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Apr 29, 2015

White House, Texas at odds over military drills decried by far right

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A decision from Texas Governor Greg Abbott to deploy the Texas State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise some conspiracy theorists see as a prelude for federal occupation was met with puzzlement by the White House on Wednesday.

“I have no idea what he’s thinking,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a news conference. The eight-week training exercise known as “Jade Helm 15″ is a multi-state exercise with members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Apr 29, 2015

Texas trooper files suit over punishment for Snoop Dogg picture

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas state trooper who says he was reprimanded after posing for a photograph with rapper Snoop Dogg filed a civil suit on Wednesday over the punishment he felt was unjust.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) told Trooper Billy Spears, who was off duty but working in uniform as security at a music festival, that he posed “with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges” and it reflected poorly on the agency, according to the suit.

Apr 26, 2015

Oklahoma lethal injection drug faces U.S. Supreme Court test

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this week on whether a drug used in Oklahoma’s lethal injection mix should be banned in a case that comes as a shortage of execution chemicals has sent some states scrambling for alternatives.

The main question before the nine justices in the case brought by three death row inmates that will be heard on Wednesday is whether the use of the sedative midazolam violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Apr 16, 2015

Texas executes man for murder of San Antonio policeman

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas on Wednesday executed a 34-year-old man convicted of seizing a gun from a San Antonio police officer and fatally shooting him in a struggle in 2001, a prison spokesman said.

Manuel Garza was killed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 6:40 p.m. at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville. The execution was the 524th in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Apr 15, 2015

Texas set to execute man for murder of San Antonio police officer

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas plans to execute Manuel Garza on Wednesday for seizing a gun from a San Antonio police officer and fatally shooting him in a struggle in 2001.

Garza, 34, is set to be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, it will be the 524th in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Apr 10, 2015

Purple Hearts to be awarded for 2009 shooting survivors at Army post in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – About 50 people who survived a 2009 shooting rampage at the Fort Hood U.S. Army base in central Texas are set to receive Purple Heart and Defense of Freedom medals on Friday after years of lobbying by politicians and lawyers.

In February, the U.S. Army cleared the way for the military and civilian distinctions after the shooting was declared an act of international terrorism..

Apr 9, 2015

Texas to execute man who killed two in convenience store robbery

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas man who fatally shot a man at a convenience store as part of a 2002 robbery and a police officer responding to the crime is set to be executed on Thursday by lethal injection.

Texas plans to execute Kent Sprouse, 42, at 6 p.m. at its death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, it would be the 523rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Apr 8, 2015

Oklahoma set to join Kansas in banning flashpoint abortion procedure

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on the main procedure used for second trimester abortions, a day after neighboring Kansas became the first state to ban the practice that its critics call “dismemberment abortions.”

The “Dismemberment Abortion Act” passed easily in both houses of the Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature and should soon head to Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, who has been a staunch supporter of abortion restrictions.

Apr 7, 2015

Kansas becomes first state to ban a second trimester abortion procedure

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – Kansas became the first state to ban a common second trimester abortion procedure when Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, on Tuesday signed into a law an act to halt what lawmakers said are “dismemberment abortions.”

The law that goes into effect on July 1 prohibits the use of dilation and evacuation. The bill says the procedure can result in the fetus being extracted in pieces.

Apr 7, 2015

Corrected – Arkansas woman dies at 116 after 6-day reign as world’s oldest person

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Gertrude Weaver, who last week became the world’s oldest-known living person, has died at the age of 116 at a senior care facility in Arkansas, officials said on Monday.

Weaver, who said the key to longevity was to treat people kindly, basked in her brief moment in the global spotlight. She enjoyed being read news articles about being the oldest person on the planet, said Kathy Langley, the administrator of the Silver Oaks Health & Rehabilitation Center in Camden, Arkansas.