“It’s regular Joe Citizen on his lunch break and going to the area and masturbating.”

—Houston Police Department Vice Sergeant Tony Gracia to the Houston Chronicle. Apparently there’s a public sex epidemic sweeping Memorial Park, Houston’s largest park, and cops are at a loss of how to fix it. 


    Ian Waldie/Getty

Parental Approval
The Texas Lege took another step toward addressing the statewide maternal mortality crisis on Monday, when the House tentatively approved four bills related to the task force investigating the issue, according to the Texas Tribune. The biggest of the bills, House Bill 9, will keep the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which has been studying Texas’s maternal mortality rate, up and running for another six years. According to the Austin American-Statesman, HB 9 also would add some new responsibilities to the task force, like studying and reviewing “rates, or disparities in pregnancy-related deaths,” “health conditions and factors that disproportionately affect the most at-risk population,” and “best practices and programs operating in other states that have reduced rates of pregnancy-related deaths,” while also looking at the relationship between pregnancy-related deaths and the socioeconomic status of the mothers. House Bill 10 further expands the task force’s marching orders, requiring it to “develop evidence-based best practice recommendations” for keeping mothers healthy. House Bill 11 requires that the task force specifically focus on African-American women—recent studies have found that black women have a much higher maternal mortality rate. And House Bill 28 adds a nurse specializing in labor delivery and a doctor who specializes in critical care to the fifteen-member task force.


Power Move
The energy industry is now the latest group to come out against Texas’s so-called “bathroom bill.” On Monday, the leaders of some of Houston’s biggest oil and gas companies signed a letter to Governor Greg Abbott warning him that the bill will be bad for Texas, according to Texas Monthly‘s R.G. Ratcliffe. “As members of Houston’s business community, we write to express our concern with the proposed ‘bathroom bill’ being considered in this special legislative session,” the letter says. “We support diversity and inclusion, and we believe that any such bill risks harming Texas’ reputation and impacting the state’s economic growth and ability to create new jobs. Innovative companies are driven by their people, and winning the talent recruitment battle is key. Any bill that harms our ability to attract top talent to Houston will inhibit our growth and continued success—and ultimately the success of our great state.” Signers of the bill include the heads of Exxon, Haliburton, Chevron, BP, Dow Chemical, ConocoPhillips, and Shell. Large businesses outside of the energy sector were also represented, with the leaders of BBVA Compass and Rice University among the signees.

ICE Skating
Sheriffs from eighteen counties across Texas and the City of Carrollton teamed up with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday, signing a nationwide pact that will make deportations of undocumented immigrants easier. According to the Dallas Morning News, the nineteen local entities on board with the agreement gives the Lone Star State a lion’s share of participation in the pact, accounting for one-third of the sixty municipalities that have signed up across the country. The pact basically streamlines the removal process of undocumented people targeted by ICE. Under the agreement, counties will nominate officers for special training in jails to better identify immigrants who should be deported, whereas in counties that have not signed on to the pact, immigration enforcement is left solely up to the federal government. Although most of the eighteen counties are in rural areas, Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, signed the pact.

Wheeling and Dealing
Both the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers made moves before the MLB trade deadline passed on Monday, though the two teams went in very different directions. The Rangers sold off some of their biggest-name players, essentially waiving the white flag in a season that has been marked by disappointment. Ace Yu Darvish was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three prospects, while struggling catcher Jonathan Lucroy, whom the Rangers acquired in a mid-season trade last year, was flipped to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later, according to the Dallas Morning News. Darvish was arguably the best player to be traded at this year’s deadline. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros desperately needed to add starting pitching, with aces Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers looking pretty beaten up lately. So, according to ESPN, they traded for Francisco Liriano of the Toronto Blue Jays, a veteran lefty who hasn’t exactly impressed this season, with a 5.88 ERA in eighteen starts. It wasn’t the splashiest move, but Liriano should definitely help the Astros maintain their massive lead in the AL West.


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

The fall of Von Ormy, the libertarian paradise land that just couldn’t last Texas Observer

Exxon couldn’t convince a judge to reduce a $20 million fine for polluting Houston Texas Tribune

State Representative Dawnna Dukes could have her charges dropped, but she’d have to resign first Austin American-Statesman

A scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center is stuck in a Turkish prison over a one dollar bill Houston Press

Texas was well represented on the Princeton Review‘s list of colleges with the most conservative students Princeton Review