AUSTIN — Starting March 1, Texas driver’s license applicants between the ages of 18 and 24 must complete an approved driver education course and a driving skills test.
A Texas Department of Public Safety news release said applicants must submit a certificate proving that they successfully completed a driver education course approved by the Texas Education Agency.
A 2009 state law created the requirement and authorized the development of a six-hour adult driver education course to meet the needs of this group of drivers. Applicants who present proof of successful completion of the approved course will not be required to submit to the written highway signs and traffic laws test required under section 521.161 of the Texas Transportation Code but must still pass the driving skills examination.
A driving safety course or drug and alcohol driving awareness program are not acceptable as driver education courses for this requirement.
This change in the law does not affect applicants ages 15 to 17 who still are required to complete a driver education course to be licensed, the DPS said.
Sweep nabs nearly 300 individuals
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its law enforcement partners arrested 284 foreign nationals with criminal records during a three-day enforcement surge throughout Texas, making it the biggest operation of its kind carried out by ICE in the state.
The operation concluded Feb. 25. ICE officers and agents worked in teams with the U.S. Marshals Service, Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and local law enforcement agencies.
Of those arrested, nearly 160 have violent criminal histories, such as homicide, assault and robbery, and more than 20 have convictions for sexual offenses. Of the total arrested, 18 already have been removed from the country.
Texas standards already higher
Texas’ English and mathematics college and career readiness standards meet and in some cases exceed national standards, according to an analysis released Feb. 23.
Texas College and Career Readiness Standards adopted in 2008 were compared with the national Common Core College Readiness Standards created by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association.
Examples of standards for Texas students that are not in the national standards:
• Analyze works of literature for what they suggest about the historical period and cultural context in which they were written;
• Use effective reading strategies to determine a written work’s purpose and intended audience;
• Identify and analyze the audience, purpose, and message of an informative or persuasive text;
• Geometric reasoning that makes connections between geometry, statistics and probabilities;
• Connecting mathematics to the study of other disciplines by using appropriate mathematical models in the natural, physical and social sciences.
Former secretary of state dies
Myra McDaniel, Texas’ first African American secretary of state, died of lung cancer at her home in Austin on Feb. 25. She was buried in the Texas State Cemetery on March 1.
McDaniel, 77, served as general counsel to Gov. Mark White. White named her secretary of state in 1984 and she served until 1987. She also was a former assistant special counsel, Railroad Commission of Texas and former chief, Taxation Division, Office of the Attorney General of Texas. Most recently, she was an attorney for the Austin law firm of Bickerstaff, Heath, Delgado, Acosta L.L.P.
Gov. Rick Perry said McDaniel “personified the Texas tradition of dedication to her community, from editing her church newsletter all the way to serving as Texas secretary of state.”
Snapshot before primaries
On the weekend before the March 2 party primaries, polling information pointed toward a likely runoff between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Debra Medina of Wharton was running third.
In the Democratic primary, the two top polling candidates for governor, Houston Mayor Bill White and Houston businessman Farouk Shami, showed White with a double-digit lead.
ARRA money is spoken for
The Texas Department of Transportation reported Feb. 25 that various transportation authorities in the state have obligated all of the $2.25 billion Texas received for transportation projects through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The money will be used for highways, bridges, rail and transportation enhancement projects.