Regional Briefs

Posted on 19 May 2006 at 1:03am
By Staff and Wire Reports

Ellis to press for legislation creating hate crime offenders registry

HOUSTON A Houston lawmaker said he will press for legislation requiring hate crime offenders to register with local authorities in response to the recent brutal attack on a Hispanic teen.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis and local leaders of the League of United Latin American Citizens said Monday they will also work to change the state’s hate crime law so additional years can be added to the sentences of those convicted of hate crimes.

The proposals were prompted by the assault of a 17-year-old at a party last month at a suburban Houston home.

Authorities say David Henry Tuck, 18, and Keith Robert Turner, 17, both of Spring, beat and sodomized the boy while at least one of them shouted racial slurs. Both are charged with aggravated sexual assault.

Austin voters repeal ban on domestic partnership benefits

Austin voters repealed a 12-year-old ban on domestic partner benefits by the City of Austin on May 13.

Voters approved the repeal by 34,949 to 16,687 votes or 68.68 percent to 32.32 percent.

The ban on domestic partner benefits was put in place during the May 7, 1994 election.

Paul Scott, executive director of Equality Texas, said the coordinators of the Healthcare for Austin campaign promoting the ban’s repeal had advanced the fight for equality in Texas.

“Through their efforts, and the hard work of many volunteers and supporters, we are one step closer to full partnership benefits in Texas,” Scott said. “Every success brings hope to our fight for equality.”

Austin to hold 7th annual AIDS candlelight memorial service

The 23rd International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service is planned for Sunday, 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in the southwest corner of Republic Square Park in Austin.

The theme for this year’s vigil is “Lighting a Path to a Brighter Future.” It will feature Mayor Will Wynn officiating and lighting the first candle. He will also read a proclamation from the city of Austin.

The event will include a musical tribute featuring the Capital City Men’s Chorus, the Daniel Link Band and the Michael Clay Band.

Oklahoma attorney general reaches agreement with telemarketers

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has reached an agreement with an Illinois telemarketing company as part of his investigation of a political consultant.

Guardian Communications Inc. will pay a $3,000 civil penalty and won’t face any legal action, officials said Monday.

Edmondson filed a civil lawsuit last week accusing consultant Tim Pope of violating provisions of the Telephone Consumer Act, which requires all prerecorded telephone messages to identify who is responsible for the call.
Pope admitted to The Oklahoman in January he paid for 20,000 calls accusing Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth of “advancing the homosexual agenda in Oklahoma County,” although the former state representative maintains he did nothing wrong.

Texas lawmakers pass bill outlawing protests at funerals

AUSTIN Members of an anti-gay church would be barred from protesting funerals under a bill sent to Gov. Rick Perry on May 12.

The bill would make it a Class B misdemeanor to protest within 500 feet of the site of a funeral service from one hour before to one after a site is used for a service. The House and Senate both approved the bill on May 12.
The measure sponsored by state Rep. Brian McCall does not specifically mention the protests of Westboro Baptist Church. However it was designed specifically with that church, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, in mind.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 19, 2006.

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