New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 26, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2a — Herald-Zeitung — Thursday, May 26, 2005
Owen confirmed to appeals court in victory for Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) — Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen won Senate confirmation as a federal appeals judge Wednesday after a ferocious four-year bat-de, a personal triumph that also marked a victory for President Bush in his drive to install conservatives on the nation’s highest courts.
The 55-43 vote was largely along party lines, and made the 50-year-old jurist the first of Bush's long-blocked nominees to win approval under a newly minted agreement by Senate centrists meant to end years of partisan gridlock.
“We cannot stop with this single step,” Majority Leader Bill Frist said in a written statement soon after the vote. The Tennessee Republican resurrected a threat to strip Democrats of their right to filibuster Bush’s picks for the nation’s highest courts if they violate the 2-day-old accord.
“We must give fair up-or-down votes to other previously blocked nominees," he said. "It is the only way to close this miserable and unprecedented chapter in Senate history.”
“We must give fair up-or-down votes to other previously blocked nominees. It is the only way to close this miserable and unprecedented chapter in Senate history.”
— Bill Frist
Senate majority leader
Democratic leader Harry Reid said he was “ready to put all this behind us and move on.”
“I would hope the president would move on,” he added later at a news conference in which Democratic leaders urged renewed attention to the economy, health care, defense and other issues.
In a statement issued at the White House, Bush said Owen “has served with distinction on the Supreme Court of Texas, has demonstrated that she strictly interprets the law and brings a wealth of experience and expertise” to the appeals court.
“I urge the Senate to build on this progress and provide my judicial nominees the up or down votes they deserve.”
Frist was eager to comply.
He told reporters he intended to seek votes early next month for Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, two other nominees long blocked by Democrats but now protected by Monday night’s bipartisan agreement. Aides said it was possible the two appointments would be the first issues brought before the Senate after an upcoming weeklong recess.
In addition, the Senate’s top Republican said he would press for votes on the nominations of William Myers and Henry Saad — two of the president’s selections who were not guaranteed final votes in the centrists’ deal.
Republican officials also said they expected Frist to push for votes on Brett Kavanaugh and William
Haynes. Both are appeals court nominees strongly opposed by Democrats and have yet to clear the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Beyond that, there is a widespread expectation that one or more Supreme Court vacancies will occur in the coming months, any one of which has the potential to reignite partisan warfare over the future of the judiciary.
The final debate over Owen’s nomination was utterly without suspense following Monday’s 81-18 vote to advance her nomination to the brink of confirmation.
Since her original nomination in 2001, to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Democrats have argued that Owen has displayed a tendency for judicial activism, allowing her own political beliefs to color her rulings. In particular, they pointed to an abortion-related case in which she sided with a minority of the court that wanted to make it harder for teens to have an abortion without parental permission.
Legislators reach deal to revamp workers’ compensation
AUSTIN (AP) — The state workers’ compensation system would create new doctor networks and provide a small raise in benefits paid to injured workers under compromise legislation announced Wednesday that is designed to improve medical care and lower costs for employers.
Revamping a workers’ compensation system that business, labor and doctors all had criticized as too expensive and ineffective in treating injured workers had been labeled a priority for the 2005 legislation.
Workers’ compensation refers to the system meant to protect employees hurt while on the job. line goal is to make sure that injured workers receive medical care, lost
wages and, if necessary, retraining and rehabilitation, so they can work again.
Although both the House and Senate had passed their versions of the bills in March, the two sides didn’t reach a compromise deal until faced with a Monday deadline for the end of the session.
“This agreement represents a major victory for everyone who has a stake in the workers’ compensation system,” Gov. Rick Perry said.
Texas has the third-highest workers’ comp costs in the nation and the highest rate of injured employees not returning to work.
The new system, which awaits final approval and Perry’s signature to become law, will create managed-care style networks of doctors like those
in commercial health plans.
Sen. Todd Staples, who sponsored the Senate version of the plan, said the networks should bring more doctors into the system, providing more expertise for treating injured workers.
Doctors have been fleeing the system in recent years, frustrated by the current bureaucratic system and low reimbursement rates for treating injured workers.
Staples, R-Palestine, said the networks will provide clear coverage guidelines and that market-based rates will be more attractive to doctors.
The current system generally allows workers to pick their physician from a state-approved doctor list. Texas business groups have lobbied for the networks, claiming
that market forces will help drive down costs.
Business groups praised the new plan.
“Injured workers will get back on the job sooner and it will reduce costs for employers,” said Bill I lammond, president of the Texas Business Association, the state’s largest business lobby.
Labor groups, though, remain cautious of the network plan with worries that workers will lose doctor choice.
