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You Can’t Say ‘I Do’ Behind Bars In Texas Starting Sept. 1


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Inmates trying to tie the knot have less than a month to exchange vows, Wendy Davis inches closer to a governor race decision, suspended Ranger and other Texas players stand to lose a lot of cash and more.

Celebrating nuptials in prison will soon be a thing of the past in Texas. As of Sept. 1, changes to the state’s marriage by proxy policy will make it impossible to get married while incarcerated. Because weddings aren’t allowed inside prison facilities, inmates choose a stand-in or proxy to attend the ceremony in his or her place. As long as an affidavit was filed, that’s a perfectly legal way to tie the knot… but not for long.

As of part of the Texas Tribune’s August series “31 days, 31 ways,” reporters are exploring law changes that take effect Sept. 1. House Bill 869 is one of them. When the calendar flips to September, only members of the military who are both serving out of the country will be able to marry by proxy; otherwise both parties need to be there. So unless the Texas Department of Criminal Justice decides to allow weddings in prison, inmates who want to settle down will have to wait until their time is served. For an animated explanation of the law change, check out the Texas Tribune’s video below.

  • Hasan Intent On Justifying, Not Denying: The court marital of Former Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan begins today. Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and injuring more than 30 others after he opened fire at a troop processing center at Fort Hood in 2009. NPR’s Wade Goodwyn reports that Hasan has repeatedly admitted his guilt and wants to announce it to the jury at the start of the trial. Because this is a death penalty case, that’s prohibited under military tribunal rules. Hasan is representing himself so he could cross examine witnesses he allegedly shot. But according to Goodwyn, Hasan seems more intent on justifying his actions, not proving his innocence.

  • Will She Or Won’t She?: Wendy Davis has Texas, Washington and perhaps the rest of the country on pins and needles after announcing at a D.C. event that she has two political offices in her sites. According to the New York Times, Davis said the following after a speech and luncheon at the National Press Club: “I can say with absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices: either my State Senate seat or the governor.” Davis hinted that she’ll make the final decision in a few weeks. Since her 11 hour filibuster attempt to stop on vote on abortion restrictions, many high ranking Texas Dems have been urging Davis to enter the gubernatorial race.

  • How The Abortion Bill Could Impact Certain Demographics: Davis’ filibuster attempt may have grabbed the spotlight while abortion restrictions were being debated, but one special session later, the bill passed, and The Takeaway wants to explore its true impact on women. Since the bill requires abortion centers to meet surgical standards, opponents of the law say it will make healthcare much harder to access, especially for Latinas. But State Representative Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican who voted for the bill, says there is no evidence to back that up.

  • MLB Suspensions Don’t Come Cheap For Texas Players: Three of the 13 players suspended yesterday by Major League Baseball have Texas roots. The disciplined players are in trouble for their relationship with Biogenesis America, an anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of doling out banned performance enhancing drugs. Nelson Cruz has the hottest bat on the Rangers roster and Sergio Escalona is an Astros Double-A player for Corpus Christi. Fernando Martinez had since been traded, but at the time of the incident, he was also part of the Astros organization. Each player has been slapped with a 50 game suspension and Cruz stands to lose more than $2.7 million of his salary. That’s the second highest money loss in this controversy, but it doesn’t come close to Alex Rodriguez’s estimated $33 million hit and 211 game suspension.
Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.