Around the State

Special to The Dallas Examiner

AUSTIN

The newly formed Purchasing from People with Disabilities Advisory Committee held its first meeting in Austin on Jan. 22. The 13-member committee will provide recommendations to the Texas Workforce Commission on matters related to the Texas Purchasing from People with Disabilities program, which assists individuals with disabilities in achieving independence through productive employment opportunities.

The Texas Purchasing from People with Disabilities program is dedicated to furthering the state’s policy of encouraging and assisting people with disabilities to achieve independence by engaging in useful, productive employment activities. Under the program, individuals with severe disabilities produce products or perform services through Community Rehabilitation Programs. The Advisory Committee members assist in establishing performance goals for the Purchasing from People with Disabilities program and establish criteria for certifying CRPs. Legislation passed by the 84th Texas Legislature transferred oversight of the program to TWC.

Committee members will serve staggered four-year terms and may not serve more than two terms. TWC issued a call for volunteers and committee members were selected after careful consideration of qualifications. Members were introduced at the inaugural meeting and individual terms were established.

The committee will meet at least twice annually and meeting notices are filed with the Texas Register.

HOUSTON

(AP) – Sandra Bland’s family is asking a judge to reject arguments from Texas that state Department of Public Safety reports related to the Black woman’s arrest, jailing and death last summer should be withheld from them.

Texas says it has immunity from damages sought in a lawsuit Bland’s family filed after she died in a county jail three days after a contentious traffic stop.

The state’s lawyers also contend police records can be withheld under a “law enforcement privilege” that protects files in an ongoing investigation.

The latest motion was filed Friday.

The trooper who arrested the Chicago-area woman is charged with perjury for allegedly lying when he claimed in an affidavit that Bland was “combative and uncooperative” after he pulled her over.

A medical examiner ruled Bland’s death a suicide.

DENTON

(AP) – The Denton City Council discussed an ordinance on Feb. 2 renouncing language of a restriction in the 1933 deed between the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery and the city saying burial plots are only for Whites. The ordinance calls the restriction “illegal, unenforceable, unconscionable, contrary and repugnant to the philosophy, principals and beliefs of the” city.

The ordinance noted that the restriction hasn’t been enforced since at least 1948, when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawed racial covenants on real estate.

Councilman Dalton Gregory told WFAA-TV he was “stunned” to learn of the language and backs the ordinance. He noted that African Americans and people from other races are buried there.

Council members voted during the meeting to approve the ordinance, making the plot discrimination illegal.

Civil rights activist Willie Hudspeth, who brought the issue up, said he was appreciative of the city’s speed in addressing it.

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