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Abortion and CSN Houston in Court, The “Divortex” and Hunting: Houston Matters for Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

The back and forth legal wrangling over Texas’ controversial 2013 abortion law continued Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the state from enforcing a key provision of the law, which had effectively closed all but a handful of health clinics in Texas providing abortions. The Justices granted a request to suspend a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit […]

The back and forth legal wrangling over Texas’ controversial 2013 abortion law continued Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the state from enforcing a key provision of the law, which had effectively closed all but a handful of health clinics in Texas providing abortions. The Justices granted a request to suspend a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which, in turn, overturned a district court ruling. Got all that?

At the heart of the legal dispute is a requirement in the law for health clinics providing abortions to upgrade their facilities to meet the standards of outpatient surgery centers. Thirteen such clinics shut down Oct. 3 following the ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss the latest developments.

Then, we turn our attention to another court case, involving a proposal to sell the Houston Regional Sports Network. That’s the parent company of the long-lamented Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership better known as CSN Houston, the channel 60 percent of Houstonians can’t see on providers who aren’t named Comcast.

If approved by U.S. bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur, the sale to DirecTV Sports Networks and AT&T would allow U-Verse and DirecTV customers in Houston to once again see the Rockets and the Astros. The teams support the deal; Comcast opposes it.

Isgur last week ruled Comcast’s decision to place the network into Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than a year ago, combined with other events, effectively rendered Comcast’s contract to air CSN Houston to have no value. That ruling might create conditions where the sale could go forward. Judge Isgur is expected to make that ruling sometime in the next two weeks, possibly the afternoon of  Oct. 28, when the Houston Rockets’ 2014-2015 season begins. (That first game will be broadcast nationally on TNT, but where their next game on the 29th, and all subsequent regionally-broadcast games might air, depends on how the judge rules). If the sale goes forward, Rockets and Astros games could suddenly appear on a re-branded channel called Root Sports Houston. Comcast, meanwhile, could still seek an appeal through – yep – that same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

We talk with Houston Press writer Jeff Balke about the latest in this longstanding battle over the beleaguered regional sports network.

Also this hour: Houston Matters’ Maggie Martin learns about hunting in Houston…Michael Hagerty talks with a Texas-based attorney and blogger about life after divorce, a topic she explores in her book Break Free from the Divortex: Power Through Divorce and Launch Your New Life…and we’ll explore why, for 20 years, Houston area lawyers have been delving into musical comedy.

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