Under state law, anti-LGBT activists hoping to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance needed 17,249 signatures on their petition to trigger a public vote that they hope would ultimately repeal the non-discrimination ordinance. When former Houston City Attorney David Feldman tossed their petition last August, saying HERO foes had failed to gather enough valid signatures, it set in motion a tedious, mind-numbing court battle over how many of those signatures met legal standards.
Flickr/torbackhopper HE DEAD
On Friday afternoon, state District Judge Robert Schaffer came out with his final tally: 16,684 signatures, or 565 shy of what was needed to send the anti-discrimination ordinance to a public vote.More »
The USW oil refinery strike, the first major oil refinery strike in 35 years, started February 1 and the USW members at Shell Deer Park, LyondellBasell and Marathon Texas City were some of the first called to walk out on strike by the national arm of USW. Since then, the union has pulled out more than 6,000 workers at 15 plants across the country, including 12 refineries.
On Thursday afternoon USW spokeswoman Lynn Hancock announced that the two sides -- who have been battling over the terms of a contract for the 30,000 USW oil refinery workers since January 21 -- have agreed to a four-year national contract. The local USW union districts pattern their contracts based on this national contract.More »
Texas Democratic Party via Facebook Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant exchange vows outside the Travis County Clerk's Office
Update 4:15 p.m.: Attorney General Ken Paxton isn't too happy Texas saw its first legal gay marriage this morning. Upon receiving the news that Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant obtained a marriage license and exchanged vows at the Travis County Clerk's Office, Paxton got the state Supreme Court to block any more same-sex marriages from happening in Travis County, at least for the time being. Paxton has even asked the court to void Goodfriend and Bryant's marriage (apparently one Texas gay marriage is one too many for Ken Paxton).
Paxton said in a statement: "The law of Texas has not changed, and will not change due to the whims of any individual judge or county clerk operating on their own capacity anywhere in Texas. Activist judges don't change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state and will ensure that any licenses issued contrary to law are invalid."
The Texas Tribune reports that Travis County issued this morning's marriage license under "special circumstances," saying one of the women has "severe and immediate health concerns."
"I want to finally be able to marry the love of my life," Goodfriend said in a statement issued Thursday. "In May, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was rushed into emergency surgery. Having faced a life-threatening disease I realized time is precious and that I wanted to spend it on the things that mattered most -- my family."
Chuck Herring, the attorney for the newly married couple, told the Chron the stay "doesn't impact my clients." Herring further said Paxton would have to sue the couple to nullify the marriage license if he truly wants to kill Texas' first gay marriage.
Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant just became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Texas.
Goodfriend and Bryant, who have been together for nearly 31 years, married Thursday morning after a judge ordered the Travis County Clerk's Office to issue the couple a marriage license, reports Chuck Lindell with the Austin American-Statesman. Photos posted to Facebook show the couple exchanging vows in front of the clerk's office sign, flanked by supporters and their two daughters.More »
In a move that should surprise exactly no one, Halliburton announced more layoffs on Tuesday. Specifically, the oil field service company will be cutting 5,000 to 6,500 jobs to deal with the sharp drop in crude oil prices.
Halliburton issued a statement on the upcoming layoffs, according to Bloomberg, confirming that layoffs are coming and they're going to be felt throughout the company:
"We are faced with the difficult reality that reductions are necessary to work through this challenging market environment.The impact will be across all areas of Halliburton's operations."
Sticking to the long-held practice of politicians releasing uncomfortable news on a Friday evening, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced today that her top legal brain has tendered his resignation.
City of Houston David Feldman
City Attorney David Feldman, who joined the Parker administration in 2010, will resign effective January 16, 2015, according to a release from Parker's office. "Dave has provided great legal counsel for me and the entire City of Houston since his arrival nearly five years ago," Parker said in a statement. "His legal acumen is unmatched. Without his assistance, we would not have been able to accomplish many of my administration's priorities. I wish him the best of luck as he begins this new phase of his professional life. He will be missed at my executive staff table."More »
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the execution of Scott Panetti, who had been scheduled for execution in Texas tonight at 6 p.m.
The order, issued by Chief Justice Carl Stewart, Judge Patrick Higginbotham and Judge Priscilla Owen reads as follows:
We STAY the execution pending further order of the court to allow us to fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter.1 An order setting a briefing schedule and oral argument will follow.
In 1995 Panetti was convicted of the murders of Joe Alvarado and Amanda Alvarado, his parents-in-law on September 8, 1992 in Gillespie County. The thing is Panetti has suffered from mental illness for more than 30 years. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1978 and was in and out of mental hospitals years before he committed the murders, and he didn't exactly get less erratic after.More »
Two employees at Ben Taub Hospital were shot and killed during an apparent murder-suicide, according to HPD.
The shooting took place Wednesday around 2:15 p.m. at the hospital's outpatient pharmacy, which is attached to the hospital and accessible through the main building. Police say a pharmacist and a pharmacy tech were shot during an altercation. Both employees were behind the glass during the incident.More »
Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear, who's led the franchise since its move to Houston in 2006, is heading home to San Jose.
Photo by Marco Torres Dominic Kinnear during the Dynamo's home opener on March 8, 2014.
The Chron reports today that Kinnear told his coaching staff this past Sunday that he'll resign at the end of the season and take over as head coach for the San Jose Earthquakes next year. Kinnear is reportedly keeping quiet out of respect for current Earthquakes coach Mark Watson, who hasn't even yet finished his first full year with the team (ouch).
Photo from Houston Police Department Eduardo Torres, 30, turned himself in to police days after bicyclist Jose Mendez-Manzano was killed in a traffic accident.
A 30-year-old Houston man was arrested in the hit-and-run accident that killed Jose Mendez-Manzano on Saturday. Eduardo Torres was charged with failure to stop and render aid, which as of September 2013 is considered a second-degree felony.
The victim, Mendez-Manzano, was a 63-year-old grandfather who sold fresh produce from a grocery cart tethered to the bicycle he used to get around town. He was struck near Link and Airline, along a two-way road without sidewalks. A white memorial bike marks the site of the accident, only a few blocks away from Mendez-Manzano's home.
Houston police say Torres turned himself in days after the accident.More »