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For End Amazon Moscow, Texas Conclusion Cannabidiol –

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28.05.2018

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    Ant Man is one of the most lovable heroes in the Marvel Universe. Luckily, he has a sidekick in the next installment. Soldado Following up on the masterpiece Sicario, Sicario 2: Soldado catches up with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro shortly after the president adds drug cartels to the list of international terrorists. And Jack-Jack has laser eyes. What movies are you excited about this summer? Luckily for us, the first wave of summer music releases started hitting shelves in May.

    Load up your playlists or grab them on wax and get spinning! Singularity by Jon Hopkins Jon Hopkins is a genius. His electronic music reaches virtually unparalleled levels of virtuosity. Noticeably darer than previous releases, 7 feels more personal, yet still approachable. Hit the vape, start the album, and float away. And he kept us waiting long enough for his new album.

    And calling it an album is a little generous. And anyhow, rock is an attitude. And Bridges delivers that in spades. Did we miss your favorite May release? A recent survey suggests public support for marijuana legalization has hit its peak — and has even started to drop. Virtually every other poll disagrees.

    Between April and April , CBS News polled adults to see where they stood on the topic of marijuana legalization.

    The study found that 59 percent of those surveyed were in favor of it — two percentage points lower than a similar survey conducted by CBS News last year.

    For one, the study had a margin of error of roughly 4 percent, which is greater than the supposed drop-off. And second, and more importantly, virtually every other recent survey on the topic has had opposite results.

    Gallup, for example, found that between — the year before California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis for compassionate-use patients — and last year, legalization among America jumped from 25 percent to 64 percent. But What About a Drop? Not only is public support for marijuana on the rise, but there is no reason to think it will decrease any time soon.

    More minds will also be changed as more information is published about the myriad medical benefits of the drug. Money is a big motivator, too. The Next Cannabis Boom? While younger smokers and tokers certainly account for their fair share of those polled, a surprising finding stands out — seniors are the fastest-growing cannabis user demographic.

    Senior citizens are typically identified as anyone over age At first glance, that may not sound like the ideal weed demographic, but recent surveys have found that older Americans — especially those who toked earlier in their lives — are rediscovering their love for bud. Industry leaders believe many older Americans stopped smoking due to the threat of legal trouble and the stigma surrounding cannabis use.

    Now that many states are decriminalizing and legalizing weed, however, seniors are giving green another shot. A Matter Of Preference One factor contributing to the increased number of older adults enjoying cannabis is the sheer number of ways to consume it, as well as the ability to get repeatable, predictable highs.

    Whether smoking, vaping, or eating, seniors are not looking for the most potent strains on the market, but are rather interested in smaller doses which are becoming more readily and legally available. For many, the thought of ingesting smoke seems detrimental to health. Instead, many seniors are turning to vape pens. What The Doctor Ordered Perhaps the most compelling reason seniors are looking to cannabis is for their health. As research continues into the therapeutic applications of CBD, cannabis products of all types are being explored by aging Americans.

    Cannabis research has shown tremendous potential for herb to ease symptoms of chronic pain and other age-associated conditions. As more seniors look past the stigma associated with cannabis, many may find relief from troublesome conditions they struggle with daily.

    Do you see yourself toking into old age? The According to Jim, K-9, and Jingle All the Way star has not only been outspoken in his support of legal weed, he has sponsored events at his mansion in Los Angeles to support cannabis entrepreneurs and investors. So, how did Belushi get involved? He owns a cannabis farm in Oregon, he launched a line of dispensaries this year, and has plans to release branded pot later in Partnering with Green Table Global, a networking group dedicated to matching investors with cannabis entrepreneurs, Belushi hosted an after party during the Milken Institute Global Conference.

    The institute itself is focused on powerful ideas with the potential to greatly impact public health and economic wellbeing. During the party, six cannabis companies pitched to potential investors, while keynote speakers explained the potential of recreational cannabis.

    But recently, he has continued to put his money where his mouth is — even if that means going to jail. I could be arrested immediately — and I want to be, by the way, because I want to send the message out that this takes opioids off the street.

