Category: Local/State
Texas Governor Says Will Sign Republican Voting Rights Bill Into Law
worker | September 1, 2021 | 7:51 pm | Local/State | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/us/202108311083762956-texas-governor-says-will-sign-republican-voting-rights-bill-into-law/

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a press release he will sign the Republican-supported voting rights bill into law that passed the state legislature earlier in the day.

“Senate Bill 1 will solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Abbott said on Tuesday. “I look forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law, ensuring election integrity in Texas.”

In July, more than 50 Democrats from the Texas legislature arrived in Washington, DC as part of a second attempt to deny Republicans a quorum to pass the bill, which seeks to ensure the integrity of the election system.

The Republican legislation will limit early voting hours, ban drive-through voting, further restrict voting by mail, ban public officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications, make it easier to overturn an election based on fraud allegations and provide poll watchers more access where election activity takes place. 

Texas is one of 48 US states that have introduced or proposed 408 voter bills of May 19th. So far, 25 have been signed into law.

Texas Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily gave green light to Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on school mask mandates in the south central U.S. state, blocking Bexar County from continuing to defy the governor’s executive order.
worker | August 31, 2021 | 8:33 pm | Local/State | Comments closed

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-08-27/U-S-Texas-Supreme-Court-temporarily-blocks-school-mask-mandates-133N5NQdVvy/index.html

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U.S. Texas Supreme Court temporarily allows governor’s ban on school mask mandates
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People wear masks at a market in Houston City, Texas, U.S., April 24, 2021. /CFP

The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily gave the green light to Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on school mask mandates in the south central U.S. state, blocking Bexar County from continuing to defy the governor’s executive order.

“The status quo, for many months, has been gubernatorial oversight of such decisions at both the state and local levels,” the court said in its ruling, granting Abbott emergency relief to enforce his ban during the coronavirus pandemic.

“That status quo should remain in place while the court of appeals, and potentially this Court, examine the parties’ merits arguments to determine whether plaintiffs have demonstrated a probable right to the relief sought,” the court said.

The decision overrules an earlier district court’s ruling, forcing Bexar County to reconsider how to move forward with its health and safety requirements amid new surges of coronavirus infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, The Hill reported.

Abbott on Wednesday announced an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates, two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

An Emergency Room nurse tends to a patient at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital in Houston, Texas, U.S., August 18, 2021. /CFP

“No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” read the order, which excludes places like nursing homes and state-supported living centers.

As a result, public institutions in Texas including state agencies, local governments, universities, public schools and any other entities that receive public funding are banned from compelling employees to get the shots or asking people who use their services for proof of vaccination.

Meanwhile, Abbott asked state lawmakers to consider legislation addressing whether state or local governments could issue vaccine mandates, and if so, which exemptions should apply.

Key pandemic metrics in Texas continued to reach levels not seen since the last spike in the winter. According to the state and local health agencies, 23,412 new cases were registered in Texas on Wednesday.

The state is in the back of the pack nationally, with 46.2 percent of Texans fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to local media reports.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
Texas Attorney General Clears Texas Attorney General Of All Charges
worker | August 24, 2021 | 7:25 pm | Local/State | Comments closed
notblindjustice.jpeg

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in addition to pursuing frivolous election lawsuits, has been under indictment since 2015.  The charges stem from allegations made by friend and former roommate (and fellow Republican) Byron Cook.  Paxton tried to defeat the indictments in court, but failed.

Various employees subsequently accused Paxton of bribery and other crimes, which the FBI is investigating.  The person who allegedly bribed Paxton (another Republican named Nate Paul) had his businesses raided by the FBI with a search warrant last August.

The allegations include that Paxton did a series of official favors for Paul in exchange for Paul getting a job for Paxton’s mistress.  What’s a Republican scandal without a the salacious element of a paid off mistress?

Today Paxton’s office released a report concluding that Paxton did not violate any laws.  “AG Paxton committed no crime,” said AG Paxton’s office, presumably with  a straight face.  This report was unsigned by any actual people.  You can review the report, on AG Paxton’s letterhead, fully exonerating AG Paxton, HERE.

In the meantime the FBI investigation continues.  The state prosecution for securities fraud, under the direction of a special prosecutor’s office, continues.

Republican hutzpah continues.

