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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
December 31, 2016

Chattanooga company will keep contract after deadly school bus crash

A Tennessee school board will likely extend its contract another year with the company that provided school bus services in a crash that killed six children.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/2hsZebA ) the Hamilton County school board said Wednesday that it would be almost impossible to find a new contractor before the coming school year.

Durham School Services operated the bus that crashed in November while carrying Woodmore Elementary students. The company has had a four-year contract with Hamilton County Schools since 2013.

Assistant superintendent Lee McDade said finding another bus service would take months. He said Durham has made safety strides since the crash.

Read more: http://evans.allongeorgia.com/chattanooga-company-will-keep-contract-after-deadly-school-bus-crash/

December 31, 2016

Lawmakers scramble to find fixes for state's roads

From a 10-cent gas tax increase to legalized gambling, lawmakers will again be looking at several proposals to raise billions of dollars in recurring monies to fix the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

“No question, we have to address the road needs,” said Republican Rep. Eddie Tallon of Spartanburg, the new House assistant majority leader. “However, there are a number of ways it can be done before I say what I’m going to do. Everybody is calling for a dedicated funding stream.”

State Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has said the DOT needs an additional $1.5 billion a year over several decades to bring the nation’s fourth-largest state-maintained highway system to good condition.

Previous attempts to raise the gas tax have fallen flat. Instead, the Legislature ends up passing stop-gap measures that fail to address the Department of Transportation’s long-term needs.

Read more: http://www.goupstate.com/news/20161230/lawmakers-scramble-to-find-fixes-for-states-roads

December 31, 2016

Judge denies latest effort to delay Dylann Roof's mental competency hearing

COLUMBIA, SC -- The trial judge has denied a request from attorneys for convicted Charleston church mass killer Dylann Roof to delay a competency hearing after the laywers said Roof “may lack the mental capacity” to be his own attorney.

Roof has told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel that he wants to be his own lawyer in the punishment phase of his death penalty trial that is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Charleston.

The jury will hear evidence and then decide if Roof is to be executed or gets life in prison without parole.

But on Monday, Gergel is to hold a closed hearing to listen to new mental health evidence. The State newspaper and other media outlets have asked Gergel to hear arguments about why that hearing should be open to the public.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article123743119.html

December 31, 2016

'Daddy, please stop': Children heard screaming in 911 recordings from S.C. Rep. Chris Corley's ...

'Daddy, please stop': Children heard screaming in 911 recordings from S.C. Rep. Chris Corley's domestic abuse arrest

AIKEN — Dramatic 911 recordings featuring the pleading and screaming voices of a South Carolina lawmaker's two small children were released Friday by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, shedding new light on the domestic violence arrest of state Rep. Chris Corley this week.

In the recordings, the lawmaker's children can be heard screaming in the background as a caller – presumably Corley's wife, based on an incident report – dialed 911 for help.

"Daddy, please stop it, please," a little girl can be heard screaming, repeatedly. "Daddy ... just stop it, please!"

After roughly 30 seconds, the call is disconnected and a shaken dispatcher calls another law enforcement agency in Aiken County, which is about 50 miles west of Columbia. Corley's wife appears to have said nothing to dispatchers, a review of the 911 recording revealed.

Read more: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/daddy-please-stop-children-heard-screaming-in-recordings-from-s/article_75bb5b4c-cecf-11e6-b773-c320a1389da2.html
December 31, 2016

Legal battle over coal ash landfill in Pickens County to continue in new year

MRR Pickens, LLC has won three court rulings this month that push forward its legal fight against Pickens County for the right to build a coal ash landfill near Liberty.

Public outrage over the company’s plans died down after the Legislature passed a law in March that aimed at barring the door to the project. But the court battle continues to rage, with MRR winning a ruling on Dec. 7 that will allow it to take depositions from members of County Council and the Pickens County Planning Commission.

The county and its planning commission are named as defendants in a $25 million breach of contract lawsuit.

Circuit Court Judge Letitia Verdin also denied the county’s motion for dismissal of the case. Her order didn't cite reasons for either ruling.

Read more: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/pickens-county/2016/12/29/legal-battle-over-coal-ash-landfill-pickens-county-continue-new-year/95964844/

December 31, 2016

Proposals would streamline South Carolina public records process

Two bills filed this month in the South Carolina General Assembly would lessen the time and cost associated with challenging denials of public records requests.

The measures introduced by Sen. Chip Campsen and Reps. Weston Newton and Bill Taylor call for state administrative hearing officers to preside over disputes regarding requests made under South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act.

Those who want to challenge the denial of a public records request now must often wait up to a year for a circuit court judge to rule on the matter, said Campsen, a Republican from Charleston. He said administrative hearing officers would be able to handle these cases more promptly.