    It will be interesting to see the waves he — and his products — make in the industry. As the number of people with access to legal marijuana continues to grow, so is the number of people who are using it. And the number of parents using marijuana is growing as fast as any other demographic. By , that number had reached nearly 6. The reasons that parents use weed mirror those of many other people without kids.

    Parents use cannabis to help them deal with numerous illnesses and health conditions. They use it because they like it. And they use it to help them cope with stress, whether that stress is due to work, raising kids, or a little of both. Secondhand smoke from any kind of cigarette can be harmful to kids, which is many parents opt to smoke outside or when there kids are not around. Others bypass marijuana cigarettes completely and opt for cleaner and more discrete options like vaporizers, concentrated cannabis extract or dabs , topicals, or edibles.

    Also, it goes without saying that there's no excuse for being stoned while you're supposed to be watching your kids or, worse, while you're driving them somewhere. Mitigating the Risks Of course, the most responsible pot-using parents still face risks. For example, given the fact that marijuana is still completely illegal in many places — and the fact that the concept of parents using weed is still very much taboo in the eyes of many — pot-using parents run the risk of being reported to law enforcement or other government agencies by disapproving neighbors, coworkers, community members, and others.

    Without quick and easy access to a neighbor, family member, cab, or Uber, a trip to the emergency room, for example, could be dangerously delayed. In the meantime, naysayers might be interested in a Civilized. They might also be interested to know, as Elizabeth also notes, that adult cannabis users are also more likely to be homeowners with children, according to the Pew Research Center.

    Are parents who use pot simply looking to create the next generation of pot users? Derek Riedle, the founder and publisher of Civilized, an outspoken cannabis consumer, and the father of two young boys, does a pretty good job of summing up the likely view of many of his pot-using parental peers. A few months later, has there been a definitive impact on drinking habits in states with legal recreational pot?

    Headquartered in Denver and Montreal, Molson Coors was the first big beer company to speak out on the worries of competition from recreational weed sales. As a result, a shift in consumer preferences away from our products or beer or a decline in the consumption of our products could result in a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.

    If so, how will competition for disposable income impact the liquor and beer industry? Looking at two groups of cities in Oregon — those with an operating recreational dispensary and those which had none — from Summer to Summer , researchers found interesting trends in hard liquor sales. In cities with a dispensary, liquor sales grew by 4. A Look Ahead The results from the Oregon study need to be taken with a grain of salt due the limited availability of data and the focus on head liquor sales.

    Even still, the findings point to the potential for legal weed to disrupt existing beer, wine, and spirits sales across the country. Only time will tell if this trend will continue, but it will definitely be interesting to see as the recreational weed market continues to grow. Given the choice, would you rather spend your money on weed or beer? Other Cannabis-Infused Beverage Options. Several major breweries are hopping from hops and barley to bud. The cannabis-infused beverage biz is booming.

    Many people are looking for alternative ways to consume cannabis, and beverages have quickly joined edibles, oils, and tinctures among the most popular alternative pot products.

    While cannabis-infused beer may be getting a lot of headlines these days, these other beverage options can also hey you get high or help you feel better: Cannabis-infused Coffee and Tea Drinking a cup of tea in the morning or after work can be very relaxing, and now it can be even more so. These teas can be used as a way to fall asleep easier — or without pain — and can also be used to get your creative juices flowing at work. If you need some extra creativity or brain power during the day, you can also try a cannabis-infused coffee.

    The combination of THC and caffeine will leave you feel energized and creative, but also relaxed. No more stressing out at the beginning of a busy day at work. Cannabis-infused Soda Today, even a soda can get you high.

    Different brands are available, offering a wide range of indica-, sativa- and hybrid-infused beverages. If you need help falling asleep, for example, pop open one with indica. Dissolvable THC Packets This might sound odd to some of you — or perhaps the best invention ever to others — but you can now add a packet of 10 mg purified THC to any drink of your choice.

    This flavor-free powder will allow you to discreetly enjoy a cannabis-infused beverage. Most contain between 10 and 40 mg of THC, and just one drink is enough for most people to feel the effects.

    Also, some drinks contain more than mg of THC. This is too much for a first-time user or someone with low tolerance.

