Boy Scout leaders to vote on lifting gay ban
GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) - The Boy Scouts of America has started its meeting in which members of its national council are to decide whether to change the group's long-standing ban on openly gay boys.
BSA is holding its annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas, near its suburban Dallas headquarters. About 1,400 voting members on the council are expected to vote Thursday on a proposed resolution that would allow gay Scouts, while leaving in place a ban on gay leaders.
Discussion of the policy has split conservatives who denounce the proposal and gay-rights supporters who say they welcome the possible change but want the ban on adult leaders to be lifted as well.
About two dozen people calling on members to vote "no" stood outside the resort, while supporters of the change met across the street.
Medicaid expansion protesters interrupt Perry talk
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Hecklers have repeatedly interrupted a speech by Governor Rick Perry, demanding that Texas expand the Medicaid program under the White House-backed health care reform law.
Perry was beginning his address at an Austin business forum Wednesday when a woman chanted "Expand Texas health care!" He replied, "I gotcha."
A man began yelling a few minutes later and Perry invited protesters to his office for a debate, imploring them to be polite.
He was interrupted again and again. At one point the governor clapped his hands in exasperation and said: "Please, please, please, please!" before repeating his offer to debate the issue later.
Others chanted slogans in Spanish. Perry joked "only five more days until the Legislature leaves."
Lawmakers conclude their work May 27th but also have opposed expanding Medicaid.
House members kill more Senate bills as revenge
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Members of the Texas Houses temporarily expanded their retaliation against the Senate for failing to move their bills.
A Republican lawmaker joined the fray Wednesday by targeting minor bills by Granbury Republican Senator Brian Birdwell. Representative Debbie Riddle announced she would filibuster each of his proposed laws because of an amendment she wanted.
Houston Democratic Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Sylvester Turner joined Riddle in threatening other Senate bills with filibusters. The senior lawmakers said senators were not showing proper respect for the work done by the House of Representatives.
Democratic Rep. Ruth McClendon began filibustering bills by Houston Senator Joan Huffman on Friday, because she is blocking a House bill to set up a commission to investigate false convictions.
All lifted their filibusters after receiving reassurances from the Senate.
Lawmakers approve arms training for schoolteachers
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Schools could train teachers to exchange fire with potential attackers under a plan advancing in the Texas Capitol.
In a 28-3 vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved a bill that would authorize one armed marshal for every 400 students. It has already passed the House over the objection of the state teachers association.
The measure would require school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to reimburse their marshals for gun training. Teachers who serve as marshals would have to keep their guns locked within "immediate reach."
Advocates have described the proposal as a solution for smaller districts that cannot afford a campus police force. It was written by Republican Rep. Jason Villalba of Dallas.
Republicans promised not to use the bill as a legislative vehicle to allow guns on college campuses.
Retail gasoline prices across Texas up 2 cents
HOUSTON (AP) - Retail gasoline prices across Texas have risen 2 cents as travelers prepare for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Triple A Texas on Wednesday reported the average price at the pump reached $3.43 per gallon. Nationwide retail gasoline prices jumped 6 cents this week to hit $3.66 per gallon.
Amarillo has the most expensive gasoline in Texas at $3.74 per gallon. The association survey found Corpus Christi with the cheapest gasoline at $3.33 per gallon.
AAA Texas says demand for fuel is expected to increase with the Memorial Day holiday marking the unofficial start of summer.
The travel group predicts 2.9 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday period - defined as Thursday to Monday. That's about a 1% increase from last year.
BABY DIES-LEFT IN CAR
Warrant: Mother thought she left baby at day care
DALLAS (AP) - A North Texas woman whose year-old daughter died after being left for hours in a car has told authorities she thought she dropped off the child earlier at a day care.
An arrest warrant reveals details of an interview police conducted with 42-year-old Vibha Marks. She told police she was certain she had left her daughter at the day care before driving to her teaching job at a Dallas elementary school.
A passer-by noticed the child in the vehicle Friday afternoon. Temperatures were in the upper 80s that day.
Marks has been charged with child abandonment. She posted a $50,000 bond and was released from the Dallas County jail Saturday.
An attorney for Marks was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
POLICE STANDOFF-HOUSE FIRE
Man indicted on claim he set fiancee's home ablaze
DALLAS (AP) - A grand jury has indicted a North Texas man who authorities say threatened his fiancee with a handgun and then set her home on fire during a police standoff.
The Dallas Morning News reports that 38-year-old William Coleman was indicted Tuesday in Collin County and remains in jail on a variety of charges that include arson and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Coleman's fiancee told police he threatened her with the gun March 18th during an argument. Police responded to the home and say they saw Coleman through a window with several weapons. They say he set a fire that destroyed the structure. Coleman is a former Dallas firefighter.
He's being held on a $275,000 bond. An attorney for Coleman was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
Dallas woman indicted, college financial aid scam
DALLAS (AP) - A North Texas woman has been charged with scamming six schools by getting thousands of dollars in financial aid and not completing any online courses.
Prosecutors in Dallas on Wednesday announced 30-year-old Sussette Timmons has been indicted on six counts of financial institution fraud.
Timmons received financial aid from New Mexico State University, Western New Mexico University, Ashford University, Northern New Mexico College, Coconino Community College and Pima Community College.
Timmons enrolled for distance learning programs via the Internet and some financial aid was applied to her tuition and fees. Prosecutors say she also received some disbursement checks but never used the money for her education.
Prosecutors say Timmons, who was indicted Tuesday, has withdrawn from 13 colleges or universities since 2009.
She remains at large.
VETERANS PARADE-TRAIN CRASH
Float driver says train seemed still before crash
MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - The driver of a parade float struck by a train in a Texas crash that killed four military veterans told federal investigators that the oncoming train appeared to be stationary.
Documents released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board show that Dale Hayden told investigators he was focused on his left-side rearview mirror, looking for a bump in the intersection, as he crossed the tracks on November 15th.
As he looked through his right window, the oncoming train appeared to have stopped. He also said another parade truck had a loud train-like horn that made it difficult to tell if the train was blowing its horn.
NTSB said in a preliminary report days after the accident that the train was travelling about 62 mph at the time of the crash.
ELECTRONIC BOOKS-ANTITRUST LAWSUIT
States reach settlement with Penguin on ebooks
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says his office has settled a lawsuit the state had filed against Penguin Group Incorporated accusing America's largest book publishers of colluding with Apple to raise ebook prices on customers.
Abbott said Wednesday an agreement was reached on behalf of Texas and 32 other states and territories that alleged Penguin had colluded with other major publishers and Apple Incorporated to manipulate prices in the ebook market.
The agreement, if approved by a federal judge in New York, will provide $75 million in compensation to customers in the states and territories that sued, as well as individuals who had filed a related class action lawsuit.
Texas previously had settled with four other publishers.
The claims against Apple are scheduled for trial in June.
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