- Tuesday December 17, 2017A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69.
- Tuesday December 17, 2017
- Jaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007 December 17, 2017The Jacksonville Jaguars are returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade thanks to a 45-7 drubbing of rival Houston on Sunday.Once the NFL's poster child for futility and a punchline for potential relocation, the Jaguars (10-4) are now one of the league's top turnaround stories.Blake Bortles threw three touchdowns passes, including […]
- Houston sports mascots come together for the holidays December 17, 2017The holidays bring a lot of family members together, but this year Houston sports mascots decided to link up.Orbit (Astros) posted a group photo with Clutch (Rockets), Foxy (Dynamo) and Toro (Texans)."I got the boys together to celebrate the holidays!" Orbit tweeted.It's been a busy season for all the mascots, but they all made time […]
- Harden, Paul lead Rockets to 13th straight victory December 17, 2017James Harden scored 31 points and Chris Paul had 25 in the Houston Rockets' 115-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night for their 13th straight victory.The winning streak is the Rockets' longest streak since a franchise-best 22 straight in 2007-08.Harden hit a step-back 3-pointer over Malcolm Brogdon and was fouled, giving Houston an […]
- Paul, Rockets rout Spurs for 12th straight victory December 16, 2017Chris Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the […]
- World Champion Astros sign reliever Hector Rondon to 2-year deal December 15, 2017The World Series champion Houston Astros have bolstered their bullpen by signing free agent relief pitcher Hector Rondon to a two-year deal.The Astros are making good on their commitment to re-shape their bullpen this offseason after the team signed righty reliever Joe Smith Thursday.Rondon has spent each of his five major league seasons with the […]
- MD Anderson honors legendary sports reporter Craig Sager with Craig's Court December 15, 2017MD Anderson Cancer Center just honored former patient and NBA sideline reporter, Craig Sager Sr.MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital named its pediatric basketball court "Craig's Court" in a ceremony Thursday honoring the legend. WATCH: Craig Sager speaks about cancer battle, family"Craig's Court" is where pediatric patients and young adults at MD Anderson spend time playing […]
- Joe Smith, champion Houston Astros agree to 2-year contract December 14, 2017Right-hander Joe Smith and the World Series champion Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year contract.The 33-year-old was 3-0 with one save and 71 strikeouts over 54 innings in 59 relief appearances this year for Toronto and Cleveland, which reacquired him for a pair of minor leaguers at the July 31 trade deadline. Smith pitched […]
- Richmond 2-year-old buys Tic Tacs for firefighters December 14, 2017A little boy's good deed for a group of Richmond firefighters is going viral! Two-and-a-half-year-old Dawson usually gets a little reward for good behavior during shopping trips with his mom, Summer Aldridge.Last Thursday, during a trip to the Walmart on FM 1640 in Richmond, he earned $5 to spend on a toy or snacks.But after […]
- Doping: Russia backs Winter Olympics athletes December 13, 2017Russian athletes wanting to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea will have the unanimous support of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the body said Tuesday.Last week Russia was banned from taking part in February's Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found the country had engaged in "systemic manipulation" of anti-doping rules, […]
- Chris Pezman introduced as University of Houston athletics director December 12, 2017Officials at the University of Houston introduced Chris Pezman as the school's new athletics director during a news conference Tuesday.Pezman, who served as the assistant athletics director for football operations at UH during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, comes back to Houston after spending four years as senior associate athletics director at the University of […]
- Jaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007 December 17, 2017
- Special Weather Statement December 17, 2017TXZ200-213-214-238-170515- Chambers TX-Liberty TX-Galveston TX-Harris TX- 1014 PM CST SAT DEC 16 2017 ...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS MOVING ACROSS GALVESTON...CHAMBERS...LIBERTY AND EASTERN HARRIS COUNTIES UNTIL 1115 PM CST... At 1014 PM CST, Doppler radar ...
- Lawsuit: man tricked into purchasing grocery store mired with structural defects, health code ... December 16, 2017GALVESTON – An owner of a San Leon grocery store claims he was swindled into buying the business. Faisal Artani's lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 15 in the Galveston County 212th District Court, faults La Mejor Groceries LLC and Juan Cordero for failing to inform Artani of any problems in ...
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast December 16, 2017HGXZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 160942. ZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 160941. ZFPHGX. Zone Forecast Product for Southeast Texas. National Weather Service Houston/Galveston TX. 341 AM CST Sat Dec 16 2017. TXZ211-162200-. Austin-. Including the cities of Bellville and Sealy. 341 AM CST Sat Dec 16 ...
- Football recruiting had twice the tales when it had two signing dates December 15, 2017... will sign just one national letter. So while the new system may result in some stories to remember, they will assume a different spin than the tale of Charles Alexander, a star running back at Galveston Ball who, as conference signing day approached in February 1975, was overwhelmed by indecision.
- Veteran Dallas officer to become Galveston police chief December 15, 201714, 2017 photo, Vernon Hale, deputy chief of police for the Dallas Police Department, receives applause after being confirmed as Galveston's new Police Chief by the city council, in Galveston, Texas. ... GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A veteran Dallas officer has been named police chief in Galveston.
- Veteran Dallas officer to become Galveston police chief December 15, 201714, 2017 photo, Vernon Hale, who was confirmed as Galveston's new Chief of Police, talks about his views on community policing in Galveston, Texas. (Jennifer Reynolds /The ... GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A veteran Dallas officer has been named police chief in Galveston. The Galveston City Council ...
- Veteran Dallas officer to become Galveston police chief December 15, 201714, 2017 photo, Vernon Hale, deputy chief of police for the Dallas Police Department, receives applause after being confirmed as Galveston's new Police Chief by the city council, in ... more. Photo: Jennifer ... GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A veteran Dallas officer has been named police chief in Galveston.
- Veteran Dallas officer to become Galveston police chief - KRISTV.com | Continuous News ... December 15, 2017The Galveston City Council on Thursday approved hiring Dallas Deputy Chief Vernon Hale. Hale will replace Galveston police Chief Richard Boyle, who's retiring. The 47-year-old Hale, who's supported community policing and led anti-narcotics operations, begins his new job on Jan. 2. He'll earn ...
- Galveston PD gives new details from investigators on boy found dead on beach December 15, 2017In a press release Thursday, Galveston Police reveal two new pieces of information, “Investigators believe sometime on or about Wednesday, October 18, the family members caring for the boy may have provided a plausible explanation for the child's whereabouts, such as, staying with family or friends ...
- Special Weather Statement December 17, 2017
Travel through time!
- COM TRUSTEES LEASE TRAINING SPACE TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS December 15, 2017College of the Mainland Trustees have approved a one-year, $54,264 lease with the Community Family Center at 2000 Texas Avenue in Texas City.
- Truman Taylor Insurance Joins Galveston Insurance Associates December 15, 2017Texas Senator Larry Taylor from Friendswood, president of Truman Taylor Insurance, is closing his agency after 55 years of operation and joining Galveston Insurance Associates, effective Dec. 15.
- City of Galveston December 15, 2017The City of Galveston will host the 6th Annual Santa Hustle 5K and Half Marathon on Sunday.
- H-GAC Transportation Policy Council December 15, 2017The Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council today voted unanimously to approve a set of amendments to the 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program and the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan.
- Galveston City Council December 15, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to appoint Council Member Dr. Craig Brown and Assistant City Manager Rick Beverlin to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council and Public Works Director Kyle Hockersmith and City Engineer Daniel Christodoss to the H-GAC Technical Advisory Committee.
- Galveston Welcomes Hale as Next Chief of Police December 15, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday officially welcomed Vernon Hale as the city's next chief of police.
- Santa Fe City Council December 15, 2017Santa Fe City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a collective bargaining agreement with the Santa Fe Police Officers' Association.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation December 14, 2017The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public's assistance in gathering information regarding the case of a boy whose body was found on a Galveston beach in October.
- Galveston City Council Workshop December 14, 2017Galveston City Council, during its workshop today, talked about an ordinance to add provisions for the regulation of substandard buildings in Chapter 10 of the city code.
