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Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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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

Famed Houston lawyer Richard 'Racehorse' Haynes dies at 90

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston lawyer Richard "Racehorse" Haynes, famed for his flamboyant but successful trial defenses of millionaire and billionaire clients in some of Texas' most notorious murder cases, has died at age 90.

Haynes died early Friday at his home surrounded by family in the East Texas town of Trinity after years of declining health, said family spokesman Chris Tritico, a Houston criminal defense lawyer Haynes once mentored.

Initial fame came when Haynes defended wealthy Houston plastic surgeon John Hill at trial over the 1969 slaying of Hill's socialite wife, Joan Robinson Hill, whom investigators said died after eating an eclair secretly laced with E. coli bacteria.

The 1971 trial ended in a hung jury — but Hill was gunned down in the driveway of his mansion before he could be retried. The case was the subject of Thomas Thompson's best-selling book "Blood and Money," which later was made into the 1981 film "Murder in Texas" starring Sam Elliott and Farrah Fawcett.

Read more: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/texas/article/Famed-Houston-lawyer-Richard-Racehorse-Haynes-11107354.php

Greitens: 'I have no day-to-day responsibilities' with nonprofit attacking Republican senator

JEFFERSON CITY • Days after a nonprofit formed to promote Gov. Eric Greitens’ political agenda released attack ads with his personal cell phone number, Sen. Rob Schaaf called on the chief executive and state legislators to make comprehensive ethics reform a priority in the remaining weeks of the legislative session.

The digital ads, paid for by Greitens’ “A New Missouri,” flooded the term-limited senator with phone calls on Friday imploring him to drop his opposition to ethics bills banning lobbyist gifts and establishing term limits for statewide officers.

But in a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, pointed out that he’d filed a number of ethics reform measures, including a total ban on lobbyist gifts far stricter than a compromise measure likely to die in the Senate.

“Governor, really? I’ve been pushing for a lobbyist gift ban harder than anyone,” Schaaf said, who added that he’d met with the governor earlier this year to drum up support for his proposals. “You can provide that leadership. You can clean this mess up … And if you ever want to go to White House, you need to start now.”

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/greitens-i-have-no-day-to-day-responsibilities-with-nonprofit/article_e14283e2-6ebf-50e0-8fe0-644592939841.html

Lawmakers say lobbyist gift ban will likely fail again this year in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY • On the first day of this year’s legislative session, House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Republican, vowed to make restrictions on lobbyist gifts to legislators the first bill out of his chamber.

His side of the capitol made good on the promise, too, voting Rep. Justin Alferman’s measure out of committee at 7:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day, Jan. 9, and sending it to the Senate on Jan. 17 on a 149-5 vote. Alferman, R-Hermann, was finding it easier to be optimistic despite the obstacles looming in the Senate, where a similar measure stalled last year.

Missouri voters had just voted to end unlimited campaign contributions and had elected Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican who frequently bashed a Jefferson City full of “career insiders, well-paid lobbyists and self-serving politicians” on the campaign trail. The people were clamoring for a cleanup.

Alferman was less enthusiastic Thursday. During the three months his bill has sat in a Senate committee waiting for a vote, the upper chamber has ground itself to a halt with filibuster after filibuster from lawmakers in both parties.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/lawmakers-say-lobbyist-gift-ban-will-likely-fail-again-this/article_b469536d-bb34-5375-b202-35120c6d85d1.html

Missouri House wants monthly reports on state legal settlements

JEFFERSON CITY • An attempt to shed more light on legal settlements that have cost the state millions in recent years easily won initial approval in the Missouri House Tuesday.

Potosi Republican Paul Fitzwater's proposal would require the attorney general to provide monthly updates on lawsuits against the Department of Corrections and payouts from the state legal expense fund.

The fund came under fire late last month after The Pitch, a Kansas City weekly alternative newspaper, reported it expended more than $7.5 million in the past five years to settle cases or pay judgments against the department.

The Pitch story and further reporting by the Post-Dispatch revealed a culture of harassment and discrimination in the department and prompted an investigation by a House committee and the state auditor.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/missouri-house-wants-monthly-reports-on-state-legal-settlements/article_16c2cc86-215a-591e-ba8f-f703e2db1b44.html

University of Missouri curators delays vote on tuition changes

ST. LOUIS • Breaking ranks with tradition, the University of Missouri Board of Curators will not vote on tuition and fee changes for the four campuses at this week’s meeting.

The curators will discuss the issue of a tuition increase but will hold their vote until sometime in May after the Legislature finalizes the budget.