In October 2015, the Independent Mail, The Greenville News and The Journal of Seneca sued the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division after authorities refused to release a video from a dashboard camera related to the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond. The video was released about two weeks after the lawsuit was filed and the case was ultimately dismissed, according to court records.

Read more: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/2016/12/27/proposals-would-streamline-sc-public-records-process/95880702/

December 31, 2016

Man jailed over negative Yelp and online reviews wants to use free speech defense at his Dallas ...

Man jailed over negative Yelp and online reviews wants to use free speech defense at his Dallas trial

Nobody who's in business likes bad online reviews. But one Dallas company got a North Texas man thrown in jail for saying negative things about it on a blog.

And a jury will decide if it's a matter of free speech or a crime.

William Laurence Stanley was charged on Dec. 6 in federal court in Dallas with a crime for his blog posts about Generational Equity, a Dallas merger and acquisitions company he once did work for. That's because Stanley was convicted last year of extorting the company. Stanley had threatened to ruin the firm's reputation by flooding the internet with false and negative information unless it paid him about $29,500.

He's now charged with retaliation.

Stanley, who owned a "search engine optimization," or SEO business, said he was released from federal custody on Nov. 4. He said he wrote the controversial posts about Generational Equity prior to that, from a halfway house. He was arrested Nov. 30 and charged with the new offense after Generational Equity complained to the FBI about the online reviews.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2016/12/30/man-jailed-negative-yelp-online-reviews-wants-use-free-speech-defense-dallas-trial
December 31, 2016

Texas Supreme Court to take up UT regent Wallace Hall's fight over student records

AUSTIN — The Texas Supreme Court next month will resolve a longstanding battle between University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall and UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven over records collected during an internal investigation into admission processes at UT-Austin.

The court announced Friday it will take up the case, scheduling oral arguments for Jan. 11. The court is expediting the case because Hall's 6-year term as a regent ends on Feb. 1.

Hall first sued McRaven in 2015, seeking access to records behind an independent report that found numerous under-qualified students were admitted to UT-Austin thanks to the influence of lawmakers, donors and other powerful individuals.

McRaven and officials with the UT System have offered to grant Hall access to the records with confidential student information redacted, but Hall has said the documents would be "meaningless" with the redactions.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/higher-education/2016/12/30/texas-supreme-court-take-ut-regent-wallace-halls-fight-overstudent-records

December 31, 2016

Planned Parenthood asks court to block ouster from Texas Medicaid

Planned Parenthood late Friday asked a federal judge in Austin to block plans by Texas officials to kick the organization out of Medicaid.

Calling state plans “nothing more than a politically motivated witch hunt,” Planned Parenthood asked U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to issue an injunction or temporary restraining order allowing an estimated 11,000 Texans to continue receiving contraceptives, well-woman exams and screenings for cancer and HIV from the organization.

Planned Parenthood received $4.2 million in Medicaid funding in fiscal year 2015, the latest information available, to provide the services to low-income Texans.

A hearing in the case had previously been set for 9 a.m. Jan. 17 in Sparks’ Austin courtroom.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/planned-parenthood-asks-court-block-ouster-from-texas-medicaid/YmfuJkbm3gDlbtWO5Y1CYJ/

December 31, 2016

Motion Filed to Compel Federal Court to Rule on Texas Redistricting

The major plaintiffs challenging the Texas congressional and State House boundaries filed a joint motion earlier today to compel the three-judge federal district court in San Antonio to finally issue a decision on their claims that the Texas maps adopted in 2011 are discriminatory in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. The motion can be viewed and downloaded here.

The current Texas congressional and State House maps are based on interim plans ordered by the Court in 2012; however, these plans retain many of the features that plaintiffs argue discriminate against Hispanic and African American voters – specifically in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, the border region, Travis County and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The motion lays out plainly that continued delay not only allows ongoing harm to minority voters but could prevent resolution of the case before a new census is taken:

“Plaintiffs make this request out of concern that without resolution of their claims regarding the 2011 redistricting plans for the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Congressional districts, redistricting plans adopted to disadvantage minority voters will not be completely remedied in time for yet another election in 2018. In addition, Plaintiffs fear that any further delay in the entry of judgment on their claims, when considering the remaining issues yet to be litigated and concomitant potential appeals, may be overlapped by the release of a new census in 2021. Thus, further delay may interfere with a final and complete resolution of Plaintiffs’ claims.”

Read more: http://lonestarproject.net/motion-filed-compel-federal-court-rule-texas-redistricting

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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: 113,590

About TexasTowelie

Retired/disabled 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!
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