- COM TRUSTEES LEASE TRAINING SPACE TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS December 15, 2017
- Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip he says stopped bomb plot 18 Dec 2017 02:57 NEWS10 ABC MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump Sunday to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin and the White House said. During the call, the two leaders’ …
- Here's How Trump Is Pitting Local Police Against the FBI 18 Dec 2017 02:57 Alternet Photo Credit: Screen Capture SNBC contributor Malcom Nance reportedly scared the “bejesus” out of viewers on Sunday when he pointed out that President Donald Trump was following the authoritarian playbook by pitting police against federal law enforcement. …
- Trump Is Really Trying to Set the World on Fire 18 Dec 2017 02:56 Alternet Photo Credit: By Vadim Sadovski / Shutterstock.com “I’ve just heard that my family home near Carpenteria is literally in flames at this moment,” a friend told me recently. She was particularly worried, she said, because “my mom has MS. She and my dad …
- Why Even the Idea That Neocon Senator Tom Cotton Might Run Trump’s CIA Is Scary 18 Dec 2017 02:56 Alternet Sen. Tom Cotton Photo Credit: By United States Congress [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons In a recent profile of Tom Cotton, the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Willick characterized the 40-year-old junior Republican senator from Arkansas as “hawkish and …
- Trump Set To Unveil New U.S. Security Strategy, Blast China 18 Dec 2017 02:46 Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump is set to present a new national security strategy in a speech on December 18 that will take a hard line with China, senior U.S. officials say. News agencies quoted U.S. officials as saying the speech, set for 2 p …
- Arizona Sen. John McCain likely to miss crucial tax vote next week,Trump confirms 18 Dec 2017 02:45 Tucson.com Sen. John McCain is returning home as he continues to fight the side effects of brain cancer treatment, President Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Sunday. McCain’s decision to return to Arizona to be with his family will likely mean that the …
- I’m not considering firing special counsel Mueller, says Donald Trump 18 Dec 2017 02:41 Indian Express By: AP | Washington | Updated: December 18, 2017 7:09 am US President Donald Trump. (File) President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the …
- Trump says no plan to fire special counsel Mueller 18 Dec 2017 02:35 The Santa Rosa Press Democrat WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia probe that has shadowed the White House for much of his initial …
- Trump denies he plans to fire Mueller 18 Dec 2017 02:29 BBC Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The president issued the denial to reporters after returning to the White House on Sunday evening President Donald Trump has denied he is planning to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating …
- Russia inquiry: Trump denies he plans to fire Robert Mueller 18 Dec 2017 02:24 BBC Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The president issued the denial to reporters after returning to the White House on Sunday evening President Donald Trump has denied he is planning to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating …
- Arrests along border dipped sharply under Trump, according to federal data
- Woman with criminal history accused of setting Galveston man on fire turns herself in
- Man’s body found near Seabrook highway
- Officer kills burglary suspect in shootout in La Marque
- Deputy shoots teenage driver after driver attempts to run deputies over
- Gorilla escapes barrier into hog exhibit at Houston Zoo, officials say
- Meet the man who took his daughter out of school early for deer season
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Texas churches need to know they can have guns
- In Texas, you probably won’t get welfare benefits; even if you qualify
- Texas reform advocates want to close all state-run youth lockups
- Man exposes himself at tanning salon, League City police search for his identity
- Free Press Summer Festival is changing its name to this
- Assault charge against Johnny Manziel dismissed
- How Texas curtailed traditional welfare without ending poverty
- Texas parents wait in limbo as policymakers struggle to save Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Harris County man wanted for 2006 murder arrested in Mexico
- Members of street gang linked to series of burglaries of Apple products, police say
- Arrest expected soon after Galveston man set on fire, police say
- How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agent’s Death
- Man accused of killing teen with whom he had inappropriate relationship appears in court
- Here’s what’s happening in Harris County now that the sheriff issues bail bonds
- Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halts state’s last execution of 2017
- Houston church threatened by gunman at Sunday’s service
- As Bayer and Monsanto push for merger, Texas farmers fear rising prices
- Civil Offenses: Those Calling for Political Civility Often Have the Least to Lose
- Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey
- 13-year-old robbery suspect shot in the head by apartment tenant, police say
- Man Mistaken for Burglar, Shot by Police then Shackled to Hospital Bed and Barred from Seeing Family
- Coyote attacks increasing: What you should know
- Postal worker accused of kidnapping, choking and fatally shooting co-worker girlfriend
- Medical marijuana in Texas: What you need to know
- Harris County deputy suspended after striking handcuffed man after chase
- Woman with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to display on truck
- Abbott calls White House’s latest disaster aid request “completely inadequate”
- Former United Airlines pilot pleads guilty to running prostitution ring
- Abbott, Patrick push back on TxDOT’s plans for financing new toll projects
- Trial dates set for ex-deputy, husband charged in John Hernandez’s death
- Cities race to annex land before new Texas law goes into effect Dec. 1
- A “glitch” on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s website asked for visitors’ Social Security numbers
- Greg Abbott Declares War on Moderate Republicans
- He thought he had a free court-appointed lawyer. Then he got a bill for $10,000
- Man fights to prove he’s alive after bank reports him as deceased
- Scam costs Friendswood man thousands of dollars
- At the Texas Capitol, victims of sexual harassment must fend for themselves
- Human Rights Lawyer on How Government is Complicit in Mexico’s Drug War
- ‘Sean Hannity Show’ fans smash Keurig brewers over pulled ads
- Another woman accuses former President George H.W. Bush of groping
- Student sent home from school bruised, claims PE teacher slammed him onto concrete
- Gov. Greg Abbott endorses primary challenger to state Rep. Sarah Davis
- Analysis: A media exec in Texas politics, not quite ready for prime time
- Police dogs trained to ignore marijuana
- Former HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence makes first court appearance
- Rent-to-own complaints spur investigation by federal agency
- HPD officer accused of tampering with evidence
- Joel Osteen impersonator breaches security at Los Angeles event
- Former ‘All My Children’ star arrested in Galveston
- Cornyn and Cruz under pressure over allegations in Alabama Senate race
- Family’s beloved pony shot to death in Liberty County
- Coastal officials say feds failing Harvey victims on short-term housing
- 22 Houston gang members indicted for multiple violent crimes, officials say
- The Faith-Tinged Fatalism of Greg Abbott’s Response to Texas’ Deadliest Mass Shooting
- Execution date set for Sugar Land man on death row
- Trump in Japan…
- Free of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes says she was victimized
- With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do
- Texas back in federal court over anti-“sanctuary cities” law
- Clara Harris granted parole for husband’s murder
- Coast Guard searching area near Freeport after boat catches fire, sinks
- Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez emerges as potential challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott
- With Trump Cuts, Obamacare Enrollment is a Volunteer Affair in Rural Texas
- Explosion at vodka distillery burns 3 in north Harris County
- Documents: Texas National Guard Installed Cellphone Spying Devices on Surveillance Planes
- Police increase reward for information in case of child’s body found on Galveston beach
- Meet Nueces County’s New DA, a Self-Professed ‘Mexican Biker Lawyer Covered in Tattoos’
- Leon Jacob, man accused in murder-for-hire plot, faces new charge
- The Brief: The deadliest mass shooting in Texas history
- Counterprotesters say white supremacists, not Russian Facebook ads, drew them to rally
- What we know about Texas church shooter
- Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable shot several times, officials say
- $500 million in Ike relief is still unspent. Will Texas do better after Harvey?
- Prosecutor asks for current medical standards in death penalty evaluations
- How to earn quick cash by flipping items
- Rick Perry ties fossil fuel use to sexual assault prevention
- Abbott Supports Removing Inaccurate Capitol Displays. Do Slavery-Denying Plaques Count?
- A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.
- 24 Texas Dairy Queens closing after franchise company files for bankruptcy
- USDA Rolls Back ‘Fair Practice’ Rule That Would’ve Protected Texas Chicken Farmers
- Trump nominating Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be U.S. attorney
- Fired in 2009, football coach Mike Leach still rages at Texas Tech and Texas law
- Texas Toxicologist Who Rejects Basic Science Appointed to EPA Science Board
- Abbott presses Congress for an extra $61 billion to rebuild after Harvey
- The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies
- Hurricane Harvey flood looters exposed
- U.S. Supreme Court examines investigatory funding in Texas death penalty case
- Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
- Kicking in doors and crushing credit: How a Texas-based retailer torments customers
- Harris County jailer accused of letting prisoner attack fellow inmate
- House Democrat: Abbott supports removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
- Legislators mull changing Texas law allowing criminal charges against rent-to-own customers
- Houston woman’s daughter stranded at sea with another woman for 5 months
- ‘Fail State’ Delves into the Shadowy World of For-Profit Colleges
- Grambling State student charged in double homicide
- How renting furniture in Texas can land you in jail
- ‘Wedding crasher’ says she never attacked guest, apologizes to bride and groom
- Something Yuuuge was Missing From Franklin Graham’s Waco Revival
- Family: Florida deputy caught on camera breaking into dying man’s home
- Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes
- In ‘The Second Coming of the KKK,’ a Timely Lesson in the History of American Hate
- US launches ‘most advanced’ stealth sub amid undersea rivalry
- Houston man identified as victim of barge explosion near Port Aransas, officials say
- Controversial Halloween decoration in Katy leads to threats against homeowner
- What does boycotting Israel have to do with Hurricane Harvey relief?
- Rep. Dawnna Dukes cleared of criminal charges, attorneys say
- $5,000 reward being offered in shooting that caused man to lose his legs
- Tornado leaves trail of damage in two Dickinson neighborhoods, NWS says
- Former HPD officer indicted in 2016 shooting of unarmed neighbor
- State Rep. Victoria Neave pleads no contest to June DWI charge
- Texas attorney general opens investigation Into Harvey debris removal companies
- Police: 3 Texas men arrested after shot fired at Richard Spencer protesters
- Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record
- Cornyn: Trump assured me more Harvey aid for Texas coming in November
- Dallas Fed CEO: Technology, not trade or immigration, is main reason for job loss
- Immigrant Workers in Texas Could Fill Farm Vacancies, but They’re Trapped in the Valley
- Texas Cities Embrace a Softer Approach to Pot Possession as State Reforms Stall
- This man robbed woman who was 9 months pregnant, shot her husband, authorities say
- Ex-KIPP Explore Academy staffer arrested after accusations of child indecency
- U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson walks back comments on sexual assault
- Who is this mystery man? Galveston woman begins search to find apparent veteran’s identity
- U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders face off in tax code debate
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s
- After Failing to Prop Up Coal in Texas, Rick Perry is Trying Again Nationwide
- Potential new murder confession delays Texas serial killer’s execution
- Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial
- How much are property taxes in Houston going down next year?
- Cruz presses Sessions on Trump administration’s “catch-and-release” policy
- Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
- Three teens charged with murder after missing teen’s body found
- Houston serial killer faces execution this week
- Insurance company accused of delayed response to storm claims
- Some Texas Republicans in Congress again outraised by challengers
- To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in “essay and rib contest”
- U.S. House passes hurricane relief bill after tense day for Texas delegation, Abbott
- It’s Time to End Austin’s Failed Experiment in Police Oversight, Activists Say
- Prosecutors drop 1 of 13 felony charges against Rep. Dawwna Dukes
- League City mayor hospitalized after heart attack
- ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show
- Husband, wife each lose leg after hit-and-run crash in Waller County
- Temporary bans placed on fishing near site of busted cap
- Texas man travels to Orlando to sexually assault 9-year-old girl, police say
- Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
- Days from execution, man convicted in prison guard’s murder insists on innocence
- Truck involved in multiple accidents leaves 1 dead, 1 injured in Texas City, police say
- $1M worth of iPads mostly unused after being purchased for local elections
- Woman caught on camera stomping small dog inside elevator
- How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent?
