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Top Stories

Rally To Demand End Of Government Shutdown, Abbott Promises To Reform School Finance, And Judge Orders Removing Citizenship Question From 2020 Census

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Rally To Demand End Of Government Shutdown

About 60 people protested the partial shutdown of the federal government.

About 60 people rallied Tuesday at Houston's Johnson Space Center to demand the end of the partial shutdown of the federal government, which is directly affecting JSC employees, as well as people who work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at local airports and other federal workers. So far, the shutdown has lasted 25 days.

A potential date for the government to reopen is uncertain because President Donald Trump rejected Monday a short-term legislative fix and dug in for more combat, declaring he would "never ever back down." On the Democrats' side, rank-and-file House members declined an invitation to have lunch with Trump on Tuesday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had given her blessing for lawmakers to accept the White House invitation, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said "unfortunately" no Democrats accepted.

Some of the people who rallied in Houston work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott takes the oath during his inauguration ceremony held in Austin on January 15, 2019.

Abbott Promises To Reform School Finance

On a brisk, cloudy morning, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were sworn in Tuesday to second terms leading the nation's second-largest state.

The state's top leaders, who have been careful to project a united front on those must-do policy issues, promised that this session will bring satisfying resolution to the concerns they said they've heard from taxpayers across the state.

"Today is the dawn of a transformative session that will usher in a new era — a new era for children, teachers and taxpayers," Abbott said, taking the stage after being sworn in by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and the subsequent cannon battery salute.

That goal, in Abbott's presentation of it, involves overhauling the state’s school finance system. The Governor also pledged to "finally rein in skyrocketing property taxes."

U.S. Census form.

Judge Orders Removing Citizenship Question From 2020 Census

A federal judge in New York has ruled against the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count "without curing the legal defects" the judge identified in his opinion released on Tuesday.

Furman's decision marks a significant milestone in a legal battle that began shortly after the Trump administration announced last year that the 2020 census would include a controversial question about U.S. citizenship status. The added question was: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" All U.S. households have not been asked such a question on the census since 1950.

Furman has noted that he does not expect his order to be the final word on the question's fate. The district court ruling in New York is expected to be appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court.



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