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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 87,026

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Bills restricting abortion, including one that bans procedure as early as six weeks, get initial

Bills restricting abortion, including one that bans procedure as early as six weeks, get initial Texas Senate OK

by Shannon Najmabadi, Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate gave initial approval Monday to a half-dozen bills that would restrict access to abortion, including a priority measure that could ban abortions before many women know they are pregnant.

The measures are among the earliest bills to be debated by the full Senate — whose presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, has given two abortion proposals top billing this session. Each piece of legislation must be voted on again in the upper chamber and then go through a similar process in the House before becoming law.

Senate Bill 8 would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which can be as early as six weeks, according to a legislative analysis. The bill has an exception for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest.

The bill would also let anyone in Texas sue an abortion provider if they believe they violated state laws, regardless of whether they had a connection to someone who had an abortion or to the provider. A person who knowingly “aids or abets” others getting abortions prohibited under state law could also be hit with lawsuits, according to a bill draft.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/29/texas-senate-abortion-heartbeat/

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Trump Fires Back at Fauci & Birx and Makes Babbling Wedding Toast at Mar-a-Lago

Sweeping legislation to overhaul state's electricity market in response to winter storm heads to

Sweeping legislation to overhaul state’s electricity market in response to winter storm heads to Texas House after Senate's unanimous approval

by Shawn Mulcahy and Erin Douglas, Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously approved a sweeping bill that would overhaul the state’s electricity industry and infrastructure, including mandating that power plants prepare for extreme weather and outlawing risky indexed retail electric plans.

Senate Bill 3, filed by Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, now heads to the Texas House where its prospects are uncertain. Members in the lower chamber will take up a series of related, standalone bills on Tuesday.

“There were a multitude of failures,” Schwertner said from the Senate floor Monday, referring to the massive power outages during the deadly winter storm. “And we’re fixing the problems.”

SB 3 would require all power generators, transmission lines, natural gas facilities and pipelines to make upgrades for extreme weather — a process known as weatherization. Most power generators and gas facilities were not equipped to handle temperatures that dipped into single digits last month.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/29/texas-senate-electricity-power/

After dispute, Tulsa Opera shelves commissioned piece for Race Massacre centennial concert

TULSA — Tulsa Opera will not present one of the original pieces it commissioned for its Tulsa Race Massacre centennial concert after a dispute with the composer over the wording of the aria.

Titled "Greenwood Overcomes," the May 1 concert at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center was designed to showcase works by living Black composers sung by leading Black performers as part of the citywide commemoration spearheaded by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, the concert’s co-producer.

The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. Between May 31 and June 1, 1921, mobs of white residents attacked, set aflame and devastated the Greenwood District, which was at that time one of the wealthiest Black communities in the United States, earning it the name "Black Wall Street." Although the deadly tragedy was covered up for decades and omitted from history books even in Oklahoma, a wide-ranging commemoration is planned in Tulsa for the centennial.

New works to mark Tulsa Race Massacre centennial

To "honor the resilience of Black Tulsans and Black America," the opera company commissioned four new pieces from contemporary Black composers.

But Brooklyn, New York-based composer, musician and educator Daniel Bernard Roumain posted on social media last week that Tulsa Opera had fired him after a dispute over the words to the aria he penned for the event, a recounting of the 1921 tragedy titled "They Still Want to Kill Us."


Read more: https://www.oklahoman.com/story/entertainment/2021/03/28/tulsa-opera-shelves-race-massacre-piece-by-daniel-bernard-roumain/6981443002/

'Unsexiest big deal' on Legislature's agenda could be most important state government reform in year

Civil service reform does not lend itself to inspiring Founding Fathers quotes or emotional appeals for truth, justice and the American way.

It is not the sort of issue that winds up on many push cards — those stiff, full-color campaign flyers stuffed into mail boxes and front doors before every election.

And yet, it touches on every aspect of, in this case, state government — and by extension, every Oklahoman.

“I keep telling ‘em it’s the unsexiest big deal out there,” said state Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond.

Read more: https://tulsaworld.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/unsexiest-big-deal-on-legislatures-agenda-could-be-most-important-state-government-ref

Committee approves protections for fleeing drivers that hit protesters in roadways

Advocates say there is an aggressive effort to chill protests in Oklahoma and pointed to several bills that were approved this week.

On Monday, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed House Bill 1674, which provides legal immunity to fleeing drivers that hit protesters in roadways. That bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senate Bill 560, a similar piece of legislation, was stalled on a 4-4 vote in a House committee. But it will likely be heard again next week.

