Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Roundup

Article Icon 1Abbott Names Judges to New Court

Governor Greg Abbott appointed three conservative justices to the new 15th Court of Appeals, which will handle cases involving state government and business disputes over $10 million.

The court will eventually have five judges elected statewide, but for the first three years, it will consist of Abbott’s appointees: former Texas Supreme Court Justice Scott Brister as chief justice, with Scott Field and April Farris as associate justices.

The court, set to begin operations in September 2024, aims to improve judicial efficiency and business expertise, though critics argue it circumvents Democrat-dominated urban courts.

Article Icon 1Court Blocks Federal Transgender Rule

A federal judge in Texas ruled against a Biden administration rule that extended federal prohibitions against sex discrimination in schools to transgender students.

The judge argued that the Department of Education exceeded its authority when it tried to rewrite federal law. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton welcomed the decision, emphasizing that it protects state policies from federal overreach.

This ruling is part of ongoing legal battles regarding special protections for transgender students, with a 2022 decision blocking the same guidance in 20 other states. The Biden administration plans to appeal.

Article Icon 1High Schools to Change Playoffs System

The state’s governing body for high school sports is changing the postseason format for playoffs to ensure that matchups take place between schools of similar size.

The new format extends what is already used for 6A football. The top four teams from each district will advance to the playoffs, after which they’ll be divided into two divisions: the larger two in Division I, and the smaller two in Division II. Both divisions will then play for separate state championships.

On Tuesday, the University Interscholastic League approved implementing the changes for volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, and baseball. All schools are expected to stay in their designated districts until 2026.

Class 1A volleyball, softball, and baseball will not be included in the changes.

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Around Texas

➤ Amarillo: The city council rejected a proposed “Sanctuary City of the Unborn” ordinance that would ban abortion within the city. The committee behind the proposal has 20 days to request its inclusion on the November ballot. (More)

➤ Killeen: The school district will ban student phone use during school hours next year, following other districts throughout the state in creating “phone-free” environments. (More)

➤ Carthage: Former Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Martin is suing Panola County Sheriff Ronald “Cutter” Clinton, alleging that Clinton retaliated against him after Martin unsuccessfully challenged Clinton in this year’s Republican primary. (See Details)

➤ El Paso: The city’s plan to provide a “universal basic income” of $500 a month to around 130 families was delayed due to concerns about the program’s legality. The state won an injunction against a similar plan in Harris County. (More)

➤ Houston: School Superintendent Mike Miles requested federal aid to repair severe storm damage from last month. The district also plans to ask voters to approve a $4.4 billion bond in November. (See Details)

➤ Laredo: Over 50 new X-ray machines, funded by a $200 million Congressional grant from March, are being installed at ports of entry to help Border Patrol detect drug and human smuggling. (More)

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Texas Sports

➤ The Mavericks fell short of an epic comeback Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, losing Game 3 of the NBA Finals 106-99. After being down by as many as 21 in the 4th quarter, Dallas cut the lead to 3 points before star point guard Luka Doncic fouled out. (More)

Robert Hughes, the nation’s winningest high school basketball coach, died at the age of 96 Tuesday in Fort Worth. A 2017 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Hughes won five state championships and accumulated 1,333 wins while coaching at Fort Worth’s I.M. Terrell and Dunbar high schools from 1958 to 2005. (See details)

The UT Longhorns have the best athletics program for the third time in the last four years after winning the 2023-24 Division I LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup. Texas won national titles in volleyball and women’s rowing, and it was runner-up in softball, men’s tennis, and women’s swimming and diving. (More)

Yesterday’s results: MLB | NBA | WNBA

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The Business Of Texas

Core Scientific, a leading Bitcoin mining company based in Texas, rejected a $1 billion buyout offer from CoreWeave, deeming it a significant undervaluation. (See Details)

The Fort Worth City Council will vote June 25 on an incentives deal for a $630 million Stockyards expansion, which aims to add 300,000 square feet of commercial space, 500 hotel rooms, 295 apartment units, and two underground garages. (More)

Offshore drilling company Noble Corporation is acquiring Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling for $1.6 billion, giving the new company one of the world’s largest modern drillship fleets. (More)

Note: In yesterday’s newsletter, the story about H-E-B should have described how the popular grocery store chain is being sued for wrongful death after failing to fill a prescription for Air Force veteran Jerrold Allen in December of last year. (More)

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Et Cetera

➤ After 48 years as the pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in South Dallas, Dr. Tony Evans informed his 10,000 congregants that he is resigning due to an unspecified sin. (More)

➤ Austin’s Zilker Park mini-train is set to open on Wednesday after experiencing several delays during a multi-year restoration process. (See Details)

➤ A kangaroo that escaped from an exotic animal farm outside Amarillo caused a stir among motorists as it hopped down a highway before being safely captured. It’s the second escaped kangaroo to make headlines in the past two weeks. (See Photos)

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The Polling Station

Which is better in Texas: sunrise or sunset?

  1. Sunrise
  2. Sunset

Wednesday’s Results:

Do you chew on ice cubes or sunflower seeds?

    1. Neither: 43.5%
    2. Just ice cubes: 26.6%
    3. Both: 16.8%
    4. Just sunflower seeds: 13.1%
Texas Trivia

What New Deal program was responsible for developing Texas’ national forests, more than two dozen state parks, and Big Bend National Park?

Show me the answer

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