Texas civil court judge accidentally resigns

(Reuters) – An April Fools’ Day resignation prank? One Texas civil court judge wishes it were so.

A newly elected judge in Houston accidentally resigned on Monday, according to local media and a county official, after he shared plans online to run for the state supreme court, apparently unaware that the Texas constitution considers such an announcement an automatic resignation.

The Harris County Civil Court judge, Bill McLeod, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Local TV station KHOU 11 News on Monday reported that McLeod declined to comment on the move.

Article 16, Section 65, of the state’s constitution says that a judge’s announcement of candidacy for another office “shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held.”

The county attorney’s office will present the matter to county commissioners next Tuesday, First Assistant County Attorney Robert Soard said in a phone interview on Tuesday. County commissioners, who can appoint replacements, may decide to keep McLeod in office until there is a special election, KHOU 11 reported.

The judge’s supporters have organized on social media using the hashtag #IStandWithMcLeod. They plan to attend the commissioners’ Tuesday meeting and express their wish that the judge retain his office despite his blunder.

McLeod, a Democrat, was sworn in last November after winning the County’s Civil Court No. 4 race with 55 percent of the vote.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Texas Medical Marijuana Advocates Send Pete Sessions Packing

Something remarkable for the future of cannabis is happening in the Lone Star state. Texas Republicans and Democrats moved together in unusual harmony to put cannabis reform in a place it’s never been before: on the table. The Nov. 6, 2018, election put the change in real terms: 19 female African-American judges were elected in […]
Marijuana

Texas Lesbian Couple First to Both Carry Same Baby

Oct. 28, 2018 — Using a special type of in-vitro fertilization, two women in a same-sex couple became the first to both carry their baby.

“This represents the first time that two women have both physically carried their child together,” fertility specialist Dr. Kathy Doody of The Center for Assisted Reproduction, who works with husband Dr. Kevin Doody, told CBS News.

Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter of North Texas had their son Stetson through what’s called effortless IVF, using Bliss’ eggs and a donor’s sperm.

Instead of placing the sperm and eggs into incubators, they are put into a device called an INVOcell that’s placed in the body for five days where the eggs are fertilized and early embryo development begins.

In this case, Bliss carried the INVOcell. The embryos were frozen and one was transferred to Ashleigh, who carried the baby to term, CBS News reported.

The couple refer to 5-month-old Stetson as their miracle baby. “The way that Mr. Stetson came into this world was pretty special,” Ashleigh said.

“This is a revolutionary type of IVF,” Kevin Doody told CBS News. “It’s more accessible, it’s more affordable and it’s truly more natural.”

This the first time the Doodys have had a same-sex couple go through Effortless IVF, but they’ve performed the process for around 200 heterosexual couples.

Effortless IVF typically costs about half as much as traditional IVF, according to the Doodys.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


WebMD Health

Texas: Marijuana policy voter guide released, early voting begins October 22

Our allies at Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy released a voter guide for the upcoming election. Early voting starts today, so please check it out, spread the word, and head to the polls!

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy’s coalition partners surveyed state and federal candidates and provided their unedited responses. They also included voting records from the last two legislative sessions for state-level incumbents.

Find out where your candidates stand.

Early Voting: October 22 – November 2, 2018
Election Day: November 6, 2018

For more information on where, how, and when to vote, visit VoteTexas.Gov.

Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t allow voters to collect petitions to put initiatives on the ballot. Only state lawmakers can initiate changes to the state’s marijuana policies. Who gets elected in November will be key to deciding when and if Texas enacts a medical cannabis law and stops criminalizing cannabis consumers.

So, please get educated and get voting!

Many thanks to Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, Texas NORML, and everyone else who worked on the voter guide!

The post Texas: Marijuana policy voter guide released, early voting begins October 22 appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

Surfer Dies in Texas From Brain-Eating Amoeba

Oct. 3, 2018 — A landlocked surf resort in Texas has closed after a man who visited it died from a rare brain-eating amoeba.

Fabrizio Stabile, 29, of New Jersey, died on Sept. 21 after falling ill with Naegleria fowleri. Infection typically occurs when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s not clear when Stabile visited the BSR Cable Park’s Surf Resort in Waco, but the facility voluntarily closed Friday, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

“The CDC collected water samples and are currently investigating to find the source,” Waco-McLennan County Public Health District spokesman Kelly Craine said. “We hope to have results by the end of the week.”