Senate Bill 119 was passed out of a House committee, requiring groups to get a permit over a week before coming to demonstrate at the state Capitol.

Read more: https://www.readfrontier.org/stories/updates-from-the-state-capitol-committee-approves-protections-for-fleeing-drivers-that-hit-protesters-in-roadways/

Democrats running for Omaha mayor talk housing, transit, economic development

The four Democrats running for Omaha mayor convened Wednesday to talk about their ideas on neighborhood issues and focused on housing, streets and economic development.

Jasmine Harris, RJ Neary, Kimara Snipes and Mark Gudgel fleshed out their ideas for Omaha’s future during a forum at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus.

Questions, including some from residents, touched on income inequality, gentrification of neighborhoods and how the candidates would use city-controlled federal money to create more affordable housing. A video of the forum can be found here.

Harris, who works for a nonprofit that helps convicted people reenter society after serving prison sentences, said the city must hold landlords accountable for the quality of their properties and do more to address a shortage of affordable housing units. Omaha also needs more starter homes, she said.

Read more: https://omaha.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/democrats-running-for-omaha-mayor-talk-housing-transit-economic-development/article_ef458436-88c7-11eb-bfbe-7fa25bed0e15.html

Ruling denying adoption by same-sex Nebraska couple reversed

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday reversed a ruling by a lower court judge who denied a same-sex couple’s petition to adopt a child, based not on state law but on the legal definition of “wife” that he pulled from a law dictionary.

The reversal came in the case of two married women who sought last year to adopt a 3-year-old child whom they had raised since her birth. Dixon County Judge Douglas Luebe denied the petition, saying he had no jurisdiction to grant the request to the women, who were listed in their petition as “wife and wife,” because a law dictionary defined “wife” as “‘a woman who has a lawful living husband.’”

The Nebraska high court rejected that reasoning, saying state adoption laws clearly allow a same-sex married couple to adopt, and that “any adult person or persons” can adopt a child. So set is the law that the Nebraska Attorney General declined to file a brief defending the judge’s ruling.

The judge’s reasoning was flawed, the high court said, because the plain language of the state law doesn’t preclude same-sex married couples from adopting.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/couples-nebraska-adoption-courts-567a4313899a003a33cd442b5f9800cc

Missouri Rep. Derges indictment grows to include alleged $900K COVID fraud scheme

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Tricia Derges fraudulently sought and obtained about $300,000 for coronavirus tests already paid for by clients at a for-profit clinic, authorities said in a new indictment unsealed Friday. Derges, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in February for an alleged wire fraud scheme and illegally providing prescription drugs, ultimately sought nearly $900,000 in CARES Act funding, investigators said.

Derges has pleaded not guilty to all of the 23 counts, including the newly unsealed ones, her attorney said.

Derges, 63, allegedly received $296,574 in CARES Act funds in December 2020 after submitting a fraudulent application to Greene County. The application sought reimbursement for more than 3,000 tests provided by her nonprofit Lift Up Someone Today, Inc. However, investigators said the tests were actually done by her for-profit Ozark Valley Medical Center which she had already received payment from clients for.

Lift Up and the Ozark Valley Medical Center are separate entities. After receiving nearly $300,000 from Greene County, Derges transferred the money to the Ozark Valley Medical Center’s account, investigators said.

Read more: https://themissouritimes.com/missouri-rep-derges-indictment-grows-to-include-900k-covid-fraud-scheme-feds-say/

Republican lawmakers vote down funding for Missouri Medicaid expansion

The move by House budget committee puts the fate of voter-approved expansion in jeopardy

A partisan battle over Medicaid expansion in the House Budget Committee ended Thursday with a vote against spending $1.9 billion to implement the medical program approved by voters in August.

The arguments for and against a special spending bill that separated expansion costs from other Medicaid budget lines echoed the debates of past years – Republicans argued that it cost too much and would force cuts in other areas while Democrats contended that the state has plenty of cash and expansion would save money for state taxpayers.

The committee voted 9-20 against the spending bill that allocated $130 million of general revenue and $1.9 billion overall to expand coverage to households with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

The vote came as the committee was working through proposed changes to the $34.1 billion budget proposed in January by Gov. Mike Parson. The full House will debate the budget in floor sessions next week.

Read more: https://missouriindependent.com/2021/03/25/republican-lawmakers-vote-down-funding-for-missouri-medicaid-expansion/
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