News Roundup: Texas Legislator Calls For ‘Emergency’ Fixes To Healthcare For Retired Teachers

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartJuly 20, 2018 11:39 am

The next legislative session is still months away, but a Texas lawmaker is asking Gov. Greg Abbott to move quickly on one issue before the session begins.

Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe reports that state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, wrote the governor asking that reforms to the state’s healthcare system for retired teachers be added as an “emergency” legislative priority. That would allow state lawmakers to begin working on the issue prior to the 2019 session.

“If the governor calls it as an emergency item, we can tackle it and hit the ground running,” Canales said. “And I think … at the very least we owe that to these people. We made them contribute, we made them a part of a plan, we made them believe something and for lack of better terms, we lied.”

At the start of the 2017 legislative session, the funding mechanism for the healthcare system for retired teachers was short by an estimated billion dollars.

State lawmakers that year provided an estimated $700 million in additional state funding, which required the state to raise retired teachers’ premiums and prescription rates in return.

A mosque in east Houston was the site of an attempted arson attack early Thursday morning

The crime occurred around 4:30 am, about an hour before morning prayers were set to begin.

“Someone or some suspects poured an ignitable liquid on the door of the mosque and lit it on fire,” said Rachel Moreno, public information officer with the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office. Moreno added that the damage was minimal because the fire was contained to the front door.

The vehicle belonging to the mosque’s imam was found with all four tires slashed, and investigators think that incident is connected with the attempted arson. Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

The incident comes just three days after a southeast Texas jury convicted a man on hate crime charges, for a fire that destroyed a mosque in Victoria last year.

Vietnam has ordered that a student from Texas be deported, after he was recently arrested at a protest.

A court found Houston native William Nguyen guilty of causing public disorder during a June demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen, whose family fled Vietnam in the 1960s, was visiting the country when he began documenting protests against a proposed law regarding new economic zones that opponents say would be dominated by Chinese investors.

Authorities detained more than 100 people after the protest turned violent.

U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised Nguyen’s arrest with Vietnamese officials during his visit last month, urging a speedy resolution to the case.

Nguyen faced up to seven years in Vietnamese prison.