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The Brief: July 23, 2015

Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell last week, apparently told officers while she was being booked that she had previously attempted to commit suicide.

Jamal Bryant, a Baltimore pastor with the Empowerment Temple AME Church, addresses the press with new information about video footage of Sandra Bland's arrest.

The Big Conversation

Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell last week, apparently told jailers while she was being booked that she had previously attempted to commit suicide. 

That information came through records released Wednesday in a case out of Waller County that's drawn national attention. The Tribune's Terri Langford has more:

According to the mental health questionnaire filled out by the Waller County Sheriff's office during her booking, a deputy marked "yes" to the question: "Have you ever attempted suicide?"

The deputy also wrote "Lost Baby" and "2015" in the boxes next to that answer. ...

Bland also indicated to the jailers that she had suffered a loss with the death of a godmother, and that she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and was taking an anti-seizure medication.

However, she was not placed on monitoring as a suicide risk during her three days in in jail, according to the sheriff and district attorney's offices. Using a standardized grid of risk factors, jailers classified Bland as a "medium" risk of assault or escape.

There is a discrepancy, however, as the computer summary of the questionnaire says "no" under a question asking "Attempted suicide?" Officials did not immediately clarify why that discrepancy occurred.

KTRK, meanwhile, obtained a voicemail message Bland left on a friend's machine, in which she says she says she's "at a loss for words honestly at this whole process." Bland's arrest — for a charge of assaulting an officer — stemmed from her getting pulled over for failing to use her turn signal while she switched lanes.

And the Chicago Tribune quoted Bland's sister, Sharon Cooper, at a news conference Wednesday in which she said the video of the arrest shows "the officer was picking on" Bland. That officer has now been reassigned to desk duties.

Trib Must-Reads

Water Board Set to OK $4 Billion in Projects, by Kiah Collier — From pipelines to a seawater desalination plant feasibility study, the Texas Water Development Board is poised to approve funding on Thursday for dozens of water supply projects from Marfa to Houston, including a handful to promote conservation.

State Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Birth Certificates, by Julián Aguilar — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked a federal district judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims a state agency violated the U.S. Constitution by denying birth certificates to U.S.-citizen children of immigrant parents.

Perry Super Donor: We're Not Hedging Our Bets, by Abby Livingston — It's one thing to land a seven-figure donor in the super PAC era. It's quite another feat to nail down a monster contributor who will give exclusively to support a single presidential candidate. One such family is sticking with Rick Perry.

OSHA Chief: Accidents Reflect Lax Safety Culture in Texas, by Jim Malewitz — Federal workplace regulators have slapped three construction firms with penalties totaling nearly $800,000, saying that the companies “put workers in tremendous danger” in Houston-area accidents.

Rick Perry Rips Donald Trump in Washington Speech, by Abby Livingston — Former Gov. Rick Perry unloaded on Republican presidential rival Donald Trump on Wednesday during a speech in Washington.

Patrick Backs Abbott in Line-Item Veto Dispute, by Patrick Svitek — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is backing Gov. Greg Abbott in a growing dispute over the validity of some of Abbott's line-item vetoes to the state budget.


Dispute Over Sandra Bland’s Mental State Follows Death in a Texas Jail, The New York Times

Legal experts: Traffic stop tactics inappropriate, not illegal, Austin American-Statesman

Inside the dispute about Gov. Greg Abbott’s budget power, The Dallas Morning News

Legality of Abbott vetoes remains unclear, under review, San Antonio Express-News

Donald Trump and Rick Perry spar over 2012 support, Politico

Ted Cruz Sits in Judgment of the Supreme Court, National Journal

Trump not likely to receive warm welcome in Laredo, San Antonio Express-News

Videos may bring new arena to abortion provider fight, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Texas high speed rail passes major milestone with first fundraising announcement, Houston Chronicle

Tesla submits plans for commercial buildings on Northwest Side, San Antonio Express-News

Loss of Ex-Im Bank will hurt Air Tractor, other Wichita Falls area businesses, Wichita Falls Times Record News

Mom of McKinney pool party organizer faces eviction from Craig Ranch, The Dallas Morning News

Quote to Note

"Instead of offering those voters leadership or solutions, he has offered fear and soundbites. This cannot stand."

— Former Gov. Rick Perry in a Washington speech Wednesday in which he blasted rival Donald Trump for controversial comments

Today in TribTalk

A dire threat to clean water in Texas, by Sara E. Smith — Polluting industries and their allies in Austin and Washington are working to undo the single greatest victory for clean water in over a decade. They should know that Texans are watching.

News From Home

•      On this week's TribCast, Emily Ramshaw talks with Evan Smith, Alana Rocha and Julián Aguilar about the Sandra Bland death investigation in Waller County, Chapo Guzmán's escape from a Mexican prison and Donald Trump's impending visit to the Texas-Mexico border.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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