BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX

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Associated Press

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 7:00 PM

Texas news at 6:45 p.m. CST.

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NEW AND UPDATED THIS DIGEST:

— Texas Courthouse Shooting.

— Texas House-Committee Assignments.

— Texas-Graduation Requirements.

— Capitol Almanac.

— People-Randy Travis.

— Winter X-Moore.

— Columbia Anniversary-Don't Give Up.

— Evangelicals-Gay Issues.

— Boy Scouts-Gays.

— Air Force Sex Scandal.

— Girl -Balloon Choking.

TEXAS COURTHOUSE SHOOTING

KAUFMAN, Texas — An assistant district attorney was shot and killed Thursday morning near the North Texas courthouse where he worked, and authorities said they were searching through his cases to try to find clues about why he may have been targeted. Mark Hasse, 57, had exited his vehicle in the parking lot behind the Kaufman County Courthouse annex and was walking toward the building when a masked gunman shot him multiple times just before 9 a.m., Kaufman County authorities said. Hasse was taken away in an ambulance, but it's unclear if he died at the hospital or en route. By Danny Robbins.

AP photos, video, interactive.

TEXAS-EDUCATION

AUSTIN, Texas — Top education leaders in the Texas Senate slammed a curriculum system used in 875 school districts across the state designed to aid teachers but which conservative activists say promotes anti-American lesson plans. Also, Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick unveils a plan to better promote vocational and technical training in high school. By Will Weissert.

TEXAS LEGISLATURE-BUDGET DIVERSIONS

AUSTIN, Texas — A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers is promising to end the diversion of dedicated funds from their intended purposes. For over a decade, the Legislature has taken funds from state parks, trauma care and roads in order to balance the state budget. By Chris Tomlinson.

In other legislative news:

— TEXAS HOUSE-COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS — Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has announced committee assignments, clearing the way for hearings to begin.

— TEXAS-STANDARDIZED TESTING — The Education Committee has referred to the full Texas Senate a measure allowing local school districts to decide how much they want STAAR exam results to count toward high school students' grades.

— TEXAS-GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS — The head of the Texas Senate Education Committee has filed a bill overhauling high school graduation requirements to better emphasize "workforce development."

— DRIVER'S LICENSE FEES — Should the cost of getting a Texas driver's license rise to help the state's ailing and congested roads?

— TEXAS LEGISLATURE-ARTS — Texans for the Arts are lobbying lawmakers for continued funding for the Texas Commission on the Arts in the next budget cycle.

— CAPITOL ALMANAC — Highlights from around the Texas Capitol.

PEOPLE-RANDY TRAVIS

SHERMAN, Texas — Randy Travis pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated Thursday in a case that began last summer when the naked country music star crashed his Pontiac Trans Am. Travis received a 180-day suspended jail sentence, 24 months of probation and a $2,000 fine. He was ordered to spend at least 30 days at an alcohol treatment facility, complete 100 hours of community service and have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he operates while on probation. Travis, 53, entered the plea in a court in the North Texas city of Sherman. The misdemeanor was punishable by up to two years in jail and a $4,000 fine. By Jamie Stengle.

AP photos.

WINTER X-MOORE

DENVER — Caleb Moore was a Texas kid drawn to the snow, rehearsing complicated tricks on a snowmobile into a foam pit back home until they became second nature and ready for the mountains. With his younger brother following along and constantly pushing him, Moore became a rising talent in action sports. The innovative freestyle snowmobile rider, who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Colorado, died Thursday morning. He was 25. By Pat Graham.

AP photo.

COLUMBIA ANNIVERSARY-DON'T GIVE UP

WASHINGTON — A NASA top official wrestled with what he thought was a hypothetical question: What do you tell the astronauts of a doomed space shuttle Columbia? When the NASA official raised the question in 2003 just days before a re-entry accident over Texas killed seven astronauts, managers thought — wrongly — that Columbia's heat shield was fine. They told astronauts they weren't worried about launch damage. But after a managers meeting, mission operations chief Jon Harpold told flight director Wayne Hale that if something was wrong it was hopeless and maybe they shouldn't tell the crew. Hale wrote about the conversation 10 years later. He said NASA would have tried to save the crew had engineers realized the problem's true severity. Hale said the lesson from Columbia is: Don't give up. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein.

With glance.

TEXAS EXECUTION-FAMILY ANGER

HOUSTON — Relatives of a slain Dallas County woman were en route to Huntsville this week to attend the execution of the convicted killer of their loved one when they were stunned to learn a judge halted the punishment. "This is outrageous," Randall Browning told The Associated Press. "Nobody is considering the victims in this." Kimberly McCarthy, 51, received a reprieve Tuesday about five hours before she was scheduled to become the first woman executed in the U.S. since 2010.

AP Photo.

EVANGELICALS-GAY ISSUES

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Rev. Robert Jeffress has changed the way he talks about homosexuality from the pulpit. The pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Dallas hasn't stopped preaching that homosexual sex is sinful, but he no longer singles it out for special condemnation. Now, Jeffress says he usually talks about homosexuality within "a bigger context of God's plan for sex between one man and one woman in a lifetime relationship called marriage." The pressure to change the way homosexuality is addressed in evangelical churches is increasing as mainstream support for gay and lesbian issues increases. This support is especially strong among young adults, and researchers say they don't expect this group to become more conservative on the issue as they get older. By Travis Loller.

AP photo.

BOY SCOUTS-GAYS

NEW YORK — The Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts of America faces intensifying criticism from the left and right over a proposal to move away from a mandatory no-gays membership policy and allow troop sponsors to decide the matter for themselves. By National Writer David Crary.

Also:

— AIR FORCE SEX SCANDAL — An Air Force instructor at a San Antonio base has been sentenced to three months of hard labor, reduced rank and a bad-conduct discharge for his guilty plea to sexual impropriety with a trainee.

— GIRL-BALLOON CHOKING — Authorities in South Texas say a 7-year-old girl who collapsed at her elementary school choked to death on a balloon.

— FOSTER CHILDREN-MEDICATIONS — Foster care advocates say state lawmakers must act to curtail the high rate of children in the Texas foster care system being treated with powerful psychotropic drugs.

— HOUSTON COLLEGE-DISCRIMINATION — Federal prosecutors say one of the largest community colleges in the country violated anti-discrimination laws.

— LANDLORD ARRESTED — A man whose suburban Dallas apartment buildings have accumulated hundreds of violations was arrested for not paying misdemeanor fines.

— OIL PIPELINE-LAWSUIT — Nebraska says a law that establishes a review process for a proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline is constitutional.

— MOTHER-CHILD'S BEATING DEATH — A San Antonio woman has pleaded guilty just before trial to having a role in the death of her 3-year-old son.

— TEXAS-COLLEGE-LOCKDOWN — Relatives of a man injured in the recent shooting at a Lone Star College campus in Houston describe him as an aspiring tattoo artist who wasn't looking for trouble.

— DISTRICT ATTORNEY-HARASSMENT — The district attorney in Fort Worth says he's not bowing to calls for his resignation over a former prosecutor's allegations of sexual harassment.

SPORTS REFER:

BKN--MAVERICKS-WARRIORS

OAKLAND, Calif. — Andrew Bogut is expected to play at home for the first time in almost three months when the Golden State Warriors host the Dallas Mavericks. Bogut missed 38 straight games with a sore left ankle until returning in a win at Toronto on Monday.

Eds: Game starts 7:30 p.m. PST.

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