- Galveston, TX Weather :: 78F Fair October 21, 201778F Fair
- Galveston, TX Weather :: 78F Fair October 21, 2017
- 3 reasons the Astros will beat the Yankees in Game 6 of ALCS October 20, 2017Three reasons the Houston Astros will beat the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series:1. Odds makers in Vegas have the Astros as favoritesThe line has been set, and the Astros are home favorites in Game 6 of the ALCS. Houston was also the favorite in Games 1, 2 and […]
- Astros hope off day, return to Houston gets them back on track October 19, 2017The Houston Astros once led their American League Championship Series with the Yankees 2-0.But they return home for Friday's Game 6 facing elimination, trailing 3-2 after dropping three straight contests at Yankee Stadium.They are hopeful the off day in between games will serve them well, just as it did for the Yankees earlier this series."I […]
- Texans' Deshaun Watson helps Habitat for Humanity homeowners affected by Hurricane Harvey October 19, 2017Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is helping storm victims after Hurricane Harvey.Watson helped Thursday morning to refurnish over 100 Houston Habitat for Humanity homes damaged by the storm.Watson, along with Ashley Furniture, is providing new furniture to 176 homes that flooded during the storms.Watson said despite the storm, he wants to make sure that homeowners […]
- Rockets fans do double-take as James Harden look-alike steps out in California October 19, 2017Fans could do a double-take and see double Wednesday as the Rockets took on the Kings in Sacramento .James Harden and his doppleganger were present at the game.Twitter was abuzz as a man dressed in a Harden jersey and sporting the Rockets star player's signature beard and haircut posed with people at the game.Fake James […]
- A look back at Colt Stadium, the home of the Colt 45s October 19, 2017As Astros fans cheer on the team's quest for the World Series, memories from the team's early days tell a tale of humble beginnings, in what marked Major League Baseball's first expansion.Before they were called the Astros, the Houston Colt 45s marked the Space City's first foray into the national league. From 1962 to 1964, […]
- Astros' backs against the wall, but season far from over October 19, 2017This 2017 campaign has been a storybook season for the Astros, but the final chapter has yet to be written.The World Series dream remains alive, but there is work to do between now and Saturday at Minute Maid Park.History is not on the Astros' side, as stats show in series tied 2-2, the winner of […]
- J.J. Watt, his brothers celebrated together by National Bobblehead Hall of Fame October 19, 2017Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and his brothers, T.J. Watt and Derek Watt are featured in a new bobblehead set.However, the Watt brothers aren't in their current team attire. The brothers are seen in their Wisconsin Badgers attire from their college days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the school, J.J. Watt was a […]
- Astros potential World Series game tickets on sale October 19, 2017The Astros are down 3-2 to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, but optimism abounds as the 'Stros return to Houston.Justin Verlander takes the mound Friday as the Astros try to extend the series to a seventh game.If the Astros can win two straight and make it to their second World […]
- Astros back in Houston ahead of must-win Game 6 October 19, 2017The Astros arrived back in Houston Thursday and are hopefully resting up for a win.They don't have much time to prepare for two must-win games against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park after a tough loss on the East Coast.Thousands of fans watched the game during the official watch party at Minute Maid […]
- Yankees top Astros 5-0 in Game 5, take 3-2 lead in ALCS October 19, 2017Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third […]
- 3 reasons the Astros will beat the Yankees in Game 6 of ALCS October 20, 2017
- Pilots welcome new boats to the Houston Ship Channel October 20, 2017The Houston pilto boat heads back to dock Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Galveston. The Houston Pilots are christening two new boats on Saturday.
- Go inside one of the oldest homes on the market in Galveston October 20, 2017Go inside one of the oldest homes on the market in Galveston. By Darla Guillen. Published 3:34 pm, Friday, October 20, 2017. 2013 25th St.Listing ...
- In order to receive hurricane relief, Texas town requires residents to reject Israel boycott October 20, 2017Galveston County — where Dickinson is located — has already received $44.7 million in federal FEMA aid, the second highest among eligible ...
