Five stories that have North Texas talking: Plano lawmaker calls for new rules on fowl ownership; Rick Perry placed on National Security Council; the state Capitol turns hot pink; and more.
It’s 2017, and the city of Plano doesn’t allow people (without agriculturally zoned property) to have chickens in their backyard. That’s something one Plano representative wants to change this session.
The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed a bill by Van Taylor, R-Plano, that wouldn’t let cities prohibit residents from owning chickens, as long as they owned six or fewer, The Dallas Morning News reports. Senate Bill 1620, which passed by a 30-0 vote Wednesday, would give cities the power to ban rooster ownership as well as prohibit breeding and set and enforce coop standards.
In Dallas, residents are allowed to have chickens but not roosters. And in Irving, feathers have been ruffled for over a year on the issue. The city will have a final vote on its policy today, according to the Morning News. As for Taylor’s bill, it moves onto the House for more debate. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Rick Perry will fill the vacancy left by Steve Bannon on the National Security Council. Bannon’s removal was announced Wednesday, just months after he was elevated to the controversial position. Trump's chief strategist will no longer be a regular attendee of the principals committee of the NSC, but he will retain his role as senior adviser for domestic affairs, NPR reports. A senior White House official said Wednesday that Bannon was placed on the NSC after Trump's inauguration “to ensure implementation of the president's vision, including efforts to downsize and streamline operations at the NSC,” the Associated Press reports. It was also announced Wednesday that Energy Secretary Rick Perry was added to the council. [NPR, AP]
- Minority areas in Texas could be paying much higher car insurance rates than white areas facing the same risk. ProPublica and Consumer Reports published an analysis Wednesday based on insurance data in California, Illinois, Missouri and Texas detailing insurance claims payments by zip code. In Texas, more than half of the insurers charged rates that were at least 10 percent higher in minority areas. The Associated Press reports: “The Insurance Information Institute trade group disputed the report's findings after hiring an independent expert to review the data it's based on. The group's chief actuary, James Lynch, said the analysis in the report doesn't account for other factors that can affect insurance rates.” [AP]
- Dallas will deploy mental health professionals with specially trained police officers to respond to crises involving people with mental illness. As part of a new $7 million, grant-funded program, these responders will help de-escalate situations and consult clinicians before determining whether to send those who are mentally ill to jail, to the emergency room or reconnect them with family, as KERA’s Stephanie Kuo reports. The goal of the program is to make treatment easier for people with mental illness who are disproportionately routed to jail or emergency services. The Dallas County jail is the second largest mental health treatment facility in Texas. [KERA News]
- The Texas Capitol was washed in a sea of hot pink as 400 Planned Parenthood supporters rallied Wednesday. During the hourlong event, speakers, including former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, talked about the negative consequences for low-income people, people of color, immigrants and the LGBT community if Planned Parenthood clinics were gone, The Texas Tribune reports. “In Texas, which has long been controlled by Republicans, state officials are seeking to remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people and the disabled.” [The Texas Tribune]
.@PPTXVotes @wendydavis @yvogutie @GregAbbott_TX @DanPatrick @NLIRH .@wendydavis said crowd is "fighting for the people who don't have the privilege of showing up to the Texas Capitol today." #txlege pic.twitter.com/C099x2TUvt
— Marissa Evans (@marissaaevans) April 5, 2017
The High Five is KERA's daily roundup of news stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.