- The Case to End Assembly Line Justice for Poor People in Harris County
- Mother, son charged in murder-for-hire plot
- How scammers are using homeowners to defraud FEMA
- Police find man’s body stuffed in closet after victim ‘tortured’ to death
- In historic win, charters getting state funding for facilities for the first time
- Dreamers greet DACA renewal deadline with anxiety and unanswered questions
- Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial is delayed for a third time
- Judge blocks Texas secretary of state from giving voter information to Trump commission
- East Texas county sues drug companies, alleges role in opioid crisis
- North Korean workers prepare seafood for U.S. stores, restaurants
- 3 Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees indicted in assault cases
- Reward raised for man on Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list
- Texas business mogul Mark Cuban offers details for hypothetical 2020 presidential run
- Woman accused of killing taxi driver appears in court
- Texas death row inmate Duane Buck has sentence reduced to life after Supreme Court orders retrial
- Hearing in Paxton case to consider delaying trial for third time
- Appellate judges show concern over Harris County bail practices, court ruling
- 28 organizations that got money from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Pasadena drops appeal, will remain under federal oversight of election laws
- Almost 400,000 Texans’ insurance at risk after Congress fails to renew CHIP
- How Harris County’s federal bail lawsuit spreads beyond Houston
- HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns amid criticism of his travel on private planes
- Houston mayor calls off property tax hike after Abbott delivers $50 million
- ‘I’m just gonna shoot him if things go sideways,’ cop tells college student during traffic stop
- Hearing set for Friday in wrongful death suit in John Hernandez case
- Aide found half-naked after sexual contact with student, deputies say
- Thousands of Poor Texans Could Lose Health Care With Congress Distracted by ACA Repeal
- Slideshow: For southeast Texas, recovery after Harvey is slow
- Even Hurricane Harvey Can’t Temper GOP Hostility Toward Texas’ Big Cities
- Murder suspect arrested in 27-year-old ‘killer clown’ shooting married to victim’s husband
- Texas attorney general now accepting complaints on “sanctuary” jurisdictions
- Abbott: Houston has enough funding for Harvey recovery
- U.S. House passes tax breaks for victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria
- New state law seeks to reduce the number of child brides in Texas
- Texas can enforce more of ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Florida trooper accused of showing porn to child
- Town mayor facing assault charges
- 13-year-old accused in kidnapping and rape plot
- Hensarling to flood victims: ‘God’s telling you to move’
- Body Cam Policies in Texas Exacerbate a System Designed to Protect Police, Critics Say
- Army vet shown walking after claiming he couldn’t owes government $434K
- Analysis: X-factor in 2018’s Texas elections might be Harvey, not Donald
- Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas “sanctuary cities” law Friday
- Texas teens to be trained next year on police interactions
- Newlyweds say DJ robbed wedding cash
- How Galveston is offering a free beach weekend
- Lyft ride leads to hate crime charge for Houston man
- Florida woman makes ‘sexy’ plea to get power back after Hurricane Irma
- Report: Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes spent $51k on online psychic
- Report: Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
- Hospital workers in hot water over Snapchat video, picture calling newborns ‘mini Satans’
- How some see Texas as the “gold standard” against wrongful convictions
- New leak discovered on Battleship Texas
- Texas House Speaker Joe Straus calls for removal of “inaccurate” Confederate plaque
- Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey?
- Friendswood man accused of raking in nearly $2 million in decadelong pay-phone scheme
- Mayor Sylvester Turner has strong words for Red Cross after problems surface
- Trump Nominee to FEC Tried to Shred Texas’ Already-Weak Ethics Laws
- Dad in clown mask shot at while chasing daughter through neighborhood
- As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC
- Trooper fired for Sandra Bland stop: “My safety was in jeopardy.”
- Mysterious sea creature that washed up on Texas beach after Harvey identified
- Within days, this Austin company hopes to start legally growing marijuana
- Former officer accused of stealing $2,400 from dead man indicted on theft charges
- 135,000 gallons of sludge released into Galveston Bay after equipment failure, officials say
- Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike
- Ex-husband strangled Baytown realtor while children in next room, prosecutors say
- Pizza Hut manager threatened workers evacuating for Irma
- The Road to Huntsville
- Now you can carry any knife (almost) anywhere in Texas
- In beleaguered La Marque schools, Harvey stirs up old anxieties
- Flooded cars already being put up for sale
- Trump Nominates Lawyers from Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Group to be Texas Federal Judges
- Man survives being shot 16 times outside southwest Houston home
- Floridians jam highways to flee wrath of Hurricane Irma
- U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul again top contender to be Trump’s homeland security chief
- Experts: Much of Harvey-Related Air Pollution was Preventable
- Texans in Congress aim for united front ahead of long fight for Harvey aid
- Texas churches damaged during Harvey sue FEMA for federal funding
- Amazon wants to open $5 billion second HQ in North America
- New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it
- New texting while driving ban full of loopholes
- Woman urinates herself, yells racial slurs during DUI arrest, police say
- Police shoot, kill tiger running loose in neighborhood
- What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey
- House overwhelmingly passes $7.9 billion Harvey aid bill
- Selena’s family mourning the death of Houston relatives killed in Harvey flooding
- Trump ending immigration program that has impacted more than 120,000 in Texas
- Cinco Ranch flood victims demand buyout from federal government
- The Impossible City
- Our Lady of the Underground
- Texas officials see long road from Harvey for state transportation network
- Officials are starting to grapple with the costs of Harvey. Here’s what you should know today.
- Thanks to their State Rep, Friendswood Family Rushes to File Insurance Claim for their Flooded Home
- President Trump to visit Houston today to survey Harvey destruction
- As floodwaters continue to rise in Lake Jackson, crews come in to help with evacuees
- Residents being warned of people impersonating city of Houston, FEMA inspectors
- Renters find issues with flood-damaged units, property
- Crosby plant explosion highlights state efforts to block access to chemical information
- Where the government spends to keep people in flood-prone Houston neighborhoods
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: No special session needed for Harvey aid
- Five days after Harvey, here’s where things stand in Texas
- Harvey brings catastrophic flooding to Houston; 5 reported dead
- Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Why Houston isn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey
- Judge Emmett, Mayor Turner say ignore ‘rumors’ about Hurricane Harvey
- Galveston Island prepares for Harvey’s impact
- Former Galveston ISD teacher accused of having sex with high school student
- Galveston deputy accused of assaulting girlfriend, investigators say
- In San Antonio, Cops Punch Down
- The Brief: Battle lines are (curiously) drawn in Texas’ redistricting fight
- Analysis: Firing the opening shots in the 2018 GOP primaries
- As Houston plots a sustainable path forward, it’s leaving this neighborhood behind
- Harris County emergency officials preparing for tropical system Harvey
- Federal court puts hold on Houston ordinance aimed at homeless camps
- Puppy attacked by pet store owner’s dog
- Mother left kids in hot car while she drank at bar, police say
- Angela Paxton, Texas attorney general’s wife, eyes Texas Senate run
- US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese firms over North Korea
- Parents’ plea for help in finding teenage couple missing for 48 hours
- 2 women claim they were groped by local massage therapist
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticizes Six Flags’ removal of Confederate flag
- El Paso City Council votes down city ID program
- League City Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Online Solicitation of a non-existent Minor
- UT-Austin removing Confederate statues in the middle of the night
- Galveston County Deputies Prevent Jumper on Bridge at 646 & I-45
- Dickinson Cops use Facebook to Catch a Burglar Named Jesus
- Evading Theft Suspects Taken Into Custody After Causing Accident in League City
- Father faces charges after he and missing boy found at hotel, authorities say
- Confederate Monument Protest Draws Hundreds in Houston
- Former HPD officer among those arrested in prostitution sting
- Mother charged with murder after child ejected during drunken driving crash
- Over 250 sex buyers, traffickers arrested on prostitution charges during sting
- Remember the Alamo (Differently)
- Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices
- With Supreme Court appeal, Texas wants to keep congressional map intact
- Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas
- With Trump’s Infrastructure Plan, Rural Texas Could be Left in Disrepair
- Body found in Bayou Vista while searching for woman who disappeared under ‘suspicious circumstances’
- South Florida woman accused of DUI with 3-year-old unbuckled in back seat
- Deputies: Mother tells son to buy her drugs
- HPD officer relieved of duty after DWI charge, officials say
- Abbott: Removing Confederate monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past”
- Prosecution rests at trial of woman accused in 2012 death of husband
- Confederate statue controversy hits Houston
- Selena’s brother taken into custody after landing on most wanted list
- In special session rubble, spotlight shines bright on Straus
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- Fisherman hooks gator in Buffalo Bayou
- Squatters or scam victims? Homeowner finds another family living in home
- Charges sought against those who toppled Confederate statue
- Houston group asks mayor to remove Confederate statue from downtown park
- Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map
- Texas to receive millions in federal funding for wildlife conservation projects
- How a total solar eclipse created France, Italy and Germany
- Deputies Go Unpunished for Invasive Cavity Search on Houston Roadside
- Florida man gets 6 years for firing gun during strip club selfie
- Map details where Texas hate groups are in 2017
- Man blames ‘hookah-smoking caterpillar’ for wrecking liquor store, police say
- ‘I feel like I was raped,’ woman says of invasive roadside strip search
- New Mexico Bandidos members held in Texas in firearms case
- Man, 57, commits suicide after shooting juveniles during road-rage incident, police say
- Mother charged with child abandonment after newborn found in flower bed
- President Trump condemns KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘thugs’
- Woman hit, killed by Houston garbage truck while crossing street
- Legislature advances annexation bill to Gov. Abbott
- 2 Teens Who Attacked Man Shot After Auto Accident in Galveston
- White nationalist rally, counter protest planned at Texas A&M on Sept. 11
- Hundreds Clash over Confederate Monument in San Antonio
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- Carjacking suspect accused of shooting father multiple times sentenced to 171 months in prison
- 4 arrested in connection with 2 deadly shootings in Montgomery County
- 1 drowns, 2 injured in incident at San Luis Pass
- 1 arrested, 1 on the run in linked cases of Spring nurse found dead, missing UH student
- Near Drowning at Bacliff Chase Park Pool
- Drunk Wrong Way Driver Arrested in Dickinson
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- Rare pink dolphin spotted in Louisiana waterway
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- Amazon sells out of toilet paper with Trump’s tweets
- Teen home invasion suspect killed, man on the run in Baytown
- Houston man last seen throwing life jacket to daughter before going underwater at Canyon Lake
- Deadly dare: 8-year-old girl dies after drinking boiling water
- 2nd Man In Robbery Spree Gets 20 Years Prison
- Oklahoma to seek death penalty against William Reese
- 4 officers taken to hospital after 2 patrol units run into each other, police say
- STATE LEGISLATURE PUTTING THE BRAKES ON TEXAS CITY ANNEXING SAN LEON WITHOUT SAN LEON RESIDENTS APPROVAL:
- 2 men charged in teen girl’s shooting death in Bacliff
- Weed company buys town in hopes of creating pot-friendly tourist destination
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls city governments the source of “all our problems in America”
- Man, 25, arrested for DWI after crashing into patrol car, deputies say
- Texas man snags “bucket list” 12-foot tiger shark off Padre Island
- Chauna Thompson, deputy terminated in wake of Denny’s choking death, appeals firing
- Humble ISD police officer accused of child pornography
- Angry woman robs cellphone store with large gun
- Dalia Dippolito discusses prison break in recorded jail call after recent conviction
- Tiny mermaid-painted shed drifted 200 miles in Gulf of Mexico
- Uber ride turns into nightmare for recent Texas A&M graduate
- ‘Sugar daddy’ banned from beaches after handing out provocative cards
- Business owners fight against crime in Chinatown
- 14-year-old girl clocked driving 107 mph during chase in Montgomery County
- Fight outside Spire Nightclub ends in crash, shooting
- When school’s out, rural Texas towns struggle to feed their hungry kids
- Guided bus tour of Houston’s strip clubs, massage parlors sheds light on human-trafficking business
- NASA looking to hire officer to protect earth from alien harm
- In Texas House, property tax proposals range from minor tweaks to abolishment
- Man exposes himself to woman outside fitness center, police say
- Man accused of robbing people who post items on buy, sell sites
- What it means for Texas colleges if Trump targets affirmative action
- ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl sentenced for stealing mother’s car, using her credit cards
- President Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia
- Wife shoots, kills husband after finding him with another woman, police say
- Humble restaurant employees accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls
- Family reunited with dog 3+ years after it went missing
- Angleton animal sanctuary facing fines after filing lawsuit
- Woman finds evidence bag full of marijuana at neighborhood park
- State Rep. Dawnna Dukes declines deal from Travis County District Attorney
- Report: Texas could lose billions if new immigration enforcement law stands
- Texas’ War on Local Control is Part of National Trend
- Wife of accused gunman dies after double shooting that led to innocent woman’s death
- ‘Ghost forests’ appearing from Canada to Texas
- Man charged after leaving crash that left motorcycle rider in critical condition, police say
- Flight in Vegas delayed by naked passenger, officials say
- Galveston’s Pleasure Pier ride Revolution shut down temporarily
- How often do shark attacks happen in Texas waters?
