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Smoking banned in all public housing

The new rule went into effect on July 31

Andrew Beam

Smoking has been banned in public housing complexes nationwide, after a new rule put in place by the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development went into effect on July 31.

This includes more than 2,000 housing units in Schenectady, Saratoga, Montgomery and Fulton counties.

The ban was meant to address issues with secondhand smoke, fires caused by cigarettes and reducing the cost of cleaning a unit used by a smoker.

Housing authorities were notified of the pending change in November of 2016, when it was announced by then-HUD Secretary Julian Castro. It gave housing authorities an 18-month window to implement the new rule.

Some housing authorities had already instituted the ban at some of their facilities prior to the new rule being announced by HUD. Those include the Schenectady Housing Authority, which banned smoking indoors, including in renters’ own apartments, back in 2012.


Houston Lawyers Say #MeToo Public Policy Shift Should Void Arbitration Pact

By John Council

In what appears to be a novel move in Texas employment litigation, two Houston lawyers are seeking to keep a sexual harassment case out of arbitration by arguing that resolving the legal dispute in private violates public policy in the #MeToo era.

Rick Prieto and Todd Slobin represent Stefani Bambace, who sued Berry Y&V Fabricators earlier this year after alleging she was sexually harassed by the wife of the president of the company, while working as an in-home tutor for their children.

Bambace alleges that the company retaliated against her by terminating her position a month after she reported to Berry Y&V Fabricators Human Resources Department that she was working in a sexually charged and hostile work environment, in violation of the Texas Labor Code.

The company, in its court filings, maintains that its decision to terminate Bambace’s employment was based on legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reasons, and that no protected activity by Bambace was the motivating cause of the termination.


DC Circuit Called to Defend Abortion Rights for Unaccompanied Minors

WASHINGTON (CN) – Eighteen states and the District of Columbia are urging the D.C. Circuit to uphold legal protections for young immigrants who seek abortions after they enter into the United States without a parent or guardian.

The case in Washington arose following a May 2017 policy change whereby Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, wanted to sign off personally on every abortion requested by a minor in federal custody.

Lloyd, who is famously anti-abortion, has so far rejected every request, said New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who is at the helm Monday of a 35-page amicus brief in the case Garza v. Azar.

“All women have a constitutionally protected right to access safe and effective abortion services — including unaccompanied minors,” Underwood in a statement about the brief.

The American Civil Liberties Union initiated the Garza challenge in October 2017 on behalf of an undocumented minor immigrant identified only as Jane Doe. Though the injunction issued in that case by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan applied classwide, Underwood notes in her brief that Lloyd later denied the request for an abortion by a minor who had been raped in her home country.


Heartless Critics Mock Terminally Ill Texas Teen for His Make-a-Wish Request

Five months ago, Jeremiah Thomas was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer.

The 16-year-old boy from Waco, Texas has since undergone a number of cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation. He has suffered a collapsed lung, and paralysis from the waist down. Living with cancer isn’t easy.

And as hard as he’s fighting, Jeremiah’s prognosis isn’t good. His cancer is terminal.

But the determined teenager isn’t spending any time feeling sorry for himself. When he was approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and asked what his dying wish might be, he surprised everyone with his answer.

Most teens opt for an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World, or for the opportunity to meet their favorite athlete or celebrity.

Jeremiah, on the other hand, wants to see abortion abolished in his home state of Texas.


Beaumont ranks as third most dangerous city in Texas

Beaumont was ranked the third most dangerous city in the state of Texas by a study that was done by a Houston law firm.

The law firm compiled data that ranked the ten most dangerous cities in Texas. Beaumont was ranked third most dangerous, ahead of larger cities such as Houston and Dallas.

Alberta Brown, a 60 year resident of Beaumont is heartbroken to see crime in her hometown day after day.

“It’s just awful because that shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be, it’s just too much killing and too much going on here and we don’t understand what’s going on” states Brown.

The Houston-based law firm compiled data from the FBI’s uniform crime reporting program, compiling data from cities with populations only above one hundred thousand people.


Joe Straus: Let’s remove a plaque in the Texas Capitol that lies about Confederate history

Joe Straus, Contributor

It has been a year since a horrific tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., caused a loss of life and painfully reminded us that bigotry still exists and needs to be confronted.

