The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has launched a new political action committee. He’s calling the group “Opportunity First,” a slogan Castro has favored since his days as mayor of the Alamo city. Politico reports that the group will support candidates for local, state, and federal office, and could finance other political endeavors for Castro – like a possible 2020 presidential run.
Castro gained national attention with his keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic national convention, and at one point was rumored to be a contender for a spot as Hillary Clinton’s running mate – a nomination that ultimately went to Virginia senator Tim Kaine.
The former HUD secretary is one of a handful of potential Democratic presidential hopefuls to form PACs in recent months.
Yesterday, three City of Houston employees filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to preserve spousal benefits for same-sex couples. The lawsuit comes as Houston defends its right to grant benefits to LGBT couples against a challenge in Texas state court. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider has more:
LGBT civil rights organization Lambda Legal filed the suit on behalf of the three city employees. All three married their spouses before 2015, when the U-S Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
“States are looking for ways, who don’t like the decision to kind of worm around it and limit it, and we just want the federal courts to put a stop to that now,” says Kenneth Upton, senior council for Lambda Legal. “And that’s what this lawsuit is attempting to do – is saying, look, this ultimately is a matter of federal law. Let’s get this resolved once and for all.”
A pair of Houston taxpayers are suing the city, arguing the city broke Texas law by using tax dollars to pay same-sex spousal benefits. Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling in favor of the city.
Houston officials did not respond to a request for comment on the Lambda Legal suit by airtime. However, at the time of the state Supreme Court ruling, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will continue to pay spousal benefits to all eligible employees.
Yesterday a state appeals court upheld a 99-year prison sentence given to Bernie Tiede for the 1996 murder of his companion, Marjorie Nugent.
Tiede was appealing to ask for yet another trial in the case – he’s already been sentenced twice for the shooting death of his full-time companion. The case originally gained widespread attention when it became subject of a 2011 Richard Linklater dark comedy, starring Jack Black as Tiede and Shirley McLaine as Nugent.