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Temple man charged with sex assault of child

Anthony Wayne Martin, 39, of Temple was arrested Thursday and charged with sexual assault of a child.

According to an arrest affidavit, a Temple police officer was dispatched to Temple High School last September in reference to a student who reported she had been sexually assaulted.

The victim reported she had been repeatedly sexually abused over a 10-year period, beginning when she was 4 years old.

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TEA removes Marlin ISD’s state-appointed board president

The Texas Education Agency has removed state-appointed board President Maggie Majors from the Marlin Independent School District Board of Managers, TEA spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said.

Majors was removed Friday, Culbertson said. The TEA appointed Majors in February to lead the board in turning Marlin ISD around.

The district has failed state academic accountability ratings for five years, and the board of managers is one of the state’s last attempts to prevent closing the school district altogether.

Since the board’s appointment, Majors has voted against several proposals and against the majority of the board on numerous occasions. She has often asked to have more information before deciding on specific issues, in attempts to do her due diligence in moving the district forward.

There was also contention between Majors and Superintendent Michael Seabolt in some of the board’s first meetings, including when Majors accused Seabolt of trickery when signing contracts. But Majors said she has always tried her best and has enjoyed the experience.

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Flush with highway cash, Texas still looking for toll options

By Dug Begley

Texas is spending record amounts on transportation, but lawmakers worried it is not enough are considering extending a controversial program that’s helped spread tollways through some of the state’s largest areas.

A bill approved this week by a House committee would give the Texas Department of Transportation a chance to add six additional projects, including the widening of Interstate 45 north of I-10 and a long-planned Hempstead Tollway, meant to relieve traffic on U.S. 290 with the potential for a commuter rail corridor.

The bill, by state Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, would also allow TxDOT or regional officials the chance to build a dozen other projects.

Without an extension, the state’s authority to ink the special agreements – which typically cede control of a tollway to a private entity that then recoup its costs through revenues – runs out in August.

Phillips said earlier this month highway officials need “every tool” to complete some of the long-sought projects in Texas cities. The agreements offer a rare chance for state and local money to tap private investment, something the Trump Administration has touted.

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Gambling in Texas: Will lawmakers roll the dice this year?

BY ANNA M. TINSLEY

Legalizing casinos, eight-liners — even fantasy sports — all remain long shots for now in Texas as state lawmakers prepare to wrap up their legislative work by the end of May.

There’s still time for plans to allow casinos, electronic machines at horse race tracks or eight-liner machines across the state to heat up, but observers say the push isn’t nearly as strong this year as it has been in the past.

“Most recent legislative sessions have seen an at least halfhearted attempt by the gambling industry to pass legislation that would allow for some form of casino gambling in Texas,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

Texas House Approves Bill Blocking State Investment In Anti-Israel Businesses

CONNOR MOLDO
Reporting Intern

The Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure Thursday prohibiting state-run operations to invest in anti-Israel businesses, according to a report from Forward.

Its approval follows the passage of a similar bill that was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate last month. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a bill that combines policies from both bills.

Pro-Israel groups are commending Texas politicians for their efforts to pass the measure.

“The relationship between the Jewish state and the Lone Star State is built upon shared values, including a rock-solid commitment to standing up for liberty — especially when it is threatened by radical Islamic extremism,” Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United For Israel, said in a statement.
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Study: ‘Bathroom Bill’ Would Cause Multi-Million Dollar Economic Loss to San Antonio

The bathroom bill – officially known as senate bill six – could cause hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage to San Antonio.  An economic impact study – commissioned by the city’s tourism arm and San Antonio Tourism Council – paints a similar picture across the state.

The San Antonio and New Braunfels area stands to lose $411 million per year in business according to the study authored by the Perryman Group. About 4,600 jobs would be lost as well. “When visitors come in, when conventions come in, the domino effect of what they spend in our area. I mean that is a seismic negative impact to our community,” said Cassandra Matej the President of visit San Antonio. It’s the city’s tourism non-profit.

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Paxton rules $2.5 billion Senate budget plan legal

By Mike Ward and Andrea Zelinski

AUSTIN — Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday gave the Texas Senate a big win in its ongoing budget war with the House.

Just before 5 p.m., Paxton issued an opinion validating as legal a Senate plan to delay the transfer of $2.5 billion into a state highway fund by a month, a maneuver House leaders had contended was illegal. Instead of transferring the cash in August, the Senate proposed to transfer the money in September.

“Nothing in the constitutional provision prevents the deposit from occurring as soon as possible in the next fiscal year or spells out consequences for such a delay in the deposit,” read the opinion signed by Paxton.

At issue was a four-word phrase in the Texas Constitution that directs the Texas comptroller to deposit the $2.5 billion for highway funding “in that state fiscal year” when the revenue was collected as taxes.

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Rick Perry: Energy Department has ‘tentacles’ in national security

by Anna Giaritelli

Energy Secretary Rick Perry explained on Friday that he was picked by President Trump to sit on the National Security Council because of the broad spectrum of national security issues his department handles.

“There’s probably a lot of reasons that the Secretary of Energy needs to be sitting at that table when decisions are made. There are mirative tentacles, if you will, that go very deep and very broad out of the Department of Energy that effect the security of our country,” Perry said.

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Ethics reform now includes keeping revolving door to lobby wide open

BY JAY ROOT

A major pillar of Texas ethics reform — stopping politicians from immediately becoming lobbyists when they leave office — appears to be crumbling in the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session.

The author of the “revolving door” bill in the Texas House, Fort Worth Republican Charlie Geren, said he stripped out a provision imposing a two-year “cooling-off period” on state lawmakers who want to become registered lobbyists for special interests when they leave office.

Geren, a top lieutenant of House Speaker Joe Straus and the point guy for Gov. Greg Abbott’s “emergency” ethics reform package in the chamber, said a cooling-off period would not stop legislators from going to work for private industry and attempting to influence their former colleagues.

He said they’d just call it something else.

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Raymondville rescinds appointment of superintendent finalist

By FERNANDO DEL VALLE Staff Writer

RAYMONDVILLE — The search is back on for a superintendent.

The school board has rescinded its appointment of finalist Raul Nuques after the parties failed to reach a contract agreement, board President Jessica Ramirez-Cantu said yesterday.

The board had planned to hire Nuques last Tuesday.

“The reason for the board’s decision is due to not agreeing on contractual terms that the board felt would benefit the students, staff and taxpayers of Raymondville ISD,” Ramirez-Cantu said in a statement.

“Unable to reach this common ground, we as the board of trustees felt in the best interest of RISD to end negotiations and re-evaluate the process of selecting the next superintendent of schools,” she said.

The district paid the Texas Association of School Boards about $8,000 to conduct a search which led the board to name Nuques its finalist for the job last month.

TASB will not charge the district to conduct its second search, said Butch Felkner, the agency’s director of executive search services.

Felkner said the search will include a new round of job applications.

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