BC-TX--Texas News Digest 12 am, TX
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jill Bleed is at the desk after 5:30 a.m.
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HOUSTON _ While Texas led the nation in the number of inmates executed in 2018, the use of capital punishment in the state continues to decline, according to a new report. The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said in its year-end review report the drop can be attributed, in part, to prosecutors and the public continuing to turn away from the death penalty. “The death penalty landscape in Texas has changed significantly over the last 20 years,” said Kristin Houlé, the coalition’s executive director. “Not only have the number of death sentences and executions declined by staggering percentages, but the chorus of voices raising concerns about the application of the death penalty grows louder and more diverse every day.” By Juan A. Lozano. UPCOMING: 570 words by 2 a.m.
AUSTIN, Texas _ Powerful natural disasters in Texas on the scale of Hurricane Harvey’s deadly destruction last year will become more frequent because of a changing climate, warned a new report ordered by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in a state where skepticism about climate change runs deep. But the report makes no mention of global warming. And in urging steps Texas should take to lessen the impact of intensifying hurricanes and flooding, the report makes no mention of curbing greenhouse gases in Texas, the nation’s oil-refining epicenter that leads the U.S. in carbon emissions. The phrase “climate change” also does not appear in the nearly 200-page report, except in footnotes that reference scientific papers. By Paul J. Weber. SENT: 650 words, photos.
CHILD DEAD-BORDER PATROL
LAS CRUCES, N.M. _ A 7-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol, federal immigration authorities have confirmed. The Washington Post reports the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl was from Guatemala and was traveling with a group of 163 people who approached agents to turn themselves in on Dec. 6. It’s unknown what happened to the girl during the eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso hospital. In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said the girl had not eaten or consumed water in several days. SENT: 550 words, photos.
WASHINGTON _ A looming, partial government shutdown would be “stupid” but might be unavoidable if Democrats refuse to support President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, the second-ranking House Republican has said. Even if Republicans assemble enough votes to approve the wall in the House, the plan probably will fail in the Senate, said Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. The House majority leader noted that Senate Democrats have pledged to block the bill from receiving the necessary 60 votes. McCarthy said on the House floor that he thinks “going into a shutdown is stupid,” but he offered no immediate plan before the Dec. 21 deadline. The House adjourned for six days soon after his remarks. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 730 words, photos.
AROUND THE STATE & NATION:
BOY SCOUT WOES
NEW YORK _ The Texas-based Boy Scouts of America deflected questions about a report suggesting it is considering seeking bankruptcy protection, though the head of the organization said it is exploring “all options” as it tries to stay afloat while facing sexual abuse lawsuits and dwindling membership. “I want to assure you that our daily mission will continue and that there are no imminent actions or immediate decisions expected,” Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said in a statement issued Wednesday evening. Surbaugh was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that the BSA, founded in 1910, had hired a law firm to assist in a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 560 words, photos. Moved on general and financial news services.
MADISON, Wis. _ Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has executed a $28 million deal to save nearly 400 jobs at a Kimberly-Clark Corp. plant, using powers that his Democratic successor would no longer have under legislation approved last week during a lame-duck session. The deal means that the Texas-based consumer-products giant will close a plant in Conway, Arkansas, that employs 344 people no later than 2021, Kimberly-Clark spokesman Terry Balluck. Employees at the Arkansas plant have been told of the pending closure, he said. By Scott Bauer. SENT: 570 words, photos. Moved on political and financial news services.
TULSA, Okla. _ Oklahoma is trailing behind neighboring states in per-student spending, even when factoring in this year’s teacher pay raises, according to a recent report. The National Center for Education Statistics report shows that Oklahoma’s annual expenditures were nearly $1.3 billion below the regional average for the 2015-16 school year, The Tulsa World reported. The region includes Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. SENT: 270 words.
_ BAYLOR FRATERNITY-SEXUAL ASSAULT _ A former Baylor fraternity president accused of rape will be able to earn a degree from a Dallas-area university if he meets all the degree requirements. SENT: 130 words.
_ TEXAS WEATHER _ As much as 8 inches of snow has accumulated in parts of West Texas as a winter storm swirls over the area. SENT: 130 words.
_ HOLIDAY TRAVEL-TEXAS _ An industry group predicts nearly 9.1 million Texans will travel during the upcoming end-of-the-year holiday season. SENT: 100 words.
_ COWBOYS-BRENT-LAWSUIT _ A Texas jury has returned a $25 million verdict against former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent and the owner of a now-defunct nightclub in the death of Brent’s teammate, Jerry Brown Jr. SENT: 130 words. Moved on general and sports news services.
_ INVESTOR FRAUD-OKLAHOMA _ A former University of Oklahoma football player and fledgling recording star has been sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding investors of almost $900,000. Federal prosecutors say 31-year-old T.J. Hamilton of Dallas also was ordered to pay $869,300 in restitution to his victims. SENT: 130 words. Moved on general, entertainment and sports news services.
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