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  • Writer's pictureNCJ Editors

Weekly News Blast | Feb 25 - March 3

pride flag hanging on the outside of a house in Texas

A Texas court temporarily halted a case against LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG National, marking a win for LGBTQ rights in the state (Edward O. Uthman, Wikimedia Commons)

Courts Deny Texas Attorney General’s Demand for Document Concerning Trans Youth

On Friday, a Texas district court judge temporarily halted a demand for the LGTBQ advocacy group PFLAG National to hand over information and documents regarding their support of gender-affirming care. PFLAG National is an organization primarily composed of parents of LGTBQ youth and adolescents and is firmly dedicated to advocacy for LGTBQ rights. This decision was a direct result of their lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for “clear and unmistakable overreach” on the subject.

Paxton accused the group of violating Texas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which allows victims of false, deceptive, or misleading business practices to sue for damages. Paxton alleged that the group misrepresented the gender-affirming medical care they supported, and he demanded that the group surrender information about the transgender children of PFLAG National members. However, PFLAG National argued that Paxton’s suit was a violation of the right to free speech and assembly.

This case is one of many currently ongoing between Paxton and PFLAG National. The organization has already won two cases challenging a Texas ban on gender-affirming care for minors and a rule requiring that the state’s child protection agency investigate families seeking such care, both of which Paxton is currently appealing to the Texas Supreme Court. The recent deliverance of the temporary restraining order can be seen as another win for LGTBQ rights within the state.

Escalating Violence in Haitian Capital Leads to Prison Escape

Hundreds of prisoners escaped from Haiti’s National Penitentiary on Saturday, sending the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, into a state of panic. It is estimated that only 100 of the 3,800 inmates remained after the assault. At least 12 people have been killed since former police officer Jimmy Cherizier led gangs in attacking the capital’s jail. Violence has only increased since Cherizier stated that his group intends to oust Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Several neighborhoods reported heavy gunfire, and there were reports of escaped prisoners attempting to break others out of a separate Port-au-Prince jail. As it stands, armed gangs currently occupy the nation’s top soccer stadium and have reportedly taken hostages. Internet services were down as cable connections were slashed in the post-jailbreak rampage, and many central agencies, including the country’s central bank, have become increasingly frequent targets for coordinated gang violence. The country’s police force is overwhelmed, continually outnumbered and out-armed by the gangs, which are now estimated to have control of 80 percent of Port-au-Prince.

EPA Temporarily Exempts Existing Power Plants, Affecting Biden Reelection Campaign

On February 29, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that it would exempt existing gas-fired power plants from a new regulation that requires power plants to capture their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. The move came after environmental justice groups criticized the upcoming rules and regulations for power plants, arguing that a singular law encompassing both future and existing gas power plants neglects the needs of underserved communities who have suffered from the pollution caused by existing power plants. As such, the EPA decided to create a separate rule to address existing power plants’ production of harmful air pollutants. This means that regulations regarding pollution from gas power plants will still be revealed in April as planned, but existing power plants are exempt from the rules currently in place until the EPA can finalize the regulations necessary for addressing the needs of communities surrounding these plants.

However, the exempted rules are a huge aspect of President Biden’s reelection campaign, as one of his main platforms through his campaign has been his climate plan to slash planet-warming pollution from the power sector. As the race for President is becoming increasingly competitive, the recent EPA announcement may prove to benefit the Biden campaign. Biden’s climate plan has long been criticized as overly ambitious, and as such, the recent revision to policy may be the perfect political strategy to combat Republican criticisms of energy costs.



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