The Texas Covid Hospital Situation Is So Dire A Man Shot 6 Times 2 Weeks Ago Can’t Get Surgery.
worker | August 20, 2021 | 7:52 pm | COVID-19, Local/State | Comments closed

https://www.dailykos.com/story/2021/8/19/2046740/-The-Texas-Covid-Hospital-Situation-Is-So-Dire-A-Man-Shot-6-Times-2-Weeks-Ago-Can-t-Get-Surgery

Texas is where incompetence overlaps.  Maybe malevolence as well.  Unwilling to protect its citizens from gun violence, a man in Houston found out that if one gets shot, it might be a while before he gets help.

Let me restate that-a man needs surgery because he was shot.  He was shot because gun violence is wholly out of control in Houston.  Gun violence is out of control in Houston largely because you can buy one as easily as you pick up milk and bread.  And when the gentleman found himself victimized by a gun, shot six times, and in need of surgery, the overlapping incompetence that is exampled by a Governor who got himself infected with Covid, acts as a seventh wound.

It’s been 10 days since Joel Valdez was shot outside of a Houston grocery store, and he still hasn’t been able to undergo surgery, due to his hospital being overcrowded with COVID-19 patients.

Valdez was sitting inside his car on Aug. 6 when he was shot six times, an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of a domestic dispute. He was brought to Ben Taub Hospital, where as of Monday morning the intensive care unit was at 103 percent capacity, with 33 percent of the beds filled with COVID-19 patients, The Washington Post reports.  Valdez was shot three times in his left shoulder and needs surgery, but the hospital is so overwhelmed by COVID-19 that he’s still waiting. “Everybody is really surprised I’m still in this bed a week later,” he told Fox 26 over the weekend.

With the highly contagious Delta variant spreading across the United States and millions of people still not vaccinated, hospitals in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and other states are reporting bed shortages. Valdez told Fox 26 it’s “a little frustrating” that he has “broken bones and bullets in me” but doctors don’t see getting him into surgery as an urgent matter. He advises his fellow Houston residents to “do your best to maintain your health and not end up in a situation that puts you in the hospital right now.”

As one might expect after being shot, Mr. Valdez would like to repair his bullet wounds in a timely manner if at all possible.

This makes sense.  Bullet holes in a human being tend to age poorly.  Most humans like to have said bullet holes fixed, so they can get back to their daily routines of playing Hunger Games: Road Rage Edition, trying to not get poisoned by a chemical plant leak, and building a waterproof platform on their roof for the now yearly floods climate change has wrought.

And don’t forget in wintertime some lucky Texans get chosen by electricity providers to do historical re-enactments where they burn anything combustible to stay alive.

Yes it is always an adrenaline rush in Texas.

So as you can see, Mr. Valdez has a lot challenges to face.

I wish him well and hope that there is no next time he gets shot, but if he does, it is during a time where hospitals don’t resemble something that could serve as the inspiration for the next Saw sequel.

Good luck Joel.

This is one horror movie none of us auditioned for.

And I wish someone would yell, “Cut!”

But ok.  That is one story.  However I need to spread more positivity.  The next story is the power of the woozle, particularly the woozle’s nose, and how it is helping us to fight Covid.

Airports have implemented safety measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, including temperature checks, cleaning robots and health apps. A recent trial used sniffer dogs to identify passengers with the virus. Dogs have up to 100,000 times the smelling sensitivity of humans, meaning our canine friends could be a helpful addition to Covid-19 screening measures at airports.

Complementing the likes of temperature checks and enforced Covid-19 testing, a new method is being trialled to identify passengers who test positive for the virus; the use of medical detection dogs. A canine screening trial recently took place with six dogs trained by charity Medical Detection Dogs to recognise the smell which is produced by people with Covid-19.

During the trial the dogs were able to correctly identify 88% of Covid-19 cases; however they also incorrectly flagged 16% of people who tested negative. The research is at an early stage which could see these false positives figures improving over time.

Full story at the link.  I just wanted to counter another aggravating Covid story with something positive.

It isn’t all bad news.  We just need to turn to faithful companions like pooties and woozles and birdies sometimes to see the brighter side of life.  Somebody is going to not be stricken with Covid because a trained hero woozle will sniff it out and isolate the victim.  Brick by positive brick we will build a Covid free nation.

One wet nose at a time.

 

Texas judge allows county to impose mask mandates in defiance of Governor Abbott’s ban for now
worker | August 12, 2021 | 6:11 pm | COVID-19, Local/State | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/usa/531698-texas-judge-mask-mandates/

Texas judge allows county to impose mask mandates in defiance of Governor Abbott’s ban for now

Texas judge allows county to impose mask mandates in defiance of Governor Abbott’s ban for now
A Texas judge has ruled in favor of county officials who wish to revive mask mandates in their public schools, temporarily overriding a statewide ban on such measures as a number of school districts also vow to resist the order.