It was bigotry also, and a backlash to the civil rights movement, that motivated state officials to hang a demonstrably false and incendiary plaque in our state Capitol during the late 1950s. We’ve made a lot of progress on civil rights since then. But amazingly, this plaque remains, because there is simply no political will among the state’s top elected officials to remove it.



Beyonce, Streisand to headline Harvey relief telethon

NEW YORK (AP) — Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey will headline a one-hour benefit telethon to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims that will be simulcast next week on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CMT.

The event will be telecast live at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 12, and on tape delay at 8 p.m. on the West Coast. It is being organized by Houston rap artist Bun B and Scooter Braun, founder of SB Projects.


This Dreamer Died Saving Harvey Flood Victims. His Body Was Found The Day Reports Surfaced Trump Will Kill DACA

By Alexander C. Kaufman

Alonso Guillen came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child. He died here, too: On Wednesday, he disappeared when his boat capsized while he was rescuing survivors of the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

Family members recovered his body on Sunday from a creek in Spring, Texas, according to The Houston Chronicle ― just hours before reports emerged that President Donald Trump will end the program that shielded Guillen and others like him ― so-called Dreamers ― from deportation.

Guillen, a 31-year-old disc jockey who came to Texas from Mexico as a teenager, never became a U.S. citizen. But he had a work permit and protection from immediate deportation as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ― DACA ― that then-President Barack Obama established in 2012.

Last week, he headed south from his home in Lufkin, Texas, with a borrowed boat, insisting he wanted to help rescue flood survivors. His father, a legal permanent resident, wept on the sandy banks of Cypress Creek on Sunday as his son’s body was pulled from the water, the Chronicle reported. Jesus Guillen recounted to the paper how he asked his son not to go on the rescue mission with two friends, and that he thanked God for the time he had with his son.

His mother, Rita Ruiz de Guillen, was contacted by Chronicle at her home in Piedras Negras, Mexico. “I’m asking God to give me strength,” she said.


Disgusting Tacos or Beer Challenge Raises Funds to Kill More Babies in Abortions


If you’re heading out to dinner any time before Sept. 15, you might want to check a listing of events hosted by the National Network of Abortion Funds, which is sponsoring the fourth annual “Tacos or Beer Challenge” over the next month.

Failure to make sure the restaurant you’re headed to is not part of the challenge could swiftly torpedo date night, either by finding yourself in the middle of an “abortion party,” or worse—seeing a portion of your bill paying for someone else’s abortion.

In its fourth year, the “Tacos or Beer Challenge” aims to “give abortion stigma a big taco-covered middle finger,” according to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which represents 70 abortion benefactor foundations.

The challenge partners with local restaurants and breweries while leveraging social media, and raised close to $30,000 in its first year, according to pro-abortion website

“It’s an easy introduction to abortion funds,” Aimee Arrambide, a board member with Fund Texas Choice told “People love to eat tacos and drink beer. This way you can do it, and support a cause, and teach people why abortion funds are necessary.”


Sanctuary Cities: Hispanic National Bar Association Pulls Conference Out of Texas

“The Hispanic National Bar Association announced today that it is pulling its 2020 Corporate Counsel Conference from El Paso, Texas in response to the Texas state government’s passage of Senate Bill 4 (“SB4”). Dubbed an “anti-sanctuary” law, SB4 forces local law enforcement to act as de facto immigration enforcement officers and gives them the power to detain and question an individual about their citizenship status solely based on whether the officer thinks that the person “looks” undocumented.

In the view of the HNBA, this legislation “potentially subjects all who live in–or pass through–Texas to racial profiling, discrimination, and unlawful due process violations simply because of their apparent Latino or immigrant heritage, regardless of actual citizenship status,” stated HNBA National President Pedro J. Torres-Díaz. “The HNBA did not arrive at this decision lightly. We have a significant membership base in Texas, many of whom expressed concerns about the constitutionality of SB4 and the widespread, detrimental impact this legislation will have on Latino communities in Texas. We stand in solidarity with the cities, communities, and organizations that have voiced their opposition to this draconian law, including the City of El Paso, and stand ready to further assist them in any way to ensure that SB4 is repealed. Ultimately, however, we believe that the greatest impact that the HNBA can have, is to demonstrate our opposition to this law with our actions, not simply our words.”