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

April 2, 2019

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 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Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.

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TOP STORIES:

CONGRESS-DISASTER AID

WASHINGTON _ Senate Democrats have blocked a Republican disaster aid bill, saying it doesn’t do enough to help hurricane-torn Puerto Rico. The move tossed long-sought relief for victims of hurricanes, floods and western wildfires into limbo. The vote also escalated a fight between Democrats and President Donald Trump, who opposes further rebuilding aid for the U.S. island territory, which was slammed by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017.The amount of money in dispute is relatively small, but Trump feels antipathy toward Puerto Rico’s government and Senate Republicans are taking a hard line _ for now _ in denying Democratic demands for more aid for the U.S. territory, which was devastated by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017. Trump poor-mouthed the island’s government at a meeting with Senate Republicans last week and suggested Puerto Rico has gotten too much disaster help compared with states such as Texas. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 810 words, photos. Moving on national political news services.

TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY

EL PASO, Texas _ The mere threat by President Donald Trump to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border has fueled more concerns of dire economic consequences and an upheaval of daily life that is built on a steady flow of students, families and vendors who live and work on both sides of the international line. Trump brought up the possibility of closing ports of entry along the southern border Friday and revisited it in tweets over the weekend as federal officials have described a broken immigration system overwhelmed by a surge of Central Americans migrants who are seeking asylum. Elected leaders from border communities stretching from San Diego to the Texas cities of El Paso and Laredo warned that havoc would ensue on both sides of the border if the ports were closed. They have been joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which said such a policy move would inflict “severe economic harm.” By Cedar Attanasio. SENT: 830 words, photos. Moved on general and political news services.

With:

_ TRUMP-IMMIGRATION _ As he threatens to shut down the southern border, President Donald Trump is considering bringing on a “border” or “immigration czar” to coordinate immigration policies across various federal agencies, according to four people familiar with the discussions. Trump is weighing at least two potential candidates for the post: Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli _ two far-right conservatives with strong views on immigration, according to the people, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the conversations publicly. The planning comes as Trump is threatening anew to close the U.S.-Mexico border as soon as this week if Mexico does not completely halt illegal immigration into the U.S. By Jill Colvin and Colleen Long. SENT: 980 words, photos. Moved on national political news services.

TEXAS GOVERNMENT AND POLITLCS:

_ ELECTION 2020-BETO O’ROURKE _ Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is pledging to sign an executive order requiring Cabinet members to hold monthly town hall meetings “with the American people.” SENT: 130 words.

AROUND THE STATE & NATION:

TEXAS-HEMP

DALLAS _ Texas is eliminating hemp from its list of controlled substances, bringing it in line with federal law but possibly feeding confusion about the legality of some hemp-based products. The Texas Department of State Health Services is on Friday removing hemp from a list of Schedule I drugs that can be abused and have no authorized medical use, The Dallas Morning News reported. Other Schedule I drugs include LSD, heroin and cocaine. Hemp and marijuana are both derived from the cannabis plant, but hemp has low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound that gets marijuana users high. SEND: 350 words, photos. Not for online use in the Dallas area. Moved on general and financial news services.

UTILITY LAWSUIT

JACKSON, Miss. _ The state of Mississippi has opened a trial that the state’s largest private utility defrauded customers by not buying cheaper power from other generators and demanding Entergy Mississippi should be forced to repay up to $2 billion to its customers. Some of the private lawyers handling the suit also sued two Entergy subsidiaries in Louisiana, winning about $100 million in class-action damages. A state appeals court threw out a Texas lawsuit, agreeing with Entergy that the dispute was for a regulator to decide. By Jeff Amy. SENT: 680 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

_ PORZINGIS-RAPE ACCUSATION _ A New York City police official has confirmed that there is an investigation into a rape allegation against newly acquired Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis. SENT: 110 words, photos. Moved on general and sports news services.

_ MEXICO-LABOR UNREST _ Police in northern Mexico have broken up three wildcat picket lines at assembly plants in the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas. SENT: 130 words.

_ PETROCHEMICAL FIRE-TEXAS _ The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s unclear when the Houston Ship Channel will fully reopen as crews continue cleaning up chemicals that seeped into one of America’s busiest shipping lanes following a fire at a petrochemical storage facility. SENT: 130 words, photos. Moved on general and financial news services.

_ MISSING CHILDREN _ A Connecticut mother and her boyfriend charged with taking the woman’s three children to Mexico without authorization have been held on six-figure bond. They were extradited from Texas after they were taken into custody last month in Mazatlan, Mexico, where the children ages 7, 5 and 2 were found unharmed. SENT: 130 words.

_ PLANE CRASH-PILOT DIES _ Authorities have identified a Texas man as the pilot who died after his small plane crashed in northwestern New Mexico. SENT: 130 words.

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