BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX


Associated Press

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Texas news at 4:30 a.m. CST.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Republican leaders in Texas are back to work at the Capitol with an agenda that includes tax relief, abortion restrictions and spending restraint. Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday is joining Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus in laying out their plans for a new legislative session. Perry and Dewhurst are both out to reassert their political power to lawmakers and the public after failed campaigns for bigger offices. Dewhurst has vowed to make the next 140 days among the most conservative sessions in recent history. Straus is starting his third term as speaker and has outlined an agenda that includes public schools, infrastructure and water. Lawmakers entered the session with a bright revenue forecast that includes up to $101 billion in available spending. By Paul J. Weber.

Eds: Will be updated. Remarks set for 9:30 a.m. CST.


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has promised to further embrace tea party values, beat back government spending at every turn and fiercely oppose abortion — while also keeping an eye on rising in-state political stars like George P. Bush. America's longest-serving governor and the longest-serving governor in his state's history, Perry offered The Associated Press a frank assessment of his gaffe-filled, failed run for the White House. By Will Weissert.


HOUSTON — A judge could decide if a Houston boy found in March after being kidnapped as an infant eight years ago will remain in foster care. A court hearing is set for Wednesday in Houston in the case of 8-year-old Miguel Morin. The boy has been in foster care since authorities found him living in East Texas. Child Protective Services officials say Miguel and his parents continue to have joint therapy sessions. They say the boy also has had weekend visits with his four siblings that have gone well. The boy's former baby sitter and her mother remain jailed on kidnapping charges. By Juan A. Lozano.

Eds: Will be updated. Hearing set for after 9 a.m. CST.


EL PASO, Texas — A U.S. judge is expected to sentence a British businessman who pleaded guilty to trying to buy missile parts and resell them to Iran. Christopher Tappin is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge David Briones in El Paso on Wednesday. The 65-year-old Tappin pleaded guilty in November in a deal that calls for a 33-month prison sentence. The agreement opened the door for him to serve part of his sentence in Britain near his ailing wife. Tappin's extradition to the U.S. in February 2012 touched a nerve in Britain, where many believe extradition arrangements with the United States are unfairly weighted against British citizens. After his extradition, Tappin spent several weeks in a New Mexico jail and was later released on bond. He has since lived in Houston. By Juan Carlos Llorca.

Eds: Will be updated. Sentencing scheduled for 11 a.m. MST.


LUBBOCK, Texas — Texans just survived their warmest year ever, and 2012 and 2011 also brought the state its warmest two-year span in more than 100 years, according to newly released numbers from the National Climate Data Center. The statewide average temperature in 2012 was 67.4 degrees, a tie with 1921. Meanwhile, the combined temperature average for 2012 and 2011 was 67.3 degrees, making them the warmest consecutive years dating to 1895. The normal statewide average is 65 degrees. By Betsy Blaney.


EAGLE LAKE, Texas — Officials overseeing water in Central Texas have moved to cut off farmers' allotments from reservoirs for the second year in a row. The Lower Colorado River Authority board unanimously voted in Austin to withhold water to downstream farmers if the combined storage of Lakes Travis and Buchanan is less than 850,000 acre-feet on March 1. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti.


SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge says a Texas school district can transfer a student to another campus for refusing to wear an identification card that's part of an electronic tracking system. The parents of 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez are suing her San Antonio high school, arguing that the ID rule violates her religious beliefs. Her father had asked a judge to prevent his daughter from being transferred as the lawsuit moves through the courts. But U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia denied the request.


DALLAS — Directors of American Airlines' parent company likely won't make a decision when they meet Wednesday to consider a possible merger with US Airways, even as momentum for a deal is building. Investors have been bidding up US Airways' stock price, and leaders of the two pilot unions agree on how to combine contracts, two developments that analysts say strengthen the case for a tie-up. Still there could be a way to go. American parent AMR Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011, and US Airways Group Inc. have been talking about a potential merger since late summer but have not agreed on price, each side's ownership share, and who would run the company, according to people familiar with the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

AP photo.


