March Texas Monthly

SOT(State of Texas) March 1st
-Texas is suing the EPA for rejecting parts of a 7 year old state proposal to reduce haze in wilderness areas. EPA rejected it because Texas’s plan did not adequately address requirements of the agency’s Regional Haze Rule, which regulates air in the natural areas in Texas and Oklahoma. Texas’s first lawsuit against the EPA this year.

-Austin-based State District Judge Julie Kocureck returned nearly 4 months after a November 6th assassination attempt left her in the hospital for nearly 2 months. The man suspected in the shooting – tied to a Nigerian drug ring – has yet to be formally charged.

George Nash, a campaign volunteer for Dwaine Caraway, filed a lawsuit accusing Caraway’s political rival, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, of lifting him “off the floor” by his throat during a scuffle at a gospel radio station.

Euless actress Sarah Shahi will be Nancy Drew in CBS’ Nancy Drew.

A McLennan County judge, Ralph Strother, ruled that a law used to jail Billy Mack Maddison for posting nude photos of his ex-wife on bogus Facebook profiles is overly broad and unconstitutional.

Licensed professional counselors are objecting to a proposed rule that would require an in-person session before allow distance counseling – they saw it would limit access to care for the state’s most vulnerable residents.

SOT March 2nd
Texas doubled the number of students who take the AP test in the last decade but many students are failing (1 in 5 kids pass)

The Most Valuable College Football Team in the Country: UT – pulled in $121 million

UT-Dallas had the highest increase in tuition per semester out of all UT Schools

GOP Primary in Texas experienced the highest turnout in over a decade

A Katy couple has been indicted for allegedly keeping a servant a virtual slave insider their Cinco Ranch-area home, forcing her to work without pay, sleep on the floor, and refusing her warm water to bathe.

SOT March 3
SCOTUS heard oral arguments concerning Texas’ controversial abortion law. Arguments centered on whether restrictive requirements for abortion clinics creates an “undue burden” on providers.

Newly elected Travis Country GOP chairman Robert Morrow made headlines after sending out a series of tweets on Super Tuesday insulting every politician on a personal level

Obamas will deliver keynote speeches at SXSW. Obama will be first US president to attend the festival.

The plunge in the peso (due to falling oil prices) has hurt the businesses in Texas border cities like Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey, and Saltillo who legally cross the border to do some shopping

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McGraw upheld a preliminary decision to fire Brian Encinia, the trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland. Bland died in Waller Country jail 3 days after her arrest. Encinia can still appeal his firing to the Texas Public Safety Commission. Encinia also faces misdemeanor perjury charges and a federal wrongful death lawsuit.

One TAMU student who was part of group that used racial slurs against Dallas teenagers (from Uplift Hampton Preparatory) visiting the campus has left the university – school not saying why student left, or if students will face disciplinary action.
A&M University President Michael K. Young said that the Brazos Country DA’s office isn’t going to pursue criminal charges and that university investigation is over.

SH 130 Concession Company, the private operator of the toll road Texas 130, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The toll company operates SH 130, the fastest stretch of road in Texas. The company is owned by San Antonio-based Zachry Corp. and Spanish Road developer Cintra. Toll road has the highest speed limit in US – 85 MPH.

Mary Lou Bruner is the frontrunner to win a seat on the state panel that oversees Texas’ school standards, representing a district that includes Rockwall and Kaufman counties and much of East Texas. At various points, she has believed that Obama was a gay prostitute in his youth, the Grand Canyon was created by the biblical Great Flood, and that sex ed is a method to indoctrinate kids to be gay. (Yikes, gotta blast). Her republican opponent is Keven Ellis, a 44 year old chiropractor and Lufkin School Board Member for past 4 years. Whoever wins out of the two of them will face Democrat Amanda Rudolph in November.

SOT March 4
Austin IHOP server printed “BLACK PPL” on the receipt of a to-go order

Caitlyn Jenner unofficially endorsed Ted Cruz

McLennan Country grand jury (Twin Peaks biker grand jury) that returned indictments against 106 bikers in November will be called back into service on March 23

Greg Abbott said that Robert Morrow ‘cannot adequately represent’ Travis GOP. Morrow unseated Travis Country GOP Chairman James Dickey. Some members of the party are searching for ways to prevent Morrow from taking office in June. Morrow has continued being vulgar, suggesting on Twitter that former first lady Barbara Bush be in a pornographic film.

