitness plan to record and share their progress with the department. Officers’ must also pass their Personal Fitness Test. Troopers are judged on a percentile scale tied to their performance in a number of physical tests. Troopers must perform in the 70th percentile or higher for their age group in order to pass.

Significance: Officers who don’t meet the requirements by the end of the year can be denied promotion and overtime or removed form enforcement duties, even if they pass all other required physical fitness tests. As a matter of fact, in the latest round of testing, most officers who failed the waist measurement passed the departments’ running, rowing and weightlifting tests, showing that state troopers with proven abilities may be discounted for their size. However, officers’ are willing to make the changes necessary. “I will drink no more than one diet soda each day,” one officer pledged in a fitness improvement plan. Another is planning to “drastically cut sugar intake in all its forms” and avoid fast food.

Elon Musk buys Twitter: On April 25, Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to take ownership of the social media platform and transform it into a private company. By Making it a private company, it eliminates all shareholders and places the control in his hands. Musk’s main problem with Twitter is that it is too restrictive. Under his ownership, he plans to pivot away from content removals and account bans. He also proposes to open up Twitter’s algorithm to public review so that users can understand how it makes decisions. 

Significance: Musk’s bid to take Twitter private has inspired unsolicited input from US lawmakers about its impact on the 2024 US presidential election. People are uncertain of what happens when the world’s richest man gains singular control over that influence. Many users are leaving out of fear that Musk is using it for his own benefit, but many are returning at the hope of a more fair platform. In a tweet on Monday, Musk said he hoped even his “worst critics” continued to use his platform “because this is what free speech means.”