Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

Photo by Ian Crawford for KUT News

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit in federal court in Austin, claiming that the state's Department of Family and Protective Services and the Child Protective Services Division in Austin owes some employees overtime pay. Over $1 million, to be specific.

The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit, filed today, alleges that about 800 current and former investigators and case workers were told not to record all the hours they worked.

Labor Department investigators conducted a three-year investigation after a complaint was filed.

 

The Texas Department of Public Safety has started a process to fire a top official who used to be in charge of administering Homeland Security Grants in the state. DPS said in a statement that the move follows a five-month investigation of Janice Bruno and alleged criminal misconduct involving a grant issued to the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

A fire kindled by an arcing power transformer near Reimers Ranch Sunday rekindled this afternoon.

Asst. Chief John Durham with Lake Travis Fire & Rescue says no structures have been threatened by the 60-acre blaze. Some horses had to be moved out of the fire's path, but no injuries have been reported.

Photo by Jayel Aheram http://www.flickr.com/photos/aheram/

Texas Congressman Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson), hoping to nab the Republican presidential nomination, raked in more than $1 million yesterday by targeting the perceived GOP front runner, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

A "money bomb" is a term used to describe an effort to raise a lot of cash over a specific time span, often over the internet.

Photo by Fort Worth Transportation Authority

A style popularized by hip hop artists in the 90's is now banned on public transit in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on the city’s transportation authority enforcing a new dress code on buses and trains.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed legislation aimed at collecting more tax from online sales in Texas. The bill would have tightened rules on when online vendors must charge sales tax in the state. Under the proposed rules, retailers who maintain distribution centers in Texas would have had to charge sales tax on goods sold in Texas. In a statement Perry said:

The evacuation orders that sent hundreds of people fleeing their homes in the Amarillo area have been lifted, but almost a dozen homes have been destroyed by flames. Here’s the AP story fresh off the wire.

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - At least 11 homes in the Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo have been destroyed as two wildfires burned on the city's outskirts.

Texas Forest Service spokesman Marq Webb says the fires began burning in the early evening hours Sunday. He says low humidity, temperatures in the 100s and high winds created favorable conditions for fires.

He says firefighters were battling wildfires Monday across Texas, where about 2.8 million acres have burned since November.

Here's some video of yesterday's fire in Burnet County, shot by YouTube user fibes1. The blaze scorched about 300 acres and forced the evacuation of several homes.  Two firefighters were slightly hurt while combating the flames.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News.

 

Legislators passed a new, very tight state budget Saturday night – one that conservatives hail as a fiscally responsible victory that shows the state can make tough choices in hard times and which democrats decried as a long list of poor choices that will hurt students from Pre-K through college, families and those with disabilities.

U.S. Army

A Texas soldier died this week in Kunar Province, Afghanistan during in his first deployment overseas. Private Andrew M. Krippner was an infantryman from Garland, Texas. He was 20. A family friend told KUT he had enlisted in the Army last July. Krippner had been in Afghanistan for about a month and a half when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device. He and three other soldiers died of wounds they suffered in the attack. 

Photo by pedroesteban86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/56243206@N06/

Travel may be slowly returning to normal at Dallas' largest airport, but many people are still stranded after hail storms suspended service last night. NBC Dallas-Fort Worth says about 10,000 people got stuck when airport officials took tornado precautions and pulled passengers off planes.

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry signed legislation today that toughens penalties for people convicted of human trafficking. House Bill 3000 creates a first-degree felony charge for people convicted two or more times of illegally transporting people into the U.S. Another conviction on the Continuous Trafficking of Persons charge would result in a life sentence in prison.

Photo courtesy Hays Co. Sheriff's Office

The Hays County Sheriff’s office has issued an Amber Alert for two missing children last seen on Windy Hill Road in Kyle on Friday.

Mariana Lynn Pinales is a year old, 2’5”, 30lbs, with brown eyes and black hair. She was last seen wearing a pink faded “onesie” and a diaper and pink diamond earrings. Jasmine Marie Pinales is two years old, 2’5”, 40lbs with brown eyes and black hair. Jasmine was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with a heart on the front of the shirt and pull ups.

Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News.

New statistics released today show a drop in the number of crimes committed in Texas last year.

The Uniform Crime Report issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety found that the crime rate dropped 6% between 2009 and 2010.  The crime rate measures crimes committed per 100,000 people in the state. Violent crime was down 8.3% and property crimes fell by 5.7%.  The number of crimes committed statewide was also down.

Image courtesy Hays County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.  An Amber Alert for a missing 13-year-old boy was canceled Monday, after the Wimberley teen was found safe in Madisonville, Texas.  He was reportedly in the company of a family friend.

Photo by US Department of Labor

Mexican-American civil rights leader Cesar Chavez may not get much appreciation from Texas political leaders, but the US Navy has chosen to honor Chavez by naming a cargo ship after him. 

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

A beautiful Sunday graces Central Texas, with seasonable temperatures and bright sunshine all day long.

Shade, Tovo Face June Runoff

Photo by Whatknot http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatknot/

Historically dry conditions have brought the the Texas agriculture industry to its knees, according to the Texas Farm Bureau's board of directors. The board met for its quarterly meeting in Waco today and released this statement.

Filipa Rodrigues

President Obama in Austin

President Obama winds up a day-long, two-stop trip to Texas in Austin late this afternoon.  Mr. Obama starts the day in El Paso, discussing border security and trade.  He's schedule to arrive in Austin about 5:00 p.m. for a campaign fundraiser downtown.  The President leaves for Washington about 9:00 p.m.

Busy Night at the Legislature

Photo by Gretch Sanders for KUT News.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered nine dietary supplements be recalled by Georgia-based Multi-Mex Distributor.  Among the supplements is Amoxilina, which was subject of a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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