- Naked bank robbery suspect tosses stolen money
- Harris County officials continue crackdown on unlicensed after-hour bars
- Wife: Disagreement over Trump contributed to divorce from state attorney
- Kingwood native torches 8 cars after wedding called off, police say
- HPD officer hit by car, plunges 16 feet off Southwest Freeway
- Texas executes man who claimed his lawyers committed fraud
- Woman arrested on suspicion of posting ‘revenge porn’ online
- Statue honoring Alvin’s hometown hero, Nolan Ryan, topples
- Man arrested after showing porn to child at supermarket, authorities say
- Underage woman claims she was raped after being served at Houston-area restaurant
- The Woodlands teens accused of Florida crime spree after posting Snapchat videos
- La Marque residents asked to boil water after order issued
- Man who fled to Mexico after murder charge 21 years ago arrested trying to re-enter US
- Texas Senate passes bill to allow people to vote on whether a city can annex them
- Spring man caught filming up skirts arrested on child porn, invasive photography charges
- One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested, police say
- Despite Knowledge of Climate Change in 1970s, Texas Utility Companies Funded Climate Denial
- Venus Williams accuses 78-year-old man killed in crash of not wearing seat belt
- Scammers target college students eager for scholarship money
- Woman accused of kidnapping baby while hitchhiking
- Every Texan in the U.S. House just voted for sanctions against Russia
- Man accused of producing child pornography
- Persistence pays off for rural Texans besieged by sky-high power prices
- Man accused of beating dog with crow bar
- 2 charged with prostitution after offering sex acts to undercover constables, authorities say
- Senate votes to start debate on health care bill
- Harris County pastor charged with sexual abuse of a child
- Trump’s New Immigration Lockup Draws Local Opposition in Conroe
- Set for execution, death row inmate alleges legal fraud in hopes of a stay
- Concerns raised over new Harris County bail system
- Crooks return to rob dentist office after police leave
- 2 throw drugs out window during high-speed chase, police say
- 5 arrested after drugs, gun, money seized from Magnolia home
- 15 years later, Clara Harris remains in state prison for husband’s murder
- Woman, 91, kicked out of Sunnyside home
- Congressman: If female GOP senators were South Texas men, I’d challenge them to a duel
- Turning Tail
- Death toll in San Antonio immigrant-smuggling case rises to 10
- Ex-Mexican drug cartel leader gets 30 years in US prison
- Kushner’s statement on Russia: What to know
- Analysis: In special session, Texas Senate’s the hare, House is the tortoise
- Texas Senate panel targets mail-in ballot fraud after high-profile case
- Drunk Driver Sentenced to 50 Years for Fatal Crash
- Tanker Crew Rescues 5 In Capsized Boat
- Man Sentenced to 45 Years on Drug Charges
- After Texas “human trafficking crime,” Lt. Gov. Patrick lauds sanctuary city law
- Charges possible in disturbing Florida drowning case
- Texas Senate committee OKs bill to outlaw city cellphone restrictions
- Texas Senate panel approves teacher bonuses, retirement benefits
- Carjacking suspect opens fire on officer during chase in SW Houston
- Man, 2 children killed in crash in NE Houston
- Katy woman arrested for DWI after man follows, records her erratic driving
- Mickey Mouse mask-wearing burglar caught on camera breaking into 2 stores
- Houston pastor Victoria Osteen says she does not endorse skin care product
- Senate committee passes bills on private school choice and school finance study
- Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control
- Woman, 93, dragged during carjacking at church, police say
- Trans Texans, Advocates Swarm Texas Capitol to Oppose ‘Bathroom Bills’ (Again)
- Man admits to killing 14-year-old half-brother, authorities say
- Monkey on the loose in south Houston after attacking girl, police say
- ‘Million Dollar Ho’ arrested in Florida prostitution sting
- Turner reopens bids for recycling contract to 4 companies
- District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects
- Houston woman charged in connection with ransom scheme
- Pastor in The Woodlands accused of prostitution
- Academy Sports + Outdoors laying off 100 employees
- 1 dead after shooting at NW Harris County apartments
- Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador
- Conroe horse-riding trainer accused of sexually assaulting child
- Environmental groups sue EPA over lax Texas air pollution permits
- Abbott adds school finance, retired teacher benefits to special session
- Bodycam allegedly shows Baltimore cop planting drugs
- Key events in OJ Simpson’s fall from sports hero, movie star
- Heat is part of life at Texas prisons, but federal judge orders one to cool it
- Growing health trend bypasses doctors’ offices for diagnosis, treatment
- HPD chief answers questions about Josue Flores murder case
- Sarah Davis wants more information about “misconduct” at TABC
- Texas Bill Would Revoke Medical License of Doctors Who Perform Abortions
- Senate gives early OK to must-pass “sunset” legislation
- Lead singer of The Suffers featured in national campaign
- Man wanted in 2016 fraud case
- Couple arrested for second time for impersonating Adele’s manager, police say
- Mexico says electronic device checks on US flights begin
- Dancing with Denial
- Teen shot at high school party at AirBNB house in southwest Houston
- Toll road drivers getting fed up with erroneous charges
- Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending
- Baby dies after being infected with cold sore virus through kiss, parents say
- 24 firearms stolen after Texian Firearms robbed twice in one day
- Texas Republicans in Congress process health care bill’s collapse
- Florida man arrested after reporting cocaine stolen, deputies say
- Teens arrested after Facebook Live video of 23-year-old woman’s assault
- Girl, 17, fires shot at intruder while chasing him out of her house
- Police: Aunt charged after leaving young neice, nephew in hot car outside grocery store
- Texas Senate moves to fast-track special session agenda
- President Trump: ‘Let Obamacare fail’
- Why the murder charge against the Texas police officer who killed Jordan Edwards is rare
- What happens if Congress fails to repeal Obamacare?
- Four Texas Republicans in Congress were just outraised by Democratic challengers
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- Three years ago on this sub: Obama and net neutrality December 16, 2017https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/23u53v/obama_pledges_net_neutrality_laws_if_elected/ And that is just the start. I went through more than a few threads about Obama during his time as president here and people had no problem being critical of the president then. Another one: https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/1svj66/there_are_too_many_leaders_who_claim_barack_obama/ and so many more. So when people tell you that attacking trump makes you a shill, or say […]/u/The-Straight-Story
- Terry Crews on Twitter: "LAPD task force detectives let me know these people don’t play fair. There are a lot of secrets to protect, and they will do anything to keep them. The town is compromised. But me, and my team, are not. If I were to have a timely “accident” — you know where to look." December 16, 2017submitted by /u/Orangutan [link] [comments]/u/Orangutan
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Author Archives: Gus Bova
On the night of November 18, two Border Patrol agents lay badly wounded at the bottom of a 14-foot deep culvert near Van Horn, Texas. Thirty-six-year-old El Pasoan Rogelio Martinez died hours later from his injuries. Perhaps, as right-wing news outlets have trumpeted, the pair was attacked by rock-wielding foreign drug smugglers, or maybe, as at least two government officials have suggested, they fell by accident into the drainage tunnel. Federal investigators insist they don’t yet know what occurred that night, but neither lack of facts nor prudence could dissuade the president and top Texas Republicans from seizing on this tragedy for political advantage.
“Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!,” tweeted President Donald Trump on the evening of November 19. Trump also stated later that the surviving agent had been “badly beaten.”
That morning, the virulently anti-immigrant site Breitbart had claimed to break the story with a story headlined, “Border Patrol Agent Killed, Another in Serious Condition in Texas.” The story quoted Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the union for Border Patrol agents — which is not a part of the government agency. A few sentences below the unambiguous headline, the Breitbart authors acknowledged that “details on the matter are scarce.”
