Texas's Problem With Truancy Is Getting Some Well-Deserved Attention

The problem with how Texas handles truancy isn’t a new one. But it’s getting some well-deserved attention. Yesterday, Buzzfeed published a strong investigative piece that explores the way truancy laws work in Texas, and the story comes at a time when discussing the problem is absolutely vital—while the Legislature is in session and considering a change to the incredibly punitive law through which Texas criminal courts prosecute teenagers for missing school. 

San Antonio Gave a Woman a $2,000 Ticket for Feeding the Homeless

Last fall, the city of San Antonio made headlines when then–police chief William McManus announced a plan to ticket people if they were caught giving money to panhandlers. It was a mean proposal, and the public attention quickly killed the potential ordinance. 

But San Antonio’s discouragement of charity and compassion toward the homeless seems to remain. Joan M. Cheever, who has been serving high-quality meals to the homeless in the city through her Chow Train food truck, learned that firsthand in early April.

Police Officer Lets a Rock-Paper-Scissors Game Determine Whether an Underage Drinking Suspect Will Get in Trouble

It’s been a curious past week for police misconduct: a Houston Police Department “officer of the year” recipient was arrested by federal agents after being linked to the Zetas drug cartel, while El Paso police officers were reprimanded for using department equipment to make a music video. And it’s still getting weirder. 

You Can’t Even Ride a Horse Through a Taco Bell Drive-Thru in North Texas Suburbs Anymore

There are few things that scream “Texas” more than the image of a lone rider on a long and dusty road. Tacos, maybe. But combine those things in the North Dallas suburb of Allen, and you’re in for some trouble. 

That’s something that Taco Bell enthusiast Rick Braun learned after he picked up his order at the Allen location of the restaurant chain.

The City of Brazoria Exempted Its Police Interrogation Room From Smoking Ban

Smoking bans have become less controversial as more of them have been enacted around the state (and, indeed, around the world). And bans in government buildings are especially hard to argue with: those spaces belong to everyone, and “Keep your government out of my government buildings” isn’t the catchiest slogan.

Still, one Texas town has successfully kept one room out of the ban: the police interrogation room. As the Houston Chronicle reports, in Brazoria, the police chief managed to get the city council to agree to overturn the law restricting smoking in the room

Texas Sues to Stop RadioShack From Selling Your Personal Information in Bankruptcy Proceedings

If you were a regular customer at a RadioShack in the past decade—and given the company’s eventual fate, there’s a good chance you weren’t—then you may have noticed that they were one of the first chains to ask you for your address, phone number, and email address upon checking out. Gathering this information was ostensibly so they could send you mail about their upcoming bargains on radio-controlled cars or whatever it was people went to RadioShack for, and their privacy policy included a commitment that the company would not sell or rent your personal identifiable information to anyone at any time.

Texas Considers a Law Mandating Training for Police on How to Deal With Dogs

In 2012 Austin police officer Thomas Griffin was investigating a domestic disturbance call and found himself at the wrong address. When he entered the property, he encountered Cisco, a blue heeler, in his owner’s yard. Moments later, Cisco was dead, and within days, a social media campaign gathered around the theme of “Justice for Cisco.” (It garnered over 100,000 “likes” on Facebook.) In the wake of the bad PR, APD amended its policy for officers who encounter pets in the line of duty, requiring a two-hour course on how to understand dog behavior and better handle aggressive-seeming dogs without shooting. 

A State Representative Filed a Bill That Would Harm His Openly Gay Son

As more Texas cities pass local anti-discrimination ordinances, Republican lawmakers in the Lege have been pushing back with proposed legislation that would nullify existing ordinances and prevent more cities from passing them in the future.

Some of these proposed measures, like the ones introduced by Senator Donna Campbell, of San Antonio,and representative Jason Villalba, of Dallas, focus on the free exercise and expression of religion. Others, like the one filed by Senator Don Huffines, of Dallas, push the idea that city governments shouldn’t be able to create rules that are “more stringent” than state law. And another still, filed by representative Rick Miller, of Sugar Land, maintains that differing local discrimination ordinances in Texas are damaging to intrastate commerce. 

The Rules of Engagement Rings

Last week, in the span of 72 hours, two Houston men filed suit against their ex-fiancees, demanding the return of their engagement rings.

I’ve been following Harris County court proceedings for more than five years now, and the only similar case I can recall here was a true doozy. That was when former Houston Texan star Mario Williams sued his ex for the return of a honkin’ big 10-carat, $800,000 rock. And of course in Dallas, Longhorn great and disappointing pro Roy Williams sued for and got back his $76,000 ring from former Miss Texas Brooke Daniels.

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