Five stories that have North Texas talking: laser strikes planes near Dallas; could a casino open in Texas?; Dallas’ anti-discrimination ordinance attracts some heat; and more.
The Federal Aviation Administration says three different Dallas-bound planes were hit by a laser beam coming from an area near Dallas. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the incidents happened Wednesday evening. A Southwest Airlines plane, Virgin America plane and private business jet were affected. All three were inbound to Dallas Love Field. Both airliners were coming from Austin. Lunsford says the laser came from an area 11 miles southeast of Dallas. He says a law enforcement helicopter was sent to investigate. He says the planes were at altitudes of between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. An FBI campaign last year targeted the illegal use of laser pointers to distract airplanes. Authorities said at the time that instances of the crime had increased significantly since 2005, when federal officials first started keeping statistics. [Associated Press]
- Dallas’ longstanding anti-discrimination ordinance has generated lots of heat this week. On Tuesday, the Dallas City Council decided to make a few tweaks to add gender identity protections. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the ordinance is designed “to allow men in women’s restrooms. The Dallas Morning News reports: In a statement from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, “one that bore the headline ‘Patrick Statement on Dallas Bathroom Ordinance,’ … Patrick yet again insists the ordinance is intended ‘to allow men in women’s restrooms,’ echoing his opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which was defeated last week. He joins state Sen. Don Huffines, a Dallas Republican, in calling for its repeal.” Dallas City Council members say it’s not a bathroom ordinance. “[Dallas Mayor Mike] Rawlings said Wednesday afternoon that ‘our job as City Council members is to represent the citizens of Dallas. While we respect others’ points of view, our goal is to protect all of our citizens, including minority groups.’” [The Dallas Morning News]
- Compare nondiscrimination ordinances and protections in cities across Texas. The Texas Tribune has done some research: “Despite a recent loss in Houston over the city's embattled anti-discrimination ordinance, gay rights activists across the state can still claim successes in enacting protections elsewhere. There are now 10 Texas cities with populations of more than 100,000 that have some rules or legislation in place to protect residents or city employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. For at least a decade, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth have had comprehensive ordinances offering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents some degree of protection against discrimination in employment, housing and other public areas like buses and restaurants.” Learn more here. [Texas Tribune]
- A casino could open in southeast Texas next year. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has details: “A legal challenge from Texas state officials could always delay or derail the plan. But if the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has its way, they’ll be opening a casino early next year on a more than 10,000-acre Indian reservation south of Livingston. … [The casino closed in 2002] after the tribe lost legal fights with Texas officials, who said state law trumped national Indian law and casino gambling wasn’t allowed in Texas. But the tribe now believes it has new authority to reopen a casino featuring devices that look, act and sound like slot machines but really are electronic bingo machines.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- The Real Housewives TV franchise is heading to North Texas. Variety reports: “Bravo has greenlit two more ‘Real Housewives’ spinoffs, announcing ‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ and ‘The Real Housewives of Dallas.’ …’Dallas’ has not yet been cast, though the Southern version of the ‘Housewives’ will follow a group of sophisticated southern socialites who will bring drama to the city’s social scene. The series is said to give an exclusive look into glamorous galas, scandals egos to prove exactly why everything is bigger in Texas. The show is slated to bow later next year.” [Variety]
The Associated Press contributed to this report.