    Start with 10 mg, and work your way up. Take a journey with the ever-evolving duo turned trio on their latest project, filled with their most mature concepts and freshest beats yet. Seattle based duo Kung Foo Grip, comprised of Eff Is H and Greg Scott, have steadily been building a reputation as consistent creatives, delivering an array of sounds across multiple projects. For their official debut released this past February on all digital platforms and pressed on limited run baby blue vinyl by Seattle Based Crane City Music, they have partnered with renowned producer Keyboard Kid to share their most cohesive project to date.

    They stepped onto the scene while still in high school and built a reputation as dedicated practitioners of a classic hip hop sound. As they grew up they never let their love of traditional hip hop stylings interfere with the development of their art.

    Here, Keyboard Kid makes a bold statement with his beats, delivering a perfect mixture of the popular sounds in rap today but backed by the heavy boom bap drums hip hop classicists will always crave.

    He provides the perfect canvas for Eff is H and Scott to tell their tales. As staples of today's ever-evolving Seattle hip-hop scene, they pull on their years of cred to collaborate with those on their level and give space to a few young up-and-comers, as well. Nicenice and 2Cup Slim show up and out over crunchy synthesized sounds — perhaps one of the most inorganic beats on the project and tailored for a turn up rarely seen in the Seattle scene.

    Kung Foo Grip is a product of this crazy world and their navigation of its waves should be lauded — this is music that speaks to multiple facets of life, embraces the diversity, and has fun even through the struggles. Distinct varieties of cannabis do exist. Just not in the way we want to believe. In , the marijuana industry and cannabis movement threw their weight behind Barack Obama in his historic campaign to become president of the United States.

    Any time someone decides to sell it to you. And no, the irony is not lost on me that the Trump administration could be pushed into truly ending prohibition. Trump Troll Trainwreck is about as real as the majority of strains the cannabis plant is marketed as despite me just making it up because strain names are not scientific fact. Trying to understand strains by their given names confuses the matter more — that would be like trying to understand human populations by using their given names rather than genetics or regional cultures.

    Sometimes, as genetic testing in the Phylos Bioscience galaxy shows, samples by the same strain name are genetically distant from one another. The names in relation to the genetics themselves are a mess due to decades of underground breeding, illegal markets, and our current Green Rush hype. The human family tree is similarly a mess because we humans also are somewhat all related to one another. First names mean nothing at all, except perhaps as a cultural signifier. Last names are changeable by adoption, marriage or legal will.

    Names have been changed when immigrants adapt to new cultures, such as almost all of those that resettled to the United States over the last century. Names are a useless way to study populations of humans, plants, or anything else.

    By studying various populations in relation to their DNA, humans are just starting to translate and understand it. Cannabis genomic sequencing, similarly, has just begun, though various groups are now doing it, and making their data public domain to prevent patenting of common use genetics via the Open Cannabis Project. We are just now beginning to understand cannabis genomic populations, but we will never fully sort this mess out because we will continue to brand our buds with fun names despite maybe never knowing true DNA, thanks to a thriving underground grow culture, prohibition-charged black market, and marketing efficacy.

    But if strain names mean nothing, how does one predict the effects of a variety before they buy it? A ton of people choose their weed at a dispensary by reading the names or by simply choosing whatever has the highest THC content. Two clones of the same plant experiencing different environments and lifestyles — or different farmers — can produce somewhat different chemotypes. Plants — like humans and every other biological organism — are never ever standard the way pharmaceutical drugs created by humans in labs are.

    Every harvested plant is a combination of two highly variable things: So the best way to choose a variety? Cannabinoids act like the fuel, but terpenes the smell act like the steering wheel, and have a large influence on what sort of high you can expect. Biology Is Not Chemistry While those smells might tell you what you should expect, other people may feel different from the same exact thing. Just like the cannabis plant, a living biological organism, we are genetically variant, unique, and ever-evolving human beings who respond to different cannabis cultivars in different ways.

    When something comes from nature, it is designed by DNA. DNA contains the potential for what an embryo or seed can become, but it is not fate. Each living thing has its own unique genetic code as well as its unique life experiences that make them what they are at that moment in time nature vs. Living organisms are not static things, they change over time and when they reproduce, they make percent unique blends of DNA for the new organism to grow from.

    This means every seed, like every human baby, is percent genetically unique. Pharmaceuticals come in consistent dosages of consistent isolated or combined compounds.