- Gardening events in the Houston area October 20, 2017SATURDAY, OCT. 21. Dirt into Soil: with Galveston County Master Gardener Jim Gilliam. 9-11 a.m. at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Building, 4102 ...
- Missouri City Man Charged With Galveston Security Guard's Murder October 20, 2017RICHMOND, TX — A 19-year old Missouri City man is in the Fort Bend County Jail and facing murder charges in the death Galveston a security guard.
- Supected Gang Member Arrested In Galveston Security Guard Murder October 20, 2017GALVESTON, TX — Police have arrested a 19-year old man who they say shot and killed a security guard outside a Galveston resort hotel in April.
- AREA SPORTS Area runners earn cross country regional berths October 20, 2017Lady Mavs sweep Galveston Ball - The league leading Manvel Lady Mavericks collected a 25-7, 25-7 and 25-18 straight set sweep over Elkins at ...
- Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance has provided $1.3 billion in loans for ... October 20, 2017Pearland's disaster recovery center is located at 2341 N. Galveston Ave. Friendswood's disaster recovery center is located at 209 S. Friendswood ...
- Texas City Police arrest two men in drug raid October 20, 2017... Xanax, hydrocodone and cash when Texas City police, Texas City SWAT and Galveston County sheriff's deputies raided the apartment home.
- Special Weather Statement October 20, 2017TXZ200-213-214-238-201415- Chambers TX-Liberty TX-Galveston TX-Harris TX- 830 AM CDT FRI OCT 20 2017 ...SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT ...
- Pilots welcome new boats to the Houston Ship Channel October 20, 2017
Travel through time!
- Galveston Police Department October 20, 2017The Galveston Police Department today reported that Brandon Ledford has been arrested on murder charges in connection with the April 9 fatal shooting of a hotel employee at the San Luis Resort.
- Sea Star Base Galveston October 20, 2017Sea Star Base Galveston is hosting the Third Annual Doolin Cup Adaptive Regatta this weekend.
- Galveston Island Pachyderm Club October 20, 2017The Galveston Island Pachyderm Club on Thursday hosted Congressman Randy Weber at its monthly luncheon.
- November 7 Election Early Voting October 20, 2017Early voting begins on Monday for the November 7 election, which includes races and propositions in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Jefferson counties.
- The Grand 1894 Opera House October 20, 2017The Grand 1894 Opera House will host a screening of the film "Nosferatu", accompanied live by organist Rob Landes, on October 27.
- Free Diabetes Support Group Offered by Galveston County Health District October 19, 2017The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) is happy to offer a new monthly support group for people living with diabetes.
- Kemah City Council October 19, 2017Kemah City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to designate Mayor Carl Joiner as representative and Council Member Teresa Vazquez-Evans as alternate to the Houston-Galveston Area Council 2018 General Assembly.
- Jim Schweitzer for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 October 19, 2017Galveston County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2 Jim Schweitzer has announced his candidacy for re-election in the March 2018 Republican Primary.
- Clear Lake Shores City Council October 19, 2017Clear Lake Shores City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe for the Clear Lake Shores Police Department, an the amount of $34,585.
