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1 year 9 months 6 days ago Sunday, November 04 2018 Nov 4, 2018 November 04, 2018 1:25 AM November 04, 2018 in News

IMMIGRATION-TEEN DETENTION CAMP-O'ROURKE

O'Rourke, other Dems don't want tent city's contract renewed

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rep. Beto O'Rourke and four other Democratic members of Congress have toured a remote tent city in West Texas where they say 2,700 immigrant teens are being held at a cost of roughly $1 million per day.

The lawmakers urged the nonprofit running the facility not to renew a federal contract that expires at the end of the year. That would effectively shutter the facility, which was supposed to be temporary but is expanding and taking on a permanent feel.

O'Rourke has been mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate after nearly upsetting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in deep-red Texas.

But he didn't mention White House aspirations after visiting Tornillo with U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tina Smith of Minnesota, and California Rep. Judy Chu.

CHILD DEAD-BORDER PATROL

Family of migrant girl disputes official story on her death

Lawyers for the family of a 7-year-old girl who died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody say she did not suffer from a lack of food or water before being picked up by authorities.

Their account disputes earlier information released by U.S. officials, who said the girl had not had anything to eat or drink for days.

Border Patrol officials did not immediately comment Saturday.

Jakelin Caal and her father were taken into custody Dec. 6 near Lordsburg, New Mexico, by Border Patrol agents. She began vomiting and later stopped breathing while being transported to a Border Patrol station. She died at a hospital.

A statement from the family's lawyers says her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, made sure his daughter had food and water as they traveled through Mexico.

STATE LAWMAKER RETIRES

Veteran Texas Rep. Pickett, citing health issues, to retire

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Veteran Democratic lawmaker Joe Pickett says he will retire from the Texas House next month to address lingering health concerns.

Pickett said in a statement Saturday that he will retire Jan. 4 after 24 years as a state representative for El Paso.

Pickett says he learned prior to the last legislative session that he had cancer, for which he received treatment and had surgery. Complications from cancer and that initial surgery have developed in recent weeks and Pickett says, "My body and mind need a break."

He held more leadership positions during his career than any other lawmaker from the El Paso region, including two stints as chairman of the House transportation committee and chairman of defense and veterans affairs.

He was considered one of the state's leading policymakers on transportation issues.

BAYLOR FRATERNITY-SEXUAL ASSAULT

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS (AP) - Local leaders say a plea deal allowing a former Baylor University fraternity president to serve no jail times highlights the outsized influence alumni play in shaping the criminal justice system in and around Waco.

Jacob Walter Anderson was accused of raping a woman outside a 2016 fraternity party. His controversial plea agreement allows him to avoid jail or being listed as a sex offender.

The judge, prosecutor and defense attorney in the case all have degrees from Baylor. Local leaders say those connections to the world's largest Baptist university cast doubt on the handling of the case.

Community leaders say they don't believe there was collusion in the case, but they say the outcome shows a failure of the legal system and reflects a culture of preferential treatment of people with status in the Baylor community.

ELECTION 2020-JOE BIDEN

Too old to run? Biden wrestles with age as he eyes 2020 run

Joe Biden is talking with friends and longtime supporters about whether he's too old to seek the White House.

That's according to several sources who have spoken with the former Democratic vice president.

The discussions suggest Biden, at 76, is aware his age may be the biggest hurdle to launching another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in an era when many in the party yearn for a new generation of leadership.

He would be the oldest person to ever be elected president. Past and current advisers to Biden have held frequent conversations about options to alleviate concerns about age, including teaming him with a younger running mate.

JUDGE REPRIMANDED

Commission: Texas judge brought 'discredit' to the judiciary

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A state district judge who's facing criminal charges has been reprimanded by a state commission that criticized his conduct on the bench and says he inappropriately touched three women.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct on Friday released the letters of reprimand against Judge Guy Williams.

The panel determined Williams' actions inside and outside the courtroom brought "discredit" to the judiciary.

Williams did not seek re-election in November and his term ends in January. The reprimand prevents him from serving as a visiting judge when his term concludes.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that an attorney for Williams says he plans to appeal the commission's findings.

Williams was arrested in May on suspicion of public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was arrested again in November on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and unlawful carrying of a weapon.

CORPUS CHRISTI-MURAL

New mural brings more waves to Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Two artists are bringing more waves to a South Texas city along the Gulf of Mexico in the form of a large new mural.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that Corpus Christi artists John Olvey and Kaleigh Glover recently unveiled their mural "City by the Sea" along the side of the Corpus Christi Trade Center. The pair spent eight days working on the 200-foot (61-meter) outdoor artwork, which features beach scenery with crashing waves and palm trees.

Olvey is a former national surfing champion who currently works in a variety of artistic mediums. Glover created The Art Project CC, where she helps businesses decorate with the help of local artists.

The artists have been planning the project since May.

Glover says she thinks the city "is on an upward slope of creative and beautiful aesthetics."

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TRUSTMARK-OVERDRAFT FEES

Mississippi bank accused in lawsuit of unfair overdraft fees

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Two women say in a lawsuit that a Mississippi-based bank is unfairly charging overdraft fees.

The Clarion Ledger reports Cryesha McDonald of Waynesboro and Chantal Lewis of Jackson sued Trustmark National Bank this month in federal court in Jackson. Lawyers representing the women seek approval for a class-action lawsuit representing all the bank's customers.

They allege Trustmark also charges surprise fees for using automated teller machines on a different bank's network.

The suit claims Trustmark is unjustly enriching itself and breaking its account agreement with customers.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against other banks.

The Jackson-based bank, with $13 billion in assets, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trustmark holds the largest share of bank deposits in Mississippi, and also has offices in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

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HEALTH OVERHAUL-LAWSUIT

Texas judge rules health care overhaul unconstitutional

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act "invalid" on the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year.

In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled Friday that last year's tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under "Obamacare" by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.

Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.

The White House applauded O'Connor's ruling, but said the law remains in place while appeals proceed. President Donald Trump tweeted that Congress should pass a new law.

Twenty Republican-led states brought the lawsuit. After Trump ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the health law, a coalition of ACA-supporting states took up the defense.

O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.

ELECTION 2020-O'ROURKE

Beto O'Rourke still undecided as 2020 White House buzz grows

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - When it comes to a 2020 presidential run, Beto O'Rourke is still playing hard to get.

The Democratic congressman murmured "No decision. No decision on that," when pressed about launching a White House bid during a town hall Friday in his native El Paso.

O'Rourke gave up his House seat and narrowly lost to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Since then the 46-year-old has said he will finish his term Jan. 3, then make up his mind about 2020.

Amid his indecision, O'Rourke's name has continued to rise among top potential Democratic presidential candidates - even climbing to at or near the top in some opinion polls.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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