“They got samples, but they also looked at how the park actually operates: where the water’s coming from, how the water’s filtered, how the water’s treated,” Craine added.

The CDC does not know of any other cases of infection linked to the Texas facility, said agency spokeswoman Brittany Behm, CBS/AP reported.

The amoeba is usually found in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers or hot springs, according to the CDC. Only four of the 143 people known to have been infected in the U.S. between 1962 and 2017 have survived.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Gubernatorial Hopefuls are Open to Messing With Texas’ Marijuana Penalties

As historically conservative states such as Oklahoma and Utah seriously flirt with the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana, one can’t help but ask: Is Texas ready to legalize marijuana in 2019? Probably not, but while the state may not legalize cannabis for adult-use in the 2018 election cycle, voters in Texas are changing their attitudes […]
Marijuana

‘Hello kitties’ turns to ‘beware bobcats’ in Texas

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – With big blues eyes and stubby tails, two kittens taken in by a San Antonio family looked adorable until the fiery seven-week-old felines ripped apart formula bottles and repeatedly bit the hands that were trying to feed them.

Two baby bobcats which were surrendered to an animal shelter this week after a local family brought them into their home, believing they were domestic cats, and were bitten while trying to feed them are seen in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., May 7, 2018. Picture taken May 7, 2018. Courtesy of San Antonio Animal Care Services/Handout via REUTERS

The family, whose name has not been released, told authorities they thought the kittens were the rare and prized domestic breed of Bengal cats. But the tiny felines were actually wild bobcats that were surrendered to a shelter this week, and officials said on Thursday the family was under investigation for possibly violating Texas wildlife laws.

“Bengal kittens look like house cats. They do not look like wild cats,” San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) spokeswoman Lisa Norwood said on Thursday, adding the two species are rarely confused for the other. 

The family initially told ACS workers that they discovered the cubs abandoned in an alleyway. Later, they confessed that the kittens were found by a relative in a nearby rural county and then brought to San Antonio, according to Norwood.

One of two baby bobcats which were surrendered to an animal shelter this week after a local family brought them into their home, believing they were domestic cats, and were bitten while trying to feed them, is seen in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., May 7, 2018. Picture taken May 7, 2018. Courtesy of San Antonio Animal Care Services/Handout via REUTERS

If the family that took in the kittens knew the animals were bobcats, they could face charges for the illegal disturbance of wild animals, authorities said.

The search is on for the cubs’ mother because if she cannot be found, the pair may never be able to return to the wild.

One of two baby bobcats which were surrendered to an animal shelter this week after a local family brought them into their home, believing they were domestic cats, and were bitten while trying to feed them, is seen in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., May 7, 2018. Picture taken May 7, 2018. Courtesy of San Antonio Animal Care Services/Handout via REUTERS

The cubs are being handled with minimum contact so they do not lose their healthy fear of humans, which aids their survival by keeping them away from populated areas, said Lynn Cuny, founder of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, which is housing the animals in a rural area north of San Antonio.

“In raising young ones like this, who should have never been taken from their mother, we have to work very hard to make sure they remain wild,” Cuny said.

“Human beings are not their friends, we’re their enemies,” she said.

If the cubs cannot be reunited with their mother, they will remain for a year at the rescue center’s 212-acre (85.8-hectare) sanctuary and then be released into a protected habitat, she said.

“The best advice is for people to leave wild animals alone, especially babies, because their parents are almost always nearby,” Cuny said.

“Anytime you take a baby wild animal in, you’ve made their situation worse.”

Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Texas Primary Voter Guide

Primary Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, March 6, and voters’ choices will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in Texas. As sweeping change continues around the country, Texans should take a close look at whether candidates will stand for sensible marijuana policy reform.

We’ve done some of the work for you. If you haven’t voted already, please check out our Texas Voter Guide to see where the candidates appearing on your ballot stand on cannabis reform. For more information, including where you can cast your ballot, check out the state’s website here.

If we want to stop the criminalization of cannabis consumers in Texas and allow medical cannabis, it’s crucial that supporters of cannabis reform make their voices heard in Texas politics.

