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Gov. Abbott’s Letter Elevates Jade Helm 15 Concerns

May 1, 2015
US Army Special Operations Command

In recent days, Pat Calhoun has found himself reassuring jittery residents of Goliad County that there is nothing to fear about Jade Helm 15, a planned military training exercise that has become a fascination of conspiracy theorists. A retired Marine, the county judge has taken part in similar operations and knows the drill — literally.

“I know what's going on with this,” Calhoun said Thursday. “You don’t have anything to be afraid of in our military.”

The two-month simulation, slated to begin in July in states throughout the Southwest, has nonetheless spooked some Texans, leaving local officials scrambling to assuage constituent anxieties about an operation even the military characterizes as unusual in its “size and scope.”

Ryan E. Poppe / Texas Public Radio

AUSTIN — The Texas House has preliminarily passed a plan revamping the state’s economic incentive programs, including dissolving a pet fund of Rick Perry that funneled $200 million in taxpayer dollars to startups.

Lawmakers used a simple voice vote Thursday to advance the measure, which Perry’s successor, Gov. Greg Abbott, has prioritized. It eliminates the Emerging Technology Fund. Perry said the fund had spurred Texas’ economy, but critics note it funded some firms that didn’t create jobs or went bankrupt.

Gas Prices Rise Nationwide, DFW Area Most Expensive In Texas

Apr 30, 2015
Courtesy AAA Texas

COPPELL, Texas — Despite gas prices being lower than they were at this time last year, nationally and statewide, Texas drivers are now paying $2.38 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, seven cents per gallon more than they did last week. However, it is still $1.11 less per gallon than last year, according to a report from the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch.

Tomorrow, May 1, is the deadline for terminals to switch over to summer-grade fuel and that, along with other major factors like seasonal maintenance at refineries and market uncertainty has contributed to the rise in prices.

While gas prices rose across Texas and other parts of the U.S., Texans are still paying 20 cents less than the national average of $2.58 per gallon.

Wikipedia Commons

AUSTIN — The Legislature has approved a proposal allowing thousands of Texas high school seniors to potentially graduate this year despite failing standardized tests needed to earn a diploma.

Amarillo Republican Sen. Kel Seliger’s bill offered an alternative graduation plan to an estimated 28,000 Class of 2015 seniors who failed to pass at least one statewide exam in algebra I, biology, English I and II and U.S. history.

It established individual educational committees to determine whether a student could graduate instead based on other factors, like attendance and grades.

Texas Considers More Abortion Limits After Clinic Closures

Apr 29, 2015
David Martin Davies / TPR News

AUSTIN — Two years after Texas adopted sweeping abortion restrictions despite Wendy Davis’ star-making filibuster, Republicans are pushing a smaller encore of additional limits for new Gov. Greg Abbott to sign within the next month.

New battlegrounds over abortion access for minors and insurance don’t pack the same impact of a 2013 measure that would leave as few as eight abortion facilities in Texas if a federal appeals court upholds stringent new clinic standards. That decision is potentially still weeks out.

But while other conservative states such as Kansas and Tennessee have moved to the front line of national abortion politics, Texas Republicans are signaling they are far from finished. One bill up for discussion Wednesday would hold doctors or counselors criminally liable if they were found to have coerced a woman into ending a pregnancy. It was proposed by a first-term Republican who says she was pressured into an abortion as a teenager.

Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HOUSTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the appeal of a Salvadoran man on Texas death row for the slayings of two store clerks in Houston 15 years ago. The high court offered no explanation for its decision Monday in the case of 45-year-old Gilmar Guevara.

Lower courts have rejected claims Guevara’s legal help at his Harris County trial in 2001 was deficient and that his mental impairment made him ineligible for the death penalty.

Guevara was condemned for fatally shooting 48-year-old Tae Youk and 21-year-old Gerardo Yaxon during an attempted robbery in 2000.

Youk was from South Korea.

Yaxon was from Guatemala.

No money was taken from their store.

As long as there have been schools and classes, there have been students who don't show up. And educators scratching their heads over what to do about it.

In most states, missing a lot of school means a trip to the principal's office. In Texas, parents and students are more likely to end up in front of a judge.

Ryan E. Poppe

AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott met with the Honduran president last week in his first visit with a Central American leader since he took office and promised to stanch the flow of immigrants coming across the border.

It was a break from friction Abbott is confronting closer to home in the Capitol.

With six weeks left in a legislative session that began with Abbott giving largely non-contentious marching orders like ethics reforms and tax cuts — and leaving hot-button issues like gay rights and abortion aside — a standoff between the GOP in the House and Senate has put some of his agenda in gridlock.

Heated Abortion Debate In Texas House Affects Health Agency Bill

Apr 24, 2015
Wikipedia Commons

Debate on legislation to re-evaluate a state health agency morphed into a fight over abortion in the Texas House on Thursday, and the bill was pulled down after a pair of anti-abortion amendments were added to the bill over the author’s objections. 

The amendments, authored by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, included one that would ban abortions of fetuses with genetic abnormalities after 20 weeks. Democrats and the bill’s author, state Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, had objected, complaining the amendments weren’t relevant to the bill. 

We're heading into grilling season, which means breaking out the burgers and brats. But if you're a true meat lover, the slab you'll want to be searing is the rib-eye.

The rib-eye is the bestselling cut of beef in America both at the supermarket and the steakhouse, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Beef lovers go crazy for it because of its marbling — the network of fat within muscles that melts on the grill and makes the steak juicy and tender.

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