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Nightly Roundup: Senator Hutchison Says Spending Caps Better Than Earmark Cuts


Outgoing Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison says the earmark moratorium backed by Senate Republicans and President Obama focuses on the wrong subject. 

Instead, she says the focus should be on a spending caps.

Hutchison: And once that cap is put, then you have to have Congressional input into the budget. That’s the constitutional requirement and it’s the elected representatives who know the priorities of each state or each district

In town for the ceremonial opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Hutchison says funding has already been secured for the 2nd  smaller, Calatrava Bridge,  so she’s not concerned its completion is at risk because of the earmark ban.

Hutchison helped secure billions in earmarks during her tenure in the Senate. Some of the money targeted flood control.   Under pressure from the Tea Party and some Republican colleagues, she signed onto the earmark moratorium as a way to cut federal spending.

Bill Zeeble, KERA news

Jewish Student Team Advances

The boys basketball team from an Orthodox Jewish school in Houston has won the semifinal game that was rescheduled so it wouldn't conflict with the Sabbath.

Beren Academy beat Dallas Covenant 58-46 on Friday afternoon.

The game was originally set for Friday night after the sunset that opens the Sabbath. Beren students say their faith prohibits participation between sunset on Friday and sunset Saturday.

The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, or TAPPS,  had initially rejected Beren Academy's requests to reschedule the game. But several parents filed a federal lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order requiring TAPPS to reschedule the game. TAPPS relented and changed the game time to Friday afternoon.

Beren Academy will play in the championship game on Saturday night.


There’s Yet Another School Suit Against Texas  

The Joshua ISD is the most recent school district to join the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition. That’s a group of school districts, taxpayers, and parents claiming the state’s current school finance system is unconstitutional.  It says its goal is to achieve a funding system that treats all Texas children and taxpayers fairly, and provides every child a chance at a world-class education.

The number of coalition school districts is now up to 400, and represents the largest group suing Texas over education funding. Four other groups are also suing the state.

Bill Zeeble, KERA News

R. Allen Stanford Jury Continues  Deliberations Monday

A federal jury has ended its deliberations in the fraud trial of jailed Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford on charges he bilked $7 billion from investors in a massive Ponzi scheme.

Jurors in Houston deliberated Friday without reaching a verdict. The panel will resume deliberating on Monday.

So far, the jury has deliberated about 16 hours since getting the case on Wednesday.

Defense attorneys told jurors that Stanford made money for investors who bought certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank.

Prosecutors countered that Stanford took investors' money and flushed it away on failed businesses and his lavish lifestyle. If convicted, Stanford could receive more than 20 years in prison.


Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.