Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas) has sent “cease and desist” letters to three Texas ISDs over allegations of “unlawful electioneering.” The school districts have until the close of business today, Friday, to respond to the Attorney Generals Office’s letter.

Citing the Texas Election Code which expressly forbids such action, the Attorney General’s office states in their letters that Brazosport ISD and Holliday ISD “… promulgated and published numerous communications directed for or against candidates and measures.” In the case of Lewisville ISD, the letter alleges that the district “launched an official campaign to ‘change’ the makeup of the Texas Legislature.”

“I ask that the ISDs follow the instructions of the Attorney General and immediately put a stop to this,” said Senator Bettencourt. “As a former election official I encourage more voter registration, but we cannot have the government spending taxpayer monies in promoting one particular candidate over another.”

In the case of Brazosport ISD the district Superintendent advocated on twitter, and official Brazosport ISD twitter pages retweeted, to vote for particular candidates in an upcoming election. “It is not surprising to me that the Superintendent just recently changed his twitter profile information because Superintendents cannot do this,” added Senator Bettencourt. Lewisville ISD widely promoted on their official school websites a video featuring their Superintendent claiming that “…It is time to use your teacher voice and let the Texas Legislature know that you have had enough…they are attacking you and me.”

“It is no wonder that Lewisville ISD has gotten a cease and desist letter from the Attorney General,” continued Senator Bettencourt. “You cannot have government telling people how to vote. These actions, and others, prove that my Attorney General opinion request was warranted.”

Senator Bettencourt (R-Houston) had previous asked for an opinion from the Attorney General on what legal constraints exist regarding a school district’s ability to spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising or communications designed to influence voters to vote for or against a particular measure or candidate and whether a school district providing or securing transportation for employees or students to and/or from polling places is a violation of the Gift Clauses of the Texas Constitution.

Almost 100 independent school districts adopted a resolution that, among other things, called for:

– Creating District communications that encourage employees to participate in voter pledge programs (such as TexasEducatorsVote.com) with a partisan slant and asking educators in these ISDs to take an oath supporting public education and where feasible, providing District transportation to and from polling places.

“I don’t want to hear that there is no political activity in our public schools because clearly there has been,” concluded Senator Bettencourt. “I asked for an opinion because this needs to be stopped now.”

School districts have until the close of business today to respond to the cease and desist letters from the Attorney General’s office. The three Attorney General letters are attached to this press release.

Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas) has sent “cease and desist” letters to three Texas ISDs over allegations of “unlawful electioneering.” The school districts have until the close of business today, Friday, to respond to the Attorney Generals Office’s letter.

Citing the Texas Election Code which expressly forbids such action, the Attorney General’s office states in their letters that Brazosport ISD and Holliday ISD “… promulgated and published numerous communications directed for or against candidates and measures.” In the case of Lewisville ISD, the letter alleges that the district “launched an official campaign to ‘change’ the makeup of the Texas Legislature.”

“I ask that the ISDs follow the instructions of the Attorney General and immediately put a stop to this,” said Senator Bettencourt. “As a former election official I encourage more voter registration, but we cannot have the government spending taxpayer monies in promoting one particular candidate over another.”

In the case of Brazosport ISD the district Superintendent advocated on twitter, and official Brazosport ISD twitter pages retweeted, to vote for particular candidates in an upcoming election. “It is not surprising to me that the Superintendent just recently changed his twitter profile information because Superintendents cannot do this,” added Senator Bettencourt. Lewisville ISD widely promoted on their official school websites a video featuring their Superintendent claiming that “…It is time to use your teacher voice and let the Texas Legislature know that you have had enough…they are attacking you and me.”

“It is no wonder that Lewisville ISD has gotten a cease and desist letter from the Attorney General,” continued Senator Bettencourt. “You cannot have government telling people how to vote. These actions, and others, prove that my Attorney General opinion request was warranted.”

Senator Bettencourt (R-Houston) had previous asked for an opinion from the Attorney General on what legal constraints exist regarding a school district’s ability to spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising or communications designed to influence voters to vote for or against a particular measure or candidate and whether a school district providing or securing transportation for employees or students to and/or from polling places is a violation of the Gift Clauses of the Texas Constitution.

Almost 100 independent school districts adopted a resolution that, among other things, called for:

– Creating District communications that encourage employees to participate in voter pledge programs (such as TexasEducatorsVote.com) with a partisan slant and asking educators in these ISDs to take an oath supporting public education and where feasible, providing District transportation to and from polling places.

