Category Archives: Better Laws

Misusing Painkillers: Dose Of Reality

.jpg photo of TX Ag at press conference
Attorney General Paxton was joined at a press conference by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips.

AG Paxton Launches New Dose of Reality
Website to Educate Texans About the
Dangers of Opioid Abuse

AUSTIN, TX  –  In his office’s latest initiative to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, Attorney General Ken Paxton today launched Dose of Reality, a new comprehensive website to inform and educate Texans about the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers.

The new site is available at DoseofReality.Texas.gov

Attorney General Paxton was joined at a press conference by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips.

“The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids cost lives and devastate Texas families in every region of our state,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Opioids such as OxyContin and hydrocodone are prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects.  When patients are not well informed, these drugs can inflict far more pain than they prevent.  The Dose of Reality website is intended to give Texans the information they need to avoid those unintended consequences.  My office will continue to do everything it can to protect Texans from the opioid crisis.”

Dose of Reality provides individuals, patients, health care providers, teachers, coaches and others with opioid-related resources in one location, allowing for quick and easy access to vital information.

The new website includes details on approaches to preventing opioid abuse and addiction, proper pain management, safe storage of prescription painkillers and guidelines on responding to an opioid overdose.  It also features a statewide take back map of locations that accept prescription opioids for safe disposal.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

Each day, 115 Americans die of opioid overdoses.

Nationwide, there were 42,249 opioid overdoses in 2016, including 1,375 opioid-related deaths in Texas.

The death toll attributed to opioids in the U.S. has quadrupled over the last two decades.

In 2017, Attorney General Paxton and a bipartisan group of 40 other state attorneys general initiated an investigation into whether companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in unlawful practices.  Last May, Attorney General Paxton filed a major consumer protection lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act involving the company’s prescription opioids, including OxyContin.

The nationally acclaimed and award-winning Dose of Reality website was conceived by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), in September 2015 provided to Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota and Nebraska at no cost.  Attorney General Paxton’s office partnered with the Wisconsin DOJ, Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services on content development for DoseofReality.Texas.gov

To view the press conference, click here:
https://www.facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral/videos/381897475701392/

District Court Decision Reversed For PPH

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Planned Parenthood employees admit that some doctors performed abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research.

AG Paxton Commends 5th Circuit
Decision Regarding Exclusion of
Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit after it reversed the district court’s decision preventing Texas from eliminating Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program.

“The 5th Circuit’s ruling shows that the district court applied the wrong legal standard,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”

During oral argument, the attorney general’s legal team recounted raw, unedited footage from eight hours of undercover videos showing violations of medical and ethical standards by Texas Planned Parenthood officials.  This footage was also described in the Fifth Circuit’s opinion.

In the videos, Planned Parenthood employees admit that some doctors performed abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research and would manipulate the timing and methods of abortions.

.jpg photo of fetal tissue
Fetal Tissue Harvested For Research By Planned Parenthood.

The Fifth Circuit included a picture of the fetal tissue Planned Parenthood was harvesting. Federal laws prohibit researchers from performing abortions to secure fetal tissue for their own research under such circumstances, and prohibits modifying abortion procedures to obtain tissue for research purposes.

In December 2016, the inspector general of Texas Health and Human Services removed Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program for the video footage of actions that “violate generally accepted medical standards,” and for making false statements to law enforcement.

Though Planned Parenthood is still under investigation, it receives around $3.1 million a year in Texas Medicaid funding.

View a copy of the 5th Circuit decision here

This Is A Hate Crime

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THIS IS A HATE CRIME…. Hate knows NO colors.

Supporters rally for justice for 7-year-old
girl killed in Texas shooting

Mention of “white shooter” brings out million man march.  Two days earlier a man killed his 3 children, an infant, a toddler, and a 5-year-old, and severely wounded his wife, but no protest nor march.  These crimes are hate crimes!

Suspect turns himself in after killing kids, including baby, at Texas City apartment

HOUSTON, TX  –  Community members rallied at a Texas business near where a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot when a gunman opened fire on the car she and her family were riding in last weekend in an attack that some believe was race related.

The Harris County sheriff has not said the Sunday shooting of Jazmine Barnes, a black child who was fatally struck after a gunman described as a possibly white man in his 30s or 40s opened fire on the family’s car at around 6:50 a.m., was motivated by race, but he has said investigators are not ruling anything out.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Thursday they were focusing “on identifying who this individual is, who this coward is” and finding the red, four-door pickup truck he is believed to have been driving during the shooting.

Suspect admits driving vehicle from which 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes was shot

Jazmine’s mother, who was wounded in the shooting and treated at a hospital and released, said at Saturday’s rally that she appreciates the outpouring of support from around the nation.

“It is going to be justice for her, and I feel it in the bottom of my heart,” said Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington.  “It’s going to be justice for her, because there’s too many people out here looking for this man.”

Washington spoke of the pain of losing a child and said Jazmine’s siblings were next to her when she was shot.  She said supporters are giving them strength.

“My babies, man, they come to me and they’re, ‘Momma, are you all OK?’  … helping me, faith in me.  And it’s supposed to be the other way around,” Washington said. “It’s not supposed to be like this.”