The post Texas Primary Voter Guide appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

There have been no reports of mumps in Texas or any other states in connection with the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship held Feb. 23-25, according to health department spokesman Chris Van Deusen.

Tens of thousands of people who attended a cheerleaders competition in Dallas last month may have been exposed to mumps, Texas health officials say.

After learning that someone from another state who attended the event had mumps, the state’s health department sent out warning letters last Friday about possible exposure to the disease, the Washington Post reported.

“If you, your child, or any other individuals linked to this event experience or have experienced mumps symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider and inform them of your exposure to mumps,” the letter states.

There have been no reports of mumps in Texas or any other states in connection with the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship held Feb. 23-25, according to health department spokesman Chris Van Deusen.

He told the Post that the “incubation period” is nearly over and that the “next few days will probably be telling.” He said the more than 23,000 cheerleaders and 2,600 coaches from 39 states and nine countries have been advised to watch for mumps symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen jaw and cheeks.

Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure to the virus, which is spread by “breathing in saliva droplets of an infected person who has just sneezed or coughed” or from “sharing utensils or cups with someone who has mumps,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

It said there is a vaccine for mumps but no specific treatment, but people with the mumps usually recover within a few weeks, the Post reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Texas Is Pretending to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Texas has been working on making medical marijuana available since a law passed in 2015 that made it legal for people with intractable epilepsy to use it. Now, two years later, it appears Texas is really just pretending to legalize medical marijuana.

Let’s look at some facts: Only people with intractable epilepsy can get medical marijuana. In a state of 27 million people, that only makes it available to around 150,000 people. Furthermore, only people who have intractable epilepsy and meet a number of other specific requirements will be able to get it.

“All authorized patients have to be diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, be under the care of an authorized doctor, have tried two FDA-approved drugs found to be ineffective, and be a permanent resident of Texas,” according to ABC.

It gets worse. The only medical marijuana that is allowed to be sold is an oil extract that cannot be higher than 0.5% in THC, which is not enough to get anyone high (which can have its own medical benefits). Texas currently has eight doctors for the whole state who can prescribe medical marijuana, and its costs around $ 500,000 to get a license to grow marijuana. It’s hard to imagine a more narrow and difficult-to-use medical marijuana program.

Having 2 oz or less of marijuana can still get you thrown in jail for six months in Texas. That’s not exactly an example of a progressive drug law. It’s unclear why Texas passed any sort of medical marijuana law in the first place if it was going to remain so anti-marijuana, but hopefully it will be a step in the right direction. After all, many states that have started with a very short list of reasons you can get medical marijuana have expanded their lists. For now, Texas has what amounts to an imitation of medical marijuana legalization.

[Photo by Ed Schipul/Flickr]

The 420 Times

Texas House Committee Tasked With Studying Marijuana Laws

Although the Texas legislature does not reconvene until 2019, marijuana policy reform is on its agenda in the interim! Yesterday, Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced “interim changes” that committees will look into between legislative sessions — including by holding hearings and reporting back — and one of them is marijuana policy.

The House Criminal Justice Committee, led by Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso), will “study current practices for the enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana” and “examine the use of alternative punishments and improvements to criminal enforcement mechanisms and community supervision.”

The subject is familiar to both Chairman Moody and his fellow committee members. Earlier this year, the committee heard testimony on and ultimately passed House Bill 81, Chairman Moody’s proposal to replace criminal penalties with a simple citation/ fine for low-level marijuana possession. The bill died after it did not receive a floor vote.

Please stay tuned for opportunities to be part of this important conversation between legislative sessions, during which time an estimated 120,000 Texans will be arrested for marijuana possession.

If you are a Texas resident, please contact your legislators today in support of more sensible marijuana policies for Texas!

The post Texas House Committee Tasked With Studying Marijuana Laws appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

‘Cansortium Texas’ Granted First Medical Marijuana License in TX

On Wednesday, officials announced that Cansortium Texas would be the first company to receive a medical marijuana license issued by the state of Texas, after a scrutinizing review from the state Department of Public Safety. #Texas issues first medical marijuana license https://t.co/QamQ3hqmW3 pic.twitter.com/IlRX48QDak — KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) September 6, 2017 Endorsed by the Texas […]
Marijuana