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Posted: Feb 4, 2013 4:06 PM

Updated: Feb 4, 2013 4:06 PM


Judge: Texas school finance is unconstitutional

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) A district court judge has ruled that the tax system Texas uses to finance public schools is unconstitutional.

Judge John Dietz ruled in favor of more than 600 school districts responsible for educating three-quarters of the state's 5 million-plus public school students.

After a trial that took more than three months, Dietz determined the Legislature has not adequately funded schools as required under the Texas Constitution. In 2011, the Legislature cut $5.4 billion in funding by rewriting the formula used to distribute state money.

Dietz ruled from the bench and is expected to provide a detailed opinion later. The attorney general's office is expected to appeal the case to the Texas Supreme Court.


Scout families deliver petition on no-gay policy

IRVING, Texas (AP) Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters urging an end to a policy banning gay scouts and leaders from the organization.

They say the petition delivered Monday in Irving, Texas, includes 1.4 million signatures. Scouting leaders are expected to consider ending the ban during a three-day meeting this week.

Jennifer Tyrrell was among the dozen people who delivered the petition. Tyrrell says she was forced out as leader of her son's Cub Scout pack because she's gay, and she doesn't want to see any other parents treated in the same way.

She says the policy is "archaic" and needs to change.

The families were waiting for a representative of Boy Scouts of America to come and accept their petition.


Records: Iraq War vet had been in mental hospital

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) The Iraq War veteran charged with killing a former Navy SEAL sniper and his friend on a Texas shooting range had been taken to a mental hospital twice in the past four months.

Lancaster police records show 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh was taken to a mental hospital in September after threatening to kill his family and then commit suicide. Routh told authorities then that he was a Marine veteran who was suffering from PTSD.

The Dallas Morning News reports that police records show Routh was taken back to the same mental hospital in mid-January after a woman called police and said she feared for Routh's safety.

Routh is charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder in Saturday's shooting deaths of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.


North Texas man found guilty in mutilation attack

(Information in the following story is from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com)

DALLAS (AP) A Dallas-area man has been found guilty in a 2011 mutilation attack that left his former girlfriend needing more than 500 stitches.

The Dallas Morning News reports Jose Arreola faces up to life in prison. A district court jury began deliberating his punishment Monday, shortly after convicting him of aggravated sexual assault.

The woman had testified that Arreola first attacked her in 2009. He was free on bail when he raped and sexually mutilated her in March 2011.

Arreola had argued that the woman was the aggressor in earlier fights. He testified she drank heavily and had repeatedly attacked him with knives.

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Brandie Wade called Arreola's claims "fantastical" during closing arguments Monday morning.


Fort Bliss credits training for drop in suicides

EL PASO, Texas (AP) The commander of Fort Bliss says the suicide rate at the West Texas base has dropped at a time it has risen dramatically throughout the Army.

Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard says the number of suicides dropped from seven in 2011 to five last year.

The national rate rose by 13 percent over the same period. There were 247 confirmed suicides with another 78 under investigation.

Pittard says a broad training initiative has prompted a culture change at the base. He says soldiers no longer see a request for help as weakness or an impediment to their career.

Pittard says Fort Bliss leads military installations in training soldiers to intervene when detecting suicidal thoughts in their peers. He says 30 percent of soldiers at Fort Bliss have undergone the training.


Perry airs radio ads to attract Calif businesses

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas Gov. Rick Perry is airing radio ads in California to convince companies there to relocate to the Lone Star state.

A public-private marketing partnership called TexasOne is paying for the 30-second advertisement that touts the state's low taxes and industry-friendly regulations along with strict limits on lawsuits.

In the ad, Perry says that he hears "building a business in California is next to impossible." He calls on California businesses to "come check out Texas."

The ads will air in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego media markets for a week.

Perry regularly travels to California to convince companies to move their operations to Texas. The governor likes to brag that Texas has the fastest growing job market in the nation.

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