A few hours later, Texas Senator Ted Cruz seemed to echo the Breitbart story, announcing that the agent had been “killed” and labeling the incident “a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them.” (When asked by reporters about gun control in the wake of the Sutherland Springs shooting, Cruz replied, “We don’t need politics right now.”)
Despite the murkiness of the situation, neither Trump nor Cruz apparently saw a need to defer to federal investigators or wait to see whether a wall would have made any difference.
In one version of events, the agents were savagely beaten with stones, likely by undocumented drug smugglers. “What we know is that Border Patrol Agent Rogilio [sic] Martinez appears to have been ambushed by a group of illegal aliens whom he was tracking,” said Judd, the Border Patrol union official, in a second Breitbart story titled “Illegal Aliens Killed Border Agent by Crushing in His Skull with Rocks, Says NBPC.” Judd continued: “Our agents’ reports from the ground say that he was struck in the head multiple times with a rock or rocks.” That story immediately took off as virtual fact in the right-wing media sphere.
But that tale hasn’t been backed by federal or county officials, and full autopsy results are still pending. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Border Patrol’s parent agency, said in a November 19 statement that the agents were “responding to activity” and were “injured.” The FBI, which heads the investigation, has only said it’s investigating a “potential assault.”
Moreover, Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo, who was on the scene that night and is working with the FBI task force, told the Dallas Morning News on November 20 that the evidence he saw was “very consistent with a fall.” He later added it was “very premature” to call the incident an attack or ambush. An anonymous federal official also told the Associated Press that Martinez may have fallen.
Top Texas Republicans, however, weren’t going to let ambiguity get in the way of a good story. The state’s senior U.S. senator, John Cornyn, was marginally more measured than Cruz, telling a radio interviewer that “at least preliminarily” the incident was an “ambush by drug traffickers,” though he added that the details were unconfirmed. Governor Greg Abbott, meanwhile, went even further, introducing the idea that “murder” had occurred. In a press release, he announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of those responsible for Martinez’s “murder,” which Breitbart quickly turned into a story: “Texas Governor Offers $20,000 for Info on ‘Murder’ of Border Patrol Agent.”
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton joined in as well, both sharing inflammatory articles published shortly after the incident. Patrick selected a Fox News article headlined: “Border agent killed, partner injured by illegal immigrants using rocks, report says.” The supposed “report,” the reader finds, is just a quote from a Border Patrol union official given to another media outlet. Paxton chose Breitbart as his own source.
It’s entirely possible that the Breitbart version of events will turn out to be true, but more than a week after the incident became public, the FBI has yet to release any additional information. Jeanette Harper, a spokesperson for the agency’s El Paso field office, told the Observer on Tuesday that the agency is currently looking into tips. She said it would likely be a while before they could say anything further.
The post How Breitbart, Trump and Texas Politicians Spun a Tale out of a Border Patrol Agent’s Death appeared first on The Texas Observer.
On August 31, as Houstonians were being rescued from their homes amid flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo reluctantly issued a memo to his 5,200 officers allowing them to ask about immigration status during routine stops. The day before, a federal judge had slammed the brakes on much of Texas’ embattled “sanctuary cities” ban, a law that Acevedo has criticized as interfering with public safety. But the judge greenlighted a provision making it illegal for police chiefs to bar officers from asking about immigration status.
“Right in the middle of our Harvey response, we had to actually send out policy and everything to make sure we were compliant with the law,” Acevedo told the Observer.
Though news of the policy change was lost in the chaos of the storm, and the law’s future remains tied up in the courts, SB 4 quietly upended a progressive policing practice in Texas’ largest city. The San Antonio Police Department was also forced to weaken its pro-immigrant stance.
HPD is the fifth-largest police department in the nation, and Houston is home to an estimated 575,000 undocumented immigrants. Acevedo said the department’s old rule was to only ask about immigration status if there was a direct “nexus to a crime that’s being committed.” He gave an example: If an officer was pursuing a van and saw “30 people pile out,” she might suspect human smuggling and have cause to ask whether the individuals were undocumented. Otherwise, he said officers were forbidden from making immigration inquiries in order to prevent racial profiling and encourage witnesses of crime to come forward.
The department’s new policy broadly allows cops to ask about immigration status, with some boundaries. Officers can’t stop someone or extend detention solely to ask about a person’s immigration status. If an officer learns that someone is undocumented, the policy states, “he may only do one thing: share this information with ICE or other local entities.” The policy makes clear that no one is obligated to answer such questions, and cops cannot hold someone for refusing.
Acevedo is also requiring his officers to file an incident report every time they ask about status. But, as of last week, he said he hadn’t reviewed the data to determine whether more officers are asking. The Observer has requested the records under Texas open records law.
Acevedo thinks most of his officers will have no interest in targeting immigrants. “Will there be some outliers out there that start engaging in trying to be ICE agents? I’m not naive: Of course there’ll be somebody out there,” Acevedo said. “But if they engage in racial profiling or unconstitutional policing, they’re gonna end up being held accountable.”
The San Antonio Police Department also had to rewrite its policy in the wake of the August 30 ruling, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The department previously had a blanket prohibition on asking about immigration status, which it softened to the following: “The enforcement priorities of this department are to protect the public safety, and the priorities do not include asking any person for proof of citizenship or legal residency.”
A spokesperson for SAPD told the Observer that the department isn’t keeping statistics on immigration inquiries.
Other police departments have made only minor tweaks, if any, to their department policies because of SB 4. The Austin Police Department didn’t prohibit status inquires before SB 4, but the department did release new guidance to officers in late September. In a press conference, Chief Brian Manley announced that officers would be required to document each time they ask about immigration status. A city of Dallas spokesperson said in September the department was “preparing training materials and updating department policy to reflect the passage of SB 4,” which she said would be released to the media when finalized. (The city didn’t return multiple requests for an update.)
Officials with the cities of El Paso and El Cenizo, both plaintiffs in the lawsuit against SB 4, told the Observer they haven’t had to change their policies.
The “sanctuary cities” ban goes back to court on November 7 in New Orleans, where the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the entire law.
The post The ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban Has Already Reshaped Some Police Department Policies appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Who’s Defending Texas’ Confederate Monuments?
Meet the leader of the rifle-wielding, Confederate-flag toting group that calls itself “protectors of all things Texas.”
Robert Beverly, 57, is a jack of many trades. He’s an artist, an Air Force veteran and president of the brevity-challenged outfit This Is Texas Freedom Force, a group that made waves this summer defending Confederate monuments from protesters in major Texas cities.
This Is Texas Freedom Force is a ragtag coalition of rifle-toting ex-military sorts and other mostly white Texans who favor the Dixie flag and revisionist histories of the Civil War. Its official motto: “Protectors of all things Texas.” Launched in May, the group claims to have an online membership of about 5,000.
In June, the group’s inaugural event drew about 1,000 people to Houston to counter “anti-fascists” who threatened to tear down a statue of Sam Houston. The only problem: The threat was a hoax perpetrated by a fake Twitter account, and the well-armed “#StandWithSam” battalion squared off with an army of none. Even so, Beverly doesn’t regret the action.
“I liked it because I hadn’t felt that patriotism in a very long time,” he told the Observer. “It was different than Trump-getting-into-office patriotism; this was Texas patriots coming together for the first time.”
In the ’80s and ’90s, Beverly was active in Republican politics in Arlington, but he grew disenchanted with the GOP and left for fringier pastures. About six years ago, he joined the Texas State Militia — a hyper-libertarian group with paramilitary ambitions — and in 2014, he broke off to form his own outfit, the “Phoenix Unit.”
At the Houston protest, Beverly brought along the Phoenix Unit’s “mobile command center” — a large trailer for transporting weapons and medical supplies. His apparent security know-how earned him the invitation to lead This Is Texas Freedom Force. Since then, the group has cropped up in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas to defend Confederate monuments and patrol anti-Trump demonstrations.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups, hasn’t analyzed This Is Texas Freedom Force, but it has closely followed the “patriot” movement and militias for years.
Historically, such groups increase under Democratic presidents and fade away under Republican ones, but that trend is breaking under Trump, said Ryan Lenz, an analyst with SPLC. “These groups don’t seem to feel their job is any less now,” he said. “In fact, they’ve chosen to stay around to provide security for the ascendant alt-right or extremist organizations across the country.”
In early July, This Is Texas Freedom Force showed up in Austin to guard a “1776 Freedom March” held by the alt-right “Proud Boys.” The next day they policed an “impeachment march” to ensure the anti-Trump gathering did not “get out of hand,” according to the group’s website.
A month later, the group filled half of San Antonio’s Travis Park with Confederate flag-waving supporters, many wielding semi-automatic rifles, to oppose the proposed removal of the park’s 40-foot Confederate monument. (The city removed it a few weeks later.)
The group gravitates toward the “Lost Cause” theory of the Confederacy, which erroneously holds that slavery was a minor factor in the Civil War.
“The whole crux of it was Lincoln didn’t want to lose [tax dollars],” said Beverly. “Slavery then came in as a political issue after the war was started.”
Beverly insists his cause is not racist. The group has a few black and Latino members, and on social media, it regularly denounces white nationalists and forbids them from attending its events. But he has a way of veering off message.
In August, he told the San Antonio Current he thinks black people are “too damn lazy,” “on drugs” and “don’t want to work.” (Beverly told the Observer that his comments were directed at young people of all races, not just black people).
Nationally, the SPLC categorizes at least one militia group — the III% Security Force — as an Islamophobic hate group. Several members of This Is Texas Freedom Force also belong to III%.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of cross-pollination on the radical right,” said Lenz. “One thing we’ve seen is the militia movement taking on a larger presence in the anti-Muslim world.”
Beverly insists This Is Texas Freedom Force isn’t “one of those fringe groups.”
“I’m not on some mission to destroy the world,” he said. “I just want to hang on to what I have.”
Carolina Ramirez had spent three weeks locked up in a prison-like detention center north of Houston when she discovered she was pregnant. It had taken the 23-year-old two months to travel from El Salvador to Texas, a difficult journey during which her smuggler raped her multiple times. Now, she was carrying his child. Ramirez desperately wanted out. Her mental health was deteriorating, and she wasn’t ready for an impending court date. But it would be six months before she was finally released.
