Posted: Jul 11, 2012 2:32 AM
Updated: Jul 11, 2012 2:32 AM
TEXAS VOTER ID TRIAL
Texas lawmaker: Voter ID bill rushed to passage
WASHINGTON (AP) A Texas state lawmaker says a controversial bill requiring Texans to show photo ID at polls was rushed through the Legislature over the objections of minority lawmakers.
Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer took the stand Tuesday in Washington as a witness for the Justice Department and several other intervening groups. He also says the rationale for the legislation from its backers was constantly changing as it was debated in the Legislature. He says the bill seemed like "a solution in search of a problem."
A three-judge panel is deciding whether the Texas voter ID bill violates the federal Voting Rights Act.
APNewsBreak: Texas switches to 1-drug execution
DALLAS (AP) Texas prison officials have changed their procedure for administering executions to a one-drug method.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a statement to The Associated Press Tuesday that it would use pentobarbital in executions instead of a three-drug combination. Department spokesman Jason Clark says the agency changed its protocol July 9 because its stock of one of the three drugs expired.
Pentobarbital is a sedative that is typically the first drug administered. The department says it has run out of the second drug, pancuronium bromide.
TDCJ officials said in May that it had enough doses of pentobarbital for as many as 23 executions.
Last year, officials used pentobarbital to replace sodium thiopental, which became unavailable when its European supplier stopped making it under pressure from death penalty opponents.
ICE AGENT SHOT
Father, son denied bond in shooting of ICE agent
McALLEN, Texas (AP) A federal magistrate has denied bond to a father and son charged in the shooting of a federal immigration agent parked near their South Texas home.
During a Tuesday detention hearing for Pedro Alvarado and his 18-year-old son, Arnoldo Alvarado, the magistrate ruled the assault case was sufficiently serious to make keeping both in custody appropriate.
Also in custody as a suspect is the father's 16-year-old son, who's charged as a juvenile in a state district court with attempted capital murder.
A criminal complaint alleges the two brothers were riding in a vehicle their father was driving when they opened fire on a car in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Kelton Harrison sat July 3.
A fellow immigration agent testified that Harrison is expected to recover fully.
FAMILY BOAT CRASH
Girl, 15, loses leg in Maine boat crash
LOVELL, Maine (AP) A 15-year-old girl has suffered a severed leg after her family's boat hit a submerged rock and crashed on Kezar Lake.
Abby Mueller of Houston, Texas, was ejected from the family's 24-foot motorboat around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday and run over by the propeller, which severed one leg between the ankle and knee. She was flown to a Boston hospital. Her condition was not immediately known late Tuesday.
The Maine Warden Service says the girl's father, 44-year-old Robert Mueller, had five children with him, one being towed on a tube, when the boat struck a rock inside an area marked with hazard buoys.
Mueller suffered minor injuries. He is the father of three of the children and two are family cousins from Woodstock, Conn.
Officials don't believe alcohol was involved.
AG says Texas ID law would harm minorities
WASHINGTON (AP) Attorney General Eric Holder says he opposes a new photo ID requirement in Texas elections because it would be harmful to minority voters.
In remarks to the NAACP in Houston, the attorney general says the Justice Department will not allow American citizens to be disenfranchised from their right to vote.
The attorney general says many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them and that some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them.
Holder made the comments amid a trial in federal court in Washington over the 2011 law passed by Texas' GOP-dominated Legislature that requires voters to show photo identification when they get to the polls.
Doctor: Lack of sleep prompted pilot's breakdown
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) A psychologist says a JetBlue Airways pilot who screamed about religion and terrorists during a flight had "a brief psychotic disorder" due to lack of sleep.
The psychologist testified during Clayton Osbon's trial in Texas. A court transcript of the testimony was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
The judge presiding over the brief trial July 3 ruled that Osbon was not guilty by reason of insanity for his behavior on a March 27 flight from New York to Las Vegas. He was charged with interference with a flight crew.
Passengers said they wrestled Osbon to the floor after he ran through the plane's cabin yelling about Jesus and al-Qaida. The plane was diverted to Texas.
Osbon is now at a mental health facility for further examination.
Boil water notice issued for Galveston residents
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) Galveston officials have warned customers of its city water system to boil the water before consuming it after drinking water samples tested positive for E. coli bacterial contamination.
According to a city statement Tuesday, Galveston officials were notified of the positive test. Of three samples taken subsequently, one tested positive for indicator bacteria, not E. coli. Nevertheless, the city is required by state law to issue a boil-water notice as a precaution.
City officials were to continue testing through Wednesday and would lift the boil-water notice once samples meet state and federal standards.
E. coli comes from human and animal waste in water runoff. Most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, but some can cause diarrhea and cramps.
Penney lays off 350 workers at Texas headquarters
NEW YORK (AP) J.C. Penney Co. says it is laying off 350 more workers at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, as the department store struggles to transform its business under a new CEO.
The cuts, announced Tuesday, follow the company's move in April to eliminate 600 workers at its headquarters.
Penney is cutting costs amid the difficult task of turning around its business. It is overhauling every aspect of its operations, from a new pricing plan to new brands. The new pricing plan, which cuts hundreds of sales events, has turned off shoppers. The company reported a bigger-than-expected loss and a 20 percent drop in revenue in the first quarter.
Penney now has 3,100 workers at its headquarters, a 29 reduction from the 4,400 employees it had before the layoffs this spring.