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Planned Parenthood in Texas will fight being kicked out of Medicaid program

By Anna M. Tinsley

Planned Parenthood officials on Wednesday promised to do what they can politically and legally to ensure low-income women in Fort Worth and statewide will be able to receive services from the organization, despite the most recent blow to their state funding.

This pledge comes one day after state officials legally notified the organization that it would no longer get funding from the Texas Medicaid program, a loss of about $3.1 million a year.

The funding is likely to end in about a month, although Planned Parenthood officials plan to seek a preliminary injunction to fight the loss of funding.

“Texans deserve to decide where to receive their healthcare, and for more than 80 years they have counted on Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas for that care,” Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said in a written statement.

“In the days ahead we will take every step necessary to ensure Medicaid patients can continue to count on Planned Parenthood for quality, accessible healthcare. In the meantime, our doors remain open for everyone, regardless of their income or insurance status, no matter what.”

Abortion has long been a heated topic in Texas as conservative lawmakers have steadily worked through the years to put in place restrictions on clinics and patients alike. More than a year ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pledged to remove the group from the Medicaid program.

At the heart of this week’s ruling, and looming legal battle, is an investigation into an undercover video that determined the group is “not qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner under the relevant provisions of state and federal law pertaining to Medicaid providers,” according to the legal notice by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of the Inspector General.

The letter states that the video in question was by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion rights group. Unedited footage allegedly shows Planned Parenthood employees in Houston discussing ways to “procure fetal tissue … even if it means altering the timing or method of an abortion.”

“Gov. Abbott has made clear that Texas will not subsidize an organization that admits a willingness to alter an abortion procedure in order to profit off the harvesting of baby body parts,” said Clara Matthews, deputy communications director for the governor.

 

OBAMA AND TEXAS DEMOCRAT MAYOR SNEAK MUSLIM REFUGEES INTO HIS ‘SANCTUARY CITY’

Jim Kouri

While the news media provides wall-to-wall coverage of President-elect Donald Trump and his family — most of it consisting of negative stories — and continue to portray a failed president as having eight-years of achievement, they are once again purposely ignoring the federal government breaking laws, regulations and agreements regarding immigration.

After Governor Greg Abbott of Texas clearly stated that Texas is stopping the resettlement of so-called Syrian asylum-seekers, the President Barack Obama and his minions went behind Gov. Abbott’s back secretly colluding with the Democratic mayor of Texas’ most liberal city.

Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler offered illegal aliens continued sanctuary and the Syrian Muslims are being provided with a welcome mat, according to a top nonprofit, non-government organization (NGO) based in the nation’s capital. The plan is said to entail the continued sending of unvetted Syrian Muslims to the Lone Star State, according to the government watchdog group Judicial Watch.

Gov. Abbott, who previously served as the Texas Attorney General and is no stranger to large-scale litigation, initiated a court action to end the flow of Syrian and other Middle Eastern-North African Muslims. During Christmas week, Judicial Watch successfully obtained records of the administration’s secretive program to send more Syrian Muslims to Texas, in spite of opposition from state officials over the security threats created by refugees from an Arab nation that’s a hotbed of terrorism.

“As is common for President [Obama], he is welcoming Muslims by the thousands into the United States but the number of Syrian Christians is fewer than 1% of the number of Muslims,” said former police anti-terrorism unit member Daniel Fierstein, “And Obama knows that the majority of Americans oppose his actions,” he added.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responds to tweet asking why God hasn’t answered his prayers to walk again

Gun control group sends gruesome Christmas cards to gun rights supporters

Jacob Airey

The Betsy Riot is a gun control lobbying group that has surfaced on social media. According to their website, they tell their members to “respect the anonymity of others.” However, also on their webpage they call on their supporters, “to prank, to lambaste” and to cause “individual acts of gun culture sabotage or public disruption.” They have started several Twitter hashtags that specifically target gun rights groups and their message. However, during the 2016 Christmas holiday season, they took it to a new level.

Texas Rep. Stickland reacts to strange gift

#Texas Representative Jonathan Stickland of District 92, representing Tarrant County, is no stranger to controversy. On the issue of gun rights, the National Rifle Association has given him a scorecard of ninety-two percent. The Michael Bloomberg-funded gun control lobbying group Everytown has frequently targeted Stickland for criticism.

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“Texas Gosnell” abortionist referred for criminal charges by congressional panel

Douglas Karpen, known as the “Texas Gosnell,” is an abortionist who many believe got away with infanticide–at least until a congressional committee redialed his number this month.

The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN) has been investigating the fetal parts industry since 2015, after The Center for Medical Progress released its undercover videos exposing the alleged sale of fetal parts. This month the Panel gave a Christmas present to multiple players in the abortion industry: referrals for criminal investigations to state attorney generals and the United States Department of Justice. Karpen was on this list.

Karpen came under scrutiny when late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell was discovered to be running what some in the media dubbed a “house of horrors.” Gosnell, currently in prison for the murder of a patient as well as the murder of three babies that were born alive during abortions, was considered by abortion advocates to be an anomaly. While they condemned his actions, they insisted Gosnell was an exception, not the norm.

