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The Lead: Texas Gun Laws, AG Warns About Senior Scam

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for unseasonably warm weather today ahead of a cold front in time for the holidays. Here’s some stories from KUT News, StateImpact Texas and the Texas Tribune: 

“In Texas, five bills relating to firearms had already been filed ahead of the session before Friday. A couple were related to the state’s permit to carry concealed handguns; one would reduce the hours of instruction needed to acquire a permit. So far only one bill, by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Kingland, attempts to expand where a person can carry a gun in Texas. It would allow people with concealed-carry permits or officials, including school board members and superintendents, to bring guns to school board meetings.”

“The attorney general’s office says hundreds of seniors in east Texas were scammed by a company called Syam Tax Services. Spokesman Jerry Strickland said the company sought out elderly Texans at churches and senior residences, told them they may be eligible for cash benefits, and fraudulently filed tax returns claiming refunds in their name, which the IRS demanded its victims repay.”

“When the Texas Legislature starts its new session next month, lawmakers will be taking a close look at the state’s booming oil and gas industry. Some say the industry has grown far faster than the state’s ability to regulate it. Dave Fehling with StateImpact Texas reports that past efforts to improve oversight have failed, but this time may be different.”

“In 2008, when the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas embarked on its mission to cure cancer, the $3 billion program was welcomed with fanfare by voters who had passed a constitutional amendment to establish it. Four years later, CPRIT’s future is far from certain, as the quasi-governmental agency and its fast-shrinking cast of advisers face accusations of impropriety and criminal and civil investigations.”

And here’s more stories around the state and Central Texas:

  • Perry: Texans With License Should Be Able To Carry Guns In Most Public Places (Statesman)
“Gov. Rick Perry spoke in a low voice before a hushed tea party audience Monday evening about the terrible tragedy that unfolded in recent days in Newtown, Conn., and suggested that Texans with gun licenses should be able to carry their firearms in any public place. Perry warned, ‘one of the things we don’t want to see from the federal government is a knee-jerk reaction … that they can come in and think they know the answer.’”

  • Hays Consolidated ISD Votes to Ban Confederate Flag (KVUE)
“‘You can debate it endlessly as to what the meaning of the confederate flag is,’ said Superintendent Jeremy Lyon, who says arguments fall short of the present picture. ‘I do have a great respect for history but the reality is that it's a racially insensitive symbol.’ Which is why Monday night, school board members voted to extend the ban to students. No flags on clothing, cars, anywhere on district property.” 

  • Video: Recovery Continues For Abused Bastrop County Horse (KEYE)

“A horse dragged behind a pickup with cuts so deep, his bone and muscle were exposed – it was a horrible case of animal abuse in Bastrop County that had people reacting from around the country. 

With his wounds now on the mend, Intrepid is absolutely smitten with his new owner. “

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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