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Willie Velasquez Day, May 9th

May 1, 2016

May 9 is Willie Velasquez Day — in memory of the founder of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, and one of the most important civil rights activists of our time. In 2013, I sponsored a bill designating May 9 as Willie Velasquez Day, because I felt it was important to recognize the work Velasquez did to empower the Latino community. And that work is just as important today. There are a few things you can do to honor his legacy: urge students registered to vote to cast their vote in the May 7 election and May 24 run-off elections. Or, you can make a donation to support the Willie Velasquez Monument — an 8-foot bronze statue in Willie's image in the works.

Three generations celebrate scouting in Alamo City

May 1, 2016

By Filipa Ioannou, San Antonio Express-News
Source: http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Three-generations-celebrat...

At least three generations of Boy Scouts turned out Sunday afternoon to celebrate the 100th birthday of Troop 10, the oldest continuously running troop west of the Mississippi.

Scouts, former and current, observed the milestone during a celebration at VFW Post 76 downtown, which, chartered in 1917, is just a year shy of its own centennial.

Oil and Gas Update - May 2015

May 1, 2016

Inventories of crude oil continued to build in April but at a slower rate, causing optimism among traders and sending crude prices to their highest levels since November.

Analysts said production declines and high demand for gasoline are expected to start putting a dent in U.S. supplies that in April hit their highest levels since 1929. But they said an improvement to the $45-a-barrel level is not enough to entice most producers to put idled rigs back to work. The number of working rigs in the United States fell in April to its lowest count since the shale revolution started in 2009. The drop in working rigs continues to cause worker layoffs.

Message from Carlos - May 2016

May 1, 2016

Thank you to all of the volunteers, child advocates, and city and county leaders for helping spread the word about Child Abuse Prevention Month.

We kicked off the month on April 1 with a highly-successful press conference on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse, where all of the major news outlets in San Antonio covered our important message. A who's-who of San Antonio leaders were there to support the cause, including Mayor Ivy Taylor, Judge Nelson Wolff, District Attorney Nico LaHood, Police Chief William McManus, District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, District Judge Peter Sakai, and Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau.

Throughout April, either myself or Team Uresti attended Child Abuse Prevention Month events.

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.

Palo Alto College turns 30!

May 1, 2016

Congratulations to Palo Alto College, which celebrated in late April 30 years of educating and engaging the Southside of San Antonio. As you may or may not know, Palo Alto College's roots began at the 1974 convention of Communities Organized for Public Service — also known as COPS — when Fernando Rodriguez Jr. introduced a resolution to work toward procuring a community college for the West Side or Southside of San Antonio. Over the subsequent years, the idea gained steam. And on March 19, 1983, Palo Alto College was chartered by the Texas Legislature. And in 1985, classes began and Palo Alto became the third school in the Alamo Community Colleges District.

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

April 20, 2016

By Jack Fink, CBS DFW
Source: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/04/20/after-child-deaths-calls-to-fix-cps-m...

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
Source: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2016/04/senators-joust-over-raisi...

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
Source: http://tpr.org/post/senate-committee-scrutinizes-foster-care-system#stre...

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.  

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.