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Category: State News

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Norma McCorvey, at Center of Landmark Abortion Ruling, Dies

DALLAS (AP) — Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion has died. She was 69. McCorvey died on Saturday at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas. McCorvey was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life. The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v. Wade, led to the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that established abortion rights. But by the time of the ruling she had given birth and gave her daughter up for adoption. Decades later, McCorvey underwent a conversion, becoming an evangelical Christian and later a Roman Catholic. She joined the anti-abortion movement.

Some Texas Grad Students Hold Bar Conferences to Avoid Guns

AUSTIN (AP) — A 2016 Texas law that allows concealed handguns on college campuses has prompted some graduate students to move their student conferences to bars. The Houston Chronicle reports several University of Texas at Austin graduate students made the move amid safety concerns. Mark Sheridan, who’s also an English doctoral student, says he moved his office hours to a bar in the university student center. Texas law bans firearms in venues that primarily serve alcohol. Texas has allowed concealed carry since 1995, but kept college campuses gun-free until last August. A Houston Chronicle review of university records and interviews, in the first six months of the law, found reports of only three firearm discharges on public college campuses. The incidents were at the University of Houston, Tarleton State and Texas Tech.

Texas Judge Allows Lawsuit against Selena Widower to Proceed

CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) — A Texas judge says a lawsuit against the widower of slain Tejano star Selena can proceed as her father seeks to block a TV series about her. Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, opposes the show. It’s based on what he calls an unauthorized book, “To Selena With Love,” by Selena’s husband, Chris Perez. Lawyers for Perez wanted the lawsuit dismissed based on free speech grounds. They had no immediate comment on Friday’s ruling. Quintanilla is suing Perez and two companies planning to adapt the widower’s memoir into a series. The lawsuit says that after Selena’s 1995 slaying, Perez signed a deal that gave all rights to Selena’s likeness and name to her estate. Selena Quintanilla-Perez was shot by her fan club president, now serving life in prison.

Four Men Rescued from Life Boat in Gulf of Mexico off Galveston

GALVESTON (AP) — Coast Guard officials say four men have been rescued from a life raft in the Gulf of Mexico after their fishing boat capsized about 100 miles off Galveston. Authorities say nobody was hurt in Friday afternoon’s rescue credited to some people in a nearby fishing boat amid stormy weather. The Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal around 12:30 p.m. Friday. The Coast Guard dispatched search vessels and began broadcasting alerts for other boaters in the area, about 100 miles southeast of Galveston, to help. A Coast Guard statement says some people in a 35-foot sport fishing boat received the information and located the life raft, rescuing all four men on board. All were safely returned to Galveston on Friday night.

Justice Department Cites Hiring Freeze Concerns for Disabled

AUSTIN (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has questioned how Gov. Greg Abbott’s hiring freeze could affect Texas institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. The Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday that Justice Department officials say potential staffing shortages could cause Texas to violate its federal agreement to improve the facilities. Abbott on Jan. 31, amid budget concerns, ordered a state agency hiring freeze through August. The directive only applies to agencies under Abbott’s office and allows exemptions. The Justice Department, in a Feb. 7 response, said Texas supported living centers already have serious problems with turnover. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has a filed waiver request with Abbott’s office. An Abbott spokesman says the governor’s office is working to make sure the living centers aren’t negatively affected by the hiring freeze.

North Texas Police: Officer Fatally Shoots Murder Suspect

GRAND PRAIRIE (AP) — Police say a North Texas officer responding to a disturbance call fatally shot a suspect later identified as a man charged in the December death of his girlfriend. Grand Prairie Police Detective Mark Beseda on Saturday said 30-year-old Joshua Henry faced a murder charge in Tarrant County. Records show Henry was free on $100,000 bond in the fatal shooting of Nicole Blahitka of Fort Worth. Beseda says an officer Friday night responded to a disturbance call from a person reporting a male relative destroying property. Beseda says an officer arrived, the suspect became belligerent and the two had a physical altercation. Beseda says the officer shot the suspect once. The suspect died at a hospital. Police didn’t immediate say when they identified Henry. The officer was put on administrative leave.

Hundreds Rally in Dallas in Support of Immigrants, Refugees

DALLAS (AP) — Police estimate about 1,700 people have rallied in downtown Dallas in a peaceful show of support for immigrants and refugees. The Dallas Morning News reports religious and civic leaders were among those Saturday protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Dallas police report the crowd gathered along streets and near the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. Officer Diana Flores says there were no arrests. Some marchers carried U.S. flags or banners from other nations and chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” Imam Omar Suleiman, with Faith Forward Dallas, told the crowd: “We will not allow an extremist 10,000 miles away or an extremist in the White House to pit us against one another.” About a dozen counter-protesters stood nearby in support of Trump.

Ex-Texas Police Chief Convicted of Having Sex with Minor

WAXAHACHIE (AP) — A former North Texas police chief has been convicted of sexual contact and sexual assault counts relating to his online enticement and sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. The Waxahachie Daily Light reports an Ellis County jury deliberated just over two hours before finding ex-Maypearl Chief Kevin Coffey guilty of both counts of an indictment accusing him of sexual contact and sexual assault of a minor on Jan. 1, 2015. Coffey testified that although he may have texted and touched the girl inappropriately, he did not have sex with her. The sentencing phase of the trial begins Tuesday morning. Coffey could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for each of the two counts.