“The introduction of managed care into workers’ compensation needs to be viewed not as an end, but as an experiment,” said Emmett Sheppard, president of the Texas AFL-CIO. “We are not yet convinced the new system will work.”
Matters of Public Record
Law enforcement officers in New Braunfels and Comal County arrested the following May 24-25, 2005:
Barry B. Beard, 22, Kyle, theft by check between $20 and $500; theft by check.
Amanda Leigh Bishop, 25, New Orleans, La., burglary of a habitation with intent to commit theft; theft by check between $20 and $500.
Oscar Cadena Jr., 42, New Braunfels, assault causing bodily injury.
Shon Essman, 35, New Braunfels, abandoning or endangering a child through criminal negligence (2 charges).
David Scott Falconer, 39, Canyon Lake, motion to revoke probation/driving while intoxicated, third offense or more; unlawfully carrying a weapon; driving while license suspended; possession of a controlled substance.
Michael Rene Hernandez, 31, New Braunfels, violation of promise to appear/driving while license suspended,
Quentin Leon Houston, 25, Seguin, theft by check between $20 and $500.
Robert Medellin, 28, New Braunfels, indecency with a child by sexual contact.
Jason Brent Moland, 29, Canyon Lake, violation of promise to appear; failure to maintain financial responsibility.
Jessica Kristine Munoz, 31,
San Antonio, welfare fraud. Skye Nicole Murphy, 23, New Braunfels, expired license plates; expired motor vehicle inspection; no insurance; violation of promise to appear; public intoxication.
Rudy Vellajo Narro, 42, New Braunfels, motion to revoke probation/failure to stop and give information.
Theodore John Newberg Jr., 44, Canyon Lake, driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.
Betty Lou Nieto, 46, McQueeney, failure to appear/theft by check between $20 and $500.
Greg David Reis, 30, San Antonio, public intoxication.
Alfredo Robledo Jr., 20, New Braunfels, commitment/-motion to adjudicate/burglary of a building.
Lacey Sanchez, 27, New Braunfels, failure to appear/driving while intoxicated.
Shane Louis Stidham, 26, Marion, theft by check between $20 and $500; driving while intoxicated. Kymberlee Elizabeth Wolters, 19, San Antonio, public intoxication.
Nancy Ney Charter School
1195 VV. San Antonio St. New Braunfels TX
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS!
Nancy Ney is a free, public school for grades 4-12.
We use the state curriculum (TEKS), have certified teachers, and offer:
• small classes (typically 13 - 15 students)
•group, individual, and self-paced studies
• a supportive atmosphere for success
• free & reduced meals to qualifying students
Spaces fill quickly with priority given to Comal County residents.
Call for more information or an application.
HOWTO CONTACT US
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Legislative leaders bicker over school-financing bill
AUSTIN (AP)—With the end of the legislative session approaching House and Senate leaders took each other to task Wednesday, blaming each other for slow-moving school finance negotiations.
Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick chided Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a fellow Republican who presides over the Senate, after Dewhurst said the pace of school finance negotiations needs to pick up.
Hie 140-day legislative session ends Monday. House and Senate members have not agreed on education funding, the biggest issue of the session.
Both sides have called Thursday the last day to reach a compromise before it becomes too late to meet various legislative deadlines and adopt a plan this session. Republican Gov. Rick Perry has expressed reluctance for calling a special session.
Craddick noted that the House passed its school finance plan in mid-March, while the Senate finished its version only two weeks ago.
“With that kind of timeline, tensions are running high, and it’s easy to point fingers out of desperation,” Craddick said.
Dewhurst spokesman Mark Miner, responding to Craddick, said the process is moving forward.
“The lieutenant governor remains hopeful a deal can be reached that benefits the children and taxpayers of Texas,” Miner said.
Negotiations had been stalled as the I louse waited for numbers from the comptroller’s office on an alternate business tax plan. Dewhurst said repeatedly this week that an agreement on the business tax could be reached within hours, given the opportunity to work with a “motivated counterparty.”
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THE SAN ANTONIO SYMPHONY PRESENTS
A FAMILY CONCERT SERIES
(EVEN FOR ARENTS).
SAM ANTONIO..............MAY 22 (Sun)
Sunset Station, 5:00 - 8:00 p m.
BANDERA...................MAY 25 (Wed)
Bandera High School, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
NEW BRAUNFELS...........MAY 26 (Thu)
New Braunfels Civic Center, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
BOERNE....................MAY 27 (Fri)
Boerne Civic Center, 6:00 - 9:00 p m
KERRVILLE..................MAY 28 (Sat)
Smith-Ritch Point Theatre (in Ingram), 5:00 - 8:00 p m.
PRE-CONCERT FUN & GAMES:
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