AUSTIN (AP) – A Texas version of a North Carolina-style “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people has again passed the state Senate but still faces obstacles. The vote Tuesday came a week into a special legislative session that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called after GOP leaders deadlocked in May over efforts to restrict which bathrooms transgender people can use. But there is no sign of cracks in that impasse. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus for months has denounced the bill and has only sharpened his criticism in recent weeks. Straus has stood with Apple, Amazon and other big-name companies that call the efforts discriminatory and bad for Texas businesses. Social conservatives say the bill is a needed privacy safeguard. Police chiefs from Texas’ largest cities rallied against the bill outside the state Capitol before the vote.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Authorities say a police officer is in serious condition after a fatal gunfight outside an apartment complex in San Antonio. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus says officers responded early Wednesday to a disturbance call at the complex where investigators believed a home invasion may have occurred.
McManus says one officer confronted three suspects in a car and began struggling with the driver. He says a back-seat passenger got out of the car and began firing, striking the officer at least once. McManus says it appears the wounded officer and at least one other officer returned fire, killing the alleged gunman. The chief says the injured officer, a four-year department veteran, underwent surgery for a stomach wound. The car’s driver and the second passenger were taken into custody.
EL PASO (AP) – Authorities in Texas say they’ve recovered the bodies of at least three people who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico. The El Paso Fire Department spokesman Carlos Briano says its water rescue team recovered the bodies of a teenage boy and girl and an adult woman on Tuesday. The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said the boy was 16, the girl was 15 and the woman was 37. U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Jose Romero says the two females were with a group of at least five people who tried crossing the border illegally from Mexico. Federal agents have the other three in custody. Romero says the boy was with a group of five people swept away by the river current Monday. The other four were rescued.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – A Texas congressman says a truck that carried dozens of immigrants passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint about two hours before it was discovered outside a San Antonio Walmart. Ten people found in the rig died. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar told The Associated Press on Tuesday that authorities informed him that the truck James Matthew Bradley Jr. is charged with driving cleared the checkpoint near Laredo around 10 p.m. Saturday. Police arrived at the Walmart parking lot at 12:23 a.m. Sunday. Cuellar says he’s unsure whether immigrants crossing into the U.S. illegally boarded the truck before or after it passed the checkpoint. A Guatemalan diplomat on Tuesday identified one of the migrants who died as 19-year-old Frank Guisseppe Fuentes. Cristy Andrino says Fuentes was headed to rejoin his family in Maryland.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Authorities are warning about a rise in virtual kidnappings – where con artists falsely claim to be holding victims’ relatives for ransom. Los Angeles police and federal officials warned Tuesday that dozens of people have fallen prey to the scam in recent years and have paid out more than $100,000. Authorities say the scammers typically claim that the victim’s child or other relative faces mutilation or death unless money is paid. Sometimes the calls are made at random but sometimes the scammers target people using information gleaned from their social media accounts. The FBI says it’s received some 80 reports of victims in California, Texas and Idaho. Authorities say actual ransom kidnappings are rare, and anyone receiving such calls should hang up, check on their relatives’ safety and contact police.
BRECKENRIDGE (AP) – Authorities say two people were injured, one critically, when a Korean War-era plane crashed and its fuselage broke apart in West Texas. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says preliminary information indicates the single-engine Hawker Sea Fury lost power as it came in to land Tuesday morning at Stephens County Airport in Breckenridge, about 90 miles west of Fort Worth. Lunsford says the fuselage broke apart on impact. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Fred Biddle says the plane was on a test flight when it crash-landed about 1 mile from the airport. Biddle says one person was critically hurt, but didn’t say if that was the pilot or passenger. Both were taken to a Fort Worth hospital.
HUNTSVILLE (AP) – The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has voted unanimously against recommending clemency for a convicted killer set to die this week for the slaying of a woman in San Antonio in 2004. The panel’s 6-0 vote Tuesday follows the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and a federal judge’s refusal to stop the lethal injection of Taichin Preyor scheduled for Thursday. He was condemned for killing 24-year-old Jami Tackett at her apartment. Tackett is described in court documents as a drug dealer and the 46-year-old Preyor as a customer and dealer. Preyor’s attorneys contend his trial lawyers didn’t properly investigate his abusive childhood and that an earlier inexperienced appeals attorney relied on a disbarred lawyer for guidance. Preyor’s attorneys say they’re appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Maine Republican Susan Collins has been captured on a live microphone making fun of GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold. That’s the Texas congressman who a day earlier blamed “some female senators from the Northeast” for blocking health care legislation and said he wished he could challenge them to a duel “Aaron Burr-style.” Making small talk at a hearing on Tuesday, Collins was overheard telling a colleague about Farenthold: “I don’t mean to be unkind but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable.” Collins also mentioned to Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed a widely circulated picture of Farenthold wearing pajamas posing next to a scantily clad woman.
DALLAS (AP) – A rendering by Norman Rockwell of one of his best known paintings is expected to sell next month at auction for at least $300,000. An Austin family recently discovered they had the study – the last practice run before a painter creates the original – for Rockwell’s “Tough Call.” The painting with three umpires looking skyward pondering whether to call a game because of rain arguably is the most recognizable of his baseball-themed works. The original is in the possession of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The Austin family had thought they had a print of the work before they had it examined. Dallas-based Heritage Auctions is accepting bids on the work starting Aug. 19. Heritage recently sold another Rockwell study for about $1.3 million.