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Texas Lege: New round of threats for anti-abortion Arlington lawmaker

The legislative session wraps up Monday, Memorial Day, at the Texas Capitol.
The legislative session wraps up Monday, Memorial Day, at the Texas Capitol. atinsley@star-telegram.com

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt recently weighed in on an animal cruelty bill — and soon began receiving threats.

The threats — such as “I hope you die” — came after the Arlington Republican argued that the penalty proposed for animal cruelty cases under Senate Bill 762 shouldn’t be raised and should remain a state jail felony, the same sentence lawmakers earlier this session set for doctors that perform partial birth or dismemberment abortions.

Tinderholt said a higher punishment indicates the state has more respect and care for animals than unborn children.

“I couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting to harm an animal, it’s absolutely disgusting to do so,” Tinderholt said. “However, I also couldn’t allow a more severe penalty for killing an animal than for killing a human child.”

At least one news agency wrongly reported that Tinderholt had revived a bill he filed to abolish abortion, allowing women who have abortions — and the doctors who perform them — to be charged with murder. He received death threats after that bill was filed earlier this year.

New school board president

Members of the Fort Worth school board recently voted to name District 2 Trustee Tobi Jackson the new president.

Jackson is succeeding Trustee Jacinto Ramos at the helm of the board.

Other officers: first vice president, Ann Sutherland; second vice president, Christene Moss; and secretary, Anael Luebanos. The officers typically serve for a year.

“I am very humbled,” Jackson told the board after the recent vote. “I know I will follow in the footsteps of some exceptional leaders.”

New campaign

Mid-term elections aren’t until next year, but a number of candidates already are kicking off their campaigns.

One of the most recent: Veronica Birkenstock, who has thrown her hat in the ring for the 26th Congressional District, now represented by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point.

Birkenstock, a 53-year-old Frisco woman making her first bid for public office, kicked off her campaign during an event at her home because she considers “home and the values placed in the home” a key priority.

Birkenstock is among the Texans who campaigned for President Donald Trump during last year’s primary and general election. And she has served on Trump’s transition finance team.

Burgess has represented District 26, which covers all of Denton County, part of Wise County and a patch of northern Tarrant County, including Westlake, north Keller and far north Fort Worth, since 2002. The first day to file to be on the 2018 ballot is Nov. 11.

Honors

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, recently received the 2017 United States Energy Award from the United States Energy Association for his work on global energy initiatives, as well as his support of the energy industry.

“I am honored to receive this award, and truly humbled to see my name listed among this award’s past recipients,” he said. “Throughout my career I have worked to strengthen the energy sector and provide Americans with affordable and reliable sources of energy.”

The award last year was given to Rex Tillerson, now secretary of state.

Election information

June 6 — Last day of early voting for June 10 runoff election

June 10 — Runoff races in local elections.

Staff writer Diane Smith contributed to this report.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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