Bill proposes crowdfunding to fix Texas’ rape kit backlog

A Democratic lawmaker from Dallas has proposed that Texas turn to crowdfunding to help address its backlog of untested rape kits.

LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

State Representative Victoria Neave introduced a bill, which had its first public hearing Monday, that would give Texas citizens the option of donating $1 or more when they renew their driver licenses to go toward testing the rape kits. According to the New York Times, testing a rape kit can cost between $1,000 and $1,5000.

The paper reports that donations would generate approximately $1 million a year, based on a similar tactic previously used to collect money for veterans. Administrative deductions would leave about $800,000 to supplement the budget now in place for testing.

Although the New York Times reports that Texas is not alone in battling a rape kit backlog, the paper says crowdfunding as a state law is a new tactic.

A final vote on the bill will be made before the end of the legislative session in May.

At a local level, Austin has experienced its share of DNA testing woes, including a mismanaged lab, a growing backlog of untested kits and a broken freezer.

READ: 2,200 convicted persons to be notified of Austin DNA lab problems

We may be getting a Texas flag emoji soon, but it might not be because of the Legislature

 

Last week, state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress submitted a resolution to the Texas Legislature that called for “Texans not to use the flag emoji of the Republic of Chile when referring to the Texas flag.” HCR 75 would “hereby reject the notion that the Chilean flag, although it is a nice flag, can in any way compare to or be substituted for the official state flag of Texas and urge all Texans not to use the Republic of Chile flag emoji in digital forums when referring to the Lone Star Flag of the great State of Texas.”

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The Texan flag.

The two flags do look a lot alike (hence the inevitable substitution of one for the other). But according to a Dec. 9, 2016 blog post from Emojipedia, Emoji 5.0 is now available for public review, and a Texas flag emoji is on its list of upcoming features. A release date for the update has not been set, but it will most likely be in the first half of 2017.

A third-party developer has created a pack for all 50 flags and Washington, D.C. which will be available to vendors to see if they want to support those features on iOs or Android. Flags from Scotland, Wales and England are on the list, too.

So, basically, even if that resolution goes through, it might be worthless by the time you update your phone with the latest operating system.

And if you really want a Texas emoji that bad, you can download that third-party emoji pack mentioned above through the App Store here.

 

A Texas representative wants you to stop using the Chilean flag emoji

When Texans text, we sometimes need to express our love of our state. One of the best ways to do that is through emojis. They say so much with so little. Who among us hasn’t substituted the taco, sunset, horse, cow, cactus, avocado or beer emojis for the real thing when we’re trying to make our text messages pop out a little bit more?

Perhaps the biggest expression of Texan pride is invoking the Texas state flag, the old Lone Star. But there is no Lone Star Flag emoji for any platform, according to emojipedia.com. So the solution for many has been to simply use a flag that looks like the Texas state flag.

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The flag of the republic of Chile.
texas_flag__large_by_dallasx
The Texas flag.

The Chilean flag, shown above, looks a lot like the Texan flag, and there’s even an emoji for it on various mobile platforms. So, many people have been using that as a Texan flag substitute. And at least one Texas legislator doesn’t like that.

HCR 75, filed and introduced in the Texas Legislature Thursday, “urg[es] Texans not to use the flag emoji of the Republic of Chile when referring to the Texas flag.”

The resolution was written by state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress. He previously designed SB 978, a bill aimed at protecting patients from a loophole in Texas Medical Board regulation of physicians performing anesthesia in office-based settings.

Notably, the resolution doesn’t call for a Texas flag emoji to be created; it just wants people to know that Chile’s flag isn’t Texas’ flag.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: NFL should ‘govern football, not politics’

Where do bathrooms and sports find themselves together on the field? In a spat between the NFL and the Texas governor, apparently. In an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the NFL is “walking on thin ice” and should “get the heck out of politics,” according to ESPN. Abbott’s comments come after NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday that the NFL may refuse to host sporting events in places that are “discriminatory or inconsistent with our values.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott during the Texas Longhorns against Oklahoma Sooners in the NCAA college football game at the AT&T Red River Rivalry Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas Texas Saturday, Oct 10, 2015. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Texas Governor Greg Abbott during the Texas Longhorns against Oklahoma Sooners in the NCAA college football game at the AT&T Red River Rivalry Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas Texas Saturday, Oct 10, 2015. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Two so-called “bathroom bills” have been filed in the Texas Legislature this session, with backing from by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. From the American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell:

Senate Bill 6 and a similar measure, House Bill 1362, would prohibit public schools from letting transgender children use multistall bathrooms that conform with their gender identity. State government buildings also would be barred from creating transgender-friendly bathrooms, and cities and counties would be prohibited from requiring bathrooms that accommodate transgender individuals.

READ: NFL more forceful on Texas ‘bathroom bill’ after Super Bowl.

Abbott also weighed in on Twitter and invoked the “Deflategate” scandal:

None of the future NFL Super Bowl games scheduled through 2021 will be held in Texas.

RELATED: Dan Patrick unveils Texas transgender ‘bathroom bill’

Texas ranks 15th in online list for immigrants’ economic impact

 

Texas ranks 15th on a recent online list measuring the impact of immigrants on state economies.

Protesters marched from Austin City Hall to the Texas State Capitol protesting Trump immigration policies on Sunday morning, Nov. 13, 2016. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Protesters marched from Austin City Hall to the Texas State Capitol protesting Trump immigration policies on Sunday morning, Nov. 13, 2016.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

California ranked first overall on the list, compiled by WalletHub and based off of qualities such as  “median household income of foreign-born population” and “jobs generated by immigrant-owned businesses as a share of total jobs.”

More: What are sanctuary cities? Here’s a list of sanctuary cities, counties, states

Texas ranked high in several categories, like the percentage of foreign-born STEM workers out of the entire state’s population (6th) and in the share of foreign-born population and the share of foreign-born members of the workforce (both ranked 7th).

More: Abbott makes ending ‘sanctuary cities’ emergency item for state lawmakers

Mississippi ranked last in the study.

Here are Texas’ full rankings:

Immigrants’ Economic Impact on Texas (1=Biggest Impact; 25=Avg.):

  • 18th – Percentage of Jobs Generated by Immigrant-Owned Businesses Out of Total Jobs
  • 6th – Percentage of Foreign-Born STEM Workers Out of Total STEM Workers
  • 29th – Percentage of Fortune 500 Companies Founded by Immigrants or Their Children
  • 24th – Percentage of Jobs Created by Presence of International Students Out of Total Jobs
  • 28th – Economic Contribution of International Students per Capita
  • 7th – Share of Foreign-Born Workforce
  • 7th – Share of Foreign-Born Population

View the full list and its methodology here.