The spring meeting at the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus in Rolla is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. This is the first meeting for university system President Mun Choi, as well as three recently confirmed board members, Darryl Chatman, Jeff Layman and Jamie Farmer.

The curators are considering waivers to increase tuition at a rate that’s greater than allowed by a statewide cap.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/notes-from-campus/university-of-missouri-curators-delays-vote-on-tuition-changes/article_6f88997c-8168-50f6-b8f2-7d3701ed70ff.html

Casey's General Store ordered to pay former employee $1.5M over harassment, retaliation

A Lincoln County jury has awarded a former employee of Casey’s General Store in Troy, Mo., more than $1.5 million in her sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, lawyers said Tuesday.

Heather Murray and another employee sued Casey’s in 2014, saying that they were repeatedly sexually harassed by a co-worker and then terminated when they complained.

Jurors awarded Murray $1 in actual damages on her sexual harassment claim and $54,000 in actual damages on her retaliation claim earlier this month, Murray lawyer Candace R. Burke said.

Punitive damages were $1 million and $500,000, respectively, on the claims, she said.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/casey-s-general-store-ordered-to-pay-former-employee-m/article_13bde199-d06b-59d5-ab82-ecc769cfadc6.html

$10 St. Louis minimum wage could begin next week after court declines to reconsider

ST. LOUIS • The Missouri Supreme Court has declined to reconsider its ruling from earlier this year upholding St. Louis' proposed $10-an-hour city minimum wage, meaning that wage could go into effect here by next week.

Business groups had sued and won an injunction stopping the 2015 city wage hike, arguing that by setting a cap higher than the state's $7.65 minimum wage would sow regulatory confusion. The state Supreme Court rejected that argument on Feb. 28, ruling that the new city wage could go into effect.

The court's refusal on Tuesday to reconsider that order effectively ends the issue.

The ordinance sets a $10-an-hour minimum wage in the city this year, climbing to $11 in 2018.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/st-louis-minimum-wage-could-begin-next-week-after-court/article_400b32eb-d373-5426-b989-c13577198004.html

Judge orders University City to apologize, pay lawyer fees of resident barred from meetings

ST. LOUIS • A federal judge here on Tuesday ordered University City officials to publicly apologize to a resident expelled from a City Council meeting last year and to lift restrictions on the content of speakers’ comments at future meetings.

University City Mayor Shelley Welsch demanded police remove resident Andrew Roberts from a meeting on Jan. 11, 2016, while he was reading prepared statements calling for the censure of Welsch.

Roberts was unhappy with a proposal from Welsch calling for the censure of Councilman Terry Crow.

Welsch was attempting to reprimand Crow at the January meeting for forwarding an email she said held confidential information on political campaigning by public employees.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/judge-orders-university-city-to-apologize-pay-lawyer-fees-of/article_40b6584f-7f5b-550b-9674-5da97f11bc7f.html

People who work for Missouri could earn pensions faster under bill OK'd by House

JEFFERSON CITY • In an effort to better attract and retain talented employees despite having the lowest-paid state workforce in the nation, the Missouri House voted Wednesday to cut in half the amount of time they have to work to earn a pension.

Under the plan put forward by Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, employees would qualify for pensions at age 67 after working five years instead of 10.

Lawmakers and former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, approved lengthening the qualifying period to 10 years in 2010 as a way to offer $150 million in tax breaks to Ford Motor Co. and other car makers to keep their facilities in Missouri. It went into effect for new hires beginning in January 2011 and was projected to save the state an estimated $660 million over 10 years.

But reverting back to five years is one of several recommendations made in a 2016 report that found Missouri state workers were the worst-paid in the country.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/people-who-work-for-missouri-could-earn-pensions-faster-under/article_e1a337d7-16e0-56d0-848d-a9e7dd26a91e.html

Mizzou sets new policies in wake of protests

COLUMBIA, Mo. • The University of Missouri's Columbia campus announced revised policies related to protests on Thursday, nearly two years after the campus was besieged by demonstrations over racial concerns.

The new policies, developed over the past 15 months, include a commitment to "protecting the rights of expression, assembly, protest, and dissent." The changes also include making outdoor areas available whenever possible, even for unscheduled gatherings.

"Free speech and the ability to engage in our democratic process in public spaces is vital to the future of the United States and core to the mission of the University of Missouri," Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said in a statement.

The Columbia campus was at the center of unrest in the fall of 2015, when hundreds of students protested the way university leadership handled complaints and concerns about race and discrimination. At the peak of the protests, the Missouri football team threatened to boycott a game.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/mizzou-sets-new-policies-in-wake-of-protests/article_fefe06d5-b5d6-516a-aea5-911c344a2c7b.html
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