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News-Telegram: State News

House committee approves key bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP), The House has passed a bill to keep a few important state agencies operating.

The measure has already been approved by the Senate and will next head to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature.

The unanimously approved bill will keep the Texas Department of Transportation, the Department of Insurance and three other agencies going for another two years.

State law requires the Legislature regularly review and reauthorize state agencies. Lawmakers failed to renew those agencies during the regular session that ended June 1.

Perry called them back to Austin to deal with that and to address transportation contracts and funding.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.


FBI agent takes stand in Dallas corruption trial

DALLAS (AP), An FBI agent took the stand Tuesday in the Dallas City Hall corruption trial, telling jurors that a developer went to the FBI in 2004 with allegations that associates of then-Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill were soliciting bribes from him.

That developer, James R. "Bill" Fisher, became a key witness in the government's case against Hill and others after he agreed to wear a wiretap and become an informant.

The prosecution said Monday that black leaders solicited bribes from white developers, with black leaders saying it was time for the white developers to pay. In a wiretapped phone call, defendant Darren Reagan says, "The game has done changed."


La firefighting crews head for Texas

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP), Crews trained to fight wildfires from around Louisiana are heading to east Texas to help the Texas Forest Service with wildfires.

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says the five 13-person crews were to leave Wednesday with their equipment,  including bulldozers for digging firelines to contain the fires.

The crews will stay in Texas for two weeks. If the fire activity remains high in Texas, then the firefighters will be replaced with fresh crews.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Texas commences special session

AUSTIN, Texas (AP), Texas lawmakers have convened the special legislative session in Austin.

The Texas House gaveled in just after 10 a.m. Wednesday to kick things off. The plan for this session, which Gov. Rick Perry called after the regular session ended June 1, is to wrap things up quickly, the governor says.

Perry called called to extend the shelf life of some critical state agencies and allow the Department of Transportation to issue $2 billion in bonds for building roads. Perry says the unfinished business from the regular session can be done in time for the holiday weekend.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

2 headed to prison for hacking into phone system

DALLAS (AP) — A teenager and a 23-year-old man from Massachusetts are headed to prison after being sentenced in Dallas on conspiracy charges related to a phone hacking case.
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Dallas/Ft. Worth News



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