    For the most part, it is easier to become tolerant to compounds when prescribed in a pharmaceutical format. For instance, when using a pharmaceutical opiate for pain relief, over time the user will become tolerant to their initial dosage and will eventually need increasingly larger doses in order to achieve the same pain relieving effects.

    With cannabis, using a different variety, or blending varieties, is often more effective than increasing dosage. It at least makes me wonder if natural botanical opium poppies, from which the opiate compound was stolen and isolated, could be less addictive than opiate pharmaceuticals due to their ever-changing array of complete plant compounds?

    A strain is nothing but a name, a cultivar is the unique harvested bud in front of you that is a combination of its nature and its nurture. Every unique thing must be treated uniquely. Some people choose to use varieties or varietals, which is a great way of referring to the genetically distinct families within the cannabis genome.

    Phylos and other genome mappers have discovered distinct families, such as Haze, that truly exist, but because Haze is such a large family with lots of breeding, inbreeding, cloning, and crossing into other family lines, it's hard to draw too many conclusions that are accurate to the entire Haze family other than their shared DNA — and DNA is a language we humans are just learning how to translate on all living things. Humanity is not pharmacologicalism, we all sleep different, eat different, metabolize different, and prefer difference.

    The only way to find out what works for you is to understand what you can with what science is available and then try it yourself and see what happens.

    One day, if research is no longer incentivized by the sale of for-profit drugs, we might be able to make some more accurate predictions about the effects of all sorts of plants humans use therapeutically.

    Until that time, we must stop looking at this plant like a pill. Pharmaceutical companies are pouring a ton of money into this concept, as are botanical cannabis companies. What we need is a greater study of herbalism — understanding plant synergies — in order to truly guide educated use by empowered human patients. If we truly wish to understand the cannabis plant, we must let nature guide us, and nature is not standard.

    Since legalizing recreational cannabis, Oregon has seen an influx of dispensaries and cannabis production companies. With all that bud, is it possible that there is such a thing as too much green? As soon as recreational marijuana hit Oregon in , all bets were off. New farmers, dispensaries, head shops, and more seemingly appeared overnight. And that could only be a good thing, right? One statistic sums up the not-so-silver lining of the canna-boom in the Beaver State: In all of , Oregonians consumed roughly , pounds of weed by smoking, vaping, eating, or otherwise.

    What does this ,ish pound surplus mean for the industry? The answer is great for consumers but could mean trouble for business owners. At such a competitive price point, there was no need to drop any lower.

    With so much product and lagging sales, many businesses have resorted to laying off employees and, ultimately, closing their doors. Currently, large dispensary chains are buying up smaller mom-and-pop business, despite bargain basement prices.

    While this may be a harsh reality for small business owners, the industry itself is still relatively secure. Second, more people need to smoke weed. It sounds simple, but one of the easiest ways to stem this tide is to encourage more people to smoke.

    As more states legalize and decriminalize, Oregon has a huge opportunity to export its new cash crop. The future could be quite bright. How Brewers Are Shifting to Bud. Reports of major tobacco companies moving in on the rapidly growing legal cannabis game have swirled for years. But while these reports have slightly stalled, THC-infused products are nearing release from another industry — big beer.

    Rumors of major tobacco companies playing the long game of legalized weed have circulated for years. While the market has yet to see Marlboro Greens or any of the like, major beer companies are actually taking significant strides toward THC-infused beer.

    Villa led the company for more than 30 years, specializing in European-style wheat beers, but eventually stepped away to start his own beverage company, Ceria. Many brands have taken on the challenge. The key difference, however, is that previous companies have infused their suds with CBD. Unlike these predecessors, Villa is going for a headier brew mixed up with straight THC. A lot of consumers of cannabis look for that buzz. The state of California made history when it legalized recreational marijuana on January 1, Cali-based cannabis lovers rejoiced as the calendar turned over to and recreational weed was made totally legal.

    While businesses flooded into the new market, there was one notable exception for cannabis vendors: While California is home to some of the most popular music festivals on the planet, namely Coachella, on-site cannabis sales and even possession have been prohibited at festivals to this point. These festivals still play host to glassblowers and other paraphernalia vendors, but actual bud purchases continue to be a big no-no.

