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Top Morning Stories February 23, 2011

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva, courtesy of the Texas Tribune

Poll Shows Growing Support for Casinos in Texas

A majority of Texas voters are ready for full blown casinos in the state.  That's according to a new poll by UT and our political reporting partner The Texas Tribune. 

The pollshows support for casinos in Texas has grown since last year:

In the new survey, 56 percent say they would allow full casino gambling in Texas. Another 6 percent would expand it, but only to Indian reservations; 12 percent would allow an expansion only in existing locations (racetracks), and the rest would either leave the law alone, 11 percent, or ban gambling altogether, 8 percent. That's a combined "no" vote of 19 percent. When we last checked with voters on this issue, in February 2010, casinos had the support of 40 percent of voters, and the combined leave it/ban it vote was 31 percent.  


TEA Laying People Off This Week

Layoffs have begun at the Texas Education Agency, but the TEA hasn't said yet how many people are losing their jobs.  The TEA had over 1,000 employees before the layoffs began.  KXAN TV reports employees notified yesterday were given an hour to pack their things and leave.  The Austin American-Statesman is reporting staff reductions could be in the hundreds.

Texas Executes Father Who Killed Son

Texas has executed a Houston man who fatally shot his 19-month-old son in 2002.  Timothy Wayne Adams was put to death last night for killing Timothy Junior.   This was the state's second execution this year.  From theAssociated Press:

Prosecutors said the toddler's slaying was intended as retaliation by Adams against his wife because she was leaving him. Defense attorneys argued the killing was an aberration in an otherwise law-abiding life. Adams' family had asked that his sentence be commuted to life in prison without parole Last week, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a request to recommend that Gov. Rick Perry commute the sentence to life in prison. It also turned down a request for a four-month execution delay.