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Top Morning Stories May 26, 2011

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Photo by KUT News
The Senate passed a fracking bill yesterday similar to House legislation already passed. But the Senate bill has an amendment that could stall agreement in conference committee.

Senate Approves Fracking Bill

The Texas Senate has passed a bill that would require natural gas drillers to disclose what chemicals they use in the process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." The House has passed similar legislation. 

The Senate's version has an amendment attached that could stall agreement in conference committee.  The House and Senate versions have to be reconciled before the legislation can head to the Governor.  KERA's Shelley Kofler has more on the status of the fracking disclosure legislation here.

TSA Groping Bill Dies in Senate

Some protestors got heated after the Senate failed to bring up a bill that would have made it a state crime for security screeners to grope people during airport and other security checks.  KXAN-TV has more:

Upon adjournment in the Texas Senate Wednesday night, a few straggling supporters of the so-called anti-groping bill pointed their frustration at Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst from the gallery, shouting “shame on you” and “coward” as members filed out of the chamber. “Dewhurst, good job,” one man shouted. “My wife and children are free to get molested by the TSA.” 

It's unclear how such a state law would have played out as the Austin American-Statesman explains:

In the letter delivered to legislative leaders Tuesday, U.S. Attorney John Murphy of San Antonio warned: "Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law." He noted that the federal government would seek a court order to prevent enforcement of the law if passed, and "TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of the passengers and crew."  

How Many People Live in Texas?

The Census Bureau has released new figures that show Texas had more than 25 million people counted in the 2010 census. That's up nearly 21 percent from the 2000 census.  Hispanics accounted for much of that growth.  Hispanics now make up about 38 percent of the state's total population.

Hays County Amber Alert Canceled

The Amber Alert has been canceled for two Hays County toddlers missing since Friday.  The Sheriff’s Office says Mariana and Jasmine Pinales were found safe in North Austin last night.  The girls were found with their older sister, 14-year-old Kendra Nicole Lee.  Authorities said Lee has a mental illness.  She was charged with kidnapping.