    Well, at least until July. With crowds expected to top 45,, Chalice Festival has the potential to revolutionize festival culture, seamlessly blending legal canna-business with arts and music. We know all eyes will be on us, and we have no doubt that we will set the bar for the future of legal cannabis and its relationship with music and arts festivals.

    Chalice Festival is apparently setting the bar pretty high for music festivals nationwide — especially those in legalized states — and it will be interesting to see what effect the festival has on other events in the state.

    The lack of public places to consume cannabis is problematic, especially in cities where law-abiding tourists might want to enjoy some legal weed. That's where cannabis consumption clubs come in. Public cannabis consumption is still illegal in most states, even in states where buying recreational marijuana is allowed. Things might be staring to change, however, as Denver recently gave a license to a club called the Coffee Joint, where locals, as well as tourists, are welcome to vape, dab, or eat their cannabis products.

    About The Coffee Joint The first licensed social consumption club and coffee house, The Coffee Joint strives to offer a cozy place to consume cannabis, as well as educate the public about legal weed. Some rules do apply, though. Why is it important to have places like this? When you buy legal recreational weed, you need a place to use it, right? If you live nearby, you can just go home, but more options would be better, and a nice coffeehouse where you can gather with friends is one such appealing option.

    Where can tourists use cannabis? Tourists often have trouble finding places where they can consume their cannabis. In Las Vegas, for example, marijuana use is prohibited in hotels, on the streets, or in other public places. With access to licensed cannabis consumption clubs, they would have a safer and legal alternative where they could enjoy their weed.

    As USA Today reports, lawmakers are struggling to come up with rules that would allow people to consume cannabis in certain places without compromising other regulations like indoor smoking bans. Also, some fear that these lounges could create public safety problems, especially when people drive home after smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis.

    A lot has still to be figured out. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates. Celebrities are no strangers to the cannabis game.

    From familiar faces to former A-listers, celebs are making the move into legal cannabis for a multitude of reasons. Cannabis is still booming and is drawing investors of all industries anxious to cash in.

    Some of the most notable weed investors are celebrities who have developed a vested interested in marijuana. Who And Why Now? The folks whose names pop in your head when you think of weed. Why are these guys getting in on the weed game? Well, it makes sense with their personal brands. Beyond some of the famous faces, there are celebs who are getting in on legal weed because of its health benefits. Finally, there is a group of celebrities that are investing in cannabis because it may have saved their lives — quite literally.

    In October , Lamar Odom nearly died from a cocaine overdose. After recovering, Odom spoke out about medical cannabis and the key role it played in overcoming his cocaine addiction. What Are The Obstacles? As legalization and decriminalization becomes more common, some countries are taking a harder stance on celeb-endorsed weed.

    Most notably, Canada has strict packaging guidelines that prevent Snoop Dogg from appearing in any ads for his products. What are your thoughts on star power in the weed industry?

    Great bud is an investment, and no one wants to waste their money by letting their stash get stale. Stale weed is no fun for anyone. It has less flavor, is less potent, and is just disappointing all around. The good news is that there is a whole host of new — and some tried and true — storage containers that will keep your buds looking and tasting fresh as a daisy.

    Also, you can find them at pretty much any thrift store, making them a very cost-effective option. TightVac While not explicitly a cannabis accessory company, TightVac makes the perfect product for storing bud. These containers are super affordable, light proof, and offer air-tight sealing.

    Simply push a button and air is pushed out. Goodlife Cookies Stack If you consider yourself a cannabis connoisseur, this is the storage option for you. The Goodlife Cookie stack basically offers three storage options in one. Cannador This piece works just like a cigar humidor, using moisture to keep your herb in prime condition. SneakGuard The SneakGuyard is the best all-around storage container on the market.

    Do you have a preferred method for storing your stash? Shoot us a line and let us know! Here are our suggestions: Technically, you could have taken care of this one ahead of time, but not all of us are planners, per se. One of our favorite cannabis activities is hitting a bowl and then hitting a trail.