“I don’t want to hear that there is no political activity in our public schools because clearly there has been,” concluded Senator Bettencourt. “I asked for an opinion because this needs to be stopped now.”

School districts have until the close of business today to respond to the cease and desist letters from the Attorney General’s office. The three Attorney General letters are attached to this press release. The three Attorney General letters are attached to this press release.

The gunman accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school Wednesday had previously attended the school, where he was known as a “weird kid” and “loner” who was expelled for getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new beau, a current student said.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, arrived at Broward County Jail early Thursday morning after federal and local investigators questioned him for several hours. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after being taken into custody “without incident” Wednesday by Coconut Creek police in a Coral Springs neighborhood just a few miles from the high school itself.

Nikolas Cruz was booked into Broward County Jail on 17 counts of premeditated murder. On the right is his yearbook picture. (Broward County Sheriff’s Office/Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School)

“All he would talk about is guns, knives and hunting,” Joshua Charo, 16, a former classmate, told the Miami Herald. “I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”

Police said Cruz, who was identified as the only possible gunman, had been taken to the hospital for a period of time after his arrest because he “exhibited labored breathing.”

The motive behind the massacre was not immediately clear. Lawmakers and officials suggested the shooting may have been planned. Police said they are planning a 10:15 a.m. Thursday news conference. Cruz is also expected to make his first court appeared at 2 p.m.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

A beloved football coach who witnesses said shielded students as a gunman opened fire inside a Parkland, Fla., high school Wednesday, is the first of 17 fatalities to be identified.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team’s Twitter account confirmed Aaron Feis’ death early Thursday morning.

“It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the tweet read. “He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division need the public’s assistance locating Fugitive Randy Paul Moore, who is wanted for Felony Theft (Enhancement).

On Wednesday, December 27, 2017, at approximately 8:21 a.m., fugitive Randy Paul Moore (using fake purchase orders) posed as an employee from a local construction company and stole a saw owned by a rental service company located in the 7700 block of Pinemont Drive. Fugitive Moore is a habitual offender who used the same scheme to commit these crimes, posing as a company employee and using fake documents to steal property.

Fugitive Randy Paul Moore is charged with three separate counts of Felony Theft (with the two or more previous convictions enhancement) under Harris County warrant #1578007, #1575427, and #1574431.

Fugitive Randy Paul Moore is a white male, 52 years of age, approximately 5’11”, 195 lbs., with brown hair and green eyes.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app. All tipsters remain anonymous.

If you have any information about this crime, or any other felony crime, please call Crime Stoppers of Houston. You never have to give your name or any other identification information.Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division need the public’s assistance locating Fugitive Randy Paul Moore, who is wanted for Felony Theft (Enhancement).

On Wednesday, December 27, 2017, at approximately 8:21 a.m., fugitive Randy Paul Moore (using fake purchase orders) posed as an employee from a local construction company and stole a saw owned by a rental service company located in the 7700 block of Pinemont Drive. Fugitive Moore is a habitual offender who used the same scheme to commit these crimes, posing as a company employee and using fake documents to steal property.

Fugitive Randy Paul Moore is charged with three separate counts of Felony Theft (with the two or more previous convictions enhancement) under Harris County warrant #1578007, #1575427, and #1574431.

Fugitive Randy Paul Moore is a white male, 52 years of age, approximately 5’11”, 195 lbs., with brown hair and green eyes.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app. All tipsters remain anonymous.

If you have any information about this crime, or any other felony crime, please call Crime Stoppers of Houston. You never have to give your name or any other identification information.Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division need the public’s assistance locating Fugitive Randy Paul Moore, who is wanted for Felony Theft (Enhancement).

On Wednesday, December 27, 2017, at approximately 8:21 a.m., fugitive Randy Paul Moore (using fake purchase orders) posed as an employee from a local construction company and stole a saw owned by a rental service company located in the 7700 block of Pinemont Drive. Fugitive Moore is a habitual offender who used the same scheme to commit these crimes, posing as a company employee and using fake documents to steal property.

Fugitive Randy Paul Moore is charged with three separate counts of Felony Theft (with the two or more previous convictions enhancement) under Harris County warrant #1578007, #1575427, and #1574431.

