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Sep 10, 2014

Texas to execute man convicted of deadly shooting rampage

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) – Texas plans to execute Willie Tyrone Trottie on Wednesday for killing two people during a shooting spree sparked by a breakup with his girlfriend.

Trottie, 45, will be given a lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville at 6 p.m. CDT (2300 GMT). If the execution goes ahead, he would be the 516th prisoner put to death in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Sep 4, 2014

Failed IVs and confusion at Oklahoma’s troubled execution -report

By Jon Herskovitz and Heide Brandes

(Reuters) – A doctor and paramedic failed nearly a dozen times to place an IV in an Oklahoma inmate’s execution and were unprepared for how to proceed once the line they secured to deliver a lethal injection began leaking drugs, a report said on Thursday.

The state placed additional pressure on prison officials to complete the April execution of murderer Clayton Lockett by making the unusual decision to carry out another execution just after Lockett’s procedure was to be finished, the report from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said.

Sep 3, 2014

Dallas Cowboys sign defensive end Michael Sam to practice squad

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – Defensive end Michael Sam, hoping to become the first openly gay athlete to play in a regular-season game in the National Football League, was signed on Wednesday to the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, the team said.

Sam then took to the team’s practice field in Irving, Texas, outside Dallas, wearing a No. 46 Cowboys jersey.

Sep 3, 2014

Texas abortion provider to reopen after court lifts restrictions

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) – An abortion provider in the south Texas border city of McAllen will reopen in the next few days after a federal judge last week ruled as unconstitutional state restrictions that led to its closure.

Whole Woman’s Health said on Wednesday it has started to take appointments for its clinic in McAllen. The clinic had been closed under abortion restrictions in Texas that went into effect at the end of last year. The clinic stopped performing abortions in November and closed in March.

Sep 2, 2014

Texas voter ID law heads to trial in U.S. court

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – A U.S. court in Texas will hear arguments on Tuesday in a case over a law requiring voters to present photo identification, a move the state’s Republican leaders say will prevent fraud while plaintiffs call it a veiled attempt at suppressing minority turnout.

The case is also part of a new strategy by the Obama administration to challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race in order to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that freed states from strict federal oversight..

Aug 29, 2014

U.S. judge halts major part of Texas law restricting abortions

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. judge struck down parts of a law restricting abortions in Texas, saying in a decision on Friday that a provision requiring clinics to have certain hospital-like settings for surgeries was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the so-called “ambulatory surgical center requirement” was unjust because it placed an undue burden on women by reducing the number of clinics where they could seek abortions and the regulations had no compelling public health interests.

Aug 28, 2014

Texas judge rules state’s school finance system unconstitutional

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 28 (Reuters) – A Texas judge ruled on
Thursday the state’s school finance system was unconstitutional
because it does not adequately or fairly provide money to public
schools, a decision that could force an overhaul of how the
state pays for education.

The decision from State District Judge John Dietz next heads
to the state’s Supreme Court, legal experts said. The funding
issue has already been a political football in the election
season, with Democrats seeing the decision as a rebuke of
Republican plans to pay for schools.

Aug 28, 2014

Backstory of ‘Gone with the Wind’ goes on display 75 years after premiere

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Before “Gone with the
Wind” hit the screen, it was a questionable investment that
became a touchstone for race relations and was embroiled in
moral questions ahead of Rhett Butler saying he did not give a
damn.

The film went on to became the biggest box officer earner in
U.S. movie history, according to figures adjusted for inflation
by Box Office Mojo.

Aug 27, 2014

Mexican family sues over border death they say was caused by U.S. agents

By Jon Herskovitz and Mica Rosenberg

(Reuters) – The family of a Mexican man they said was shot dead by U.S. agents on the Mexican side of the border in 2012 filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking damages from the United States for what the family claims was an excessive and illegal use of force.

Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza was shot from a Border Patrol boat on the Rio Grande River while his family was having a picnic on the Mexican side near Nuevo Laredo, the suit said.

Aug 25, 2014

Lawyers for Texas Governor Perry file motion to dismiss charges

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) – Attorneys for Texas Governor Rick Perry filed a motion on Monday to dismiss two felony charges of abusing his power, saying it is unjust to prosecute the leader of the state over a political dispute by trying to criminalize a veto.

Perry, a possible candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential race, was indicted earlier this month for trying to use the veto to force the resignation of a prosecutor in Travis County, a Democratic stronghold in the Republican-dominated state.