Texas Will Not Be Allowed To Import Execution Drug From Overseas

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartApril 21, 2017 11:36 am

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

Texas will not be allowed to import an execution drug from overseas, the Food and Drug administration ruled yesterday.

Two years ago the state tried to import 1,000 vials of the drug sodium thiopental for lethal injections. That shipment was seized at a Houston airport by the FDA, who said the drug was not approved for use in the U.S.

The state says it has used the drug before and obtained a license from the Drug Enforcement Agency to import the shipment.

In a statement emailed to the Texas Standard, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Public Information Office Director Jason Clark had this to say:

“It has taken almost two years for the Food and Drug Administration to reach a decision which we believe is flawed.

TDCJ fully complied with the steps necessary to lawfully import the shipment. We are exploring all options to remedy the unjustified seizure.”

Texas sought the sodium thiopental amid a nationwide shortage of lethal injection drugs, as pharmaceutical companies increasingly don’t want their products used for executions.

According to the Texas Tribune, the state currently has 18 doses of lethal injection drugs in stock.

Over the past few years, Houston has made reducing homelessness a top priority.

Just last week, city council passed an ordinance banning homeless encampments. But as Houston Public Media’s Al Ortiz reports, this latest effort is receiving mixed reviews.

The Houston ordinance outlaws living in a tent, using grills and storing your personal property in a public place, Ortiz reports. The rule says that people who violate it will be guilty of a misdemeanor. The ACLU of Texas contends that criminalizes the homeless community.

Kali Cohn is a staff attorney with the organization.

“As that individual accumulates criminal history, criminal history can be a barrier to temporary housing,” Cone says. “It can be a barrier to permanent housing and it can be a barrier to employment.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner doesn’t agree:

“You can still remain on the street, you can still be … on the underpass, you just can’t have the tent or the cooking equipment or anything that can’t fit in a three by three by three,” he says. “That’s not criminalizing anyone.”

The ACLU considers the best way to proceed isn’t enforcing the encampment ordinance, but rather focusing on the Mayor’s plan to help the homeless, Ortiz reports. That includes providing permanent, supported housing for 500 homeless people.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop in north Texas Thursday as part of a national tour aimed at states that typically vote Republican in presidential elections.

At the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, he encouraged Texas Democrats to build a stronger party and get involved in politics.

“Our job is to revitalize the Democratic Party and make it a strong grassroots party,” he said. “Our job is to get you, and you, and you, to start running for school board, city council, state legislature, Congress.”