    Since you got up early to call in anyhow, you might as well make the most of the morning by heading out into the great outdoors. Or, better yet, get some bud delivered. Give something new a shot and maybe find a new favorite strain or edible. Vegging out is a classic stoner activity. Naturally, you should schedule some time to lounge on the couch. Watch some Netflix, chill out to some good music, or just do whatever you want.

    Catch some live music. From Bob Marley cover bands to Sublime and Grateful Dead-inspired groups, there are likely to be plenty of options, so head to your local watering hole and see who takes the stage! Hit us with your suggestions! A quick internet search, however, will give you the on a group of teens from Marin County, Calif. Decades since the Waldos, as they affectionately referred to themselves, started toking outside their high school, has become the biggest pot celebration on the planet.

    A Cause For Celebration Ever since became a staple of stoner jargon, the date has been circled on calendars as a celebration of all things green and ganja-related. Even before Colorado legalized marijuana, The University of Colorado in Boulder was notorious for huge smoke-ins and weed celebrations each April. Now, Colorado is still ground zero for some of the largest celebrations in the U. A National Impact is expected to leave much more than a cultural impact this year. Dispensaries across the country are preparing for record-breaking sales figures.

    That number represented a 20 percent growth over and an overall increase of 13 percent in consumer traffic, according to MJ Freeway, a leading cannabis industry data company. Many dispensaries and cannabis companies run significant discounts on their products, making some products and experiences more accessible to a broader audience. In addition to the growing financial impacts , opening up new consumer bases may prove pivotal in the growing trend of decriminalization. Bowls are arguably the most utilitarian device for enjoying herb.

    Just remember to keep your bowls clean: We love basically everything Summerland Ceramics produces. And how could we not? From their incredible terra cotta bongs to amazing one hitters, all of their pieces are thoughtfully designed and fun. Perhaps none more so than the Fruit Fantasy bowl. In a fit of desperation, you grab an apple and quickly make a bowl. This piece will remind you of those hard times without wasting fruit! Plus, it would look awesome sitting on a bookcase or desk.

    The GRAV sitter may just be our favorite iteration of the design. Totally customizable, the Sherlock Sitter comes in a ton of colors. They look awesome and smoke so well. All of your friends will be asking where you got it. Just make sure none of them get sticky fingers!

    But what makes it really special is that it can also be used as a spill-proof bubbler, essentially making it two pipes in one. The versatility of the piece, along with its minimal design earned it a spot on our list. Got a favorite new or super reliable bowl? Drop us a line and tell us about your favorites! So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 7. Once the seller realized the money was fake, he chased the young man home. According to Fox 6, the mother told investigators that she not only wanted to prosecute her son in the case, but that she was also willing to testify against him in court.

    Morcillo, who told them his girlfriend called and was somewhere outside. Morcillo then allowed the officers inside, where they immediately noticed the strong smell of weed, as well as numerous extension cords leading into a closet, where they ultimately found seven marijuana plants, 12 bags of medical marijuana candy, and marijuana-growing equipment.

    The woman, who was not inside the apartment, later told officers by phone that she left after calling According to police, the cries they heard were from a dog in its cage.

    His behavior led to him being banned from DePaul University, where the first woman is a student. While Wolf has reportedly never served as a member of the armed forces, his website claims that he has been a diplomat in the Foreign Service under the State Department during the Iraq war. One of his tweets reportedly read: There you have it, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next round. Mile High Festival. This year, the Mile High City will be home to the Mile High Festival — a celebration of anything and everything cannabis related.

    Lil Wayne performing on the biggest cannabis holiday ever? This set is sure to be fire. Do yourself a favor and get there early to grab a primo spot. District Edibles Local Stage Denver is known for plenty of amazing things: But the city is also a hotbed for amazing local musicians. The District Edibles Local Stage will be highlighting some of the best and brightest from Denver over the course of the entire festival.

    Pop over to hear for yourself! The Wailers The Wailers are reggae heavyweights that deliver the perfect vibes for a day of celebrating weed. Scheduled to hit the stage in the middle of the festival, The Wailers will give you the perfect boost to keep you lifted straight into the evening.

    All right, just kidding. But Lil Jon made his name rapping and living the pimp cup party dream. We can only imagine what one of his DJ sets is like. The Vendors What kind of festival would this be without amazing vendors? From food to glass pieces and handmade goods, we are really excited about scoping the goods and wares on sale at the Mile High Festival.