Fugitive Randy Paul Moore is a white male, 52 years of age, approximately 5’11”, 195 lbs., with brown hair and green eyes.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app. All tipsters remain anonymous.

If you have any information about this crime, or any other felony crime, please call Crime Stoppers of Houston. You never have to give your name or any other identification information.

On February 4, 2018, at approximately 1:00 AM, HCSO District 1 Patrol Units were dispatched to 11975 Steamboat Springs in reference to a Burglary in Progress. Patrol deputies arrived within minutes and observed a Hispanic male exiting the front door of the residence.

The male observed the arrival of deputies and fled on foot. A patrol deputy pursued the suspect and deployed his Taser. The deployment was effective and the suspect was taken into custody.

Patrol deputies then entered the residence and located an adult male deceased from a stab wound inside the residence.

The investigation revealed the suspect was the ex-husband of the woman who resides in the house. The suspect forced entry into the residence and confronted a male acquaintance of the ex-wife. The suspect then stabbed the acquaintance causing his death.

The suspect was identified as forty-seven year old Jorge Perez Rios. The charge of Murder was accepted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Rois is currently being processed into the Harris County Sheriff’s office detention facility.

Identification of the complainant is pending positive ID from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and notification of next of in.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide investigators have charged two men with capital murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Diego Andrade in the 4400 block of Adonis drive on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at around 4:00p.m.

Investigators say that Julian Xavier Velarde 17 years-old and Roderick Gerome Alexander 17 years-old shot and killed the victim while robbing him.

Surveillance video released on the day of the murder show both Velarde and Alexander running away from the scene.

Both Velarde and Alexander are currently booked into the Harris County Jail.

The case is pending in the 262nd District Court and no bond has set.

Congratulations Mary Benton:

MAYOR ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF PRESS SECRETARY DARIAN WARD AND APPOINTS INTERIM SUCCESSOR

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner accepted the immediate resignation of Press Secretary Darian Ward today and appointed Mary Benton to serve as interim press secretary.

“Darian Ward served the city as a key communicator for many years and has our thanks for working in public service,” the mayor said. “I hope she is successful in her next endeavors.”

After working as a news reporter for KPRC (Channel 2) for 20 years, Mary Benton has served the public since 2014 as a communications director, manager and aide at Harris County government agencies. She is experienced in media relations, community outreach, crisis management, intergovernmental relations and strategic media engagements.

“The addition of Mary Benton to our team brings even more experience and expertise to our work of keeping Houstonians informed about their government’s many actions on their behalf, such as reducing flooding, restoring the city’s financial health, leveraging our status as a welcoming community that is the nation’s most diverse, and much, much more,” the mayor said.

Award-winning short film creator Courtney Glaude releases feature length debut in partnership with AMC Theaters

 

(HOUSTON, JAN.07 2018) – Houston native storyteller and community leader Courtney JáPaul Glaudé makes his feature-length debut with Blink in March. The award-winning writer and producer’s short film, Row, was recently recognized with the Los Angeles Short Film Festival Best Short Drama 2017 honor. With Blink, Glaudé brings his passion for filmmaking to the next level.

 

Blink follows Nailah Belle as she tries to navigate the depths and effect of domestic violence, discovering that the calmest seas are often the most turbulent below the surface. From the outside, the meticulous facade of Nailah and husband Derek’s relationship looks perfect. Those in the community don’t suspect the violence it takes to maintain that immaculate front. Nailah’s class doesn’t imagine that Derek verbally and physically beats Nailah in the endless, and ultimately impossible, pursuit of perfection. Although life may look flawless, Nailah’s story shows how everything can change in just one blink. 

 

Domestic violence affects a startling number of people in the United States, with the National coalition Against Domestic Violence reporting that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. Though Texas family violence programs received more than 170,000 hotline calls in 2016, the topic of domestic abuse still carries a shameful stigma.  

 

The film explores these issues and explores the psychology behind abuse including why someone may turn to violence, as well as the science of behavior surrounding why a person may stay in an unhealthy relationship and continue to be subjected to abusive behavior. 

 

Blink will premiere at select AMC theaters in Houston, March 2-9. It is Green Eyed Theater’s first feature length film, sure to inspire conversation about this important topic throughout the community and beyond. 

 

Green Eyed Theater is a Houston-based independent film production company that recognizes the importance of creative and honest storytelling. 

 

 

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For additional information, please contact Green Eyed Theater at cglaude@greeneyedtheater.com.