There’s no shortage of weird bills introduced each legislative session, but the new one proposed by Harris County state representative Debbie Riddle is definitely among the weirder. Riddle’s HB 1748 would criminalize (with a Class A misdemeanor, the same type of crime as burglary and more serious than DWI) anyone who uses a bathroom that Riddle believes he or she is not authorized to use. Specifically, the bill’s language determines who can use which bathroom based on their DNA:
For the purpose of this section, the gender of an individual is the gender established at the individual’s birth or the gender established by the individual’s chromosomes. A male is an individual with at least one X chromosome and at least one Y chromosome, and a female is an individual with at least one X chromosome and no Y chromosomes. If an individual’s gender established at the individual’s birth is not the same as the individual’s gender established by the individual’s chromosomes, the individual’s gender established by the individual’s chromosomes controls under this section.
Strip clubs can be shady places. The dancers have to worry about being ripped off by management, the management has to worry about unruly customers, and the customers have to worry about—er—unexpectedly seeing more of the dancers’ butts than city ordinance allows. Fortunately for the strip club patrons of Sugar’s in San Antonio, a sting operation was in place this week to protect clients from the devious performers who threatened to show an illegal amount of butt crack.
The last time we checked in on American Sniper, it was merely shattering box office records for films that received their wide release in January. Since then, it’s catapulted to the #5 slot on the annual box office tally for movies that opened in 2014. It’s on pace, by the end of its theatrical run, to compete with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Guardians of the Galaxy for first place, and it is but a few days away from overtaking the Hangover films and The Matrix Reloaded to land second place on the list of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time (behind The Passion of the Christ).
Last week, in North Tyler, a black, transgender woman named Ty Underwood was shot and killed in her car in an apparent homicide. Since the murder, Underwood’s friends have maintained that the killing must have been a hate crime, carried out because of Underwood’s gender identity. But her murder won’t be designated or investigated by the Tyler Police Department as a hate crime. (The department has yet to name or arrest a suspect in the slaying.) Unlike federal hate crime legislation, Texas’s hate crime act doesn’t incorporate crimes motivated by the victim’s gender identity or perceived gender identity.
“I did not kill my best friend. I did dismember him.”
Robert Durst uttered those words in a state district courtroom during his 2003 trial for the murder of Morris Black, his neighbor at 2213 Avenue K in Galveston. Now, for the first time, people will actually see and hear Durst saying them.
Director Andrew Jarecki and producer Marc Smerling’s HBO documentary miniseries, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, is built around the filmmakers’s unprecedented present-day access to Durst, the notorious and eccentric New York City real estate heir who’s been a suspect in three murders over the past three-plus decades. But they also managed to assemble never-before-seen footage of the trial, even after learning that Judge Susan Criss did not allow TV crews to shoot sound.
In an attempt to provide justice for a man who was robbed at gunpoint at a Rosenberg apartment complex last week, the local police department has released a sketched facial composite of the suspect in the crime. Unfortunately for everyone involved—except maybe the suspect—the alleged perpetrator was wearing a ski mask at the time of the incident.
The sketch, pictured below, could be useful under one of several conditions: maybe the lips and eyelids are drawn with such stunning accuracy that the man in the picture is recognizable; maybe the ski mask and jersey are permanent fixtures of his likeness and are discerning physical traits; or maybe, just maybe, we’re all being trolled by the Rosenberg Police Department.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports compile crime statistics on hundreds of metro areas. The latest numbers—which track the data from 2013—reveal some interesting tidbits about Texas cities. For instance: the most dangerous parts of Texas, generally, are not the largest cities, with only one of the five most populous cities to to place in the top five on the list. Also: West Texas, generally, has a higher violent crime rate than the rest of the state. And: Austin is basically a fairy tale land populated by elves and hobbits, with a violent crime rate roughly ⅓ that of Odessa, the top city on the list. Here are some more facts worth knowing: