BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX


Associated Press

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Texas news at 8:30 p.m. CDT.

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— XGR--Guns in Schools.

— XGR--Curriculum System.

— XGR--University of Texas-Regents.

— XGR--Texas Water Plan.

— XGR--Railroad Commissioners.

— XGR--Texas Budget.

— XGR--Ethics Rules.

— XGR--Radioactive Waste.

— XGR--Commercial Driver's License.

— XGR--Shark Fin Bill.

— Handgun Law.

— XGR--Capitol Almanac.

— Severe Weather-Forecast.

— Texas Storms.

— Gun Seizure-Appeal.

— Gulf Oil Spill-Indictment.

— Suburban Poverty-Austin.

— Postal Worker-Killed.


AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House has approved a plan to train some teachers for classroom gun fights. With a simple voice vote and no debate Monday night, lawmakers approved a proposal by Houston Republican Sen. Dan Patrick that would apply to public schools that don't already employ armed guards. It finances 16 hours of instruction on how to respond to an armed attack. By Will Weissert.


AUSTIN, Texas — A much-maligned curriculum system designed to help teachers adhere to state educational requirements and used by hundreds of school districts across Texas will stop offering lesson plans amid mounting pressure from some conservatives who claimed it was promoting anti-American values. State Sen. Dan Patrick said Monday that the 20-member board overseeing the CSCOPE system will vote to effectively gut it later this week. He displayed copies of a letter signed by all board members pledging to scrap lesson plans by Aug. 31. By Will Weissert.


AUSTIN, Texas — The future of University of Texas President Bill Powers dominated Monday's confirmation hearing for three members of the system's Board of Regents, with one lawmaker saying he believes the board is "on a mission" to oust the popular leader of the Austin campus. The Senate is considering Gov. Rick Perry's appointments of new University of Texas System regents Ernest Aliseda of McAllen and businessman Jeff Hildebrand of Houston, and the reappointment of board vice chairman Paul Foster of El Paso. By Jim Vertuno.

AP photos.

In other legislative news:

— XGR--TEXAS WATER PLAN — Texas lawmakers have given final approval to an overhaul of the Texas Water Development Board as the state grapples with how to manage water resources amid drought and a rapidly growing population.

— XGR--TEXAS BUDGET — A top House Republican says using the state's Rainy Day Fund is being considered for $1.75 billion owed to public schools as part of a complex Texas budget package.

— XGR--ETHICS RULES — The Texas House has voted to tighten disclosure and lobbying rules against state lawmakers — including its own membership.

— XGR--RADIOACTIVE WASTE — A bill that would have dramatically changed the rules for a radioactive waste dump died in the Legislature because of a parliamentary error.

— XGR--RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS — The Texas House has approved a requirement that state railroad commissioners resign their posts to run for another office.

— XGR--COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE — Driving a commercial vehicle without a license in Texas would bring bigger fines under a measure advancing in the Legislature.

— XGR--SHARK FIN BILL — A proposal to crack down on the slaughter of sharks for their fins has stalled in the last stages of the state legislature.

— XGR--HOUSE-SENATE-FIGHT — A member of the Texas House is killing bills authored by a Houston senator in retaliation for her opposition to an exoneration bill.

— HANDGUN LAW — A federal appeals court has upheld a Texas law that says 18-20-year-olds cannot receive a concealed handgun license.

— XGR--CAPITOL ALMANAC — Highlights from around the Texas Capitol.


MATAMOROS, Mexico — Just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, is a dormitory-style shelter filled with people recently deported from the U.S. and other migrants waiting to cross the border. The shelter is no safe haven in a town controlled by the Gulf cartel, which preys on the constant flow of immigrants north and south. Armed men once showed up at the shelter and took away 15 men, who were probably put to work as gunmen, lookouts or human mules hauling bales of marijuana into the United States. As Congress takes up immigration reform, lawmakers seeking tighter border security should keep in mind that the current regimen of immigration enforcement and deportations is roiling Mexican border cities and benefiting the violent cartels that loom over the region, people here say. And if more resources are sent to the border, they will need to account for the shifting pattern in immigrant arrests. By Christopher Sherman.

AP Photos.


TULSA, Okla. — Deadly tornadoes that have raked communities in Middle America over the past week, including Monday's massive twister that carved a path of destruction through suburban Oklahoma City what had been a relatively quiet start of the 2013 tornado season. In fact, this is the longest the U.S. has gone into May without registering an EF1 or stronger tornado, which are the types that can cause damage. That's according to Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory. An unusually cool spring kept the funnel clouds at bay until mid-May, or about a month after they'd typically begin their deadly dance in this part of the country. But that calm melted away with the recent rise in temperatures and humidity in the Plains and Midwest that produced ideal temperatures for the tornadoes that have killed people in Oklahoma and Texas since last Wednesday. By Justin Juozapavicius.

