News Roundup: Rep. Says Lack Of Air Conditioning In State Prisons Is ‘Cooking’ Inmates

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 22, 2019 12:37 pm

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

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says installing air conditioning in the state’s prisons and jails would cost a billion dollars. But a state representative who wants to require that all Texas correctional facilities be kept between 65 and 85 degrees isn’t buying that price tag. At a hearing Thursday, Edinburg Democrat Terry Canales told the Texas House Corrections Committee that searing summer temperatures create inhumane conditions for prisoners and guards.

“One of the things Texas is famous for is barbecue. Well, I’ll tell you what else we’re cooking is our prisoners – we’re cooking them alive,” Canales said.

Canales also said Texas has already spent millions in litigation from lawsuits by prisoners claiming cruel and unusual punishment.

A Texas couple pushed the bounds of Petco policy earlier this week. The store says leashed pets are welcome, so Vincent Browning and Shelly Lumpkin brought in their 1,600-pound steer to a Houston-area store.

In a video Browning posted on Facebook, a child calls out in awe as Oliver the steer walks by.

“Hey guys, you see the longhorn?” the child said.

To their credit, the employees at the Atascocita Petco welcomed Oliver with open arms.

More than 50 Texas business leaders are calling on state lawmakers to fund full-day pre-kindergarten. John Cullen with Capstar Partners signed the letter sent Thursday. While he says he cannot speak for the entire business community, he and others believe pre-K is important.

“A group of us have expressed an enormous interest in having funding for pre-K. We’re thrilled with what the legislature has done thus far, and hope we can get the ball across the goal line,” Cullen says.

The school finance bills under consideration in the Texas House and Senate both provide districts funding to offer full-day pre-K.

March Madness continues today as the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tips off. As KUT’s Jimmy Maas reports, at least one Texas school faces pretty good odds.

Baylor has the most wins in Division I, paired with just one loss. It has been been the top-ranked team for much of the season, and earned the top seed in the tournament. The Bears are hosting a subregional starting tomorrow. Their first draw? Sixteenth-seed Abilene Christian, a team making its first appearance in the tournament. In College Station, the Aggies will host their own subregional starting today. Texas A&M earned a four seed, and will play Wright State this afternoon. Twelve-seed Rice is also in College Station today to face Marquette. With a couple of wins, Rice and A&M could be second-round opponents. Seven-seed Texas is in Eugene, Oregon to face 10th-seeded Indiana tonight. Texas schools have won the tournament five times: Baylor in 2012 and 2005, A&M in 2011, Texas Tech in 1993 and the University of Texas in 1986.