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Jul 8, 2015

Texas attorney general’s name appears in SEC probe of tech firm

AUSTIN, Texas, July 8 (Reuters) – The name of Texas Attorney
General Ken Paxton, facing a grand jury probe in the state for
suspected securities fraud, appears in a federal court document
as a major investor in a Dallas-area firm in a U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission investigation.

Court documents in the federal investigation of the
technology firm called Servergy do not make any allegations of
misconduct by Paxton or draw links to the investigation into
securities fraud in Texas.

Jul 7, 2015

Conservative Baylor University drops ‘homosexual acts’ from misconduct code

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The world’s largest Baptist university, Baylor, has dropped language in its sexual misconduct policy that punished those who engaged in homosexual acts, a change the socially conservative school said better reflects its values as “a caring community.”

Baylor, in the central Texas city of Waco, had been one of a handful of religious U.S. colleges and universities that allowed for the dismissal of students, and sometimes staff, for homosexuality.

Jul 7, 2015

Number of unaccompanied minors entering U.S. drops by about half in a year

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The number of unaccompanied children entering the United States across the southwest border has dropped sharply from a year ago after action by the U.S. government, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

In the period from Oct. 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, the number of unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, crossing into the United States reached 57,478, causing humanitarian, political, logistical and diplomatic problems for the Obama administration.

Jul 2, 2015

Texas attorney general could face felony indictment: special prosecutor

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Special prosecutors will ask a Texas grand jury as early as this month to indict the state’s attorney general on first-degree felony charges for suspected securities laws violations, one of the prosecutors said on Thursday.

A spokesman for Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who came to office earlier this year with strong Tea Party support, was not immediately available for comment.

Jun 30, 2015

Oklahoma to quickly resume executions after Supreme Court decision

June 30 (Reuters) – Oklahoma is looking to resume executions
as soon as August after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week
that a drug used in the state’s lethal injection mix was
appropriate and legal, officials said on Tuesday.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a request
with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set execution
dates for three death row inmates who were a part of the suit
before the U.S. Supreme Court – Richard Glossip, John Grant and
Benjamin Cole, all convicted murderers.

Jun 25, 2015

Texas wants its gold back and promises to build it a safe home

AUSTIN, Texas, June 25 (Reuters) – Texas has a new law to
set up a depository for gold that is backed by many in the
state’s Republican leadership who have expressed distrust of the
U.S. Federal Reserve and feel more comfortable with a
precious-metal backed currency.

“The law will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from New
York to Texas,” Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s office said,
adding that the facility would increase “the security and
stability of our gold reserves.”

Jun 25, 2015

U.S. judge dismisses suit seeking blame in troubled Oklahoma execution

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed
on behalf of an Oklahoma death row inmate who died in a flawed
execution in a procedure that his lawyers said violated the
prisoner’s constitutional rights.

The judge in Oklahoma said this week that while there may
have been aspects of the April 2014 execution of murderer
Clayton Lockett that raised questions of negligence, the process
did not violate constitutional protections against cruel and
unusual punishment.

Jun 24, 2015

U.S. to alter long-term detention of immigrant families with children

By Jon Herskovitz and Doina Chiacu

(Reuters) – U.S. immigration authorities plan to cut back on
long-term detention for families with children who entered the
country illegally while speeding up how they are processed at
detention centers, the homeland security secretary said on

The flood of immigrants coming mostly from Central America
and crossing the southern U.S. border has slowed from peaks last
year, but is still high, Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

Jun 23, 2015

Confederate statues at University of Texas hit by critics, vandals

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Statues of three Confederate leaders standing for decades at the University of Texas were vandalized with red paint amid fresh calls this week for their removal, university officials said.

The statues at the often left-leaning university in Austin, a liberal city in conservative Texas, have gained new attention due to the debate in South Carolina about taking down the Confederate battle flag on the state’s capitol grounds, a week after a white gunman allegedly shot dead nine black worshipers at a historic church.

Jun 22, 2015

Texas enacts ban on shark fin trade

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas has banned the trade of shark fins in the state, a move that could end its status as one of the main U.S. centers of activity for the product prized as a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.

Governor Greg Abbott during the weekend signed into law the measure to ban the trade, becoming the 10th U.S. state with such a measure, according to Oceana, an international advocacy group to protect the world’s oceans.