- Galveston Police Department October 20, 2017
- Video shows Kelly made inaccurate claims about lawmaker in feud over Trump’s condolence call 21 Oct 2017 06:29 Sosa News Video shows Kelly made inaccurate claims about lawmaker in feud over Trump’s condolence call Politics October 21, 2017, by 0 Comment 0 The White House didn’t back away from the statements about Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, who has accused the president of …
- Donald Trump’s Empire State Building drawing fetches $16,000 21 Oct 2017 06:23 Free Press Journal New York: A black-marker drawing of the Empire State Building by US President Donald Trump sold at auction for $16,000, the media reported. According to Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, where the sale took place, Trump created the 12-by-9-inch drawing at …
- Boot: Trump is jeopardizing our prosperity and security 21 Oct 2017 06:21 Fremont Tribune While Trump has been prevented by his saner advisors from carrying out some of his insaner ideas — he hasn’t ordered the torture of suspected terrorists, turned Afghanistan over to mercenaries, or tried seriously to force Mexico to pay for a border wall — …
- Trump Announces Nominees for Two FTC Vacancies 21 Oct 2017 06:15 wsj.com WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Thursday announced nominees for two longstanding vacancies at the Federal Trade Commission, which has been short-handed at an unprecedented level with three empty seats. Mr. Trump said he intended to nominate private …
- Charges, insults fly after Trump aide assails congresswoman 21 Oct 2017 06:15 KTUL WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Friday rushed to defend chief of staff John Kelly after he mischaracterized the remarks of a Democratic congresswoman and called her an "empty barrel" making noise. A Trump spokeswoman said it was " …
- North Korea sends nations an open letter of defiance against threats by Trump 21 Oct 2017 06:09 Japan Times CANBERRA/SYDNEY – Australia’s prime minister on Friday dismissed an extraordinary letter from North Korea to the Australian Parliament and other countries as a “rant” against President Donald Trump and a sign that Pyongyang is “starting to feel the …
- Trump staffers knew Prez didn't contact families of fallen troops 21 Oct 2017 05:59 New York Daily News Online WASHINGTON - In the hours after President Donald Trump said on an Oct. 17 radio broadcast that he had contacted "virtually everybody" who had lost a family member in military service this year, the White House was hustling to learn from the …
- Gold Star widow shares her call with President Trump 21 Oct 2017 05:58 WIS (WAFF) - On the heels of several negative stories centering on President Donald Trump’s interactions with the families of fallen soldiers, a Gold Star widow has shared a video of her phone call with the Commander-in-Chief. In speaking to the Washington …
- Tom Steyer launches $10M campaign to impeach Trump 21 Oct 2017 05:55 KSWB Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer is pumping more than $10 million into TV ads calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. SACRAMENTO — Democratic mega-donor and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer is spending what an aide says is “well over $10 …
- Is Trump beginning to unravel? 21 Oct 2017 05:39 The Daily Mining Gazette Last week, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Donald Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries …
- 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
- President Trump disbands White House business councils as CEOs leave
- Video shows deadly jailbreak; Man who pleaded guilty in deputy’s death sentenced to life
- 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
- Greenspoint Mall to close in 60 days, sources say
- Texas House approves “compromise” city annexation bill
- Asps — poisonous, stinging caterpillars — back in season
- Texas bathroom bill appears to be all but dead in special session
- Gator spotted on Galveston County road
- After 2015 legalization, Texans may be able to buy medical cannabis oil by January
- Conroe Chief of Police asked to leave doctor’s office
- Law Enforcement Increasingly Opposed to Abbott’s Agenda
- Meet the Expert Who Helps Texas Cops Justify Extreme Behavior
- Baytown woman charged in two La Porte road-rage incidents
- FBI agents searched former Trump campaign chair’s home
- Special Session a ‘Battle Royal’ for Dominionists Who Seek Christian Rule
- Zoo employee accused of sex with 14-year-old boy
- New requirement for Texas driver’s license begins soon
- With 8 days left in special session, Texas House and Senate remain far apart
- What you need to know if your vehicle is flooded
- City of Houston applies for FEMA grant to help elevate homes in flood-prone areas
- Commissioners vote to ban swimming, fishing in San Luis Pass
- Texas backs Wisconsin in battle to protect partisan gerrymandering
- SE Houston gas pump appears to charge customers after they are done filling up
- 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
- Lasker Park Community Swimming Pool to Open on August 15th
- Man accused of touching girls’ buttocks in back-to-school aisle at Walmart
- Rare pink dolphin spotted in Louisiana waterway
- Woman found hiding in bed of pickup truck says she ‘was just looking at the stars’
- 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
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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.”
The post Attorneys Who Halted Trump’s Travel Ban Will Take on Senate Bill 4 appeared first on The Texas Observer.