News Roundup: Julián Castro’s Housing Plan Includes A Renter’s Tax Credit

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartJune 18, 2019 12:16 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 Democrat Julián Castro released his plan to address rising housing costs in many parts of the United States on Monday.

The presidential candidate, and former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary, says the first phase of the plan offers ways to end homelessness, and to make it easier for people to pay their rent.

His plan includes the creation of a renters’ tax credit.

“This would provide relief for low- and middle-income renters by creating a refundable tax credit for a portion of rent payments that exceed 30% of income,” Castro said during a conference call Monday.

His campaign plans to release the second and third phases of his housing plan later this week.

Texas will soon kick off a new campaign to raise awareness about firearm safety, urging gun owners to safely lock up their weapons.

As Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reports, it’s part of the state budget Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law this past weekend:

The budget sends a million dollars to the Texas Department of Public Safety for the new firearms safety campaign. It will be similar to previous campaigns involving seat belts and texting-and-driving awareness.

The gun control group Texas Gun Sense applauded the governor for not vetoing that line item of the budget.

The group’s Leesa Ross says she lost a son to an accidental shooting.

“And had there been a program like this when he was a young adult, or even a few years before he died, there’s a good possibility that he would be alive today,” [Ross says.]

The National Rifle Association opposed an earlier bill that would have established a Texas-wide gun safety campaign. But a spokesperson told News 88.7 the NRA has no problem with this program because it includes language that prohibits the campaign from implying that it’s illegal to leave guns unlocked.

The campaign is supposed to start by September 2020.

A Texas longhorn from Alabama has set a new world record for longest horns.

Last week, Guinness World Records announced that the horns of steer Pancho Villa measured a whopping 10 feet, 7 inches.

According to Pancho’s owner, the large boy’s favorite foods are apples and marshmallows.

A Wilson County grand jury has indicted four former La Vernia high school students for their alleged role in the school’s 2017 mass-rape case.

Alejandro Ibarra, Dustin Norman, Colton Weidner and Christian “Brock” Roberts face charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, according to the Texas attorney general’s office.

The indictments came more than two years after 13 students were arrested in the sexual assault and bullying case in which older student athletes were accused of sodomizing their younger teammates.

All of the suspects have denied their involvement.

Meanwhile, several families of victims have filed lawsuits against La Vernia Independent School District.

One lawsuit claims that a coach had knowledge of the assaults and ignored them. Another suit claims they sanctioned the actions and failed to refer the matter to authorities after the abuse was reported to them.

The two civil cases against the district have been consolidated and are expected to go to trial in 2020.