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Luttrell works on sports, border security

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morgan luttrell portraitSpecial to the News-Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Morgan Luttrell, Texas 8, spoke out in favor of the recent passage of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023, which ensures that biological females compete against other biological females in women’s competitive sports, not against biological men.

“Biological men have absolutely no place in women’s sports — it is a scientific fact that men and women are biologically different,” Luttrell said. “Title IX established a level playing field for women, but, unfortunately, the Biden Administration is actively pushing a woke agenda that will take away opportunities for women who have worked extremely hard to be where they are, on and off the field. I am proud to support this commonsense legislation that stands up for the rights of female athletes by putting fairness, competition, and safety first.”

The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023:

•Clarifies that a recipient of federal education funding violates Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination if the recipient operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities and allows a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.

•States that sex in the athletic context must be recognized based only on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.

•Clarifies that the bill’s provisions do not prohibit schools or institutions from permitting males to practice against women’s sports teams, protecting the long-standing routine of some women’s athletic programs of practicing or scrimmaging against males.

Elsewhere, during a Committee on Homeland Security hearing which included testimony from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Luttrell challenged Mayorkas on the fentanyl crisis that has been exacerbated by the Biden Administration’s open border policies, and the secretary’s use of millions in taxpayer dollars to prepare for possible impeachment hearings.

“(These crises) are two components of the same problem — a complete and total failure to secure the southern border,” Luttrell said.

“This … has taken a major toll on every state, especially Texas,” he said. “Illegal crossings, human trafficking, drug trafficking, drug-related deaths, and major crimes have all skyrocketed on their watch. Unfortunately, Secretary Mayorkas has done little but rub salt in the wound by spending 3 million in taxpayer dollars to protect his job that he’s failed to do.”

Facts About the Fentanyl Crisis:

•11,249 pounds of fentanyl have been seized so far in FY2023, with 71,238 fentanyl deaths in 2022.

•More than 1,500 people per week die from taking some type of opioid, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, making opioids by far the leading cause of fatal overdoses in the country. (Council on Foreign Relations)

•In 2021, the death toll surged to 80,411, more than ten times the number of U.S. military service members killed in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Council on Foreign Relations)

•Most fentanyl in the United States is smuggled across the southern border. China is still the main manufacturer of the ingredients needed to create fentanyl. (Council on Foreign Relations)

•Drug cartels have been the leaders in fentanyl production. (Council on Foreign Relations)

 

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By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — Constable Sam Houston, San Jacinto County’s animal control officer, now has a place to take the numerous strays he encounters but could use a little help at the new Animal Control Shelter.

The new facility has been open since the end of March at 5480 FM 2025, near the intersection of FM 2025 and FM 2666 by the DPS headquarters.

The building, which has been under construction for the last two years, boasts 32 pens, but Houston said all are not useable because some are open to the weather and rainwater blows in.

He said that hopefully the county can get funds to put up weather blocks, but for now they only can use them temporarily if weather permits.

There are no employees, but Houston said his wife Sandra, who owns Waggin’ Tails Dog Rescue, has a few steady volunteers and three employees who help out.

“We’d like to appeal to the community to call me or Waggin’ Tails, fill out the forms and come and help,” he said, and those interested can call Sandra Houston at (281) 450-3676 for volunteers.

Donations of pet food would be helpful as well, Houston said.

Houston said they will continue to work with Houston humane society to provide regular spay/neuter clinics and vaccination clinics, and there are plans to hold adoption days twice a month.

Plans also are being made for an open house sometime in May.

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Oil recycling comes under scrutiny

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By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners Court’s program to accept oil for recycling almost was cancelled, but instead collections points will be renewed based on recommendations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

SanJacCountySealHowever, at the county’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Commissioner Donnie Marrs said it will eventually cost the county a lot of money to bring the sites up to standards.

The county, which also produces oil for reclamation, uses the used oil in its roadwork.

Marrs said he had some discussions with TCEQ and found the county’s oil reclamation stations are in bad shape, and he’s at the point where he wants the county out of the oil collection business entirely.

Marrs said that according to TCEQ, there is little quality control at the sites, there are additional paperwork requirements that the county is not meeting, and that water used to clean the items has to be treated. He also said that there are some leaks, and there needs to be employee training.

However, Commissioner Mark Nettuno said he would like the program to continue, and that sentiment was echoed by County Judge Fritz Faulkner, who was concerned there would be no alternative would be for the residents, to which Marrs replied to continue, it will cost the county money.

Ultimately, the county took no action, but Marrs warned the county that it would be spending some money soon.