Documents obtained by the Observer show Ramirez, who requested a pseudonym, repeatedly asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for parole on medical grounds so she could stay with family in Missouri as her case advanced. Federal policy encourages release of pregnant women and her attorney, Raul Tovar, was sure officials would let her go. Instead, immigration agents kept Ramirez locked up in the Joe Corley Detention Center, a for-profit facility that’s been the site of a hunger strike and rape allegations. Advocates say Ramirez’s story is part of a troubling trend of prolonged detention of pregnant women in ICE custody.
In September, seven organizations filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accusing the agency of “failure to abide by its own policy against detaining pregnant women.” The complaint includes stories from 10 pregnant women who were locked up in recent months, including Ramirez. The women reported bad food, nausea, vomiting, depression and inability to get specialized care. In the last year, at least five women have miscarried in detention, according to the Huffington Post.
Multiple Obama-era ICE directives, the latest in 2016, prohibit detaining pregnant women absent “extraordinary circumstances” due to their “particular needs and vulnerabilities.” Under that guidance, pregnant women who arrived at the border were typically assigned a court date and released within days. But advocates say these directives are increasingly ignored under Trump.
“Suddenly, starting in July or August, we started to hear of more and more cases [of pregnant women in detention],” said Katharina Obser of the Women’s Refugee Commission, a national organization. And some advocates noted a change as early as last November.
Jennifer Elzea, an ICE spokesperson, wouldn’t confirm whether Obama’s 2016 directive is still in effect, saying release decisions are made based on the “individual facts and circumstances of the case.” Elzea also provided statistics: 525 pregnant women were detained since October of last year, with 33 in detention as of September 13. Elzea said she couldn’t provide complete figures for the previous year and didn’t provide a month-by-month breakdown, making it impossible to identify a trend.
Ramirez spent six months of her pregnancy locked up in the Joe Corley Detention Center, a 1,500-bed facility surrounded by razor-wire fencing on a dead-end road in Conroe. Until two years ago, it was an all-male facility. Owned and operated by the for-profit prison corporation GEO Group, the center holds detainees at three levels of security concern, including men who are violent offenders. (The groups are housed separately according to gender and security level, said Houston ICE spokesperson Gregory Palmore.)
In 2014, more than 180 detainees took part in a hunger strike at the facility over poor food and telephone access, according to an internal ICE review. A Salvadoran man has alleged he was raped twice at the facility in late 2013 and called “stupid” by an ICE official when he reported it. And, in April 2016, the Women’s Refugee Commission toured the facility and criticized conditions in a report released last week.
In that jail-like setting, Ramirez discovered on February 17 that she was pregnant, records show. Ramirez requested to be released by ICE, but the agency said she had to pass an initial screening first. Ramirez failed the interview in late February, but her attorney challenged the results, and two months later, the decision was reversed without explanation. Meanwhile, she stopped eating, began sleeping excessively and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, according to medical records.
When her attorney asked ICE to release Ramirez again in early May, the government refused for a new reason: Ramirez had entered the country illegally before.
In 2014, Ramirez had come to the U.S. without documentation and was detained in Cameron County. While in detention, according to her parole request, she learned her mother had suddenly died back home, leaving her 12-year-old niece with no one to care for her. Ramirez abandoned her legal case and returned to El Salvador to take care of her niece, who then migrated to Missouri a year later. Ramirez’s father and five siblings all live in Missouri, and being alone in El Salvador left her an easy target for the gangs, said Tovar.
In late April, ICE surprised Tovar by saying they couldn’t release Ramirez because of her previous entry. Again, he disputed the decision, and after another two months, Ramirez was released in July without explanation — when she was more than seven months pregnant.
In total, Ramirez’ detention likely cost U.S. taxpayers about $22,000.
Now, Ramirez is finally with her family in Missouri, and Tovar said they’re working to find her a new lawyer in the area. She’s due to give birth any day now.
The post ICE Detained a Pregnant Rape Survivor for Six Months, Records Show appeared first on The Texas Observer.
After a white supremacist allegedly drove a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville last Saturday, killing activist Heather Heyer, calls for the removal of Confederate statues have spiked across the country — and Texas is no exception.
Protesters clashed in San Antonio last weekend, and demonstrations are planned this Saturday in Dallas and Houston. Over the past week, officials in five of the state’s biggest cities took steps toward removing or renaming Confederate memorials.
Texas hosts 178 public memorials to the Confederacy, more than any state other than Virginia. Many were erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy long after the Civil War ended.
“The monuments are easy to understand; they were placed there by people who were trying to send a message that they wanted white supremacy to either be the law of the land or the practice in the land,” said Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston, who announced a proposal Monday to remove the city’s monuments.
“Dallas has a violent and vicious history of racism,” Kingston said. “Getting rid of them would be a symbolic stance saying we’re not that city anymore.”
Dallas has at least five Confederate memorials, including the Confederate War Memorial, which features a towering 60-foot marble and granite pillar topped by the likeness of an anonymous soldier. Mayor Mike Rawlings also proposed a commission this week to study the matter.
Those proposals face opposition from former Dallas City Council member Sandra Crenshaw, who told CBS-DFW that she thinks the statues should stay up. “We don’t want America to think that all African Americans are supportive of this,” Crenshaw said.
In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner called Tuesday for an inventory and study of the city’s Confederate monuments.
The city will also be the site of protest Saturday, when demonstrators will gather in Sam Houston Park for an event titled “Destroy the Confederacy.” On Facebook, organizers advised activists “NOT to bring children.”
Sam Houston Park contains the Spirit of the Confederacy monument, a bronze statue of an angel holding a palm branch and sword above a plaque reading: “To all heroes of the South who fought for the principles of states’ rights.” In North Carolina, protesters physically removed a Confederate statue earlier this week.
“We always have enough officers on hand to ensure the safety of everybody involved, and not just the safety of persons but the safety of property,” Jodi Silva, a spokesperson with the Houston Police Department, told the Observer. “At none of the assemblies in the past have people destroyed property.” Follow Observer writer John Savage, who will be covering the Houston protest.
In San Antonio, two city council members have submitted a request to consider removing a 40-foot Confederate statue from Travis Park. A militia-like group called This Is Texas Freedom Force is threatening to recall them and any other members who vote to remove it.
In Austin and El Paso, city officials made moves this week to rename roads named for Robert E. Lee. And at the statewide level, Representative Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, brought the fight to the Capitol — which hosts at least 12 Confederate symbols.
“I cannot think of a better time than the present to discuss the removal of all Confederate iconography from the Texas Capitol Complex,” wrote Johnson in a letter Wednesday to the State Preservation Board. “… The Confederacy exemplified treason against the United States and white supremacy.”
Texas’ 1861 “declaration of causes” makes clear the state seceded to maintain slavery, which it called “mutually beneficial to both bond and free.”
Governor Greg Abbott responded Wednesday, arguing the monuments should stay.
The post Dallas, Houston Protests Planned as Confederate Monuments Under Fire in Texas appeared first on The Texas Observer.
About 500 people converged on a San Antonio park in the blistering heat Saturday — some to call for the removal of a 118-year-old Confederate monument and others to defend it. The two groups held rallies on opposite sides of the downtown Travis Park for about five hours, and one person was reportedly arrested.
“The truth is the Confederacy fought for slavery, so when you have Confederate monuments in public spaces, that’s a symbol of hate and fear,” said Jonathan David-Jones, an organizer with the Black Lives Matter-esque group SATX4. “For a lot of us, it’s disgusting. They can put [the statue] in the garbage can for all I care — or in one of those Confederate guys’ houses.”
The statue, which has stirred controversy in the city for years, is a 40-foot high obelisk topped with an anonymous Confederate soldier that was erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1899. An inscription reads: “Lest we forget our Confederate dead.”
On July 4, SATX4 led a rally calling for the statue’s removal, and later that month, two City Council members — William Shaw and Robert Treviño — submitted a request for the city to consider relocating the statue to a museum. Their request calls the monument a reminder of the “second-class citizen status attributed to people of color — part of the cult of The Lost Cause.”
But hundreds of people, many armed with semi-automatic rifles, came out Saturday to defend the monument — led by a group called This Is Texas Freedom Force. The event coincided with the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where at least one person died and nearly 20 others were injured Saturday after a person drove a car through a street of counter-protesters.
“Our motto is ‘protectors of all things Texas’; we are big proponents of Texas history and preserving it,” said the group’s vice president, Brandon Burkhart, aka ‘Milkbone’, who said he was formerly a Republican Party precinct chairman in Bexar County.
Burkhart said the group launched in mid-May and now has an online membership of about 5,000. Their rally Saturday was guarded by heavily armed activists wearing fatigues and body armor who turned away multiple journalists who tried to enter.
“At any type of rally we hold, we always encourage people to bring their rifles,” Burkhart said. “The opposition gets way out of hand and people get hurt, so we want to make sure people can defend themselves.”
Burkhart said the group’s members testified before the San Antonio City Council in support of the statue, and planned to launch recall campaigns against members who voted to remove it. He also claimed his group was responsible for Senate Bill 112, filed last month during the special session by Brandon Creighton, a GOP senator from Conroe, which would prevent the removal of Confederate monuments — along with any statute on public property that is at least 40 years old — throughout the state. The bill was not referred to a committee.
This Is Texas Freedom Force was joined Saturday by militia groups, descendants of Confederate veterans groups and the so-called Proud Boys, an alt-right group that recently marched at a “freedom rally” in Austin. Attendees carried Texas, Confederate and American flags — organizers specifically forbade “KKK, Skin Head or racist flags” at the rally.
Lamar Russell, a member of the organizing group and the Alamo Militia, performed two hip-hop songs with pro-gun rights lyrics while waving a Confederate flag. Russell, who is black, told the Observer his family served in the Confederacy.
Joseph Gonzalez, who wants to keep the monument in place, held a sign reading “Tejano Mexicans fought with Confederates.” A San Antonio native, he argued the South did not secede over slavery or racism, but rather over taxes. “Most Tejanos here probably have a family member who fought in the Confederate army,” he said.
The state of Texas’ 1861 “declaration of causes” makes clear the state seceded to maintain slavery, which it called “mutually beneficial to both bond and free.”
