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AP-TX--Texas News Digest 12 am, TX

June 8, 2018

Good morning! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage in Texas at this hour. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the Dallas AP at 972-991-2100, or, in Texas, 800-442-7189. Email: aptexas@ap.org. Jill Bleed is at the desk after 6 a.m.

Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central.




WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said in a court filing that it will no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the requirement that people have health insurance and provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions. The decision, announced in a filing in a federal court in Texas, is a rare departure from the Justice Department’s practice of defending federal laws in court. Texas and other Republican-led states are suing to strike down the entire law because Congress recently repealed a provision that people without health insurance must pay a fine. The repeal takes effect next year. Texas says that without the fine in place the requirement to have health insurance is unconstitutional and that the entire law should be struck down as a result. By Mark Sherman. SENT: 520 words, photos. Moved on political and financial news services.



AUSTIN, Texas — President Donald Trump is mischaracterizing the thousands of water rescues in Texas last year during Hurricane Harvey by saying “people went out in their boats to watch” the deadly Category 4 storm. Here’s a look at his comment Wednesday during a briefing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss preparations for the new hurricane season. By Paul J. Weber. SENT: 400 words, photos.



HOUSTON — A federal appeals court says it won’t consider whether a Texas death row inmate who removed his only eye and ate it in an outburst several years ago is too mentally ill to be executed but will consider other questions in an appeal of his conviction for killing his estranged wife’s 13-month-old daughter. A 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel says the issue of whether executing the severely mentally ill is unconstitutional is “foreclosed.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled mentally disabled people are ineligible for execution. That prohibition does not include the mentally ill. By Michael Graczyk. SENT: 380 words, photos.


Austin police responding to a relative’s report of a woman armed with a knife and trying to break into a house have shot and killed her inside the residence. Police Chief Brian Manley says the 18-year-old suspect was believed to be intoxicated during the incident before dawn. Manley says officers ordered the teen, whose name wasn’t immediately released, to drop the knife but she refused and continued toward them. SENT: 250 words.


WACO, Texas — Texas’ highest criminal court has vacated convictions of four men in the 1992 shooting deaths of two teens but rejected their innocence claims. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals set aside the convictions for Richard Kussmaul, James Long, Michael Shelton and James Pitts Jr. The court ruled Wednesday that DNA evidence clears the four men in the deaths of a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old in Moody. SENT: 320 words.


NEW ORLEANS — Federal scientists are predicting an average dead zone this summer in the Gulf of Mexico. But they note that this would still be three times greater than the long-term goal for reducing the size of the largely human-caused area where there’s too little oxygen to support marine life. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts this year’s will cover about 5,780 square miles, or about the size of Connecticut. The 33-year average is about 5,460 square miles off the Louisiana and east Texas coasts. SENT: 440 words.


BOSTON — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the decision by President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris climate accord a “tragedy” but said states and private sector leaders are trying to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gases anyway. The Democratic former senator from Massachusetts helped negotiate the 2016 accord. He said Trump misled the public by suggesting the agreement allowed other nations to place a burden on the United States when the country only agreed to do what it could without hurting its economy. Kerry made the comments during a daylong climate change summit in Boston, during which Boston Mayor Martin Walsh unveiled a proposal aimed at helping cities lower the cost of renewable energy. Walsh said the first cities to join the initiative include Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Orlando, and Portland, Oregon. Walsh, a Democrat, announced the project in Boston at the start of an international summit on climate change. By Steve LeBlanc. SENT: 600 words, photos. Moved on general, political and science news services.


TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey legislature has given its final approval to a bill to legalize sports betting three weeks after winning the right to do so in a U.S. Supreme Court case. But when the wagering can begin and the money start changing hands is anyone’s bet: The bill is now with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, whose office won’t say when he might act on it. The measure also is full of clauses that would help at least four casinos offer sports betting even though they or their owners have ownership ties to professional sports teams. A clause to allow the Golden Nugget to participate has been added to the bill. That casino is owned by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets. He could offer sports betting on all sports except basketball. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 640 words, photos. Moved on general, financial, sports and entertainment news services.


— DEADLY WRECK-AFFLUENZA — A Texas judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of the mother of a teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck. SENT: 130 words.

— HOUSTON BAR-ALCOHOL BAN — A Houston bar has been ordered to temporarily stop serving alcohol after a district attorney filed a public nuisance lawsuit against the establishment over repeated criminal behavior. SENT: 130 words.


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