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

September 27, 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. Ken Miller is at the desk after 5:30 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Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.




AUSTIN, Texas — Ted Cruz is talking again about chaos in Washington, only this time he’s not the one causing it. Five years ago, the same Ted Cruz rode a wave of tea party outrage to the Senate with the declared intention of wreaking havoc on status quo. And he did, for establishment Republicans as much as President Barack Obama — helping to spark a government shutdown, calling the chamber’s majority leader a liar and inciting a pack of conservatives that later toppled House Speaker John Boehner. After an anonymous New York Times op-ed piece and journalist Bob Woodward’s book portraying a reckless president, polls have shown the GOP’s ability to hold the House increasingly in doubt. Cruz finds himself in a surprisingly close race against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, a member of the U.S. House. By Will Weissert. SENT: 810 words, photo.


HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A Texas inmate scheduled to be executed Thursday evening has insisted he didn’t fatally run over his girlfriend in a jealous rage more than 18 years ago. Daniel Acker was condemned for the March 2000 slaying of Marquetta George of Sulphur Springs. Prosecutors said he ran over George with his truck in rural northeast Texas because he believed she had been unfaithful to him. Acker would also be the second Texas inmate put to death in as many days. Troy Clark was executed for torturing and drowning an East Texas woman in his bathtub and then stuffing her body into a barrel. By Juan A. Lozano and Michael Graczyk. SENT: 610 words, photos. Will be updated. Execution scheduled for after 6 p.m. Story on Clark execution also available.


LOS ANGELES — A man with a violent criminal history who was deported six times had no outstanding warrants when questioned last month about the disappearance of his aunt and so he was released, Houston police said, when the man was charged in Los Angeles with the beating deaths of three men. Immigration records are generally not public, so it remained a mystery how Ramon Escobar, 47, won an appeal in immigration court in 2016 and why he remained free after a subsequent arrest for assault. The Aug. 30 encounter by Escobar with Houston police came two days after his aunt vanished and marked his last brush with the law before his arrest in California this week. By Christopher Weber and Elliot Spagat. SENT: 730 words, photos, video.





AUSTIN, Texas — Attorneys for a Texas state senator said he didn’t send “any inappropriate texts” following a report that the University of Texas is investigating allegations made by a graduate student. Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner has denied allegations reported by the Austin American-Statesman that he sent a sexually explicit text message to a student he met this summer during an on-campus event. The report was based on unnamed university sources and the accuser was not identified. By Paul J. Weber. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 350 words by 5:30 p.m.


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has said he will sign a spending bill to avert a looming government shutdown set to begin next week. Speaking at the United Nations, Trump told reporters, “We’re going to keep the government open.” Trump’s remarks came as the House was set to vote on a bill that funds the military and many civilian agencies for the next year and provides a short-term fix to keep the government open through Dec. 7. Texas Rep. Kay Granger, who chairs a defense appropriations subcommittee, said she has “a great big smile on my face” anticipating the bill’s approval. “There’s really nothing more important than securing our nation and making sure it’s secure, and our people in the military have the equipment and the training they need,” Granger, a Fort Worth Republican, told reporters. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 480 words, photos. Moved on national political and financial news services.




The gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting was armed with 23 AR-style weapons, 14 of them fitted with “bump stocks” that allowed them to mimic fully automatic fire. The devices were little-known before they were used in the Oct. 1 rampage, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. And in the immediate aftermath, there were calls from a wide spectrum of lawmakers and advocates on firearms issues to have them banned. Slide Fire Solutions, America’s largest bump stock manufacturer, closed its website in June and stopped taking orders. However, its remaining stock of the devices is now being sold by another company, RW Arms, based in Fort Worth, Texas. By Lisa Marie Pane. SENT: 400 words, photos, video. Moved on national general, financial, political and small business news services.




NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court panel has ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals does not violate women’s constitutional abortion rights. The 2-1 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals notes a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down an admitting privileges law in Texas — a case known as Whole Woman’s Health. But, the majority said, Louisiana’s law does not impose the same “substantial burden” on women as the Texas law. The ruling reversed a Baton Rouge-based federal judge’s ruling in the case and ordered the lawsuit by opponents of the law dismissed. By Kevin McGill. SENT: 330 words.



ELOY, Ariz. — A small city in Arizona has ended its role in an unusual contract that allowed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to run a family detention center in Texas. Eloy already had a contract with ICE and the private detention company CoreCivic for a detention facility in Eloy when it entered the contract involving the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley. The new contract was approved in 2014 to allow the government to bypass a procurement process and open the Texas site quickly during a surge of children and families coming across the border. SENT: 400 words.


— IMMIGRATION-TEXAS-OKLAHOMA — Federal officers have arrested 98 people in a Texas and Oklahoma immigration enforcement sweep that authorities say could lead to dozens of deportations. SENT: 100 words.



SAN ANTONIO — The national president of the notorious Bandidos biker gang has been sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison for directing a violent racketeering and drug trafficking enterprise. Jeffrey Faye Pike of Conroe, Texas, was sentenced in federal court in San Antonio. The 63-year-old leader of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization for more than a decade was convicted in May, along with Vice President John Xavier Portillo of San Antonio, after a lengthy trial. SENT: 230 words.


NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has thrown out rules for fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn’t have authority to make them. The Center for Food Safety represents groups that sued NOAA. It calls the lawsuit “the test case for similar rules planned off all other U.S. coasts.” By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 630 words. Moved on general and financial news services. Listed on previous Texas News Digest as LOUISIANA FISH FARMS.


— TEXAS POLICE SHOOTING-TRUCK ALARM — The jury has completed its first day of deliberations in the trial of a former suburban Dallas police officer charged with aggravated assault in the shooting of an unarmed black man. SENT: 130 words, photos. Could develop.

— MUSIC-CHILDISH GAMBINO — Childish Gambino is postponing his tour to recover after he injured his foot. Gambino, whose real name is Donald Glover, injured his foot during a concert in Dallas on Sunday. SENT: 110 words, photos. Moved on national general and entertainment news services

— ASTROS-MCCULLERS-FAN — Houston pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. has offered advice and a free playoff ticket to an 8-year-old special needs girl who apparently was yelled at by another fan for loudly cheering at an Astros game. SENT: 130 words. Moved on general and sports news services.


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