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

May 15, 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. David Warren is on 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Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.

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TEXAS GOVERNMENT & POLITICS:

CONGRESS-SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-FARENTHOLD

AUSTIN, Texas — Former Republican U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold has accepted a lucrative position lobbying for a port in his ex-Texas district — mere weeks after resigning in disgrace amid fallout from using public funds to settle a past sexual harassment complaint. The Calhoun Port Authority has announced that Farenthold would promote its interests in Washington and assist “in resolving funding issues.” ″Blake has always been a strong supporter of the Calhoun Port Authority and is familiar with the issues facing the port,” it said in a statement. Port Director Charles R. Hausmann said Farenthold’s annual salary will be $160,000. The port is located in the Gulf Coast community of Point Comfort, an area hit by Hurricane Harvey last summer. By Will Weissert. SENT: 380 words, photos.

Also:

— TEXAS PRIMARY RUNOFF-EARLY VOTING — Early voting has begun for the 30-plus races across Texas where no candidate captured 50 percent of the votes cast in crowded fields during the March 6 primary — forcing runoff races. SENT: 130 words.

AROUND THE STATE & NATION:

AT&T-PREGNANCY LAWSUIT

NEW YORK — Represented by high-powered lawyers, two women have filed a federal court lawsuit accusing Dallas-based AT&T’s mobile phone subsidiary of firing them for pregnancy-related absences in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. The women allege that AT&T Mobility’s attendance policy, which assigns point-based demerits for late arrivals, early departures and absences, discriminates against pregnant women. According to the class-action lawsuit, both women were fired after accruing points for missing work because of pregnancy-related medical care, and, in one plaintiff’s case, her infant son’s emergency medical needs as well. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 750 words, photos. Moved on national general and financial news services.

ANIMAL PROTEST-SOCIAL MEDIA

AUSTIN, Texas — An animal rights activist’s “TAMU Rules!” comment hardly stood out on Texas A&M University’s Facebook page. Then she tried a more attention-grabbing post, one that described dog research in a campus lab as “torture.” A newly filed lawsuit alleges the university hid the “torture” comment from its half-million Facebook followers. In the suit, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accuses Texas A&M, one of the largest public universities in the U.S., of weeding out posts containing words associated with the group’s protests over animal research. By Paul J. Weber. SENT: 450 words.

BORDER ACTIVIST ARRESTED

PHOENIX — A federal magistrate is mulling a request by a border activist who is using religious grounds to argue for dismissal of the charges against him of harboring immigrants in the U.S. illegally, recent court filings show. Scott Warren, 35, of Ajo, Arizona is seeking protection from prosecution on religious grounds, saying his spiritual values compel him to help all people in distress. In his motion to dismiss the charges, Warren’s defense team argues that their client “could not, consistent with his conscience and spiritual beliefs, turn away two migrants in the harsh climate of the Sonoran Desert.” Thousands of migrants have died crossing the border since the mid-1990s, when heightened enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, pushed traffic into Arizona’s remote, scorching deserts. By Anita Snow. SENT: 300 words.

DEATH PENALTY-HYPNOSIS

AUSTIN, Texas — Two Dallas-area death row inmates are pushing for Texas to ban forensic hypnosis in criminal cases. The Dallas Morning News reports that hypnosis has played a critical part in the arrests and convictions of 48-year-old Charles Don Flores and 37-year-old Kosoul Chanthakoummane. Both men have delayed their executions by alleging their convictions were based on “junk science.” SENT: 430 words.

IN BRIEF:

— CAPITAL MURDER CASE-RETRIAL — A second capital murder trial is scheduled to begin for a Central Texas man whose case ended in a mistrial four years ago and involved a prosecutor sent to jail for violating a gag order. SENT: 130 words.

— TEXAS EXECUTION-APPEALS — A 36-year-old San Antonio man set for execution this week for a robbery-slaying more than 14 years ago has lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. SENT: 130 words.

— REJECTED VANITY PLATES — The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles rejected more than 2,000 proposed personalized license plates last year. SENT: 130 words.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to aptexas@ap.org

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