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Norma McCorvey, at Center of Landmark Abortion Ruling, Dies

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:26 am

DALLAS (AP) — Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion has died. She was 69. McCorvey died on Saturday at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas. McCorvey was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life. The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v. Wade, led to the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that established abortion rights. But by the time of the ruling she had given birth and gave her daughter up for adoption. Decades later, McCorvey underwent a conversion, becoming an evangelical Christian and later a Roman Catholic. She joined the anti-abortion movement.

Some Texas Grad Students Hold Bar Conferences to Avoid Guns

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

AUSTIN (AP) — A 2016 Texas law that allows concealed handguns on college campuses has prompted some graduate students to move their student conferences to bars. The Houston Chronicle reports several University of Texas at Austin graduate students made the move amid safety concerns. Mark Sheridan, who’s also an English doctoral student, says he moved his office hours to a bar in the university student center. Texas law bans firearms in venues that primarily serve alcohol. Texas has allowed concealed carry since 1995, but kept college campuses gun-free until last August. A Houston Chronicle review of university records and interviews, in the first six months of the law, found reports of only three firearm discharges on public college campuses. The incidents were at the University of Houston, Tarleton State and Texas Tech.

Texas Judge Allows Lawsuit against Selena Widower to Proceed

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) — A Texas judge says a lawsuit against the widower of slain Tejano star Selena can proceed as her father seeks to block a TV series about her. Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, opposes the show. It’s based on what he calls an unauthorized book, “To Selena With Love,” by Selena’s husband, Chris Perez. Lawyers for Perez wanted the lawsuit dismissed based on free speech grounds. They had no immediate comment on Friday’s ruling. Quintanilla is suing Perez and two companies planning to adapt the widower’s memoir into a series. The lawsuit says that after Selena’s 1995 slaying, Perez signed a deal that gave all rights to Selena’s likeness and name to her estate. Selena Quintanilla-Perez was shot by her fan club president, now serving life in prison.

Four Men Rescued from Life Boat in Gulf of Mexico off Galveston

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

GALVESTON (AP) — Coast Guard officials say four men have been rescued from a life raft in the Gulf of Mexico after their fishing boat capsized about 100 miles off Galveston. Authorities say nobody was hurt in Friday afternoon’s rescue credited to some people in a nearby fishing boat amid stormy weather. The Coast Guard received a satellite distress signal around 12:30 p.m. Friday. The Coast Guard dispatched search vessels and began broadcasting alerts for other boaters in the area, about 100 miles southeast of Galveston, to help. A Coast Guard statement says some people in a 35-foot sport fishing boat received the information and located the life raft, rescuing all four men on board. All were safely returned to Galveston on Friday night.

Justice Department Cites Hiring Freeze Concerns for Disabled

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

AUSTIN (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has questioned how Gov. Greg Abbott’s hiring freeze could affect Texas institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. The Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday that Justice Department officials say potential staffing shortages could cause Texas to violate its federal agreement to improve the facilities. Abbott on Jan. 31, amid budget concerns, ordered a state agency hiring freeze through August. The directive only applies to agencies under Abbott’s office and allows exemptions. The Justice Department, in a Feb. 7 response, said Texas supported living centers already have serious problems with turnover. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has a filed waiver request with Abbott’s office. An Abbott spokesman says the governor’s office is working to make sure the living centers aren’t negatively affected by the hiring freeze.

North Texas Police: Officer Fatally Shoots Murder Suspect

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

GRAND PRAIRIE (AP) — Police say a North Texas officer responding to a disturbance call fatally shot a suspect later identified as a man charged in the December death of his girlfriend. Grand Prairie Police Detective Mark Beseda on Saturday said 30-year-old Joshua Henry faced a murder charge in Tarrant County. Records show Henry was free on $100,000 bond in the fatal shooting of Nicole Blahitka of Fort Worth. Beseda says an officer Friday night responded to a disturbance call from a person reporting a male relative destroying property. Beseda says an officer arrived, the suspect became belligerent and the two had a physical altercation. Beseda says the officer shot the suspect once. The suspect died at a hospital. Police didn’t immediate say when they identified Henry. The officer was put on administrative leave.

Hundreds Rally in Dallas in Support of Immigrants, Refugees

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

DALLAS (AP) — Police estimate about 1,700 people have rallied in downtown Dallas in a peaceful show of support for immigrants and refugees. The Dallas Morning News reports religious and civic leaders were among those Saturday protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Dallas police report the crowd gathered along streets and near the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. Officer Diana Flores says there were no arrests. Some marchers carried U.S. flags or banners from other nations and chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” Imam Omar Suleiman, with Faith Forward Dallas, told the crowd: “We will not allow an extremist 10,000 miles away or an extremist in the White House to pit us against one another.” About a dozen counter-protesters stood nearby in support of Trump.

Ex-Texas Police Chief Convicted of Having Sex with Minor

Posted/updated on: February 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

WAXAHACHIE (AP) — A former North Texas police chief has been convicted of sexual contact and sexual assault counts relating to his online enticement and sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. The Waxahachie Daily Light reports an Ellis County jury deliberated just over two hours before finding ex-Maypearl Chief Kevin Coffey guilty of both counts of an indictment accusing him of sexual contact and sexual assault of a minor on Jan. 1, 2015. Coffey testified that although he may have texted and touched the girl inappropriately, he did not have sex with her. The sentencing phase of the trial begins Tuesday morning. Coffey could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for each of the two counts.

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