The State Of Texas: May 28, 2015
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PSA Of The Day
PSAs can get fairly fun and creative, with or without a high production value. This 3:26 minute-long skit by the North Texas Toll Authority involving talking thumbs is not one of them. Still, there’s something surreal about the video. It’s like watching Richard Linklater’s childhood attempts to emulate David Lynch (at one point a dead jackelope makes an appearance).
Jumping The Gun? – Even after the open carry controversy at the Capitol earlier this year, legislation legalizing some form of the practice seemed like a sure thing. But there was a recent misfire. The House’s open carry bill was “inches from the finish line” when it was derailed yesterday by law enforcement groups, writes the Austin American-Statesman. “On Wednesday, House members had a chance to send House Bill 910, which would allow those with a concealed handgun license to openly carry a holstered firearm, to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. But instead of agreeing to a request to approve changes made by the Senate … the House launched into an intense debate over an amendment that bars police from stopping somebody with an openly displayed handgun solely to check for a concealed handgun license.” Democrats have spent a lot of time and effort trying to jam any gun legislation, including campus campus, which “took center stage, as lawmakers amended the bill to make private universities, like public ones, unable to totally opt out of the provisions.” As the Dallas Morning News writes, “opponents are hoping the private school provision will poison the bill’s chances. If that doesn’t work, the partial opt-out proposal would still mark a small victory for gun control advocates.” The open carry bill is now going back to a conference committe, while the campus carry bill is going back to the Senate for revisions.
Handicapping Students – There’s an interesting case beginning to boil over concerning “disabled students [who] say they were charged with truancy and funneled out of public schools … accusing 13 districts and the Texas Education Agency of violating federal law,” according to the Associated Press. “The complaint states that during the court process, students with disabilities are funneled out of public schools and pushed into GED programs, alternative schools or mandatory homeschooling. Between 2010 and 2013, about 1,200 students with disabilities failed GED tests they were ordered by courts to take after being charged with truancy, a criminal offense.” The Texas Education Agency has yet to comment on the complaint.
Biker Bucks – It ain’t cheap to keep the peace. Follwing the Waco shootout that left nine dead and saw 175 arrested, “McLennan County is spending $7,958 a day to house those jailed in the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout,” reports the Waco Tribune. So far, only two people have been released from jail and, clearly, the “mass arrests are presenting unprecedented challenges to the county’s criminal justice system and have McLennan County officials keeping a close eye on the potential devastating budgetary fallout from the incident. A week and a half after the shooting, the county has spent upward of $80,000 just to house the inmates.” Of those arrested, about 60 have requested court-appointed representative with 14 having been given that right. And the government needs to go into overdrive, too. “It is not clear when or how many of the cases will be presented to a grand jury for indictment. If they are not indicted within 90 days of their arrests, the bikers are eligible to be released on personal recognizance bonds or bonds reduced sufficiently for them to be released.”