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Abbott signs border security bills, including designating cartels as terrorists | Texas

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www.thecentersquare.com – By Bethany Blankley | contributor – 2023-06-08 15:28:00

(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed six border bills into law on Thursday that range from designating cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, to creating an interstate compact, to expanding resources for law enforcement.

“Washington, D.C. has failed to do its job to secure our border. As a result, Texas has had to take unprecedented steps in responding to the crisis created by the Biden administration. The Texas legislature has stepped up,” the governor said, by allocating $5.1 billion to the state's border security mission, Operation Lone Star. Last session, they allocated $4.5 billion.

In just two legislative sessions, Abbott said, Texas has spent nearly $10 billion “to deal with the crisis and chaos caused by the Biden administration.”

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He said OLS has successfully blocked illegal entry to Texas using miles of concertina wire as border barriers supplemented by Texas Military Department and DPS officers. These strategies have “directly stopped people from entering Texas illegally,” he said.

“Even though we've done a lot, we recognize more must be done,” he said, including the six bills the legislature passed with bipartisan support. More border security bills are expected to be called as part of a special legislative session, the governor has said, but only after the legislature agrees on how to provide $18 billion in property tax relief. The legislature remains at an impasse on the issue.

Abbott first signed SB 1900 into law, which designates Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. It builds on an executive order the governor issued last September to designate cartels as FTOs under state law. The designation allows law enforcement and prosecutors to pursue higher penalties for crimes, including those related to delivering controlled substances or drugs or operating a stash house. It also allows FTOs to be added to law enforcement agency intelligence databases and local entities to seek public nuisance claims against FTOs operating in their communities.

He next signed SB 1484 into law. It creates a force multiplier by authorizing the Texas Department of Public Safety to train local law enforcement officials “on cartel related activity as well as the best tactics to train on border crimes,” Abbott said. It requires DPS to identify ways that local law enforcement can assist DPS to secure the border and expands collaborative efforts through Texas' border security mission, Operation Lone Star.

Abbott then signed SB 423 into law authorizing the Texas Military Department to use drones to secure the border.

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“They've been authorized to use them for various purposes but we wanted to make sure it's crystal clear” they can do so to secure the border, the governor said.

He also signed SB 1403 into law authorizing the governor to develop and execute an interstate compact for border security among interested states that doesn't require approval of Congress.

He also signed SB 1133, which authorizes the creation of a grant program to compensate certain property owners for damages caused by criminal activities on agricultural land. It allows “farmers and ranchers in border and rural counties much-needed relief from the damages caused by trafficking, smuggling, and bail-outs on their personal property,” the bill's sponsor, Sen. César Blanco, D-El Paso, said prior to the bill passing.

The law allows Texas ranchers to receive up to $75,000 in reimbursement for damages per incident through the program.

Lastly, he signed SB 602 to authorize U.S. Border Patrol agents to arrest people for committing Texas crimes.

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“A request was made to the state of Texas by Border Patrol,” Abbott said. The bill provides that authorization, “giving them more tools to secure the border, powers of arrest and search and seizure for any felony offense under Texas law if the arrest, search or seizure is incident to a containment under federal law and occurs at a port of entry or at a Border Patrol check point,” he said.

According to data from the governor's office, since OLS was launched in April 2021, law enforcement officers have arrested over 29,000 criminals including people wanted for murder. They've also pushed back over 40,000 foreign nationals who've tried to enter Texas illegally and seized enough fentanyl to kill more than everyone in the entire United States.

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The post Abbott signs border security bills, including designating cartels as terrorists | Texas appeared first on www.thecentersquare.com

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Texas News

The town that changed its name for free cable TV

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www.kxan.com – Russell Falcon – 2024-02-24 15:08:00

SUMMARY: In 2005, the small town of Clark in Texas changed its name to DISH in exchange for free cable TV service for ten years from Dish Network. However, the deal only provided basic service for free, with premium channels costing extra. The city hoped the offer would attract more residents and businesses, but the influx was not as expected. The deal expired in 2015, and discussions have been held about changing the name back to Clark or something else, but no action has been taken. Texas is known for its odd town names, including Bug Tussle, Cut and Shoot, Jot ‘Em Down, and Nameless.

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Big 12 men’s basketball matchup: No. 2 Houston Cougars beat No. 11 Baylor Bears in overtime at Foster Pavilion

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abc13.com – KTRK – 2024-02-24 14:58:44

SUMMARY: The University of Houston men’s basketball team defeated Baylor 82-76 in their first visit to Waco in 28 years. The Cougars shot 58% in the first half and led 41-25 at halftime. UH guard Emanuel Sharp scored 18 points, with teammate Jamal Shead adding a double-double. Houston forward J’Wan Roberts scored 17 points. Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter scored 23 points and RayJ Dennis added 21 points. Despite a close finish, Houston secured the win and improved to a 24-3 overall record. They are now at the top of the Big 12 conference standings and will face Cincinnati next before finishing out their schedule in March.

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Oscars red carpet: Top 10 most iconic fashion moments for women in recent years

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abc13.com – OTRC – 2024-02-24 13:00:25

SUMMARY: The Oscars red carpet inspires a fashion fantasy world, with supermodel Roshumba Williams listing her top 10 best-dressed women in recent years. Nicole Kidman stunned in Dior in 2018, Janelle Monae shined in 2020, Gemma Chan made an impact in hot pink Valentino in 2019, and Zendaya stood out in yellow in 2021. Gwyneth Paltrow impressed in a cape dress in 2012, Charlize Theron turned heads in classic black in 2020, and Jennifer Lopez was breathtaking in blush in 2015. Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts, and Halle Berry also made the list with their timeless and memorable fashion choices. The 2024 Oscars will air on March 10.

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