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BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2014 at 12:03 am •  Published: April 24, 2014
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Texas news at midnight CDT.

Diana Heidgerd is on the desk after 5 a.m. CDT, reachable at 972-991-2100, or, in Texas, 800-442-7189. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to aptexas@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 1-888-273-6867.

TOP STORY:

IMMIGRANT TEACHERS-INVESTIGATION

DALLAS — A North Texas school district that discovered problems in its program to hire international teachers faces a federal investigation and a payout of more than $500,000 to those whose recruitment didn't follow regulations. By Jamie Stengle. SENT: 820 words, photos.

STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS:

PERRY-JOB FUNDS

AUSTIN, Texas — As Gov. Rick Perry visits New York trying to lure more companies to Texas, lawmakers back home are getting ready to again scrutinize his signature job-creating programs. A House committee on Thursday is set to review funds in Perry's office that award hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to private companies. Perry says the Texas Enterprise Fund and Emerging Technology Fund have brought jobs and fostered economic growth. But the popularity of the programs has waned among some Texas Republicans. Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is the favorite to replace Perry next year, has signaled unease with what he says amounts to the state picking winners and losers. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Developments from 10 a.m. CDT hearing.

With:

— JOBS-TEXAS VS NY — States should face economic competition from each other because it pushes them to make sure their business environments are as strong as possible, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said as he met with business owners in New York City and encouraged them to consider moving to his state. "The state of New York will not be stronger unless people come and push them," Perry, a Republican, said. By Deepti Hajela and Josefa Velasquez. SENT: 490 words, photos.

UT REGENT-IMPEACHMENT

AUSTIN, Texas — A group of Texas lawmakers considering whether to impeach University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall meets Thursday to review a report on his efforts to oust Austin campus president Bill Powers. The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations is investigating Hall, a Dallas businessman appointed to the board of regents by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011. Since then, Hall has led an effort by some regents to fire the leader of the flagship campus. According to a draft report for the committee, Hall leaked confidential student information in apparent violation of state and federal laws, as well as manipulated the House committee's investigation and coerced its witnesses. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: On merits, developments from 1 p.m. CDT meeting.

IN BRIEF:

— US SENATE-SHANNON — Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is scheduled to headline a rally in Tulsa for U.S. Senate candidate T.W. Shannon. SENT: 120 words. UPCOMING: Developments from 6 p.m. CDT event.

— GOVERNOR'S RACE-EDUCATION — Republican Greg Abbott says that as Texas governor he would seek bonuses for high school teachers whose students perform well on college readiness exams.

AROUND THE STATE:

OBIT-HEARD

AUSTIN, Texas — Robert Heard, who reported on Texas state government, politics and sports for The Associated Press, including the 1966 University of Texas tower shootings and a groundbreaking series on race and integration of Longhorns football, has died. He was 84. Heard died April 15 in Austin from complications after surgery to repair a broken hip, said widow Betsy Heard. By Jim Vertuno. SENT: 420 words, photos.

BRAIN DEAD-PREGNANCY

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would require doctors and hospitals to use life support to keep a brain-dead pregnant woman alive until the birth of her child, no matter her family's wishes. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 370 words.

IN BRIEF:

— SHERIFF-CORRUPTION PROBE — A drug smuggler whose campaign contributions led to the recent resignation and federal conviction of a South Texas sheriff has pleaded guilty in McAllen to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges.

— PROGRESO-PUBLIC CORRUPTION — A South Texas architect has pleaded guilty in Houston to a federal conspiracy charge for paying bribes to elected officials in order to win contracts with school districts.

— GAS DRILLING-LAWSUIT — A Dallas jury has awarded $3 million to a North Texas couple who sued a drilling company over alleged contamination.

— TEXAS SCHOOL-MERCURY — West Texas school officials have decided to pay $30,000 in health care costs for students exposed to mercury brought to a school by an Odessa ninth-grader.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to aptexas@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. If you have questions about the Texas AP news report, please contact News Editor James Beltran at 972-991-2100 or jbeltran@ap.org.

MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Texas and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click "All" or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.