Deal Prospects Dampen In Texas Redistricting Case | KERA News

Deal Prospects Dampen In Texas Redistricting Case

An attorney defending Republican-drawn voting maps in Texas has told a federal court there are "insurmountable" differences preventing a compromise with minority rights groups.

The stalemate Tuesday left the date of the Texas primary in doubt. A three-judge panel didn't immediately address whether Texas can still hold an April primary during a standing room-only court hearing in San Antonio.

The primaries are currently set for April 3, but that date is widely considered no longer realistic.

The Texas attorney general's office and minority groups instead spent Tuesday morning laying out obstacles to a compromise on voting maps for the 2012 elections. David Mattax, an attorney for the state, suggested that differences on one map that draws four new congressional seats in Texas can't be resolved.

AP

Lawmakers back delaying STAAR grade requirements

Four Texas senators support postponing rules that new state standardized tests count toward 15 percent of high school students' grades.

A letter signed by Senate Education Committee chairwoman Florence Shapiro clarifies that Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott can delay requirements on counting the tests toward final grades if he chooses to.

The new test is known as the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR.

Monday's letter says delaying the rule until next school year will allow officials more time to implement it.

The requirement was designed to ensure students take the test seriously but has caused anxiety among parents and school administrators.

The letter was also signed by two of Shapiro's fellow Republicans and a Democrat.

Scott's office confirms he has received the letter, but hasn't commented.

AP

UNT offers tuba serenades for Valentine's Day

Sweethearts in North Texas looking for something a little different on Valentine's Day and beyond might consider a tuba serenade.

Some students at the University of North Texas in Denton offered selections on tubas and euphoniums Tuesday and even a few days past the holiday of the heart.

The annual project raises money for the North Texas Chapter of the International Tuba Euphonium Association.

UNT tuba player Zack Corpus says the program also takes the low brass instruments "out of the back of the orchestra and into the limelight."

Songs offered include "My Girl, "Hey Baby," "When I Fall in Love" and "Earth Angel."

The serenades are mostly offered on campus and in the Denton.

AP

Texas man charged in torture case goes on trial

Prosecutors say a North Texas woman was tortured on a deer-skinning device and chained to a bed before authorities found her and arrested her former neighbor.

Opening statements began Tuesday in Jeffrey Allan Maxwell's trial. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

His defense attorneys opted not to make an opening statement.

Parker County prosecutor Kathleen Catania told jurors the woman's DNA was found in Maxwell's vehicle and house. She said Maxwell abducted the woman from her home March 1 and drove her about 100 miles away to his house in Corsicana, about 75 miles southeast of Fort Worth, and held her for 12 days.

Catania says Maxwell even put the woman in a box when he would leave for errands.

AP