Local News Headlines–7/19/2013

Governor Rick Perry yesterday signed into law sweeping new abortion regulations.   A short time later, Planned Parenthood announced closing clinics in Bryan, Huntsville, and Lufkin.  Spokeswoman Rochelle Tafoya says only the Bryan clinic provided abortion services.  Tafoya noted the legislature two years ago took away two-thirds of family planning funding. The new state law, scheduled to take affect in October, is expected to face court challenges. The increased regulations affect 37 of 42 abortion providers in Texas.

The Texas House has passed a new funding mechanism for highways, to be decided by voters next year.  Representative John Raney of Bryan supports all money from the fuel tax going towards roads.   The Senate wants to leave the fuel tax distribution formula alone, leaving one-fourth for public education. The House plan calls for making up for school funding through the oil and gas severance tax. Any changes would have to be approved by voters through a constitutional amendment next year.  The measure now goes to the Senate.

And, members of the Bryan Fire Department’s bagpipe and drum band are raising money to go to Colorado Springs in September.  Lieutenant Todd Mack says they will be among 300 musicians along with numerous honor guards at the annual memorial service at the International Association of Firefighters Memorial.  Family members and other city representatives will also be on hand to recognize Greg Pickard and Eric Wallace, who died while battling the Knights of Columbus Hall fire last February.  Mack says Ricky Mantey and Mitch Moran also plan on attending. The band will perform and t-shirts will be sold at a fundraiser to help pay the band’s expenses Sunday evening at 6:00 at Murphy’s Law in downtown Bryan.