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Username: Nick Hudson
PersonId: 2098
Created: Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 07:06 PM CDT
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Web Page: https://twitter.com/NickCHudson

Born in 1987. Raised in small towns in Texas. Organized students for Obama in 2008. Graduated from UT with degrees in government and philosophy. Joined Burnt Orange Report in 2012. Managing Sarah Eckhardt's Campaign for County Judge.

Perry: Texas Won't Work With Feds To Prevent Prison Rape

by: Nick Hudson

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:57 PM CDT

Citing what he calls a "counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess," Texas Governor Rick Perry on Friday sent a three-page letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder declaring that Texas would not comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

The Prison Rape Elimination Act was signed by President George W. Bush in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. The purpose of the act was to "provide for the analysts of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape."

Scott over at Grits for Breakfast has acquired Perry's letter to Holder and excerpted it copiously.

Read more below the jump!

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Greg Abbott Intervenes In Suit Involving "Sociopathic Neurosurgeon"

by: Nick Hudson

Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

If Greg Abbott has his way, there will be no justice for victims of a Dallas neurosurgeon that killed two patients and paralyzed four in a series of botched surgeries.

As the Dallas Morning News reports, Texas' Attorney General Greg Abbott filed motions this week to intervene in three federal lawsuits brought against Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano on behalf of former patients of Dr. Christopher Duntsch. The patients allege that Baylor Plano  knew Dr. Duntsch was a dangerous surgeon and it could have prevented him from killing and maiming patients.

The suits also challenge the constitutionality of a state law that requires plaintiffs to prove that Baylor Plano intended to harm patients. That law is part of the Texas Legislature's 2003 tort reform package. The Legislature removed the term "gross negligence" from the definition of legal malice.

Read more below the jump!

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Texas Home To 4 Of 10 Most Income Segregated Metros in the U.S.

by: Nick Hudson

Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 02:11 PM CDT

This map shows how U.S. metros stack up on income segregation. Dark blue reflects high levels of income segregation; light blue significant levels; green moderate levels, and yellow low levels.

Four out of the ten of the most economically segregated large metro areas in the country are in Texas, according to a study conducted by Richard Florida and covered in The Atlantic Cities.

San Antonio-New Braunfels was the No. 1 most segregated metro area in the country. The Houston Area was the No. 4 most economically segregated. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro took the No. 8 spot. And the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro was No. 10.

Economic segregation is a measure of the tendency of affluent people to live in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is affluent, and poor people to live in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is poor. The measure of income segregation reveals concentrated pockets of advantage and disadvantage. This is significant, according to Florida, because concentrated disadvantage has been shown to limit socioeconomic mobility.

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Rick Perry Places Third In New Presidential Poll

by: Nick Hudson

Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

Rick Perry at CPAC 2014
Rick Perry is in third place among the potential Republican field of 2016 presidential contenders, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey.

Perry has the backing of 11% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed. His level of support is behind Rand Paul, who garnered 16% in the survey, and Paul Ryan, who received 15%.

At 11%, Governor Perry received more support than former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee who came in with 10%, Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 9%, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, both at 8%, Marco Rubio at 5%, and Rick Santorum at 3%.

Continue reading below the jump.

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Sierra Club Backs Sarah Eckhardt for Travis County Judge

by: Nick Hudson

Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:48 PM CST

Sierra Club Endorses Sarah Eckhardt for County Judge
Influential organization joins other progressive groups in backing more experienced candidate

Austin, TX-- Today the Sierra Club endorsed Democrat Sarah Eckhardt for Travis County Judge, joining the Laborers International Union of North America, Faith Action for Women in Need, Capital Tejano Democrats, and Yeller Dawg Democrats in supporting her campaign. Sierra Club is the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States.

"Eckhardt's experience with county government—along with her positions on environmental issues—makes her our preferred choice for the County's top office,” said Sierra Club Vice Chair Roy Waley.

Eckhardt's father, legendary environmentalist and Democratic Congressman Bob Eckhardt, instilled in her a deep appreciation for our natural beauty and heritage and our responsibility to protect it. As County Commissioner, Eckhardt continued the family legacy of public service by working to protect finite natural resources.

"I was honored to have Sierra Club's endorsement when I ran for Travis County Commissioner in 2010, and I am just as honored to get their endorsement now," Eckhardt said. "Sierra Club members are on the front lines of the fight to protect our water, air, and open spaces. I look forward to turning their proud history of activism into public policy that serves all the people of Travis county."

A Democrat, Sarah Eckhardt is the only candidate in the race for County Judge with a proven record of winning key environmental victories. Sarah worked to complete the Balcones Canyonland Preserve and brought more trails, parks, and open space to Travis County. She opposed allowing more trash to be dumped in eastern Travis County, helped pass tough water quality standards, and held corporate polluters accountable by helping secure a 3.5 million dollar settlement to clean up Hamilton Pool after it had been illegally polluted. As Travis County Judge, Eckhardt will work with Sierra Club and environmentalists to continue protecting Travis County's natural beauty, finite resources, and heritage.

Sierra Club's endorsement of Sarah Eckhardt underscores that she is the most qualified and experienced candidate and will best protect our environment and natural resources.

