Baylor, Budget bill , Red River boundaries and Zikka testing in South Texas

WACO, Texas (AP) - A federal judge ruled Friday that allegations can proceed to trial that Baylor University violated Title IX by disregarding women's rape claims against a football player, leaving another female student prey to sexual assault by him. In a 27-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Waco denied arguments by Baylor attorneys for dismissal of negligence and heightened-risk claims made by Jasmin Hernandez. Trial is currently set to open in July 2018.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas lawmakers have less than two months to strike a deal on an austere budget that is putting everything from higher education to Medicaid on the chopping block. But a spending bill tentatively passed early Friday by the GOP-controlled House also crystallized that school vouchers supporters are likely to fall short in Texas. Prospects of a North Carolina-style "bathroom bill" in Texas targeting transgender persons may also be dimming after proposals never came up for House debate.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A spending bill in Texas that reroutes clean air dollars to an "Alternatives to Abortion" program and defunds corporate incentives given to companies such as Facebook is moving forward. House lawmakers early Wednesday approved a $218 billion budget bill after making contentious changes during an all-night debate. Lawmakers are trying to slash billions of dollars before June amid a prolonged energy slump. Higher education and Medicaid are being targeted for cuts.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas' attorney general is applauding the suspension of federal surveys along the Red River that property owners claimed would help the government seize their land.In a statement Friday, Republican Ken Paxton vowed to "defend Texas' border from federal overreach." In 2013, the Bureau of Land Management began revising regulations on federal holdings in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas while updating its Resource Management Plan. Some ranchers feared expropriation of their land. A federal judge ruled last year that surveys could proceed. But in a letter last week, the BLM said new testimony and information on erosion and other factors revealed that incorrect methodology might have been used - causing it to suspend three surveys. The Texas review involves up to 90,000 acres along the river marking the border with Oklahoma.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas health officials are recommending expanded Zika virus testing for pregnant women in six South Texas counties. The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday it's recommending testing for women in their first and second trimesters in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy, and Zapata counties. Late last year there were six cases of local mosquitoes transmitting the virus to people in Brownsville, located in Cameron County.

Zika is transmitted to people primarily from the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms are usually minor but Zika can cause severe birth defects in babies of some women infected during pregnancy. Health officials are also recommending testing for any resident in those six counties with a rash in addition to at least one other common symptom: fever, joint pain or eye redness.

DALLAS (AP) - A judge has ordered a 22-year-old Dallas woman to serve life in prison for the 2014 starving death of her 7-month-old son. Princess White was sentenced Friday in Dallas. White on Thursday pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child. Investigators say the baby, Kary Sharpe, weighed about 7 pounds (3.18 kilograms) at death - just a few ounces more than his birth weight. Prosecutors say White failed to provide adequate nutrition or medical care for the emaciated boy, who was taken to a hospital by a relative. The baby died on Dec. 2, 2014.  An attorney for White, who was indicted a month after her baby died, said she lacked proper parenting skills. Child Protective Services took custody of White's two other children.

LAREDO, Texas (AP) - Federal prosecutors say the leader of a drug-trafficking network along the border with Mexico has been sentenced to life in prison and his two sons also received lengthy sentences for dealing crack and other illicit drugs.Authorities say 40-year-old Adan Melendez was sentenced Thursday for leading the drug distribution ring from Laredo. He was previously convicted of numerous charges that included using minors in a drug operation.  Melendez's two sons, one 22 years old and the other 21, also were sentenced Thursday to at least 12 years in prison. They had earlier been convicted of drug conspiracy and other charges. Fifteen other people previously were sentenced for their roles in the drug network and prosecutors say 10 others are awaiting sentencing. Authorities say Melendez profited about $1,200 a day from his operation.

 

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