    Getting some good grub and heading home with a unique souvenir is the perfect way to cap a day of celebrating. Are you heading to the Mile High Festival?

    The Best New Albums: The hits keep coming this year. Get your playlists ready and enjoy! Their sound is always welcoming and familiar, but nuanced enough to provide unique experiences from album to album. Cozy up and let the calming vibes wash over you. Regardless, you have to respect the atmospheres she creates on the record. Psychedelic and poppy, the compositions are absolutely gorgeous. Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves You may know her as a country artist, but hands down, Kacey Musgraves just released the best pop album of the year.

    This record weaves in and out of genres, crossing from more traditional country ballads to electro-pop jams and back. Rich in hooks, this record is perfect for a chill hang. Put this album on, turn it up, and enjoy the ride.

    The album moves, blazing along riff after riff, providing a true sonic experience. Give our list a listen, then drop us a line and tell us your favorites! Oh, and if you liked this list be sure to listen to our selections for January and February. Becoming an insider is simple. You just dive in. I know a thing or two about weed. I write about marijuana.

    This is how I pay my bills, and have for many years now. The main reason I am able to do this is that I read about cannabis, incessantly — and I recognize those around me whose knowledge is broader, deeper, or gasp both. Thing is, you can do this, too. Anyone can, which is the beautiful, wonderful, and ultimately humbling thing about trading in knowledge. It is not magic. The statement is tentative, however, for a couple of reasons. First, Aphria's costs are increasing. Second, Canopy doesn't report its cost per gram for producing cannabis anymore.

    Still, it's likely that Aphria's cost advantage is still in place. Looking at international markets, Canopy appears to be in a stronger position. While both companies are targeting Germany, Canopy already generates significant revenue in the country while Aphria doesn't.

    Unlike Aphria, Canopy has also entered the U. Also, Canopy Growth is already moving into the U. The company announced recently that it plans to build a large-scale hemp extraction and production facility in New York state. The big alcoholic beverage maker first made an investment in Canopy in The partnership with Constellation provided Canopy a big cash stockpile to use in funding expansion efforts. It also gave Canopy access to Constellation's expertise in establishing successful consumer brands.

    So far, Aphria hasn't been able to land a deal that benefits it like the Constellation deal does for Canopy. Aphria is in a state of flux right now. The company's board of directors appointed a special committee to review allegations that Aphria drastically overpaid for the acquisition of LATAM Holdings in a deal that profited key insiders.

    The company is also fighting off a hostile takeover attempt by U. As a result of all of these issues, Aphria's share price looks pretty attractive. In addition to public health discussions, participants talked about flood control, parks, air quality, mental health and county civics. Hidalgo began Talking Transitions in January with an online survey that asked residents to weigh in on issues. She also surveyed whether they knew the name of their precinct commissioner and county judge.

    The input residents provided will be used to shape short- and long-term policy, she said. Councilman Greg Brockhouse has officially thrown his hat into the mayoral ring. The first-term District 6 representative ended a year of speculation at a campaign event Saturday at a Westside record shop when he publicly announced he will give up his Council seat to challenge Mayor Ron Nirenberg. As of Saturday afternoon, five other lesser-known candidates had registered.

    While local municipal elections are technically nonpartisan, Nirenberg and Brockhouse generally follow liberal and conservative lines, respectively. All were supported by Brockhouse, who used to work for the police and fire unions as a political consultant.

    According to the investigative report, Hayes violated city employee conduct rules related to accepting gifts or favors from subordinates, abused a city office and misused city resources. The Ethics Review Commission will determine if any disciplinary action should be taken against Hayes, who has worked for the city since In the fall of , a Carroll High School student received a two-week suspension from extracurricular activities and three days detention after holding up a sign at a football game with the letters T.

    A year-old African-American Carroll student who saw the sign at the football game was hurt. Racism in Southlake blew up on the public stage on Wednesday when the district responded to complaints about a video circulating that showed three young people in a car while the n-word is uttered repeatedly.

    One of the young people seen in the video was a Southlake Carroll student, according to a district official. Another Carroll student isdriving the vehicle, off-camera. It was the second time this school that a video circulated showing Southlake students saying the racial slur. The Senate's top Republican on Feb.