In other business, the county:

•approved extending an agreement with Tyler Technologies to facilitate a transition to LGS judicial software;

•allowed a request for a donation of a 2015 Ford Explorer to the city of Ivanhoe to die without a motion;

•approved the purchase of a 2023 Dodge Charger for $38,000 to replace a police vehicle damaged in an accident;

•declared a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria damaged in an accident as salvage;

•proclaimed April 30-May 7 as Soil and Water Stewardship Week;

•discussed the process for grants and disbursing funds;

•approved bond renewal for District Attorney Todd Dillon;

•accepted a $5,000 donation from the Emerald Estates Property Owners Association for road work;

•discussed policy changes for the precincts’ oil recycling;

•approved rebidding for RAP/Recycle material;

•approved the purchase of a tractor for $155,000 and an asphalt grinder for $75,000;

•approved declaring several office items from the Elections Administrator’s Office as salvage; and

•approved the liability policy of Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge 37 as sufficient to hold an event at the storm shelter.

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School bus safety should not be optional

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GregCapersSheriffThere a quite a few facts regarding school bus safety that need to be shared with government leaders at the county, state, and federal levels.

•Fact: Every day nearly half a million school buses take over 20 million children to school, school activities, and school sporting events.

•From 2011 to 2020 there were 218 school age children who died in school, transportation related crashes and 44 were occupants of school transportation vehicles according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

•School buses are the safest form of school transportation in the US. Deaths and injuries to children riding school buses could be reduced even more, however, if children were required to wear three-point seatbelts on school buses, as seatbelts further enhance protection already provided by compartmentalization.

•While laws across the nation require passengers in cars to buckle up, federal regulations only require seatbelts on small school buses under 10,000 pounds. Only 12 states have passed a variety of laws requiring school buses to be equipped with seatbelts.

•Nonprofit organizations, including the National Safety Council, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have for years encouraged the use of seatbelts on school buses.

•The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has “recommended” that all new school buses be required to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder belt, collision, avoidance systems, and automatic emergency braking technologies.

•The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “recommends” the use of stop-arm cameras to reduce the illegal passing of school buses and increase stop arm compliance.

The Traffic Safety Committee of the National Sheriffs Association, on which have served for nearly a decade, has recommended the following position be adopted at the earliest possible time.

•That The National Sheriff’s Association call upon Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to adopt regulations, mandating collision avoidance system, and automatic emergency braking technologies to be standard equipment on all new school buses.

•The National Sheriff’s Association encourages school districts and bus operators to consider the safety potential for purchasing new school buses equipped with three-point seatbelts and stop-arm cameras, and/or retrofitting existing school buses wherever and wherever possible.

The National Sheriff’s Association and I will call upon Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to adopt regulations, mandating collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking technologies to be standard equipment on all new school buses in all 50 states, and to retrofit all existing school buses, whenever and wherever possible.

Texas law requires school districts to ensure that new school buses have three-point shoulder-to-seat seatbelts, subject to approval by local jurisdictions. Also, school districts and local governments are allowed to install school bus cameras to capture moving violations related to stopping for school buses.

Please feel free to reach out to the following US governmental agencies where you can voice your support in adopting regulations mandating three-point safety belts, collision avoidance systems, and automatic emergency braking technology to be standard equipment for the new school buses.

•National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (888-327-4236))

•National Safety Council (800-621-7615)

•National Transportation Safety Board (202-314-6000)

Another effective means of bringing about change at the federal level is to contact your elected senators and representatives. If you are unsure of who represents you at the federal level, use the following links to locate your representatives:

•The U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov

•The House of representatives: www.house.gov

When I mentioned previously that we all need to sound the alarm with our government leaders I do not mean just to make them aware of these facts, but demand that action be taken, culminating in laws being enacted nationwide to provide for the safety of our children.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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Council pays closer attention to rules

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coldspringcityBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council will enhance efforts to ensure hotel-motel tax regulations are followed, and that food trucks abide by sanitation rules.

Mayor John Benestante said that according to state law, motel residents who indicated to the establishment they intend to be a long-term resident, regardless of time period, will sign a statement to the hotel to rent room as a residence, and are not subject to the tax.

However, he said that non-payment for the room will revoke the resident status. Benestante also said that bed and breakfast establishments also are required to pay the taxes.

So far, the taxes have been paid appropriately, and the council will continue to ensure hotel owners pay what is owed.

Benestante also said that he became aware that food trucks are heavily inspected and licensed by state but must remain mobile to qualify. Should a food truck become permanent, then the city will consider them a permanent restaurant and subject to the city’s grease disposal regulations.

In other business, the council:

•discussed finances at the wastewater plant, which for the first time broke even;

•discussed a derelict property at the corner of Highway 150 and Parker Street at which the resident was piling trash in rear of residence, and occasionally burning it causing a stench. The council will serve the property owners with a notice of violation;

•adopted a purchasing policy, which will help with federal grants to show it is in place; and

•discussed the negotiations with schools on purchasing a 10-acre plot.

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