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STRAUS CANCELS CHRISTMAS?

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UPDATE: Since publication, numerous other House offices have contacted Texas Scorecard saying they had also been notified Speaker Straus was canceling the party. State Rep. Charlie Geren tweeted “a Christmas party for #txlege members, children & grandchildren has already been planned for Saturday, December 1.” The Speaker’s office has not commented on their involvement. 

Capitol sources are reporting that disgraced, soon-to-be-former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has cancelled the Texas House Christmas party, an annual event in which legislators and their families are invited to Austin to hang ornaments, take pictures with Santa, and celebrate the Christmas season.

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Just a shot away? Ciudad Juárez residents fear new cartel war may be coming

For residents of this gritty border city who survived the drug cartel war that raged here just seven years ago, headlines about an upswing in violence are getting harder to ignore.

BY JULIÁN AGUILAR

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — Teresa Rodriguez might have found comfort inside this border city’s famous downtown cathedral Tuesday afternoon when she stopped in for a midday mass after running errands. But after leaving Our Lady of Guadalupe church, she was back on guard.

“That’s close enough,” she told a reporter just a dozen or so paces from the church’s main entrance. She shielded her eyes from the sun with one hand and raised the other in a “halt” gesture before adding. “You know, because of everything that’s been going on.”

Rodriguez survived the war between rival drug cartels that raged in this industrial border city from 2008 to 2011 — and with violence on the upswing again, she’s taking extra precautions.

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Sen. Schatz on HUD Housing Discrimination Complaint Against Facebook

By Big Island Now

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a formal complaint against Facebook. In its complaint, HUD alleges Facebook allowed homeowners and tenants to discriminate against potential buyers and tenants through targeted ads that allowed them limit ads for homes to certain people, violating the Fair Housing Act.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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