However, halfway across the nation, Karpen’s abortion centers were revealed to be similar houses of horror. Shortly after Gosnell’s conviction, Karpen’s facilities were investigated. (Operation Rescue details the back story here.) Less than two years later, the Texas Medical Board dismissed the charges against Karpen, saying there was insufficient evidence that he violated the Medical Practices Act. Until this month, it appeared Karpen was getting off scot free. That’s where the Panel investigation stepped in.

While the referrals redacted the names, they inadvertently left Karpen’s name at the top of one of the documents:

Even if they hadn’t, the details of his abortion facilities make it clear which late-term abortionist the Panel is discussing. And the criminal referral letter contains troubling details of destruction. The letter tells of Karpen’s former medical assistants and office workers who describe him as “conducting himself with that depraved indifference to infant life and committing acts of murder.” It continues:

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Democrat Star Says Trump Will Be Most ‘Corrupt’ President Ever. But Here Are Some Skeletons in His Closet

By Justen Charters

With Donald Trump’s election, Julian Castro finds himself on his way out of Washington, D.C., as the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary.

Castro became a rising star in the Democrat party following his keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Politico reported that his speech “electrified” the DNC audience.

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Bill aims at cutting criminal justice debt

By Jessica Priest

Inspired by what he sees as a proliferation of debtor prisons, a state representative has filed a bill that permits judges to waive fines and fees imposed on poor people charged with Class C misdemeanors.

But some say judges already have the discretion to do what State Rep. James White’s House Bill 50 permits.

“What this bill would do is allow the judge to make that (indigency) determination at any time. There wouldn’t have to be, necessarily, a default on payment,” said Ryan Turner, the general counsel and director of education for the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center.

Because the education center is publicly funded, it doesn’t take positions on legislation. The center instead closely monitors legislation because it needs to be prepared for the four classes it teaches in August, which thousands of people attend.

White, R-Woodville, said in an interview with the Victoria Advocate that he became interested in what he calls “criminal justice debt” after researching payday lenders and the Driver Responsibility Program.

Created in 2003, the Driver Responsibility Program requires drivers convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay annual surcharges on top of any fines and court costs to maintain their license.

Earlier this year, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition reported that 1.3 million drivers have invalid licenses because of the program, and Democrats and Republicans agreed it was disenfranchising and called for scrapping it, according to the Texas Tribune.

One of the reasons the Driver Responsibility Program hasn’t been scrapped is it supports state trauma hospitals. If HB 50 were to pass, it would affect state coffers, too, but “that’s not an excuse to continue running in defiance or contrary to our U.S. and Texas constitutions, case law and statutes,” White said.

“Even as Republicans, we probably want to keep the government kind of big, and we have relied on criminal justice fees to do this, and we need to stop that,” White said.

In Victoria Municipal Court this year, about $1.3 million state fees were assessed and $1.5 million city fines were assessed. The balance due was more than $307,000 and 1,033 warrants were issued.

Turner doesn’t like the debtor prison rhetoric because he thinks it is divisive.

“The law is the law. The judges don’t get to make the law, and it’s certainly not fair for any critic to say, ‘Golly, these judges are so evil to follow a law that was passed by lawful means,” Turner said.

He thinks every jail or prison is a debtor prison because people go there to pay their debt to society.

“The real question is, are people being afforded due process?” he said.

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Rates on Austin-area tolls go up in the new year

By

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Jan. 1, 2017, taking certain toll roads in the Austin-area will cost you more.

The Texas Department of Transportation is increasing toll rates on the ones they operate. TxDOT operated tolls in Travis and Williamson counties are: SH 130 (Segments 1-4), State Highway 45 North, Loop 1 (from Parmer Lane to SH 45 North) and SH 45 Southeast.

For most drivers, the 1.1 percent increase will mean an average increase of one cent per toll. The last time the rates went up on TxDOT operated tolls was in January 2015.

Tolls operated by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority will also be going up in the new year. CTRMA says there will be an increase of one to two cents on its tolls.

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North Texas Mumps Outbreak May Be Linked To Recent Cheerleading Contests

Five stories that have North Texas talking: this database of objects found at the border could help identify perished migrants; meet the man who painted Deep Ellum; revisit our 20 most popular stories this year; and more.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is sending letters to attendees of four cheerleading competitions in North Texas, warning they may have been exposed to mumps. KXAS reports that the department is warning attendees of competitions in November and December in Dallas, Frisco and Arlington that those contests could have been the originator of some of the cases in the state’s worst outbreak of mumps in years.

So far, 11 cases of the mumps have been linked to the outbreak associated with the competitions, according to KXAS. The number of mumps cases in North Texas has jumped to more than 50 in recent weeks with cases reported in Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Denton and Tarrant counties. Learn more about mumps from this Vital Signs interview. [The Associated Press, KXAS, KERA News]

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Man Paralyzed After Being Shot in His Back by Fort Worth Police: Lawyer

By Scott Gordon

A video released Tuesday by a law firm shows a Fort Worth police officer shooting a man in the back, but police and the man’s lawyer disagree about whether the shooting was justified.

David Collie, the man shot by Fort Worth police, released the video of his shooting through his attorney Nate Washington after seeing an unrelated video on Facebook of a Fort Worth officer wrestling two women to the ground who called for help and arresting them.

 

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