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Trump administration restores women's health funds to Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Trump administration says Texas can resume getting federal funding for women's health programs. The decision Wednesday comes eight years after Texas lost access to the money for barring Planned Parenthood from a state-run health program for low-income women. The decision by Texas in 2011 to exclude Planned Parenthood was part of Republican efforts to defund the nation's largest abortion provider.


Petition seeks federal protections for Rio Grande fish

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are asking federal wildlife managers to use the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish found only in the Rio Grande in Texas and the Pecos River in New Mexico. WildEarth Guardians filed the petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday, saying it is part of a campaign focused on vulnerable species found in rivers and streams across the West. The group contends the Rio Grande shiner is one of the aquatic and riparian species that will not survive into the next century without a significant change in the way rivers are managed.


W.Va. inmate who walked out of jail gets 5 additional years

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An Ohio man who escaped a West Virginia jail and was later caught trying to flee into Mexico has been sentenced to an additional five years in jail. News outlets report Todd Boyes of Caldwell, Ohio, was sentenced Wednesday for his October 2017 escape from the South Central Regional Jail. Boyes escaped two days before his scheduled sentencing on charges including fleeing and possession of a stolen car. The new sentence will begin after he completes a five- to 20-year sentence on the original charges. Boyes walked out of the jail in street clothes and was apprehended in Mexico at the U.S. border with Texas.


Court takes another look at Native American adoption law

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal appellate judges are questioning whether a law meant to preserve Native American families unconstitutionally intrudes into state adoption issues. Arguments heard Wednesday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could determine the future of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. The law gives preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving Native American children. A divided three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the law in August. But he law's opponents succeeded in getting a re-hearing before the full court.


Houston ISD discuss metal detectors after Bellaire shooting

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Independent School District officials are exploring adding metal detectors to increase security after the fatal on-campus shooting accident at Bellaire High School. According to the Houston Chronicle, the district's interim superintendent will be meeting with students and community leaders to discuss increasing security measures on campus. Authorities believe 19-year-old Cesar Cortes was unintentionally shot by a classmate while showing off a semiautomatic pistol. The 16-year-old boy has been charged as a juvenile with manslaughter. He'll remain in custody pending evaluation results of his mental health.


Judge hints he may rule for migrants in Border Patrol suit

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A judge indicated Wednesday he may side with migrants in a lawsuit that alleges extreme overcrowding and inhumane conditions at some of the Border Patrol's facilities in Arizona. A trial in the lawsuit challenging conditions in the Tucson Sector ended Wednesday. U.S. District Court Judge David C. Bury criticized the lack of measures taken by the Border Patrol to address persistent overcrowding and lengthy times in custody. He didn't say exactly when he would rule but indicated it would be the end of next week at the earliest. The government says lawyers for the migrants haven't proven the Border Patrol violated anybody's constitutional rights.


Man arrested in San Antonio bar shooting argues self-defense

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A 19-year-old man arrested in a San Antonio shooting that left two people dead and wounded five others says he was acting in self-defense when he opened fire during a concert at a bar. Kiernan Christopher Williams is expected to face capital murder charges for the Sunday night shooting at a bar in the San Antonio River Walk area called Ventura. As Williams was taken into custody Monday, he promoted his own Instagram account and described himself as “an upcoming artist.” He says he regrets “everything that I did.” The medical examiner's office identified the men killed as Robert Martinez and Alejandro Robles.


Democrats' challenge: Courting evangelicals in the Trump era

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's strong support from white evangelicals is handing Democrats a challenge: How do they connect with a Christian voting bloc so strongly identified with Trump? It's a question that comes up less often during the Democratic primary but promises to become more critical heading into the general election. And even though Democratic presidential candidates have already shown they're open to talking about how their faith affects their values, the party's standard-bearer will have to balance outreach to evangelicals with policies on abortion and other issues that often clash with most evangelicals' perspectives.


Arizona bill would make building private border wall easier

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Legislature could let property owners along the U.S.-Mexico border build a wall without seeking a city or county construction permit. Republicans on a House committee approved the measure in a 4-3 party-line vote Wednesday. GOP lawmakers say the measure would prevent political interference from local officials philosophically opposed to a border wall. Democrats say a border wall is ineffective at stopping drug trafficking, and the state shouldn't remove local control for permitting decisions.


Discredited conversion therapy banned in conservative Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children is now banned in Utah. It is now the 19th state and one of the most conservative to prohibit it. Supporters say that banning the practice will save the lives of children who can become more depressed and suicidal after being subjected to it. The ban is unusual because it went through regulators rather than lawmakers after a proposal was derailed last year. Though some opposition remains, barring it in Utah could give a boost to similar efforts in other right-leaning states.