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Sessions Speaks in Houston about Illegal Immigration, Man on Texas 10 Most Wanted List Captured in Mexico, And More

What we’re following at Houston Public Media today

Friday, August 10, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to Attorney’s Office staff and reporters on August 10, 2018, in Houston, TX.

Sessions’ remarks about illegal immigration and crime in Houston are no coincidence

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Houston Friday and talked about how illegal immigrants can engage in criminal activity and praised Texas lawmakers for passing SB4 in 2017, a state law that targets so-called sanctuary cities. A political expert thinks that wasn’t a coincidence.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, told Houston Matters that, although some research studies have concluded increases in illegal immigration haven’t caused crime to go up, what could matter at the end of the day is a perception of whether or not that happens.

“Since the 1990s, crime has fallen considerably and violent crimes have fallen even more,” Rottinghaus said, but “that’s not to say that there’s not a perception that violent crime is increasing.”

 

Man on Texas 10 Most Wanted list captured in Mexico City

A man on the Texas 10 Most Wanted list has been captured in Mexico as part of an El Paso murder investigation.

The Texas Department of Public Safety on Friday announced the arrest of 46-year-old Keith Antonio Boynes . Officials say Boynes, who was wanted on a murder-related charge and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, was caught Tuesday in Mexico City.

The arrest was the result of a tip. The tipster will receive a reward of up to $7,500.

DPS says Boynes was transported to Houston and awaits transfer to El Paso, where he was wanted in connection with an August 2017 slaying at a hotel.

His criminal history also includes arrests for aggravated assault, sexual assault, weapons charges and burglary.

 

Texas releases plan for how more than $209 million from Volkswagen settlement will be spent

Texas wants to use more than $209 million from a lawsuit settlement with Volkswagen to reduce air pollution and help introduce more zero-emission vehicles to Texas roadways, according to a plan unveiled Wednesday.

The state sued Volkswagen in 2015 after the German automaker admitted to selling diesel vehicles that were rigged to circumvent emissions tests, and the next year, Volkswagen agreed to pay Texas more than $190 million, plus $50 million in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees. About 32,000 Volkswagen vehicles capable of emissions cheating were sold in Texas.

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Top morning stories:

Houston School Board Votes to Avoid Teacher Salary Freeze

This new school year, Houston teachers will see modest increases in their paycheck, based on their experience.

The Houston school board rejected a proposal to freeze their salaries and added back scheduled raises for veteran instructors at its meeting Thursday night.

Most teachers will see between $200 and $2,200 more in their salary. It’s based on their years in the classroom, also known as “step” pay scale. Without that compensation, several instructors told the board they don’t feel valued.

 

This booking photo shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis who on August 9, 2018, was formally indicted for the mass shooting that occurred at the Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018.

Grand Jury Indicts Alleged Santa Fe High School Shooter

Dimitrios Pagourtzis has confessed to the mass shooting that killed 10 and wounded 13 at Santa Fe High School.

A Galveston County Grand Jury has now indicted the 17-year-old for “capital murder of multiple persons” and “aggravated assault of a public servant.” The second charge is for shooting a school district police officer, who survived.

Police say Pagourtzis opened fire in the art classroom with a revolver and a shotgun in the morning of May 18. Officers arrived after four minutes and engaged the shooter. He eventually surrendered and was taken into custody.

 

Hurricane Season: Hurricane Alicia

Hurricane Alicia hit the Houston in 1983, the longest hurricane-free stretch in recorded history. The storm inflicted more than $3 billion worth of damage –making it one of the costliest hurricanes to date in U.S. history. The lessons Houston learned from the cleanup and recovery process helped improve its response to later storms.

“Hurricane Season” is an eight-episode podcast that explores how major storms going back to 1900 greatly impacted Greater Houston people and policies. 

🎧Listen and subscribe at houstonpublicmedia.org/harvey

 

Texas Sales Tax Holiday Begins Friday, Runs through Sunday

Texas shoppers will get a tax break later this week as children prepare to return to school.

The Texas comptroller’s office says the annual tax-free weekend, for a number of school-related items, begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

The Texas law exempts most clothing, footwear, and school supplies priced less than $100 from sales and use taxes for the weekend. The sales tax holiday applies to purchases from a Texas store or from an online or catalog seller doing business in the state. Layaways are eligible.

Officials say the tax break could save buyers about $8 on every $100 spent.

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