Saturday, March 25, 2017

Canadian License Plate "GRABHER" denied



Trump Tells G.O.P. It's Now or Never, Demanding House Vote on Health Bill



President Trump told his party to fall in line behind a health insurance overhaul, and demanded a Friday vote on a bill that appeared to lack a majority to pass.


Liquor regulators partying on taxpayers' tab
Texas alcohol regulators know how to party: records show they've spent thousands of dollars to travel to swanky resorts where liquor flows and industry lobbyists abound. Now the state's top liquor administrator says she may have to disclose more about the money she's received from an industry-funded group.

A Russian Critic of Putin Is Assassinated in Ukraine


Denis N. Voronenkov, a former Russian lawmaker who fled to Kiev last year, said in a recent interview that he knew he was an assassination target.



Sunset Bills
Two Sunset bills by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), HB 2102, relating to the continuation and functions of the State Bar of Texas, and HB 2103, relating to the continuation and functions of the Board of Law Examiners, were heard in the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee on Tuesday, March 21. Both Sunset bills were left pending. The archived broadcast can be found here.

The Senate versions of the Sunset bills, filed by Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin), were heard in the Senate Committee on State Affairs on Thursday, March 23. SB 302, relating to the continuation and functions of the State Bar of Texas and SB 303, relating to the continuation and functions of the Board of Law Examiners were both considered and left pending. Click here for the archived broadcast.
House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence
In addition to the Sunset bills heard on Tuesday, March 21, the following bills were also considered and left pending in the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee:

  • HB 748 by Farrar (D-Houston), relating to certain costs associated with certain court proceedings for cruelly treated animals; authorizing fees and costs; and
  • HB 1761 by Smithee (R-Amarillo), relating to jurisdiction of the Texas Supreme Court.
The following bills were voted favorably from the committee:

  • HB 1755 by Neave (D-Dallas), relating to jury summons questionnaires; and
  • HB 1877 by Murr (R-Junction), relating to a penalty for independent executors who misrepresent in an affidavit in lieu of the inventory, appraisement, and list of claims that certain beneficiaries received the inventory and appraisement.
The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28. Click here to see a list of scheduled bills.
House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
The House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee met on Wednesday, March 22, and considered a variety of bills in addition to the family law bills included in the State Bar legislative program and described below. Click here for the archived committee broadcast.
The committee agenda for next week was not posted in time for inclusion in the Friday Update. Current information on upcoming meetings for this committee can be found here.
House Criminal Jurisprudence
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee met on Monday, March 20 and considered a full agenda of bills. Click here to listen to the archived committee broadcast. Their next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 27. Click here for the complete list of scheduled bills.
Senate State Affairs
The Senate Committee on State Affairs met on Monday, March 20 and on Thursday, March 23, and considered large agendas. Among those bills considered and voted favorably on Monday were:

  • SB 259 by Huffines (R-Dallas) relating to jury summons questionnaires; and
  • SB 657 by Zaffirini (D-Laredo) relating to the filing of oaths of office and signed statements by certain judicial officers and judicial appointees with the Secretary of State.
On Thursday, in addition to the State Bar of Texas and Board of Law Examiner Sunset bills, the committee considered and left pending SB 416 by Watson (D-Austin), relating to the composition of the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas, and several bills by Zaffirini (D-Laredo) relating to guardianships.
Click here to hear the archived broadcast of both meetings. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 27. Click here to view the agenda.
2017-18 Budget
The committee substitute to SB 1 by Nelson (R-Flower Mound) was voted favorably from the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, and placed on the Intent Calendar for consideration by the full Senate on Monday, March 27.
State Bar Legislative Program
The following bills, included in the State Bar’s 2017 legislative program, changed status this week:
Family Law:

Poverty Law:

Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law:

Subscribe to the Friday Update
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  • The Senate adjourned until 2 p.m. Monday, March 27.
  • The House of Representatives adjourned until 2 p.m. Monday, March 27.



Mar 24, 2017

Yet again, lawmakers poised to do little to help sex-trafficking victims



Monte Carlo.  I still wear that shirt to this day.

And I still spend lots of time looking for my golf ball.