"Eckhardt promises action on major issues facing this rapidly growing county,” continued Waley. “She favors a modernized transportation system for more efficiency with less pollution. She will provide leadership needed to protect our vulnerable water supply. She recognizes the global climate problem is real, and wants county government to help out by purchasing more renewable 'green' energy.”

Sarah Eckhardt followed in the footsteps of her father, Congressman Bob Eckhardt, and became a public interest attorney after graduating from The University of Texas School of Law in 1998. Eckhardt has served the public for 15 years. In the County Attorney’s Office, she secured protective orders for domestic violence victims. Eckhardt won a seat on the County Commissioners Court in 2006. She lives in Central Austin with her husband Kurt, who is also an attorney, and her two children, Hank and Nadine. She is an adjunct professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Visit the campaign page on the web at saraheckhardt.com and facebook.com/saraheckhardt


Disclaimer: The author is paid to work on Sarah Eckhardt's campaign.

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Texas keeps pigs cool while prison guards bake and inmates die from extreme temperatures

by: Nick Hudson

Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 03:16 PM CDT

The State of Texas has decided to provide 'climate-controlled' barns for pigs in its agricultural prison program as many prison guards swelter and some inmates die from extreme temperatures in unairconditioned Texas prisons.

The criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast reported last week that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has contracted with Art's Way Scientific, an Iowa-based company, to build six "modular swine buildings" for $750,000. These buildings "are completely climate controlled" according to a statement from the company's President. Art's Way Scientific's website states that its modules are the ideal environment for swine, because "...excess heat or cold will cause stress and can impact health."

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Back to School: Tuition and Fees for Texas College Students Higher Than Ever

by: Nick Hudson

Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:11 AM CDT

While median household incomes in Texas stagnated from 2000 to 2012, tuition and fees at Texas' 38 Public Colleges and Universities have grown by more than 86% over the same period. Students beginning their college careers in Texas next year will pay more for college and take on more student loan debt than every generation of Texans before them.

Texas College Costs 2000 - 2012

According to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, students paid an enrollment-weighted average of $8,073 in tuition and fees to attend public institutions of higher education in 2012, compared with 4,329 in 2000. Weighting averages by enrollment gives a more accurate picture of what the average student pays in Texas, because it means that institutions with larger full-time enrollments are weighted more heavily than those with smaller enrollments.

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Eric Holder: 'Broken' Justice System needs 'Sweeping Changes'

by: Nick Hudson

Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 00:10 PM CDT

Saying that it is past time to correct, "persistent needs and unwarranted disparities" in our Justice System, United States Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called on the United States Congress to end  "untenable and irresponsible" budget cuts and outlined reforms that his Department of Justice would implement to save money and reduce jail overcrowding.

"It's clear - as we come together today - that too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason," Holder told members of the American Bar Association meeting in San Francisco. "It's clear, at a basic level, that 20th-century criminal justice solutions are not adequate to overcome our 21st-century challenges.  And it is well past time to implement common sense changes that will foster safer communities from coast to coast."

Invoking defendants' right to a trial by jury, Holder called on Congress to, "expand existing indigent defense programs, provide access to counsel for more juvenile defendants, and increase funding for federal public defender offices"

Read more below the fold!

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Houston Senator John Whitmire Gets National Attention for Juvenile Justice Reforms in Texas

by: Nick Hudson

Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 00:00 PM CDT

Houston Democratic Senator John Whitmire was in the national spotlight last Tuesday doing something Democratic Lawmakers in Texas don't get to do very often. He was bragging about work done in the Texas Legislature.

In a room packed with more than 150 juvenile justice leaders and congressional staff at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington D.C., Senator Whitmire spoke about the innovative programs Texas has adopted to reduce recidivism and keep children in their communities and schools. Whitmire was selected by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, as one of four panelists to speak about improving outcomes for youth involved in the justice system.

In his presentation (which you can watch below the jump) Senator Whitmire, who is the head of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, confessed that challenges in the adult criminal justice system had absorbed most of the attention of Texas Lawmakers until discovery of sexual abuse at a youth lockup six years ago elevated the relatively small juvenile justice system to a top-of-the agenda priority. "The bottom line is that we were overwhelmed with an adult problem," explained Whitmire "Since that scandal which brought it to our attention, we have spent around the clock trying to reform the system."

Read more below the jump.

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Suburban Poverty Growing Rapidly in Most Major Texas Metro Areas

by: Nick Hudson

Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 02:02 PM CDT

The map of poverty in Texas is Changing. Suburbs, areas next to big cities long associated with wide lawns and middle-class status, are now home to a majority of the poor, according to a new Brookings Institution book.

According to Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube, the authors ofConfronting Suburban Poverty in America, Houston and McAllen were the only major metropolitan areas in Texas where the share of poor in the suburbs were greater than that in cities.

The trend in most major metropolitan areas in Texas, however, has been towards greater concentrations of suburban poverty. In the El Paso, McAllen, and Dallas areas, for example, the share of suburban poor has grown by double digits in the past decade. San Antonio's share of suburban poor stayed about the same, at 25.2%, and Austin's decreased by 8.2%.

Read more below the fold!

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