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Rehearing Denied On Texas Sonogram Rule

Jay Rishel (cc) flickr

A federal appeals court has denied a request to reconsider a lawsuit challenging a Texas law that requires doctors to perform a sonogram before an abortion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit on behalf of doctors saying the state Legislature had passed a law that wrongly dictates how a doctor deals with a patient.

The rule requires a doctor to conduct a sonogram, describe the features of the fetus and play aloud the fetal heartbeat whether the woman wants it or not. The doctor must also conduct the sonogram 24 hours before performing the abortion.

The chief justice of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier ruled that there was nothing wrong with the law. The doctors had asked the entire court to reconsider that ruling.


Dallas Bishop Farrell Cautiously Optimistic

The Catholic Bishop of Dallas, Kevin Farrell, says he’s cautiously optimistic that first amendment religious rights have been restored by President Obama.

For weeks, a new federal requirement that religious employers provide free birth control - even if it goes against their faith - has upset religious and political leaders. But today, the President said religious hospitals and universities that see contraceptives as a faith violation can now opt out.

Farrell: I think there’s a tremendous show of unity by American people and I would not say just Catholic people I have been approached by people of many faiths and people of no faith whatsoever, who strongly believe that this was an infringement on our first right amendments.

Farrell says no one has really seen the finished document yet. He says it will take time for the President to restore trust to the faithful who say he broke a promise. Farrell’s position reflects that of national Catholic leaders. The new policy gives women access to birth control without copays or premiums through private insurance companies.

Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas School Trustee Cowan Say Wait and See

Dallas school board member Eric Cowan says he’ll take a wait-and-see approach to the charter school operation Uplift, which is seeking bond fund help from the city of Dallas.

Cowan: Charter schools and public schools are all after the same thing - educating our young children of the city. I want to hear more about what their intentions are, partnering up with the city. And from what I understand, this is an agreement that’s been done with other charters before.

Uplift wants the city to create a non-profit education corporation so it can sell low-interest bonds to build schools. Some DISD defenders say the city should side with the district, not the charter operation.

The Dallas City Council gets more information on the plan at Wednesday’s briefing.

Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas police detective retires after probe

A Dallas police detective has retired after an investigation found he improperly kept thousands of family violence case files in his home and had more than 500 instances of suspects hurting victims again.

A statement from Dallas police says Det. Mickey East retired Thursday after nearly 40 years with the department.

Investigators reviewed more than 2,000 cases handled by East during his four-plus years with the family violence unit. He was reassigned to the auto pound unit in 2009.

Police say East kept more than 2,200 case files at home, while entering just 16 into an internal system and filing 217 cases. It wasn't clear whether the cases kept at home had more repeat incidents with victims.

Lt. Scott Walton said former employees don't face disciplinary hearings.


Perry gives tainted campaign donations to charity

Gov. Rick Perry has given $80,000 in tainted campaign donations to El Paso charities, after the original donor was convicted of bribery and fraud.

The donations came from Bob Jones, former president and CEO of the National Center for Employment of the Disabled. He was convicted in a federal court of giving El Paso school board members and county commissioners campaign donations in return for votes.

The El Paso Times reports that the Perry gubernatorial campaign sent checks to eight non-profit groups this week. The El Paso Times originally alerted Perry's campaign to the donations, as well as other recipients including Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

The campaigns all say they purge donations from Jones.


Dallas man gets 20 years in $7M investment scam

A Dallas businessman has been sentenced to a maximum 20 years in prison over a $7 million investment scam.

A federal judge in Dallas on Thursday afternoon sentenced 46-year-old Alan Todd May. Restitution will be decided later.

May in December 2010 pleaded guilty to mail fraud for raising the money under false pretenses.

Prosecutors say May, who's been in custody since being arrested in mid-2010 in San Francisco, used investment funds for extravagant personal spending and also to pay his relatives.

The former president of Prosper Oil & Gas Inc. claimed to own and operate leases in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas. Investigators say more than 170 investors were scammed, including some who were told that annual returns would top 25 percent.

The company was placed into receivership.


US increases travel warning to 14 Mexican states

The U.S. State Department recommends Americans avoid travel to all or parts of 14 of 31 Mexican states in the widest travel advisory since Mexico stepped up its drug war in 2006.

The state department advises against any nonessential travel to Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas, all bordering the U.S, and the central state of Durango. It advises caution in three other border states, as well as states in central and western Mexico where cartels have been warring.

The advisory this week said U.S. citizens have been victims of drug violence, including killings, kidnappings and carjackings.

The previous warning in April 2011 recommended avoiding travel in just two states and parts of seven others.