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Carrizo Cane Eradication is Safe and Necessary for Border Security

May 1, 2016

Last Spring, I worked to pass Senate Bill 1734, which instructed the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) to eradicate invasive Carrizo Cane along the Rio Grande to aide in border security efforts. The cane grows in thick patches along the water and is not a natural fixture of the river. In fact, Carrizo Cane is native to Europe and was brought to Texas by the Spanish many centuries ago. Since then, the cane has thrived in the delicate Rio Grande ecosystem, growing up to 4 inches a day and often standing over 20 feet tall.

After Child Deaths, Calls To Fix CPS: More Money Or Better Management?

April 20, 2016

By Jack Fink, CBS DFW

AUSTIN (CBS11) – Urgent calls for changes at Child Protective Services come after four-year-old Leiliana Wright and two-year-old Lyfe Flores died as their families were investigated by CPS.

At a State Senate hearing Wednesday, John Specia, the Commissioner of the Department of Family Protective Services, which oversees CPS, acknowledged in the Dallas area, many caseworkers are leaving because they’re responsible for a very high caseload.

Senators joust over whether to fix CPS with higher pay or better management

April 20, 2016

By Robert T. Garrett, The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN — Senators began wrestling Wednesday with whether to raise caseworkers’ pay or improve management to fix Texas’ Child Protective Services agency.

The agency, already digesting a series of changes ordered by lawmakers at the recommendation of outside consultants, is losing child-abuse investigators at a rate of 57 percent a year in Dallas County.

Senate Committee Scrutinizes Foster Care System

April 20, 2016

By Ryan Poppe, Texas Public Radio

The term “crisis” has been used in recent years to describe the state of Texas’ foster care system and state lawmakers are examining what can be done to fix it.

There were 65,000 cases of confirmed child abuse that were investigated by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services in 2015. That’s down by 14 percent, according to state’s Child Protective Services Division.  

Stop stalling and start overhauling broken foster care system

April 1, 2016

How many children in foster care have to be abused and retraumatized before the state finally realizes it has a problem?

On March 9, a group of dedicated employees from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services stopped by my office to ask for help. They asked: Why is the state paying for an appeal of the Dec. 17 ruling by U.S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi rather than paying to fix the problems raised during the court case?

Everyone has role to play in preventing child abuse

April 1, 2016

When it comes to protecting our children from abuse and neglect, we have a real battle on our hands. Consider the latest data from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

From 2014 to 2015, cases of child abuse and neglect in San Antonio, the largest city in my district, was reduced by 500 — but the total remained at 7,498, or 12 percent of the statewide total. Specifically during the same timeframe, cases of physical abuse (1,170) and sexual abuse (657) rose slightly, while children who were harmed by neglect totaled 5,770, an 8 percent decrease.

In Texas, the total number of victims rose slightly to 66,721.

Message from Carlos - April 2016

April 1, 2016

In San Antonio you know Fiesta is around the corner when April arrives but April also marks Child Abuse Prevention Month. It’s a time to address a very serious issue to make a meaningful impact on children in our community. Click here to see a listing of events taking place to bring recognition to this important month.

Oil and Gas Update - April 2015

April 1, 2016

Crude oil prices remain in the doldrums, hovering around the $40 a barrel range.

Production is gradually sinking as operators continue to idle drilling rigs. In fact, Baker Hughes in its weekly survey in late March reported that the number of rigs at work in the U.S. dropped to a record low of 464, far below its recent high less than two years ago of 1,931. Texas still has 46 percent of the rigs operating in the U.S. but the low price of oil continues to push rig counts lower.

Stockpiles of oil in storage worldwide are at record highs, meaning there will probably be no quick recovery in price unless the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cuts back its production, which is putting an extra million barrels a day into the market.

Child Abuse Prevention Month kicks off with press conference

April 1, 2016

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and who’s-who of local leaders and advocates lined up to remind the public of its importance.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force, a group of local community leaders, organizations and volunteers who advocate for children, offer parental support, and educate the public about the prevention of child abuse and neglect, hosted a press conference Friday to raise awareness and ask the community to get involved with this pressing issue. Also at the presser, the K-12 winner of the Blue Ribbon Task Force’s annual poster contest was announced and named a young BRTF ambassador.

Child Abuse Prevention Month press conference to be held April 1 at the Bexar County Courthouse

March 28, 2016

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and a who’s-who of local leaders are lining up to remind the public of the month’s importance.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force—a group of local community leaders, organizations, and volunteers who advocate for children, offer parental support, and educate the public about the prevention of child abuse and neglect—will be hosting a press conference to raise awareness and ask for community involvement to combat the pressing issue in Bexar County.

Sen. Carlos Uresti, who has championed securing state funding to provide prevention resources, will open the press conference and speak about the critical role the community has in preventing child abuse cases.