On the other side of the park, masked “antifascist” activists armed with sticks and shields squared off with police as activists gave speeches and the group occasionally chanted: “Show me what democracy looks like,” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A.”
Denise Hernandez, an activist with the group Maestranza, read a statement sent to her by Representative Diego Bernal, a former San Antonio city councilman whose state House district includes the park. “We are better off because the Confederacy lost,” wrote Bernal. “Whatever value keeping the statue in the park provides (I don’t believe there is much), is far outweighed by what we gain by removing it.”
A previous effort to remove the statue in 2015 failed, in part due to opposition from then-Mayor Ivy Taylor, the city’s first black mayor. Some activists said they were hopeful the new mayor, Ron Nirenberg, would be more supportive.
Three other council members signed onto the July 31 request by Shaw and Treviño, totaling five out of 10 members who support it.
“We’ve got council members still on the fence, so we have to be out here harnessing momentum,” said Mike Lowe of SATX4. Lowe led the crowd into the street for a march that was swiftly surrounded by police. Lowe and other activists said the police seemed unduly concerned with their unarmed demonstration.
“A black man, unarmed, nothing but a megaphone, is perceived as more violent than Bubba over there with the AR-15, a MAGA hat and a Confederate flag,” Lowe said through a megaphone in front of a line of officers. He then kicked off a chant: “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”
The crowd was largely dispersed by 6 p.m. A request for more information regarding the arrest reported by organizers was not immediately returned by the San Antonio Police Department.
The post Hundreds Clash over Confederate Monument in San Antonio appeared first on The Texas Observer.
On Wednesday, the resistance to the governor’s special session agenda wore cowboy hats and badges. Dozens of law enforcement and emergency personnel filled the Capitol’s outdoor rotunda to oppose measures they say would underfund essential public services.
The legislation, which would limit cites and counties’ ability to raise property taxes without elections, joins a growing list of measures that have driven a wedge between Republican leadership and a typically loyal constituency: law enforcement. Sheriffs and chiefs from across the state have turned out to oppose an anti-union bill, the so-called bathroom bill and the “sanctuary cities” ban this year at the Capitol.
“Every year we see officers killed in the line of duty, and without the ability for cities to properly fund us, we’re always going to be behind the curve,” said Gary Johnson, vice president of the Texas Police Chiefs Association. Johnson, the police chief of Roanoke, was joined in opposition by representatives from several law enforcement, firefighter and EMS groups.
Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 4 would both require cities and counties to hold elections if they wish to raise property taxes by more than 6 percent. Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick call the legislation “property tax relief,” but critics say it’s a “revenue cap” that would make it more difficult for local government to provide basic services. SB 1 already passed the Senate, and the House could take it up on Saturday.
Jackson County Sheriff Andy Louderback, legislative director of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, said the bills would worsen understaffing in urban areas and exacerbate a shortage of mental health facilities. “Let’s protect our citizens; let’s find good government in this process and work together for the good of all Texans,” he urged.
Critics also note the bills wouldn’t affect school districts, which levy the vast majority of property taxes in response to years of state funding cuts. “Why are we focused on cities and counties when the solution is to fix the school finance system?” Senator Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, told the Austin American-Statesman.
In late July, the Senate passed legislation that would ban public employees from voluntarily having union dues withheld from their paychecks. “It disgusts me,” said Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday.
A few days earlier, the Senate also passed the so-called bathroom bill despite a critical press conference held by law enforcement leaders. “It may be great political theater, but it is bad on public safety,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters.
Both bills are stalled in the House, and the special session ends August 16.
During the regular session, Texas’ “sanctuary cities” ban became law despite repeated rebukes from big-city police chiefs and sheriffs, who said the measure would undermine trust with immigrant communities. Acevedo announced in April that sexual assault reporting among Hispanics in Houston had decreased by more than 40 percent compared to the same time last year.
A White House spokesman has characterized the story as “fake news” and stated that President Trump believes it is nothing more than a “witch hunt”.
Local officials in Texas’ big cities are awfully isolated these days. The Texas Legislature is attacking local control with the kind of zeal it usually reserves for criminals, and the governor has even refused to meet with some urban mayors. But the fight between red states and blue cities isn’t unique to the Lone Star State.
Last weekend, elected officials from around the country converged in Austin to share war stories and plot resistance against hostile state governments. The convening was hosted by Local Progress, a network of progressive city and county leaders, and consisted of panels, strategy sessions and a march around the Capitol.
“Nearly 150 elected officials gathered to say that city officials will no longer put up with our work being erased by regressive state legislatures,” said Austin City Council member Greg Casar outside the Capitol Friday.
At the conference, elected officials compared notes about how badly their states were steamrolling them. In one workshop, David Stout, an El Paso County Commissioner, said he felt the Lone Star State was at the forefront, but North Carolina and Florida representatives said they felt the same.
“Texas is getting up there, but state interference is increasingly a national phenomenon,” said Brian Beach, legal director for the Partnership for Working Families. “Governor Abbott has shown, I think, a willingness to pursue some of the more extreme versions. … But unfortunately, even if he succeeded, Texas would not be alone in adopting those more extreme measures.”
The agenda of the special session of the Texas Legislature, now underway, includes a raft of legislation that would pre-empt cities and counties from establishing their own policies. The measures target everything from property taxes to bathrooms to trees.
The state’s most infamous pre-emption measure is its “sanctuary cities” ban, set to go into effect September 1, but even that legislation isn’t as unusual as Texans might think.
Three other states — Georgia, Indiana and Mississippi — all passed “sanctuary” legislation this year, and at least 21 bills were filed in states around the country, according to Michael Bare, a policy analyst with Grassroots Change, a nonprofit that tracks pre-emption legislation. They were part of at least 140 total pre-emption bills filed this year, Bare said.
“These laws, which are corporate-backed state power grabs, are happening in places all over the country,” said Michael Alfano, campaign manager at the Campaign to Defend Local Control.
Pre-emption is a decades-old strategy, Alfano said, but state lawmakers have increasingly adopted it to push back against progressive local policies. Alfano and others at the conference said the approach has been manufactured by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful organization that works with corporations to shop legislation to conservative state legislators.
“States became one-stop shops,” said Alfano. “They can come in at the state level and take power away from local officials.” And with the GOP increasingly in control of state legislatures, the path for pre-emption is clearer than ever.
In Missouri and Iowa this year, governors signed laws that would undo minimum wage increases passed by cities, catapulting workers back into poverty. Last year, Ohio managed to pre-empt wage hikes before Cleveland could pass one, and Arizona signed a law to deprive cities of essential funding if they’re found in conflict with any state laws.
“People don’t fully realize how much is at stake with pre-emption, and how much it affects their daily lives,” said Alfano, who noted the laws also affect environmental regulation, the predatory loan industry and broadband.
Yet even as states win many battles over local control, the gathering remained hopeful.
Megan Green, a St. Louis alderwoman, told the Observer that a “save the raise” campaign is underway to preserve her city’s $10 minimum wage. The campaign aims to pressure businesses into voluntarily keeping the wage, and to boycott those who don’t. And a county judge recently threw out Ohio’s minimum wage pre-emption on a technicality.
In Texas, the lawsuit against Senate Bill 4 continues to grow, with Cameron County voting to join last month and activists continuing to pressure Fort Worth officials. “We hope to see more of that, cities banding together to challenge state interference,” said Beach.
A federal judge is currently considering a motion to enjoin the law.
And even if SB 4 takes effect, Casar told the Observer city councils and police chiefs could still resist it during implementation.
“It’s going to be up to cities to implement this vague law in the end … to interpret the gray areas,” he said.
The post Texas’ War on Local Control is Part of National Trend appeared first on The Texas Observer.
The people of Conroe are getting a new, 1,000-bed immigrant detention center whether they like it or not. The GEO Group Inc., one of the largest private prison corporations in the nation, has already broken ground at the site of what will be the first new Trump-era immigration lockup. “It’s going ahead; I don’t think I have any say-so,” said Toby Powell, Conroe’s 76-year-old mayor.
In April, the federal government awarded GEO a contract to build and operate the $110 million facility, which the company says will earn $44 million in annual revenue. GEO promises to bring nearly 340 jobs to Conroe, a city of 82,000 tucked in the pines just north of Houston. Conroe already hosts an even larger immigrant detention center and a mental health facility, both run by GEO.
But Powell is not impressed. “The majority are $20,000-a-year jobs, which are right at the poverty line, if not below,” he said. It’s true the city will get some new property taxes, “but by the time you think about the burden upon your infrastructure with the low-paying jobs, it’s pretty well gonna wash out.”
GEO spokesperson Pablo Paez said the jobs will come with “average annual salaries ranging from $28,000 to $50,000.”
Private prison corporations usually locate their detention centers and jails in poor, isolated and economically depressed towns — places like Pearsall and Dilley in South Texas, or Taylor outside of Austin. Conroe, on the other hand, is booming. Last year, it was the fastest-growing city in the nation.
In 2013, the city christened a large technology park, and residents can also commute to Exxon’s new campus in The Woodlands for work.
When the idea for the new detention center was first floated in 2013, the editorial board of the Conroe Courier wrote, “It’s not the type of growth Conroe residents should want.” They quipped: “What will Conroe become? Con-vict-roe?”
For the mayor, becoming “Con-vict-roe” is a public safety matter as well. “We don’t know the detainees they’re going to have,” Powell said. “They may be MS-13 groups. … So we could have a mixture of a lot of different types of people coming [for visitation], which I’m fearful for the safety and security of my city.”
Gregory Palmore, spokesperson for the Houston Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office, said the facility will hold immigrants waiting for their cases to resolve or those awaiting deportation. “Individuals with varying criminality are also housed in ICE detention centers and placed in pods based on their level of criminality,” he said.
There’s likely nothing the mayor or residents of Conroe can do to stop the facility. The contract is between GEO and ICE, and Conroe already issued the necessary building permit, which Powell claims he was powerless to stop.
Perhaps the only hope is a dramatic outcome in an ongoing GEO-related lawsuit.
The Campaign Legal Center filed suit in June to obtain documents it thinks will show GEO violated federal law by donating to Trump’s campaign despite being a government contractor. The company gave $225,000 to a Trump super PAC through multiple donations, starting about eight months before the company won the Conroe federal contract.
