HOUSTON ASTRODOME'S FUTURE
State designation could help save Astrodome
HOUSTON (AP) - The Texas Historical Commission is poised to decide whether to designate the famed Houston Astrodome a "state antiquities landmark," a status that would make demolishing the iconic structure harder.
A vote on the antiquities landmark designation was expected during the commission's Wednesday meeting in the West Texas city of Alpine.
The Astrodome is in no immediate danger of being torn down, despite voter rejection last year of a $217 million bond issue to turn it into a multipurpose special events center. Nevertheless, its future remains uncertain.
The designation would mean any proposal to alter or demolish the Astrodome would need commission approval. While the designation doesn't bar demolition, preservation groups say it would provide an extra layer of protection.
The Astrodome has been closed to all events since 2009.
Senate reprieve for highly contested border bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - A bill to deal with the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border has won a temporary reprieve in the Senate.
Senators voted 63-33 Wednesday to advance the $3.5 billion emergency spending bill over a procedural hurdle.
But with Congress adjourning for the summer within days and Republicans opposed, there was little expectation that the legislation would ultimately prevail.
The bill includes $2.7 billion for more immigration judges, detention facilities and other measures to deal with the tens and thousands of youths who've been arriving illegally in South Texas without their parents.
Republicans say it's a blank check and they're demanding policy changes that would send the migrants back home more quickly.
Poll: Americans cool to border-crossing children
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Americans are wary of granting refugee status to children who are crossing the U.S. border to flee strife-torn countries in Central America. And most in an Associated Press-GfK poll say the U.S. does not have a moral obligation to accept asylum-seekers generally.
The poll found 53 percent of Americans believe the United States has no moral obligation to offer asylum to people who escape violence or political persecution, while 44 percent believe it has that responsibility. And more than half, 52 percent, say children who say they are fleeing gang violence in Central America should not be treated as refugees.
The responses expose a partisan rift, with 70 percent of Republicans saying the children should not be treated as refugees, compared with 62 percent of Democrats who believe they should.
APNewsBreak: Ventura passage to be cut from book
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Publisher HarperCollins says it will remove a passage from the best-seller "American Sniper" that sparked former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's defamation lawsuit against book author Chris Kyle.
A federal jury in St. Paul awarded Ventura $1.8 million in damages on Tuesday, finding that a section of the book defamed Ventura.
Kyle, a former Navy SEAL regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, wrote that he decked Ventura at a California bar in 2006 after Ventura made offensive comments about SEALs. Ventura testified the confrontation never happened.
HarperCollins spokeswoman Erin Crum told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the passage will be removed.
Kyle was slain at a Texas gun range last year.
BAR EXAMS-SUBMISSION DELAYS
Processing issue delays bar exam submissions
DALLAS (AP) - Testing software provider ExamSoft Worldwide Inc. says a processing issue has caused a delay for some bar exam takers in multiple states in submitting their answers.
Vice president of marketing Kenneth Knotts says some test takers experienced slowness or difficulty Tuesday in returning their answers to company servers, though he says the vast majority of users have now uploaded their exam files.
Thirty-year-old Maggie Watson says she took the Minnesota bar exam in St. Paul. She says she tried for hours to submit her answers before they went through.
Knotts says the issue does not affect exam takers' content. He says all the states that had not yet received all exams extended their deadlines.
The Boca Raton, Florida-based company also has offices in Dallas and administers bar exams in 43 U.S. states.
PRIVATE DEFENDER OFFICE
Texas county to create private defender's office
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Leaders of a Central Texas county have accepted more than $715,000 in state funds to create a private defender's office to help poor people.
Travis County commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to accept the money. The Austin American-Statesman reports the nonprofit private defender's office would be the first of its kind in a large, urban Texas county.
Once in place, the private defender's office will assign lawyers in the cases of indigent defendants. The office will also determine pay for attorneys and make a set of standards to measure representation quality. Those are all administrative tasks state and county judges handle right now.
Judges, court officials and defense lawyers must now work on an official contract for approval next month.
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