QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Last year I had a call for an alligator trapped on a back porch. The caller said the alligator had a long tail and sharp teeth. It turned out to be an opossum.”
—Christy Kroboth, a “Gator Squad” member, to the Houston Chronicle. The Gator Squad—which removes pesky alligators from residential areas—recently got a call about a small alligator in a Houston home. It turned out to be a teeny lizard, but apparently that isn’t the strangest call Kroboth has ever received.
Little City, Big Suit
A month after the tiny border town of El Cenizo filed a lawsuit against the state challenging its sanctuary cities ban, the Trump administration has entered into the fray. According to KSAT, Luis Vera, the League of United Latin American Citizens attorney who is representing El Cenizo in the case, received an email from the Department of Justice on Monday. “President Donald Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to enter the case against El Cenizo and to file a brief and a statement of interest in support of the state of Texas, asking the federal courts to deny our motion for preliminary injunction,” Vera told KSAT. That’s some hefty backing for the current defendants named in the case—the state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, and Attorney General Ken Paxton. Vera filed a motion on behalf of El Cenizo on May 8, contending that what is colloquially known as the “show me your papers” bill is unconstitutional. Since then, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio have joined the federal lawsuit, and according to the Texas Tribune, Democratic lawmakers are urging their communities to sign on as well. El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes told KSAT that the Trump administration’s involvement in the suit wasn’t shocking, but that he thinks that the time could be better spent. “I just think the Trump administration should focus on fixing the broken immigration system, rather than interfere with what happens in Texas,” Reyes said. A federal hearing for the case is scheduled for June 26.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…
Energy Secretary Rick Perry backed President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for his department’s research programs on Tuesday. “This budget proposal makes some difficult choices, but it is paramount we execute our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer,” Perry told the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Under Trump’s proposal, the department’s research programs would face an 18 percent cut, renewable energy and energy efficiency could be cut more than 60 percent. A program that helps fund research at Texas A&M and other Texas universities would be eliminated entirely. This proposed cuts have drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle, particularly after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord earlier this month. Still, Perry told the subcommittee that, based on his time in Texas, the cuts aren’t a sure thing. “This is the first step in a long process, and I was governor long enough to know governors’ budgets don’t always come back to them the way they started,” he said.
The family of Thomas Klocke, a University of Texas at Arlington student who committed suicide last year, is filing a lawsuit alleging that the university violated the Title IX process, according to the Dallas Morning News. Wayne, Thomas’s father, said that Klocke took his life after he was wrongfully punished for harassing another student and banned from class without due process. Klocke, who was one class short of graduating, was investigated after another student said that the 24-year-old hurled a gay slur at him. Klocke, meanwhile, maintained that he only thought the fellow student was flirting with him. As the investigation went on, Klocke died by suicide at Grapevine’s Silver Lake Marina Park in June 2016. The Klocke family is also suing the student for defamation, denying his account of the incident. UTA denies that it broke procedure, but has not provided many details about the investigation. “We express our deepest condolences to the family for their loss,” the university said in a statement. “The welfare of our students is our highest priority. Any loss is a heartbreaking one for our entire community.”
Declaration of Innocence
After serving 21 years behind bars, the former owners of an Austin daycare could finally be cleared of heinous crimes they were accused of committing, according to the Austin American-Statesman. A Texas judge approved a prosecutor’s declaration of innocence for the couple, who were accused of performing satanic rituals on children and pets at the daycare that they ran out of their Austin home. Dan and Fran Keller, who were convicted of assaulting a three-year-old in 1992, were freed in 2013 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that a doctor inaccurately concluded that there was evidence of assault, overturning their conviction. But with a declaration of innocence, the Kellers would both be eligible for $80,000 in compensation for each year that they were falsely imprisoned. The Kellers were sentenced to 48 years in prison after children came forward to allege that they had been used in satanic rituals. No evidence of that abuse was ever found. Keith Hampton, a lawyer for the couple, said that the accusations were part of a strange trend that began in the eighties. “Day care panic or the satanic panic began to occur and it reached a fever pitch around the time the Kellers were prosecuted,” Hampton said. “And like most hysterias, it thereafter died away.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Texas’s weather is bad for old energy companies Bloomberg
Heads up, Houston: Cindy is coming Houston Press
Texas native David Eubank, a U.S. Special Forces operative turned aid worker, made a dramatic rescue in Mosul Los Angeles Times
Ten passengers were injured on a bumpy United flight from Panama to Houston San Antonio Express-News
The woman who police say tried to conceal a gun in her vagina gets probation Waco Tribune-Herald