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Top Stories: Mayor Responds to Firefighters Lawsuit, Judge Orders to Release Immigrant Children from Houston Shelter, And More

What we’re following at Houston Public Media today

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

On July 31, 2018, Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke with Houston matters about a lawsuit the Houston Professional Fire Fighters has filed against him and Council Member Dave Martin.

Houston Mayor responds to firefighters lawsuit 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA) completely disagree on the way the City is getting ready to approve a ballot measure that would present Houstonians with a choice to support or reject pay parity between police officers and firefighters.

In a lawsuit filed this week, the HPFFA contends that mayor Turner and Council Member Dave Martin did not follow the Texas Election Code when they held a meeting of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee last Thursday to discuss the potential amendment for the City’s Charter that would establish the pay parity.

In an interview with Houston Matters, Turner assured that “almost every measure that comes before City Council, almost of all those measures, go before some committee.”

“All of those committee hearings are put on the website for the general public to see, for people who are concerned about transparency,” added the mayor, who underlined he doesn’t see anything wrong with having held the meeting.

The Shiloh Treatment Center, near Manvel, is one of 32 Texas facilities licensed to care for migrant children who have been separated from their parents.

Judge orders government to release immigrant kids from troubled south of Houston shelter

A judge has ordered the federal government to stop drugging immigrant children without proper consent and to remove them from a problem-plagued south of Houston shelter.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee’s ruling Monday orders the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to move immigrant children out of the Shiloh Treatment Center, located between Manvel and Pearland, and into less restrictive housing unless a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determines that a child “poses a risk of harm to self or others.”

The judge’s order, issued in a federal court in California as part of a long-running class-action case, affects about 25 immigrant children held at Shiloh, a collection of small buildings and trailers on rural land south of Houston with a troubled history.

3 Houston highways named ‘most dangerous in America’

Three highways in Harris County made the list of the most dangerous roadways in America. 

US-59, I-10, and US-290 all made the ranking of the most dangerous highways in the U.S. analysis by ValuePenguin.

Click HERE to read the report.

Santa Fe ISD accepts gun donations 

Trustees of Santa Fe Independent School District where 10 people were shot to death in May has accepted about $220,000 worth of guns, ammunition and weapons training donated for its security staff.

School officials said a group of anonymous locals donated the weapons and ammunition, including eight AR-15 rifles. 

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Top morning stories:

Firefighters sue mayor, council member

Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, speaks at a press conference held at the entrance to the City Hall Annex building, in downtown Houston.
Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, speaks at a press conference held at the entrance to the City Hall Annex building, in downtown Houston in August of 2017.

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is suing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council Member Dave Martin, accusing the two of violating the Texas Election Code.

The suit alleges city resources, like press conferences hosted on the city’s website, were used to campaign against a ballot initiative that would raise firefighter salaries to match those of Houston police of comparable rank.

A spokesperson for Mayor Turner said a statement is not yet available. Houston Public Media has also reached out to Council Member Martin.

Houston ISD may freeze teacher pay

Houston ISD teachers may see their salaries frozen for the coming 2018-2019 school year at the same level as last year. The Houston Chronicle reports the district’s compensation proposal for this year prevents any salary increases. The plan is up for a vote next week.

Energy companies feeling impacts of steel tariffs

As the Trump Administration slogs through more than 20,000 requests for waivers from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the tariffs are already impacting the energy sector.  

Teachers turn to storytelling and play to help kids affected by Harvey

Early education teachers who are gearing up for back-to-school are also getting prepared for students to have lingering anxiety and other emotions from Hurricane Harvey. Instead of traditional toys, early education experts are recommending teachers provide things like sponges, rubber gloves, or hammers to help children process rebuilding.

Harvey anger as an election tactic? Not so fast.

Numerous Houston-area Democrats running for office this year are blaming incumbent Republicans for the slow pace of action on Harvey relief and flood mitigation. However, political analysts say much of that energy is falling off.

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