News Roundup: Hearing In Appeal Of Texas Foster Care Decision Begins This Week

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 30, 2018 4:10 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas is back in federal court over a seven-year-old class action lawsuit involving long-term foster care.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack ordered sweeping changes to the state’s system. In her final order, Jack called state lawmakers’ efforts to improve foster care “admirable,” but said they didn’t go far enough to fix what she ruled was an “unconstitutional” system.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately appealed that decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals where a panel of three judges is considering the case.

Austin Bureau Reporter, Bob Garrett, has been covering the case for The Dallas Morning News and is in the courtroom today (and you can read his entire article about the proceedings here.) He explains why Texas says it shouldn’t have to comply with Jack’s order.

“The state is basically arguing ‘federalism’ – that it’s the state, not a federal judge that should be running this child welfare system and that Judge Jack improperly second guessed decisions by the legislature and state department agency heads,” Garrett says.

But the other side in the case isn’t buying it.

“The lawyers for all these children argue the state has had decades to improve these things have been very, very slow to show much progress,” says Garrett.

Garrett explains how the three-judge panel could rule.

“They could uphold Judge Jack entirely, they could pick and choose among her actions, and remedies and findings, and they could say that she’s overreached – as the state argues – and say the case could be dismissed,” he says.

Garrett says that in any of these three scenarios, the losing side will likely appeal the decision to the entire panel of judges at the Fifth Circuit. And, at some point, there could even be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court who may or may not take the child welfare case.

Sunday, space tourism company Blue Origin tested its New Shepard rocket at its west Texas facility. This was the company’s first space mission of 2018.

Marfa Public Radio’s Carlos Morales reports.

After a weather delay and several cautionary holds, the New Shepard rocket was cleared for launch.

 On this flight, Blue Origin was testing the rocket’s system, looking to launch it higher than they had before. Traveling thousands of miles per hour, the rocket reached a peak altitude of about 351,000 feet, which is well above the Karman Line, the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space. 

Blue Origin says after this mission the company is one step closer to flying humans into outer space. In West Texas, I’m Carlos Morales.

President Donald Trump has joined the lineup of speakers at the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Form in Dallas later this week.

CNN was first to report that Trump is expected to address the NRA meeting.

He has spoken at the group’s annual meetings for the last two years.