Lawyer is among four killed in shootings at Wisconsin law office and bank

Mar 24, 2017, 7:58 am CDT


Social workers charged with felony child abuse in boy’s death at the hands of his mother

Four Los Angeles social workers will be tried for felony child abuse and other charges stemming from the murder of an 8-year-old boy by his mother and her boyfriend.
The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the social workers who worked on the case of Gabriel Fernandez will be tried for felony child abuse and falsifying public records. Prosecutors say caseworkers Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement and supervisors Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt ignored signs of abuse and repeated reports from adults in the child’s life. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison each.
Gabriel Fernandez was tortured for months by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, prosecutors say. Paramedics arrived at their home in Los Angeles County in May of 2013 to find Gabriel not breathing, with multiple broken bones and BBs in two parts of his body. A paramedic testified that “it was just like every inch of this child had been abused,” according to an earlier article from the Los Angeles Times.
Two of Gabriel’s siblings testified that the adults forced Gabriel to eat cat feces and rotten vegetables, beat him with household objects, punished him when he played with dolls, called him gay and made him wear girls’ clothes to school. Gabriel once wrote a note saying he was thinking about suicide.
Aguirre and Pearl Fernandez are charged with capital murder and have pleaded not guilty. A prosecutor in their case told a jury that they’d hidden their crimes by lying to social workers and sheriff’s deputies and forging notes from doctors.
But prosecutors say the social workers also bear some blame. Over a decade, there had been six investigations into abuse by the mother, and all but one had been called “unfounded.” At the time of the child’s death, another complaint was in his file and had been pending for two months past the deadline for investigation. A former teacher of Gabriel’s testified Monday that she repeatedly reported signs of abuse to the county, including a statement by Gabriel that “my mom shot me in the face with a BB gun.”
Internal documents at the county child protection agency fault the workers for understating the danger to Gabriel. One found him at “high risk” instead of “very high risk” because she left out information about Pearl Fernandez’s known mental health problems. The supervisors signed off on those evaluations, prosecutors say.
The social workers argued that the fatal escalation of violence against Gabriel happened when the family was not under county supervision, and that there’s no evidence that workers falsified any documents or could have predicted his death. They also said other mandated reporters involved in the case, including sheriff’s deputies who visited the home multiple times in the months before Gabriel’s death, weren’t being prosecuted. And they said the office was understaffed and overworked.
It’s unusual for social workers to be criminally charged in these situations, the Times notes, but not unprecedented. Involuntary manslaughter charges against two Michigan social workers were dismissed in January. In 2013, a New York social worker and his supervisor pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanors after originally being charged with criminally negligent homicide after a 4-year-old was beaten and starved to death by her mother. In 2006, the Washington Post says, several Philadelphia workers went to jail after a child starved to death.
Rebecca Gonzales of the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers told the Post that the case could have bad consequences for social workers as a whole.
“We do think it could have a negative effect on social workers wanting to pursue the profession, especially in child welfare,” she said. “They work in a system where it’s very difficult to be successful because they’re expected to track so many cases and be on top of so many family situations.”


Fake asylum claims lead to federal prison sentence for immigration lawyer

Mar 23, 2017, 4:17 pm CDT


Newman's Castle Photographs


Federal C0urt Rejects Challenge To Trump Immigration Order

by jonathanturley
Virginia-easternIn a 32-page opinion, United States District Judge Anthony Trenga has rejected the challenge to the second immigration order of the Trump Administration.  Trenga in the Eastern District of Virginia found that the challengers in Linda Sarsour v. Donald Trump — were not likely to succeed in their challenge to the March 6 executive order.  The ruling is similar to the rejection of a Boston court in the first immigration order.  It is also very different in tone and analysis from the decision of Judge Brinkema in this same Virginia district, granting a temporary restraining order in the review of the first immigration order.


The Truth Behind the War on Immigrants

Historian Gerald Horne explains how the demonization of immigrants are designed to divide the working class and prevent white and non-white workers from acting in solidarity


Canadian Barred From Using Family Name on License Plate as “Misogynistic” Message

by jonathanturley
The Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles  was adamant.  The license plate reading "GRABHER" was deemed "misogynistic and promoting violence against women."  It was a surprise to Lorne Grabher who simply wanted a license plate with his family's name.


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