AUSTIN (AP) – Gov. Greg Abbott has approved a spending bill that includes a $1 million public safety campaign for firearm storage. The Republican signed a $250 billion two-year budget Saturday without any line-item vetoes. It includes money for the Texas Department of Public Safety to promote a safe gun storage campaign. The National Rifle Association and gun-rights activists had opposed similar legislation in Texas, where they’ve been a powerful force in a state with 1.3 million handgun license holders. An NRA lobbyist told lawmakers that a campaign designed by Texas state police could be corrupted by anti-gun rhetoric. The program follows a mass shooting at a high school near Houston last year. Authorities have said the then-17-year-old gunman took his father’s weapons before opening fire at Santa Fe High School.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Undaunted by a journey over thousands of miles, people fleeing economic privation and human rights abuses in African countries are coming to the United States in unprecedented numbers. Border agents and officials in Texas and even in Maine are scrambling to absorb them. Mexico, on the overland route to America, is on pace to tripling the number of African immigrants it is processing this year, up from 2,100 in 2017. In one recent week, U.S. border patrol agents stopped more than 500 African migrants in Texas. They were from the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. Word has spread among migrants that Portland, Maine, is a welcoming place. A total of 170 asylum seekers arrived in recent days. Hundreds more are expected.
HOUSTON (AP) – A former Southern Baptist pastor who supported legislation in Texas this year that would have criminalized abortions has been arrested on charges of child sex abuse. Court records show that Stephen Bratton posted a $50,000 bond Saturday. The Houston Chronicle reports that 43-year-old Bratton is accused of molesting a teenage relative, sometimes multiple times a day. It isn’t clear whether Bratton has an attorney. The Associated Press couldn’t locate a phone number for him Sunday. Bratton was a pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church near Houston. He was outspoken in support of a bill that would have abolished abortions in Texas and threatened charging women who undergo the procedure with homicide. Aaron Wright, another pastor at the church, says Bratton has been excommunicated.
BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) – Beto O’Rourke knows he needs to show some flair to break out of the pack soon. The former Texas congressman running in the Democratic presidential primary went to South Carolina’s Lowcountry Friday and met with leaders of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, a culture of slave descendants. Black voters will be very important in Democratic primaries in South Carolina and and other Southern states. O’Rourke said he feels white Americans, including himself, don’t know enough about the history of slavery.