EL PASO, Texas — Texas has filed a complaint with the U.S. Supreme Court in its dispute with New Mexico over water from the Rio Grande. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says the litigation was filed after negotiations with New Mexico were unsuccessful. The agency says New Mexico is violating the 1938 Rio Grande Compact that governs how water is shared by Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Texas accuses New Mexico of allowing illegal diversions of surface and underground water. Officials say those diversions take away water from Texas farmers and residents in El Paso. By Juan Carlos Llorca.


NEW YORK — Actor Matthew McConaughey credits his growing family for the success that 2012 brought him. "One, they ground you. Two, when you have that kind of structure at home and you feel stable at home it makes it much easier to fly higher and wider when you're outside of home," McConaughey said Monday at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. The 43-year-old received the best supporting actor honor for "Magic Mike" and "Bernie." He garnered critical success in 2012 for "Mud" and "The Paperboy," both shown in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. By Nicole Evatt.

AP photos.


HOUSTON — A man accused of vandalizing a 1929 Pablo Picasso painting in an act caught on cellphone video has surrendered to federal marshals at the U.S.-Mexico border. Uriel Landeros, 22, of Houston, turned himself over to marshals at the international bridge near McAllen, Texas. "I don't regret anything that I've done," Landeros told KPRC-TV of Houston in an interview. Landeros had been charged last June with felony graffiti and criminal mischief for spray painting the artwork titled "Woman in a Red Armchair" at the Menil Collection in Houston.


NEW YORK — The Barry Diller-backed Internet company that challenged cable and satellite TV services by offering inexpensive live television online plans to expand beyond New York City this spring. In the wake of a federal court ruling that tentatively endorsed its legality, Aereo will bring its $8-a-month service to Dallas, Houston and 20 other markets in the U.S., as well as to New York's suburbs. For the past year, the service had been limited to New York City residents as the company fine-tuned its technology and awaited guidance on whether its unlicensed use of free, over-the-air broadcasts amounted to a copyright violation. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun.

AP photos.


HONOLULU — Tesoro Corp. plans to close an oil refinery in Hawaii in April, converting the facility to a distribution and storage terminal while hoping for a buyer, company officials said. The San Antonio-based oil company said it will maintain the distribution system at the Kapolei facility in west Oahu to fulfill its supply commitments. It's not clear exactly how many jobs will be lost when the facility stops its refining operations. Tesoro said it expects to save $300 million to $350 million in 2013 from the shutdown because of reduced working capital needs. By Oskar Garcia.


AUSTIN, Texas — Former Associated Press fashion editor and foreign correspondent Nadeane Walker Anderson has died. She was 91. Anderson's daughter said her mother, who used her maiden name Nadeane Walker as her byline, died Monday in Austin. Anderson became AP's European fashion editor in 1947, shortly after marrying AP correspondent Godfrey Anderson in Paris. She interviewed some of the biggest names in fashion at the time, including Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. Yves Lanvin even named a dress after her. By Chris Tomlinson.


— VETERANS PARADE-TRAIN COLLISION — Grand jurors will consider the case of a train collision that killed four veterans riding on a parade float last fall.

— AIR FORCE SEX SCANDAL — A woman testified that an Air Force recruiter for the Houston area sent her lewd text messages and images of himself nude as he tried to coax her into a sexual relationship.

— GULF CARTEL-TEXAS — An alleged high-ranking member of a Mexican drug cartel has pleaded guilty to federal immigration and firearm offenses in Brownsville.

— DRUG CONSPIRACY-CUBAN — A man from Cuba living in Florida has pleaded guilty in South Texas to conspiring to transport cocaine from the U.S.-Mexico border.

— SCHOOL LAND BOARD — The Texas School Land Board has voted 2-1 to release $300 million from the Available School Fund to the state's public schools.

— AIR FORCE SEX SCANDAL — An Air Force recruiter for the Houston area faces a hearing at a San Antonio base on whether he gets court-martialed after he was accused of sexual misconduct, rape and obstructing justice.

— POWER PLANT FIRE — No injuries were reported but one of two units was shut down at a Texas Gulf Coast nuclear power plant when a transformer caught fire.