Texas Is One Step Closer To Ending Straight Ticket Voting

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 18, 2017 12:11 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 Senate advanced a bill Wednesday that would ban straight-ticket voting.

Under House Bill 25, Texas voters would no longer be able to cast their ballots for every candidate of a single party with the push of a button.

Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said the bill will improve elections in the state. “House Bill 25 will help voters learn about and evaluate candidates as individuals,” he said. “This legislation will prompt voters to be better informed as they cast their votes.”

Opponents like Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, argued the bill is politically motivated. “I don’t see any purpose for this legislation other than trying to dilute the vote of Democrats and more specifically minorities,” he said.

Texas senators will hear the bill one more time before their final vote. Texas is one of only nine states that currently allow straight-ticket voting.

Earlier this week, a big cat made a Houdini-like escape from its enclosure in a Texas zoo.

Now zoo officials are trying to pull back the curtain on exactly what happened.

The Abilene Zoo is beginning their investigation to discover how one of the zoo’s jaguars escaped its exhibit on Monday.

Joy Bonala reports for KACU – Abilene Public Radio that the incident happened early in the morning before the zoo was open to the public. Staff found two-year-old Estrella perched above the neighboring exhibit where she had attacked a spider monkey. She was sedated and put into her off-exhibit quarters. The spider monkey had to be euthanized.

“There have been jaguars in that facility since 1995,” zoo director Bill Gersonde says. “So that’s probably the frustrating thing for us is how did this happen? It’s been fine for 22 years.”

Gersonde says the investigation is underway and a team of staff from the veterinary, animal care and maintenance departments will find out how Estrella managed to escape.

“They’ll take measurements of any gaps or spaces or anything,” he adds.  “Trust me, these people will go through it with a fine-toothed comb.”

Until the problem is resolved, both of the jaguars will be kept in their off-exhibit quarters. Gersonde says the zoo staff conducts monthly drills to prepare for emergency situations like this.

It turns out another Texas animal likes to get out and about – and up, too.

An Austin Golden Retriever named Huckleberry likes to hang out on the roof of his family’s home.

The couple who owns Huckleberry says he likes chilling on the rooftop so much, that they started getting calls from concerned neighbors several times a day.

So they posted a sign to let people know that they know what’s up. It reads: “Don’t be alarmed. We appreciate your concern but please do not knock on our door…we know he’s up there!”