In a ruling on Tuesday, District Judge Antonia Arteaga said that Bexar County, including its largest city of San Antonio, may reinstate masking and quarantine requirements at public schools and other government facilities for now. The decision is temporary, however, pending another hearing on the issue set for next Monday.

Arteaga said she did not take the decision “lightly,” adding that she was swayed by public guidance from Junda Woo, medical director of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District and a vocal advocate for universal masking.

ALSO ON RT.COMDallas school district defies Texas gov’s mask mandate ban, says face coverings required as schools reopenImmediately after the decision, both San Antonio and Bexar County reinstituted mask mandates and quarantine rules for their public schools.

“We can get back to managing what is a very dangerous surge of this Delta variant in schools and otherwise,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, referring to a more contagious mutation of the coronavirus making the rounds in the US.

The move comes on the heels of a lawsuit launched by officials in Bexar and San Antonio seeking to challenge Governor Greg Abbott’s recent ban on mask mandates. Tuesday’s ruling marks the first legal blow to his executive order, though school districts in Austin and Dallas have also vowed to ignore it. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, meanwhile, filed a similar lawsuit on Monday, which has yet to conclude.

A spokesperson for the governor, Renae Eze, responded to Arteaga’s ruling later on Tuesday, saying Abbott’s “resolve to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans has not wavered” and that “dozens” of legal challenges to prior executive orders had been struck down before.

We expect a similar outcome when the San Antonio trial court’s decision is reviewed by the appellate courts.

In banning mask requirements late last month, Abbott insisted that Texas must rely on “personal responsibility rather than government mandates” as it fights the Covid-19 pandemic, also threatening penalties of up to $1,000 for local officials who refuse to abide by the order.

ALSO ON RT.COMGovernor Abbott threatens to fine local govts that order Texans to mask up as CDC U-turn triggers wave of new mandatesThink your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Jarvis DeBerry: As Louisiana’s COVID-19 cases spread, a gospel of selfishness spreads, too
worker | August 12, 2021 | 6:08 pm | COVID-19, Local/State | Comments closed

https://www.nola.com/opinions/article_b8e0ef54-f931-11eb-9c4f-5f9a2edbaef7.html

Jarvis DeBerry: As Louisiana’s COVID-19 cases spread, a gospel of selfishness spreads, too

NO.vaccinegraffiti.0001.JPG
A sign encouraging people to get vaccinated on the marquee of the First Grace First Grace United Methodist Church is seen vandalized with red paint in New Orleans, La. Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (Photo by Max Becherer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Every Christian should know the story of the legal scholar who tells Jesus he knows he’s commanded to love his neighbor as much as he loves himself, but professes not to understand who his neighbor is. Without actually reciting the parable of the man who’s ambushed on Jericho Road and then revived and rescued by his presumed enemy, Gov. John Bel Edwards, who’s Catholic, has repeatedly alluded to that passage of Scripture when he’s begged residents to think of COVID-19 mitigation efforts as part of their duty to be good neighbors.

In a state where 84% of people say they’re Christian, convincing them to show concern and compassion for others shouldn’t be a hard sell. However, nearly all the opposition to the governor’s emergency orders has come from conservative Christians (some evangelical, some Catholic) who have elevated the so-called right of the individual not to be mildly inconvenienced over the public good of fewer deaths. We’ve heard theologically flimsy arguments against crowd restrictions, vaccinations and masks, all which suggest a belief that Christianity requires not neighborliness, but a selfish disregard for the well being of others.

“So it’s not love your neighbor so much,” Du Mez said by phone. “Well, you know, they’ll say the way that we love our neighbors is to stand for truth and righteousness and they are welcome to come join us. But, you know, it’s a different conception of loving one’s neighbor, for sure.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations are skyrocketing, and last week, Edwards wisely — if belatedly — announced a new statewide mask mandate. He also said Louisiana can’t lay claim to being the “most pro-life state in the nation” if its people won’t do the simplest things to thwart the spread of disease and its politicians won’t stop fomenting defiance of public health guidelines.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Catholic, is not an evangelical, but on the same day Edwards issued the new face mask order, Landry was offering form letters to parents looking to gin up religious or philosophical objections to face masks. “I do not consent to forcing a face covering on my child, who is created in the image of God,” the religious objection form says.

