Texas Senate approves permitless carry of handguns in party-line vote

AUSTIN, Texas — Continuing down the path of loosening limits on Texas gun owners, a divided state Senate approved legislation Wednesday to allow holstered handguns to be carried in public, openly or concealed, without a state-issued permit known as a license to carry. House Bill 1927 next returns to the Texas House to consider changes that senators made during almost seven hours of debate, including GOP amendments designed to win support from a handful of reluctant Republicans who, as of last week, were unsure about whether to support the bill. One of those amendments would create stiffer pena...

Army report confirms sexual harassment of slain soldier Vanessa Guillen, details how superior targeted her

AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Army on Friday confirmed for the first time that slain Spc. Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed and further retaliated against at Fort Hood, as her family in Houston has consistently alleged in their fight for criminal justice reform in the military. In late summer 2019, Guillen, who was then a private first class, was the victim of sexual harassment after her superior in a troop orderly room tried to solicit her in Spanish to participate in a threesome, according to a report released Friday from an investigation led by Gen. John Murray, the commander of the Army Fut...

Texas Senate passes bill to ban police chokeholds on 31-0 vote

AUSTIN, Texas — A unanimous Texas Senate voted Wednesday to ban police officers from using chokeholds during an arrest. Senate Bill 69 prohibits officers from applying pressure to a person's throat, neck or torso in ways that impede breathing or blood flow unless the action is needed to protect the officers or bystanders from serious injury or death. State Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston, said his bill was in response to statistics showing that at least 134 people nationwide have died in police custody due to asphyxiation in the past decade, including George Floyd, a former Houston resident kille...

'This is life or death.' Trans Texans, families worried as lawmakers target gender-affirming care

Aaron Richie said when his son, Landon, came out as transgender, what scared him the most was the thought of a medical transition. After seeing Landon’s daily struggles with his body and consulting psychiatrists and pediatricians, Richie decided to help his then 13-year-old son begin the process of transitioning. “I thought to myself, ‘Why am I going to make him do this five more years?’” Richie said. “So that I feel better so that my parents feel better, so that when I tell other people they are not freaked out? It just became an indefensible position that this has to wait until 18.” Now, he ...

Texas GOP opposition to bill on changing 'Negro' place names raises sparks

AUSTIN, Texas — With attention focused on a Texas House hearing about competing bills — one to remove Confederate monuments from the Capitol and two to prohibit historical monuments from removal — it was Republican opposition to a relatively low-key bill that drew sparks Monday. Democratic state Sen. Borris Miles of Houston presented a resolution pressing federal officials to finally take action on a bill passed 30 years ago to rename areas of Texas containing the word "Negro" — many changed from the N-word in a futile bid to cleanse the sites of racial offense. No senators on the State Affair...

Austin shooting suspect Stephen Broderick caught, authorities say; 2 victims identified

AUSTIN, Texas – Authorities have arrested 41-year-old Stephen Broderick, whom authorities have accused of fatally shooting three people in Northwest Austin on Sunday. Broderick was taken into custody after officials received two 911 calls around 7:30 a.m. about a man walking on Old Kimbro Road near U.S. 290 just outside Manor, Texas. Officials sent a car by the area to confirm Broderick's identity. Manor police officers and Travis County deputies arrested Broderick without incident. He was armed at the time, Manor police said. Broderick is the suspect in a triple homicide that started as what ...

Texas Senate approves limits on transgender student athletes

AUSTIN, Texas — Split irrevocably along party lines, the Texas Senate on Thursday approved legislation banning transgender student athletes from competing in sports within their gender identity. All 18 Republicans voted for Senate Bill 29, which would require athletes in Texas public high schools and grade schools to compete in sports based on the "biological sex" listed on their original birth certificate. Under that definition, biological boys would be banned from competing in girls sports, although girls could compete in boys sports if a comparable female sport was not available. "This is a...

Governor says Texas is 'very close' to herd immunity. Health experts disagree

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas is "very close" to reaching herd immunity, an assessment that runs counter to recent comments by health experts and his own medical adviser. Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Abbott touted the state's relatively low COVID-19 numbers. After dropping below 3,000 hospitalizations statewide on March 31 for the first time since June 17, the number of hospitalizations has hovered just above 2,800. "We absolutely are not declaring victory at this time," he said when asked about how numbers remain low despite his decision last month to lift the statewide mask ...

NCAA warns Texas lawmakers against limiting transgender sports participation

In a statement supporting the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports, the NCAA Board of Governors warned state lawmakers Monday that actions to the contrary could result in the loss of championship games and events. All student-athletes are expected to be treated with dignity and respect, the board said. "Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport," the Board of Governors said. "We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them." Texas is among 30 states weigh...

Lance Armstrong's son accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl

AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong's son, Luke Armstrong, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 2018, according to an arrest affidavit issued on April 1. The 21-year-old son of the disgraced cycling legend was charged with sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. "A complete review of the facts will confirm what has been alleged absolutely did not occur and a proper and thorough legal process will exonerate Luke," Randy Leavitt, Armstrong's attorney, said Wednesday. "What occurred three years ago in high school was not a cri...

Here's what the 7 anti-abortion bills passed by the Texas Senate would do if they became law

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, the Texas Senate passed six anti-abortion bills that could completely upend abortion practices within the state. The following day, they passed a seventh. Currently, Texas law states that those who want to receive an abortion can get the procedure up to 20 weeks of gestation, unless there are severe complications or the fetus has a severe abnormality. Candidates for the procedure must meet with their abortion provider twice, and minors need consent from their parents. Should these bills be passed by the Texas House of Representatives and signed into law by Gov. Greg...

Texas Senate approves legislation banning most abortions, testing Roe v. Wade

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate approved six anti-abortion bills Tuesday, including a proposal that would outlaw the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically before a woman is aware she is pregnant, and another that effectively bans the procedure all together. The second measure would become law if the Supreme Court reverses earlier decisions legalizing abortion. Abortion opponents have pledged to push an aggressive agenda to severely limit availability of the procedure, with an eye to the changing power dynamics at the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservatives now hold a 6-3 majority ...

‘This is muscle memory’: Biden-Abbott relationship off to contentious start

AUSTIN, Texas — They’ve traded insults, embraced dueling policies and accused the other of mishandling a surge of migrants at the southern border. And yet, for President Joe Biden and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, their acrimonious relationship might only be starting. In the two months since Biden took office, top White House officials and the Republican governor have already engaged in a series of ongoing and contentious disputes, a rare public back-and-forth for an administration that has been highly selective about responding to criticism. Political veterans say for two leaders with far different...

Protest against Texas governor's lifting of mask mandate set for Monday

AUSTIN, Texas — Two groups on Monday are holding a rally at the state Capitol in Austin against Gov. Greg Abbott's order lifting the statewide mask mandate in public places. The Amplified Sound Coalition and the Austin chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America will be protesting Monday outside the south steps of the Capitol. Protesters are asking the governor not to relax the mask mandate until 70% of the state's essential workers are vaccinated. "Let’s show our government what the masked faces of sacrificial employees look like," Jeanette Gregor, the co-founder of Amplified Sound Coalit...

Gov. Greg Abbott says winter storm delayed his planned revocation of mask mandate

As questions swirled around his decision to end Texas' mask mandate and lift other pandemic precautions, Gov. Greg Abbott continued Thursday attempting to clarify which doctors and health experts he consulted before making the pronouncement, which has drawn national attention and concern from federal infectious disease experts. In the end, Abbott named only one physician who endorsed his decision. In an interview with the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, Abbott also said that he had planned to ease restrictions in late February as new vaccine shipments were set to arrive, denying the idea that ...

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