May 25, 2012
NEWS OF THE WEEK
Booming business: Jobs increase, towns thrive as result of oil, gas spike
The energy business is booming in the eastern Texas Panhandle, and the impact is hard to miss, from constant convoys of oil and gas trucks rumbling through Canadian to apartment buildings going up in Wheeler.
Parties to ask Texas voters’ opinions on several major issues
Casino gambling, public prayer, redistricting, making college affordable. These are among the issues Texans will get to weigh in on when they head to the polls to cast ballots in the May 29 primaries. In addition to voting for candidates for office, Republicans and Democrats will be asked a series of issue questions to help party leaders gauge how to handle some high-profile subjects.
Strama, Webber: Praying for rain not a water plan
Texas suffered through a record-setting drought in 2011 the worst single-year drought in Texas recorded history with record high temperatures that made a bad situation even worse. And don’t let the recent rains fool you: We’re not out of the woods yet.
Texas primary campaigns turn nasty in run-up
Texas politicians and their operatives have been throwing around a four-letter word that begins with L lately, and it’s not love. Two candidates running for the U.S. Senate have called each other a liar, and that bald-faced allegation has echoed down the ballot. The name-calling reached its logical conclusion last week when incumbent Republican Sen. Jeff Wentworth sued former Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones for slander and libel for a particularly nasty, mudslinging campaign.
Social conservatives face challenges in SBOE primary
Conservatives and moderates get a rare opportunity this year to try to stack the State Board of Education with members who will help shape public education in the way each side considers best for Texas school children. All 15 seats are up for re-election this year due to once-a-decade redistricting to reflect population changes.
Central Texas pinched for poll workers
This month’s back-to-back elections have spawned more than just voter fatigue. Election officials in Central Texas are struggling to find workers to staff the polls with election day only a week away. A lengthy legal battle over redistricting pushed the primaries — normally held in March — back to May 29, just a few weeks after the May 12 local elections and a day after Memorial Day.
It’s now a seller’s market in Central Texas, real estate experts say
The Central Texas housing market has turned in sellers’ favor, with homes going to the swift, multiple offers making a comeback and prices creeping higher, local real estate agents and housing experts say. Activity continued on an upward trend in April, with home sales increasing for the 11th straight month, the Board of Realtors said Monday.
Texas puts more people in treatment and fewer people in prison
On the eve of their release, inmates in their prison whites file silently into the churchly light of the Chapel of Hope in the Texas State Penitentiary. They slide into the pews for the “Welcome Back” program conducted by the Rev. Emmett Solomon, the former chief chaplain for the Texas prisons, who, in his soft, unhurried drawl, offers a few words of wisdom.
UT/TT Poll: Anti-Tax Pledges Lack Majority Support
Tax pledges don’t appeal to everyone, but they appeal strongly to the most conservative Texans, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Just over a third of those polled — 36 percent — agreed that “candidates should pledge not to raise taxes before the primary elections.” But 47 percent went the other way, agreeing that “candidates should not make pledges before the fiscal situation is clear.
Voter discrimination deep in heart of Texas
Texas has challenged the constitutionality of a key section of the Voting Rights Act, part of its efforts to get a controversial voter ID measure federally approved. In another case, a federal three-judge panel recently gave the state its answer: Texas is so, so wrong on so many levels. This involved a case from Shelby County, Alabama.
More Texans enroll in boater safety course, state says
A Central Texas Republican primary contest for the State Board of Education is shaping up to become one of the races that could define the board for years to come. Each of the 15 seats on the State Board of Education is on the ballot this year, but only seven are truly competitive. All but one of those races will probably be decided by the May 29 primary.
Juvenile justice officials disagree on reopening Waco-area lockup
As state officials struggle to find a solution to the spiking violence inside Texas’ state-run juvenile lockups, 32 mothballed bunks at a prisonlike facility near Waco have become the center of a policy stalemate that is being blamed for slowing a resolution for months, officials confirmed Thursday.
TexMessage: Flores calls for an easing of ‘burdensome’ hydraulic fracturing regulations
Congressman Bill Flores toured an Enervest hydraulic fracturing site yesterday in Texas’ Barnett Shale region, and called for a reduction in “burdensome” regulations on the hydraulic fracturing process, saying that would help boost America’s “economic recovery and job creation.”
Lawmakers want to curb Texas obesity
Obesity, diabetes and climbing health-care costs for treating diseases related to an unhealthy lifestyle will have renewed attention in 2013 as lawmakers try to improve Texans’ access to nutritious food.
Senator urges funding to be restored to prevent child abuse
The epidemic of child abuse and neglect in Bexar County is embarrassing and appalling, and state funding must be restored to properly prevent it, public officials said during a news conference Wednesday.