State’s Highest Criminal Court To Review Pay Ruling For Paxton Prosecutors

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 21, 2017 1:26 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 population grew to 28.3 million people this year.

Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the state gained nearly 400,000 new residents between July of 2016 and July of 2017.  That’s the largest numeric population growth of any state. More than 209,000 of those new Texans came from a natural increase – basically people having babies. Roughly 189,000 residents resulted from net migration.

Molly Cromwell, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, says when it comes to migration, Texas was second only to Florida when it came to numeric domestic migration. In total, about 79,000 moved to Texas from other states. More than 110,000 people relocated to Texas from other countries.

There’s a growing push across Texas to change when teenagers start school.

And major cities like Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas already let students get more Zs by starting class at 8:30 in the morning or later. Now, Houston is considering pushing back start times too.

Houston Public Media’s Laura Isensee has more.

“Teenagers have a different body clock than adults. It tells them to go to bed later and get about nine hours of sleep. Dr. Sarah Nowakowski at the University of Texas Medical Branch says when teens don’t get enough sleep it hurts their academics and health.

 “Empirical studies show it impacts academic performance,” Nowakowski says, “it will impact athletic performance, it impacts mental health and increased prevalence of depression.”

Some local school districts are starting to consider this science, like Goose Creek and Houston ISDs, as the campaign called “start school later” gains traction in Texas.

 Yen Rabe leads the Houston chapter of that group and also teaches in Pasadena, “where the start time is 7:15.”

Other districts like Spring and Sheldon start the same time. Aldine is even earlier at 7 a.m. Rabe says she sees how sleep-deprived her students are and how hard it is for them to learn.

“First period students are sleeping, second period and third period, and throughout the whole day,” Rabe says.

Doctors and other experts say students in middle and high school should start school after eight thirty.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said it will take up an issue that could have a big impact on the ongoing securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Several months ago, prosecutors in the case asked the state’s highest criminal court to reverse a ruling from a lower court that was preventing them from getting paid. And that’s a problem that has dogged prosecutors throughout this two-plus-year old process.

During this time, Paxton has been fighting allegations that he misled investors in a company. This happened before he became Texas attorney general. Paxton has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but could face up to 99 years in prison if convicted.

At this point, Paxton’s trial has been delayed three times. The prosecution has also indicated that they could ditch the case if they don’t get paid for their work.