Five stories that have North Texas talking: an execution is delayed; the Texas Senate approves a bill that would allow the open carry of handguns; SXSW continues; and more.
An East Texas man set for execution this week for a shootout eight years ago that left two sheriff's officers dead has won a reprieve from the state's highest criminal appeals court. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals late Monday stopped the scheduled execution of 55-year-old Randall Wayne Mays. The ruling means Mays will not be executed Wednesday evening for the fatal shootings at his home in Henderson County. The court agreed with Mays' lawyers that additional review is needed to determine if Mays is mentally competent for execution. His punishment would have depleted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's supply of pentobarbital used for lethal injections and now difficult to obtain for capital punishment. The decision leaves Texas with enough for the next execution, scheduled for April 9. [Associated Press]
- The Texas Senate approved a bill that would allow the open carry of handguns in the state. The Texas Tribune reports: “A bill lifting some of the state's restrictions on handguns cleared the Texas Senate along a party line vote of 20 to 11 Monday. Senate Bill 17, from state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, would allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry holstered handguns openly. It is the first measure to come to the Senate floor not related to Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency items. After the upper chamber takes a final vote on the measure, it will head to the House. State law currently allows the open carrying of long guns like rifles and shotguns. Handguns may only be carried in a concealed fashion by those who obtain a license.” [Texas Tribune]
- SXSW continues in Austin – and KERA staffers have been blogging up a storm. Stephen Becker goes behind the scenes of “House of Cards.” Alan Melson reports that for computers, our evolving language gets “lost in translation.” Alan shared some SXSW highlights with Anne Bothwell – catch up on that conversation here. And catch up on all things SXSW at KERA’s Art&Seek.
- Creativity takes center stage tonight at a panel discussion presented by the Dallas Architecture Forum. Nathan Huntoon, former director of the Innovation Gymnasium at SMU, will moderate the event. The Forum explains: “How is creativity perceived by these professionals [scientists, engineers, and others]? What can we learn from them? What can they learn from us? What exactly is the creative process and how can we command it?” The free event is at 6:30 p.m. at the Dallas Center for Architecture, 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy., Ste. 100. No reservations are necessary. Learn more here.
- Gov. Greg Abbott has a new puppy. Meet Pancake. (We missed this a few weeks ago when the news was announced, but it’s still worth mentioning.) The golden retriever even has a Twitter handle: @TexasPancake. As of Monday night, She had more than 2,200 Twitter followers.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 3, 2015