Washington said they did nothing to provoke the gunman, and she believes it possibly could have been a hate crime.

Police on Thursday released a sketch of the suspect and released surveillance video of what they believe is the red pickup truck he was driving during the shooting.

Attorney Lee Merritt, who is assisting Jazmine’s family, said Saturday that he believes the shooting could be race-related, and he said previously that there seemed to be no other motivation for the crime but race.

“There was no other justification or the motivation that the family could identify, other than a white male who was a complete stranger to them decided to target their family,” Merritt said Thursday at a news conference with the sheriff.

“He had a chance to look into the car, see young girls, observe that family, and without any other explanation he decided to riddle the car with bullets,” Merritt said Thursday.

Supporters on Saturday shouted “What do we want?  Justice!  Who do we want it for?  Jazmine!  Say her name!  Jazmine!”  and “Whose child?  Our child!” at the rally.

“However it is defined, it is a hateful and vicious act with violence and guns on innocent women and children driving for a Sunday morning coffee break,” U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents part of Houston, said Saturday.  “That should not be acceptable in this country.”

She called the strong turnout at the rally “a powerful expression of really what America is about, and what this great city is about.”

A reward of around $100,000 for information leading to the killer has been raised in an effort spearheaded by activist Shaun King.

Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal and a Houston police officer stepped up to pay for the girl’s funeral.  Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he will pledge his playoff check to help the family and find the suspect.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter Friday that “Investigators have received many potential leads since releasing the suspect sketch” in the killing

The List Keeps Getting Longer

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Spacey will be arraigned at Nantucket District Court on January 7 .

Actor Kevin Spacey to be charged with
sexual assault

Oscar-winning US actor Kevin Spacey is facing a felony charge for alleged sexual assault of a teenager in a restaurant in 2016, prosecutors said on Monday.

Kevin Spacey scandal: A complete list of the 15 accusers

Spacey will be arraigned at Nantucket District Court on January 7 on a charge of indecent assault and battery, according to the district attorney of Cape and Islands, Massachusetts.

Prosecutors did not name the alleged victim of the July 2016 incident but former Boston-based television news anchor Heather Unruh told a news conference last year that police were investigating a complaint by her son against the “House of Cards” and “American Beauty” star.

Unruh told reporters the 59-year-old had sexually assaulted her son on the holiday island of Nantucket after plying him with alcohol late at night in a bar in July 2016.

Unruh described her son at the time as a “star-struck, straight” 18-year-old.

“Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink, and when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him,” Unruh told the news conference in Boston.

“Spacey stuck his hand inside my son’s pants and grabbed his genitals,” Unruh said. Her intoxicated son, whom she did not name, panicked and froze.

When Spacey left briefly to use the bathroom, he allegedly fled to his grandmother’s house, where he is said to have told his sister what had happened.

Spacey was considered one of the finest actors of his generation.  His career has nose-dived following allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men in the United States and Britain.

The first public report of alleged abuse by him came from actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed that Spacey sexually abused him when Rapp was 14, in 1986.

Bizarre video

Spacey apologised to Rapp, claiming not to remember the incident, but remained silent as accusations against him mushroomed.

As a result, Netflix dropped Spacey from its political thriller series “House of Cards,” and he was dumped from his scenes in Ridley Scott’s film “All the Money in the World.”

Spacey is one of the most high-profile figures in the torrent of allegations that have brought down male power players from the worlds of politics, finance, entertainment and journalism, in the wake of accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein 14 months ago.

As the arraignment was announced, a bizarre video was shared by Spacey’s Twitter account of the actor apparently addressing his sacking by Netflix — while in character as President Frank Underwood from “House of Cards.”

“Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful.  After all, we shared everything, you and I,” Spacey says in Underwood’s signature southern drawl, in the video entitled titled, “Let Me Be Frank.”

“I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of.  I shocked you with my honestly, but mostly I challenged you and made you think.  And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn’t.  So we’re not done, no matter what anyone says.  And besides, I know what you want.  You want me back.”

The three-minute vignette marks Spacey’s first public performance since the allegations against him came to light.

“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with baited breath to hear me confess it all.  They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved,” he goes on.

“Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life,” he says — apparently an allusion to the allegations against both the actor and his Machiavellian character on the show.

Disney Channel Actor Charged With Child Sexual Exploitation

.jpg photo of Disney Actor accused of child sexual exploitation
Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been charged with six felony counts.

Disney actor Stoney Westmoreland
charged in underage sex case

SALT LAKE CITY  –  Former Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been charged with six felony counts after authorities said he tried to have sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Westmoreland was on the dating app Grindr when he found a profile that appeared to be an underage boy but was operated by a police detective in Salt Lake City, near where the show “Andi Mack” is filmed.

He also sent explicit photos, authorities said.

A message left with Westmoreland’s agent, Mitchell Stubbs, was not immediately returned.

Charging documents say Westmoreland was arrested Dec. 13 after he took a car to meet the boy so they could go back to his hotel room.

Charges filed Friday include attempted exploitation of a minor and enticing a minor.

Westmoreland has been dropped from his role as the grandfather of the teenage title character in the Disney show after his arrest.

Westmoreland’s other acting credits include “Scandal” and “Breaking Bad.”