The post Trump’s New Immigration Lockup Draws Local Opposition in Conroe appeared first on The Texas Observer.
During the regular session, Representative Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, voted against funding for Texas’ struggling public schools. He also helped tank a measure aimed at ending “lunch shaming” of school children, tried to defund a center dedicated to racial health disparities and blocked funds for sex reassignment surgeries in state prisons, even though the state doesn’t pay for such procedures.
Yet the only bill Cain has filed for the upcoming special session, House Bill 118, is a request for $35 million to fix up a rusty, 105-year-old battleship. (Cain also filed two congratulatory resolutions.)
Cain, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, is a member of the tea party-aligned House Freedom Caucus, a strident anti-spending faction that is loathed by most other members of the House. The group torpedoed dozens of bills in this year’s regular session, and it pushed the year’s most extreme measures on immigration and abortion.
Nothing against the ship, the USS Texas, which sits in the Houston Ship Channel, is the only surviving American vessel that was deployed in both world wars. And it needs to be removed to land if it’s to survive long-term.
Cain’s bill would use state funding to “repair, restore, and present to the public in a permanent dry berth the Battleship ‘Texas.’”
But the state already authorized $25 million in bonds back in 2007 to do just that, but unforeseen problems made the project too costly and it was scrapped in 2012. Through the years, the projected cost of dry berthing the ship has ranged from $30 million to more than $80 million. And Cain’s proposal is guaranteed to cost more than simply disposing of the dreadnaught.
When it comes to an important project in his district, Cain’s fiscal conservatism apparently ends at the water’s edge.
The post Small Government Crusader Wants $35 Million to Fix a Battleship in His District appeared first on The Texas Observer.
Infighting, red-meat politics and parliamentary revenge characterized this year’s Texas Legislature. Amid the fray, legislators failed to reauthorize basic state agencies such as the Texas Medical Board, which is why Texans now face the gloomy fate of another 30-day session beginning next week.
With all the dysfunction, you might conclude the Lege is simply incompetent, but it turns out they’re still aces at one thing: provoking lawsuits.
In 140 days, the Lege passed at least five bills that the state will likely be (or already is) defending in court at the taxpayers’ expense. Courts have already ruled repeatedly against Texas in recent years over voter ID, redistricting and abortion access.
“Why don’t we just stop passing unconstitutional bills?,” asked an exasperated Representative Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, on the House floor in May. Texans should be asking their lawmakers the same question, and wondering how much this list might grow during the upcoming special session.
‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban
One of the session’s most controversial bills, the “sanctuary cities” ban, has already gone to court. The law, set to go into effect September 1, will allow police to question the immigration status of anyone being detained — not just arrested — and threatens to jail elected officials who limit cooperation with federal immigration agents.
A growing list of cities and counties are suing the state over the law, which had its first day in court on June 26 in San Antonio. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has yet to issue a ruling, but the law’s critics are hopeful he will block the law from going into effect. They argue the law runs afoul of the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments, as well as the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
Eventually, attorneys say the law will likely end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Fetal Remains Requirement, Partial Ban on Second-Trimester Abortions
Less than one year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck two major provisions from Texas’ House Bill 2, state lawmakers passed another sweeping anti-abortion law that is likely to face court challenges.
Advocates on both sides are already predicting lawsuits against SB 8, and the Center for Reproductive Rights has “vowed to fight” the law. The group, which successfully challenged HB 2 at the Supreme Court, identifies two provisions in particular as unconstitutional: the requirement that fetal remains be buried or cremated and the ban on the most common form of second-trimester abortions.
A federal judge has already blocked state regulations requiring fetal burials in Texas earlier this year, and similar bans on second-trimester abortions have been blocked in four states.
Religious Refusal for Child Welfare Providers
HB 3859, which Abbott signed into law in June, prohibits the state from taking any “adverse actions” against child welfare providers acting on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Legal experts say the broadly written law would allow foster parents and organizations to refuse to place children with same-sex or non-Christian foster or adoptive parents.
Critics say the law will also give foster parents and organizations license to refuse vaccines, deny contraception or send children to anti-LGBT conversion therapy.
Civil rights groups say they will be contacting foster or adoptive children and families about the law so they can report discrimination. A lawsuit against Texas will likely be filed after the law takes effect on September 1, and once a potential plaintiff’s rights have been violated.
Straight-Ticket Voting Ban
HB 25 will abolish “straight-ticket” voting, the “one-punch” option used by more than 60 percent of Texas voters to simultaneously vote for all the candidates of a single political party. The bill was signed into law on June 1, and no suit has been filed yet.
During debate on the House floor, Democratic lawmakers said the bill would create longer voting lines and disproportionately impact voters of color, the disabled, the elderly and voters in large cities. Some promised a lawsuit.
“This bill hasn’t been vetted,” said Representative Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, during debate in May. “We don’t know how much it will cost; we don’t know if it will violate the Voting Rights Act of 1964. What we do know is that federal courts have ruled recently that laws passed by Texas discriminated against African-American and Hispanic voters.”
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed one of the most strict voter ID laws in the nation, Senate Bill 14. Federal courts have ruled that the law discriminates against minorities. This session, Abbott made an emergency priority of SB 5, a bill to loosen some restrictions of the original law, which he signed on June 1.
SB 5 aims to protect Texas in court and keep the state from being returned to “preclearance” — a Voting Rights Act designation that requires states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval before changing voting laws. Trump’s Department of Justice has weighed in, arguing the new law “eradicates any discriminatory effect or intent in SB 14.”
But opposition attorneys argue SB 5 doesn’t sufficiently address the discrimination and both laws should be erased. The case continues to play out in a Corpus Christi federal court.
The post Five New Laws that Will Likely Get Texas Sued (Or Already Have) appeared first on The Texas Observer.
On Monday morning, about two hours after Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation permitting lawmakers to file bills for the upcoming special session, Representative Ramón Romero filed a proposal to repeal Senate Bill 4, the “sanctuary cities” ban.
“My hope is that representatives, as they’ve gone home and done their research, maybe they understand we rushed to pass SB 4 without understanding its full extent, and the economic impact it’s going to have on our state,” Romero told the Observer.
Romero, a Fort Worth Democrat, said he thinks the state will face boycotts similar to those Arizona once faced over its own “show me your papers” law. At least one group — the American Immigration Lawyers Association — has already pulled its yearly convention from Texas.
Debate during the regular session, Romero said, focused on racial profiling more than other impacts of the law, such as making the Latino community — documented and not — more vulnerable to crimes.
Last week, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a group of teenagers told police they carried out a string of robberies that targeted Hispanics “because they’ve got money and they don’t call the police.” A taco vendor was killed when intervening in one of the robberies, police said.
Critics of SB 4 say the law further discourages immigrants from reporting crimes to the police, and evidence from Houston and Austin already bolsters their claims. “There are times I literally can’t sleep at night from the thoughts of what has already begun to happen,” Romero said.
The 30-day special legislative session begins next Tuesday, and lawmakers are tasked with addressing a laundry list of conservative priorities set by the governor — none of which include repealing SB 4.
Romero himself doesn’t think his measure, known as House Bill 53, is likely to become law, but he hopes it will at least get a committee hearing.
“I didn’t file the bill just so that I could file a bill,” he said. “I hope we at least entertain discussions that we haven’t had enough. … And if people want to come out and testify again in the hundreds as they did before, then I think that [lawmakers] should listen to those folks again.”
The post Texas Lawmaker Files Bill to Repeal SB 4 During Special Session appeared first on The Texas Observer.
On a cold January evening, Lee Gelernt emerged to a cheering crowd outside a Brooklyn courthouse after winning the first legal challenge against Trump’s travel ban. Now, the New York City-based civil rights attorney finds himself deployed to Texas.
To tackle Senate Bill 4 — the “sanctuary cities” ban that critics say will encourage racial profiling and tear immigrant families apart — the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is sending Gelernt and four other attorneys who successfully fought the travel ban to the Lone Star State.
“SB 4 and the travel ban cases raise different technical legal issues, but both arise in, and are part of, an unfortunate anti-immigrant climate,” Gelernt told the Observer. “Both laws rest on incorrect and pernicious stereotypes.”
Gelernt said the ACLU is devoting national resources to fighting the state law “because of the national importance, given that states around the country are talking about similar laws.”
The state of Texas is facing at least three lawsuits over SB 4, which is set to go into effect September 1. The law will allow police to question the immigration status of anyone being detained — not just arrested — and threatens to jail elected officials who limit cooperation with federal immigration agents.
On Monday, the ACLU filed the first motion for an injunction of SB 4 in an attempt to stop the law from going into effect as the battle over its constitutionality plays out. All three suits claim the law violates the constitutional rights of immigrants and Latinos, as well as elected officials who want to protect those groups.
“We have always defended the constitutional rights of immigrants,” said Edgar Saldivar, an attorney with the ACLU of Texas. “We believe SB 4 is unconstitutional for various reasons … and we hope that parts, if not all of it, will be stopped before September 1.”
The ACLU joined the legal battle against SB 4 in late May, becoming co-counsel on a lawsuit brought by the tiny border town of El Cenizo. The city of San Antonio and El Paso County have also filed suits, with counsel from other civil rights organizations. The city of Austin has joined the San Antonio suit.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed his own pre-emptive lawsuit in May in an attempt to have the law declared constitutional — a move that the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund called “frivolous.”
A spokesperson for Paxton told the Observer the agency “does not comment on ongoing litigation.”
A key argument against Trump’s travel ban, which has been struck down by two appeals courts and now likely heads to the Supreme Court, could also be applied to SB 4. Judges have repeatedly held that Trump’s campaign remarks about Muslims reveal the ban’s discriminatory intent.
Attorney Jose Garza, with the El Paso lawsuit, said he plans to use Representative Matt Rinaldi’s decision to report protesters at the Capitol to immigration agents to show discriminatory intent in court.
For now, though, the ACLU hasn’t included that argument in the El Cenizo suit.
“Our current motion does not hinge on statements made by legislators, but that could come later,” Gelernt said. “We think that SB 4 is unconstitutional regardless of the intent behind the law.”
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