Texas is one of 19 states that still allow schools to use corporal punishment as a form of discipline. A Desoto mother, Ayanna Smith, called for the immediate dismissal of a teacher at The Meadows Elementary for paddling her son, a kindergartener. Most of Texas’ big urban/suburban districts have opted out of the punishment but practice persists in more than 40% of Texas’ districts.

Between September 2008 and December 2014, stage agencies spent more than $8.8 million on swag and trinkets for their employees: knickknacks, water bottles, coffee mugs, tote bags, e.t.c.

SOT March 7
Houston has been in a big oil boom, but everything is pointing towards a bust soon. For the first time in years, the local United Way campaign will not surpass the total from the year before. Thrillist named Houston number one on its list of “worst designed cities in the U.S.” (b/c of the non-existent zoning laws)

Texas is in the midst of a massive augmentation of Operation Drawbridge – network of senors and cameras along the border – Republican-led Legislature vote to spend $800 million on “border security”

Midland Police Department reported a 27% increase in reported “forcible rapes” – police said no cause for alarm because none of the 47 rapes involved strangers, meaning offender and victims knew each other

SOT March 8
The El Paso schooling system has run into a major problem of being unable to teach English to its huge Spanish-speaking population. Part of the problem is that TX cut $5.4 billion from its public-schools budget during the recession. Also TX politicians don’t want to be seen as spending inc. state money on Spanish speakers.

Texas state health officials asked a prominent academic journal to take the state’s name off a published finding that TX women lost access to health care services after lawmakers kicked out Planned Parenthood in 2013.
-Study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine
-one of the authors was a top research for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Austin Police have finished their investigation into Officer Geoffrey, the officer involved with shooting 17 year old David Joseph, a naked teenager. A disciplinary hearing is scheduled. There is another investigation to see if Freeman violated state laws.

Lufkin police are investigating fatal injuries to a Texas Longhorn as an animal cruelty case.

Carol Hoepfner, a Rockport women who visited every Whataburger location (739 total) in the country, died of cancer at age 77
-Husband Karl was named Whataburger’s biggest fan in 2010 after he wrote an essay about how he had visited Whataburger at least 7K time in his life

Ted Cruz’s campaign pulled an ad that Amy Lindsay (softcore porn actress) appeared in. She is now going for Trump.

A trio of dumpsters behind Texas Tech University got attention after someone spray painted the words “Trump Ballot Boxes” on them

SOT March 9
>4.2 million ppl voted in texas primary, texas’s turnout = 11th/12 states so far who have voted already, portion of voting-aged texans who came out: 21.5%

TX Supreme Court head arguments in a tax showdown: Are metal pipes, tubing and other equipment used in oil and gas extraction exempt from sales taxes

Neil Bush (third Bush child) endorsed Cruz, along w/Mitt Romney and Chuck Norris

With the arrival of International Women’s Day, university said the school has made preventing and responding to sexual violence a top priority

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s surgery to repair a fractured left clavicle was termed a success

San Antonio man (Patrick Greene) filing a lawsuit against the pastor (Rick Milby) of a local church that is planning to build the tallest cross in the Western hemisphere b/c the pastor invited the mayor and council leader to the groundbreak
-lawsuit cites an article of the TX Constitution that says no person of authority should give preference to any religion or worship method

McAllen lost more than 750K on Christmas even – the Christmas parade, Christmas in the Park and the stadium promotion (featured Enrique Iglesias)

SOT March 10
The state of TX appealed the rejection of its 2011 Senate Bill 14, which which would have required most citizens to show allowable photo id before their election ballots can be counted
-Veasey vs. Abbott will be heard by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an en banc hearing (full circuit court panel)

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Texas Snake Initiative, and several TX residents have filed a petition with the Texas Parks and Wildlife department, claiming the the practice of spraying gas and other chemicals to force snakes out of their lairs harms habitats and other wildlife, including federally endangered species

