Columns

Thu
23
Mar

State budget progresses toward vote by full Senate

By ED STERLING

 

The Senate Finance Committee, at work on the 2018-2019 state budget since January, on March 16 approved workgroup recommendations in preparation for a final vote.

Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she expects her panel to vote on the state budget, Senate Bill 1, this week, March 20-24. After the committee votes, the next step for the budget is consideration by the full Senate.

So far in the process, the committee has approved more money to reduce the caseload for foster care workers, an increase in payments for people who take in foster children and an expansion of a privatized case management program. Funding for mental health would be maintained at current levels while adding beds for maximum-security patients.

 

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Thu
16
Mar

Weather Whys

What causes hail to form?

What causes hail to form? Hail is caused when raindrops are lifted up into the atmosphere during a thunderstorm and then supercooled by temperatures below freezing, turning them into ice balls, says Dr. Dick Orville of Texas A&M University.

“The faster the updraft on these balls of ice, the bigger they can grow,” he explains.

“On some hailstones, you can actually see rings inside them which show they were cycled through the thunderstorm more than once. What starts out as a tiny raindrop becomes a pea-size chunk of ice and some eventually get to be the size of baseballs or softballs.

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Thu
16
Mar

Federal court panel rules against Texas redistricting plan

By ED STERLING

Three of Texas’ 36 congressional districts are unconstitutional because of racial or political gerrymandering, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled on March 10.

The judges ruled 2-1 that the districts’ boundaries, drawn by the Texas Legislature in 2011 and 2013, violate the U.S. Constitution.

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Thu
09
Mar

The realities of annexation

BY CHARLES “TINK” JACKSON

There appears to be a lot of misinformation being spread about the City having plans to annex certain parcels of land in the immediate future. The Council held a workshop last month to address this very issue. Those that attended the workshop, I believe, have a much better understanding of what the City can do, cannot do, and is required to do under the law related to annexation. In continuing with our recent theme, I will first dispel untrue rumors being circulated and then give an explanation of what the realities of annexation are as they apply to the city of Pearsall.

Thu
09
Mar

House, Senate approve bills to protect children in foster system

BY ED STERLING

Both houses of the Texas Legislature last week passed bills to improve the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for emergency action to improve child protection programs.

Tasked with protecting children, elders and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation, the DFPS, part of the Texas Health and Human Commission, has attracted attention in recent years for inadequate funding and staffing to meet obligations.

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Thu
02
Mar

Federal judge sides with plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood case

By  ED STERLING

 

Texans who rely on Planned Parenthood as a medical care provider won’t have to seek those services elsewhere, pending an upcoming trial. In the lawsuit titled Planned Parenthood et al. v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin on Feb. 21 granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the Texas Department of Health and Human Services from eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in the state’s 2017-18 budget.

 

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Thu
02
Mar

The first 60 days

By AUDREY LOUIS

Nearly 60 days into my role as your newly-elected District Attorney for the 81st Judicial District, I have found it to be an exciting challenge. I appreciate your faith in electing me and I am working hard to earn that trust. Shortly after the election, we began putting together our team. It was important to me to have the right personnel in place (from receptionist to investigators and prosecutors), a team that shared the common goal of service to our community and the desire to make a difference.

 

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Thu
23
Feb

Paxton files brief in support of president’s immigration order

By ED STERLING

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a legal brief supporting President Trump’s executive order for an immigration crackdown. In his Feb. 15 brief with a San Francisco federal appeals court, Paxton defends President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The states of Washington and Minnesota filed a complaint in a Seattle federal district court and were granted a nationwide temporary restraining order that blocked key provisions of the executive order regarding Trump’s proposed ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries considered to be terrorism hotspots.

 

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Thu
23
Feb

Weather Whys

You sometimes hear of people having the “winter blues.” Is there such a thing? The answer is a definite yes, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University, and the technical name is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and it is a mild form of depression caused by long winter months and not much sunlight.

 

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Thu
16
Feb

Legislation banning sanctuary city policies clears hurdle

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 8 praised the Texas Senate’s approval of legislation to ban sanctuary cities, an item on his priority list for the current legislative session. Senate Bill 4 by Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, passed after 16 hours of floor debate on a 20-10 party-line vote, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats in opposition.

 

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