“I don’t believe he’s consulting with any public health experts,” Edwards said of Landry on PBS’s “Amanpour & Co.” Wednesday, “and what he’s doing has no basis in the law.”

It has no basis in the Bible either, notwithstanding Landry loading up that letter with scriptures.

“That’s just ridiculous,” Obery Hendricks, a professor of systematic theology, said of Landry’s suggestion that people use “image of God” language to get out of mask mandates. That would mean believers shouldn’t wear hats, Hendricks said, or “wear clothes at all.”

Hendricks, an elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church who teaches at Columbia University, has studied the same right-wing takeover of the faith Du Mez has. He calls his latest book “Christians Against Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith.”

“If they cared about the Bible, they would act very differently,” Hendricks said of people here and across America citing religion to resist health guidelines. “They would support the governor’s call for neighborliness. It seems their Bible doesn’t even include ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Seems like the part about obeying authority has fallen out with it. When the oppressed have protested mistreatment, conservative Christians have routinely flipped to Romans 13 and lectured that authorities are to be obeyed. But Democrats — even pro-life Democrats — aren’t called authorities. They’re called tyrants.

It doesn’t matter that conservative Christians are a small part of the population. They own a political party. That means their gospel of selfishness imperils us all.

Texas Supreme Court thwarts Democrat effort to overturn governor’s veto that blocked legislative funding

https://www.rt.com/usa/531595-texas-court-democrats-funding/

Texas Supreme Court thwarts Democrat effort to overturn governor’s veto that blocked legislative funding

Texas Supreme Court thwarts Democrat effort to overturn governor’s veto that blocked legislative funding
The Texas Supreme Court has blocked a challenge by state Democrats seeking to overturn a move by Governor Greg Abbott that could deprive the legislature of funds for the next two years as part of a standoff over voting laws.

The all-Republican state Supreme Court ruled in Abbott’s favor on Monday, denying Democrats’ request to overturn a veto of a legislative funding measure, which would leave lawmakers without cash for the next two-year session.

The judges argued that the funding issue “continues to exist not because of a dispute between the Governor and the Legislature, nor even because of one between the Governor and a minority of House members,” adding the dispute is primarily between lawmakers and that it cannot intervene.

This political dispute within the legislative branch is not an issue of separation of powers that we can decide.

ALSO ON RT.COMFederal judge sides with Biden administration, blocks Texas measure to stop transportation of illegal immigrantsIn their challenge, state Democrats argued that Abbott had overstepped his authority as governor and violated the constitutional separation of powers between lawmakers and the executive by vetoing the funding. The court did not accept that rationale, saying the matter could have been settled if the Democrats had worked with other lawmakers, but declined to do so.

The judges also observed that if a total loss of funds were truly “imminent,” they would expect other lawmakers “besides members of the House Democratic Caucus” to object, noting that no Republicans had joined the complaint.

With the funds set to run dry, Abbott has announced a special legislative session that will extend into September, and has allocated some stop-gap funding to allow proceedings to continue during that time. Unless the dispute can be resolved during the special session, the funding will remain in limbo.

The controversy erupted after a number of Democratic lawmakers left the state in order to prevent the lower chamber from having quorum during a May vote on a controversial election bill. Democrats obstructing the legislation insist it would violate voting rights and limit access to the ballot box for marginalized groups, but Republican opponents have put the measure high on their agenda, arguing it is needed to combat voter fraud in the state.

Both the voting bill as well as the funding measure are on the agenda for the current special session.

Following the walk-out, Abbot blasted the lawmakers involved, vetoing their appropriations proposal while stating that “Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session.”

While opponents have vowed to continue fighting Abbott on the issue, with legal pressure group Democracy Forward insisting it would “review the court’s decision” as it determined the next steps on Monday night, the governor’s office cheered the ruling, saying Democrats had “run out of excuses.”

“The Texas Supreme Court has again recognized that ‘the Governor has power to disapprove any bill and upheld the governor’s veto power granted under the Texas Constitution,” Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said in a statement.

It’s time to stop the charades and get back to work doing the job they were elected to do – voting on critical legislation on behalf of their constituents.

ALSO ON RT.COMTexas lawmaker claims fugitive Dems were ‘exempt’ from mask rules when they flew to DC and they ‘didn’t know’ about Covid-19 surgeThink your friends would be interested? Share this story!