Houston Texans lured Brock Osweiler away from the Superbowl winning Denver Broncos with a 4 year, $72 million contract

More than $2000 worth of equipment was stolen from Girl Scouts in Austin after their shed was bulgarized on church property
-Service unit was utilized by a collection of 90 different troops throughout the area

Austin mayor Steve Adler and San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor will be holding the first-ever Breakfast Taco Summit during SXSW to see who has the best taco

Coy Wesbrook was executed for his murder of 5 people in 1997 near Houston
-8th lethal injection of the year nationally, 4th in TX (carries out more capital punishment than any state)

SOT March 11
Pro-Gun protesters to protest Obama’s arrival at SXSW

Apparently, Chuck Norris has not officially endorsed Ted Cruz or any other candidate for president

Greg Abbott announced his plan to ensure that every school kid have broadband access by 2018 (approximately 5.2 million kids)

Internal investigation found that Department of Veterans Affairs scheduling clerks throughout Central Texas masked the true nature of wait times at hospitals and clinics in the region by inputting false appointment data

Taco Summit was held at Hilton Austin – proclaimed peace by signing the “I-35 Accords”

Public health authorities in Dallas and Tarrant counties are urging spring break travelers to take precautions to slow down the spread of Zika virus in North Texas
-Dallas County has reported 4 cases of Zika infections

SOT March 14
Obama ate at Torchy’s Tacos – a very average taco chain – when he attended SXSW

South Texas abortion clinic owned by Whole Women’s Health is at the heart of the SCOTUS case that will decide the future of abortion access in TX and a number of other states – court is looking into whether the current Texas abortion law creates an “undue burden”

South Padre sees bump in Spring Break turnout, anticipating big year

SOT March 15
The Fort Worth Police Department is investigating an officer who was caught on video spraying mace at a group of motorcyclists as they drove by, for no clear reason. Officer nearly caused massive motorcycle accident, but also unintentionally maced a pregnant woman sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck he had just pulled over.

In a town called Von Ormy, there’s now a strip club within 300 feet of a school bus stop
-Club called MGM Cabaret

At least two fake signs calling to ban Donald Trump from Mexican restaurants in San Antonio were found
-Taco Cabana and Mama Margie’s

Since August, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has received more than 740 complaints about the mysterious odor in the Pearland-area

SOT March 16
Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in 17 Texas counties due to major flooding along the Louisiana border in the southeast Texas area

Tod Campbell, a Centennial High School assistant football coach, resigned after reports of being super racist to his players were leaked out
-the school district isn’t know for racial diversity – 10% students are black

Cops in Austin appear to be targeting minorities
=Blacks had a 1/6 chance of being searched at stops that led to a citation or an arrest; white had a 1/22 chance

Rep. Pete Sessions introduced a House resolution that would officially recognize magic as a “rare and valuable art form and national treasure”
-Sessions is skeptical of global warming and says big government is a waste, but still velieves in magic

Pro-Uber groups submits first document related to referendum
-Involves Lyft and Uber
-issue could end up on November ballot
-stricter rules of the road to keep the service in town

SOT March 17
5 teams from Texas competed in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament
-Obama picked A&M to get to final 4

A man living in Tyler claims he found fossils from Noah’s flood

SOT March 18
The Texas Policy Evaluation Project at UT released a study that measured the impact of House Bill 2, found that the law made things extremely difficult for women seeking abortions
-“Have to spend more than $100 and other difficulties in order to get an abortion”
-reality may be even worse because the study doesn’t account for women who had trouble accessing abortions and choosing not to show up

-100 ducks in Houston got the death penalty for pooping and vandalizing flowerbeds

-Statesman reported the disappointing ways TX fails it farmworkers, who are promised adequate financing and housing but in reality make peanuts while agriculture industry gets billions
-Sid Miller went to Oklahoma to get a “Jesus Shot” (claims to take away all pain for life)

Dallas FBI is searching for the ‘Bad Hair Bandit’ because they think he is responsible for 5 robberies in the last 3 months
-most of the robberies have occurred on Preston Road

SOT March 21