News For Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Con Jobs

Criminal records don't always exclude job applicants from working with the most vulnerable foster care children, according to a Texas Tribune/Houston Chronicle investigation. At Daystar Residential Inc., where workers forced developmentally disabled girls to fight each other, dozens made it through the state's background check process in the last three years despite records of arrests.

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Down in the Valley

Last week State Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, was indicted on charges she engaged in Medicaid fraud — the second House member from South Texas to be indicted in less than a year. But their colleagues insist that such corruption isn't a regional thing, no matter what the stereotype suggests.

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Last Call

Tonight is the legally imposed reporting deadline for the next round of campaign finance reports, which is big deal for two reasons: Candidates want to show momentum and credibility at mid-year, and they love having an excuse to ask supporters to pony up before the clock strikes midnight. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

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Oil and Water and Hurricanes

The National Weather Service is expected to upgrade Tropical Storm Alex by the end of the day, kicking off an Atlantic hurricane season that will be different from previous ones in the Gulf of Mexico because of — you guessed it — that pesky leaking oil off the Louisiana coast. Ben Freed of KUT News Radio reports. Full Story 

EPA to TCEQ: Step Off

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t think Texas is doing enough to keep its air clean, so today the agency is expected to tell the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that the feds will take over air quality permitting for about 39 plants. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports. Full Story 
Nick de la Torre / The Houston Chronicle

TribBlog: Lawmakers to DFPS: Tell Us About Abuse

The commissioner of the agency that oversees Texas foster children told lawmakers she regrets not telling them about a 2008 “fight club” involving developmentally disabled girls. She said the agency is moving quickly to address abuse and neglect inside Daystar Residential Inc.

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United States Congress

TribBlog: Nothing to See Here

Federal and military officials say Texans needn't worry about 17 Afghan military trainees who disappeared from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Many of the Afghans, who were studying English, have been located — and they say none of them pose the national security threat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and other lawmakers fear.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

TribBlog: DREAM On

A new poll indicates that, despite continuing tensions over immigration reform, a majority in the U.S. support a path to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants who come to this country as youngsters.

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The Weekly TribCast: Episode 35

In this week's TribCast, Ethe gang discusses the Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi, Bill White calling out President Barack Obama, and Mike Toomey's ties with the Green Party. Full Story