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Texas Capital Highlights — May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017

AUSTIN (AP) — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is clamoring for a special legislative session unless the Texas House approves legislation it was already expected to pass: a North Carolina-style “bathroom bill” and property tax cuts.

Only Gov. Greg Abbott can order lawmakers back after the Legislature adjourns May 29, and he’s said previously he’s hesitant to do so.…

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Texas judge suspended when it’s learned she’s not US citizen

May 18, 2017

CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) — Officials in South Texas have placed a municipal court judge on unpaid leave after it was discovered she’s not a U.S. citizen.

Corpus Christi Mayor Pro-Tem Lucy Rubio told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that Judge Young Min Burkett was placed on leave for 90 days with the intention that will be enough time for her to obtain citizenship.…

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North Texas judge reprimanded for having sex with employee

May 18, 2017

FORT WORTH (AP) — A North Texas justice of the peace has been reprimanded by a special court of review for his sexual conduct with an employee.

In a deposition, Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Russell Casey had acknowledged having sexual contact with the woman 10 times. However, he called the court decision “balderdash” in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.…

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Texas Capital Highlights — May 15, 2017

May 16, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is asking the federal government to reverse course and provide funding for a state-run women’s health program that excludes abortion providers, an apparent test of the Trump administration that could provide a model for other conservative states.

Since 2011, Texas has chosen to forgo millions in federal Medicare dollars rather than let abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood participate in a statewide program that provides birth control, pregnancy testing and health screenings for low-income women.…

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Supreme Court order unlikely to deter voting restrictions

May 16, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court’s refusal to breathe new life into North Carolina’s sweeping voter identification law might be just a temporary victory for civil rights groups.

Republican-led states are continuing to enact new voter ID measures and other voting restrictions, and the Supreme Court’s newly reconstituted conservative majority, with the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch, could make the court less likely to invalidate the laws based on claims under the federal Voting Rights Act or the Constitution.…

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Road to passage for Texas ‘bathroom bill’ getting far harder

May 12, 2017

AUSTIN (AP) — The path for Texas to enact its version of a North Carolina-style bathroom bill is poised to get far tougher after the Republican-controlled state House ran out the clock Thursday on a key midnight bill deadline.

A proposal mandating transgender people to use public restrooms according to their birth certificate gender sailed through the Texas Senate weeks ago, but a similar measure that bans schools and local communities from passing ordinances to protect LGBT rights in bathrooms has been bottled up in the House.…

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Local Texas leaders remain opposed to property tax bill despite key changes

May 11, 2017

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen railed against several city leaders, county officials and first responders Wednesday for opposing a bill he says would provide Texans with greater transparency in their property tax bills.

The Angleton Republican unveiled a new version of a divisive property tax bill during a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, which he chairs.…

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Flynn documents sought by Senate panel in Russia probe

May 11, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday subpoenaed former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn for documents related to the panel’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, issued a joint statement saying the panel decided to issue the subpoena after Flynn, through his lawyer, declined to cooperate with an April 28 request to turn over the documents.…

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Comey turned up Trump-Russia probe days before firing

May 11, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Days before he was fired by Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the possible involvement of Trump associates, U.S. officials say, fueling concerns that Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency.…

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House OKs GOP health bill, a step toward Obamacare repeal

May 4, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Relieved Republicans muscled their health care bill through the House Thursday, taking their biggest step toward dismantling the Obama health care overhaul since Donald Trump took office. They won passage only after overcoming their own divisions that nearly sank the measure six weeks ago.

Beaten but unbowed, Democrats insisted Republicans will pay at election time for repealing major provisions of the law.…

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