AP photos, video.


— TEXAS STORMS — A strong storm authorities suspect was a tornado smashed the public school complex in a small town in the rolling hills southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


United Airlines is getting its 787s back in the air. The planes are flying again after being grounded for four months because of smoldering batteries on 787s owned by other airlines. The incidents included an emergency landing of one plane, and a fire on another. Federal authorities lifted the grounding order on April 19 but it has taken Boeing, which makes the plane, and the airlines a few more weeks to fix most of them. By Airlines Writer Joshua Freed.

AP photos.


TRENTON, N.J. — A Texas man arrested with 21 guns in his car while passing through New Jersey four years ago will remain in prison after an appeals court on Monday upheld his conviction in a case that could wind up in front of the state Supreme Court. Dustin Reininger is serving a five-year sentence with a three-year minimum before he's eligible for parole. A jury convicted him in absentia in 2010 on several weapons counts including illegal possession of shotguns, rifles, hollow-point bullets and a high-capacity magazine after police found him sleeping in his car behind a bank in Readington early on the morning of March 20, 2009. Reininger told police he was moving to Texas from Maine and transporting the weapons, which his attorney says he legally owned. By David Porter.


DALLAS — A firefighter's body was recovered Monday several hours after he called for help because he was trapped in a condominium complex blaze. Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans did not immediately release the name of the man, whose body was pulled from the rubble after a frantic, hours-long search during the six-alarm blaze in northeast Dallas.

AP photos.


NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has dismissed a charge that is the backbone of the case against a former BP executive accused of concealing information from Congress about the amount of oil spewing in 2010 from the company's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico. Defense attorney Reid Weingarten called it a huge victory for David Rainey, who was BP's vice president of exploration for the Gulf. By Michael Kunzelman.


AUSTIN, Texas — A combination of weather events have Central Texas peach farmers expecting a meager crop once again this season, after several years of little yield due to whimsical weather. The Austin American-Statesman reports about 90 percent of the Gillespie County peach crops have been wiped out by a warmer-than-normal winter, two late freezes and a hailstorm that pummeled the few peaches that remained on the trees.


AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin metro area saw the nation's second-fastest increase in the number of poor people living in the suburbs from 2000 to 2011, according to a study released Monday. The findings by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, are part of a book that argues poverty is shifting from inner cities to America's suburbs.


— POSTAL WORKER-KILLED — Authorities have charged a 36-year-old man with murder in the death of a U.S. postal worker north of Houston.

— HOUSTON-DOWNTOWN SHOOTOUT — Police have charged a 22-year-old man with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon following a downtown gunfight in which one was killed.

— HEROIN-AIRLINE PASSENGER — An airline passenger from Mexico caught in Texas with nearly 4 pounds of heroin in her suitcases has been sentenced to three years in prison.

— SOUTH TEXAS-WRECK — Four men in a car have died in a South Texas traffic accident also involving a tanker truck and their friend riding a motorcycle.

— SPICEWOOD-DOUBLE SLAYING — A suspect in a Central Texas double slaying has died after apparently hanging himself in his jail cell.

— WOMEN BURNED — Two women playing video games at a North Texas convenience store and a worker have been burned after a female suspect set one of those customers on fire.



ROUND ROCK, Texas — Dell says it needs more information about billionaire Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management's alternative buyout offer before it could possibly give two of its biggest shareholders more information about the PC maker. In a letter sent by Dell's special committee of the board of directors to Icahn and Southeastern, the company said that it needs more materials and some clarifications on the pair's bid. The company said unless its board determines that the Icahn-Southeastern offer is a "superior proposal," it is not allowed to provide information or hold talks related to the bid.


SAN ANTONIO — Tesoro Logistics LP said Monday that it will acquire Chevron Pipe Line Co.'s northwest products system for less than previously expected, citing a March diesel fuel spill involving the system. Tesoro said it now plans to pay $355 million, down from its originally planned $400 million. Chevron Pipe Line will retain liabilities and responsibility for the cleanup of the site near Willard, Utah, for two years, Tesoro said.


— SOUTHWEST-HOUSTON-DC — Southwest Airlines Co. has announced new nonstop daily service between William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.



LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech hired Oklahoma State associate head coach Candi Whitaker on Monday to coach its women's basketball team. The former Lady Raiders player returns to her alma mater as the program's sixth coach. The move comes about a week after Kristy Curry left for Alabama.