    Capitol Hill talks to resolve an impasse over Trump's demands for billions of dollars for his long-sought border wall were making progress, participants said. But with lawmakers facing a deadline to complete their work by Feb. McConnell's tactic could remove a significant hurdle confronting the talks.

    Trump's demands have shifted abruptly on several issues during his two years in the White House, and top Republicans seem to feel that the best course will be for them to focus on reaching a compromise with Democrats. McConnell told reporters that negotiators "ought to reach an agreement, and then we'll hope that the president finds it worth signing.

    Black voters who factored prominently in the election that helped Northam become Virginia governor are feeling betrayed over the scandals that have engulfed the state over the past week, leaving them with a less-than-ideal set of choices at the top of the Democratic Party: The next person in line for governor is a conservative Republican. Many are struggling to come to grips with a list of nagging questions: Do they forgive the Democrats, keep Republicans out of power and demand the governor get serious about racism?

    Should Northam step down and hand the office to African-American Lt. Justin Fairfax, who faces sexual assault allegations? Or should all three of them walk away and let principle prevail, even if the other party takes charge? The dilemma was being weighed in black barber shops, salons, restaurants and living rooms and in activist and political circles across the state in the midst of a still-unfolding reckoning around race and scandal in the Old Dominion.

    The governor has been facing calls to resign ever since a photo emerged from his medical school yearbook page in that showed someone in blackface next to a person wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe. He initially said he was in the photo, then denied that but said he did wear blackface when he impersonated Michael Jackson around the same time.

    Days later, Fairfax was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in , and Attorney General Mark Herring came forward to admit that he, too, wore blackface in the s. South Korea foots about half of the overall cost.

    A spokesman for the U. The unresolved military cost-sharing pact had loomed over Mr. Kim, threatening to complicate negotiations with Pyongyang over its nuclear program. Security experts worried Mr. Trump could offer a reduction in U. There are now more than free community college programs in 44 states, more than of which were launched in , according to data from the College Promise Campaign, which tracks and advocates for the programs.

    In West Sacramento, Calif. In Kentucky, it was the Republican state legislature, and in Baltimore—Democratic leaders. In Tennessee, all students can attend community and technical colleges tuition-free if they maintain a certain grade-point average. Bill Haslam, the former governor, was one of the first Republicans to champion free college.

    A crisis in college affordability and a tightening labor market have propelled the proliferation of the programs. Most support two-year degrees and are closely aligned with the local labor market, aiming to help fill the estimated 7 million open jobs in the U. Earlier this week, Trump announced the dates for the second summit with Kim and said it would be held in Vietnam, but the city had not been disclosed.

    Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea, held three days of talks in Pyongyang to prepare for the summit, the state department said on Friday. It said Biegun had agreed with his counterpart Kim Hyok Chol to meet again ahead of the summit. Rosenstein did not want to write memo justifying Comey firing — new book.

    Rosenstein said he was having trouble sleeping, McCabe writes. A copy was obtained by the Guardian prior to its release.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is prepared for the possibility that Democrats in New York could redraw her district after the election, she told The Intercept in an interview.

    Following the census, every state will draw new district boundaries to reflect changes in the population, the political implications of which will stretch for at least the next decade. The Hill recently reported that at least one member of Congress has been urging New York party leaders to recruit a Democratic primary challenger to Ocasio-Cortez.

    But the news led to a surge of donations to Ocasio-Cortez, suggesting that a more efficient means of ousting her might be simply to eliminate her district. Elizabeth Warren kicks off presidential bid with challenge to super wealthy — and other Democrats. Elizabeth Warren officially launched her presidential campaign Saturday at a rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts, using the backdrop of Everett Mills —— the site of a historic labor strike led by women and immigrants —— to issue a call to action against wealthy power brokers who "have been waging class warfare against hardworking people for decades.

    The formal start of Warren's White House campaign comes as the Democratic primary intensifies by the day, with numerous candidates including Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker already in the race, and others, like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, expected to jump in soon. Trump's campaign manager welcomed Warren to the race with a statement predicting voters "will reject her dishonest campaign and socialist ideas like the Green New Deal. In a warning to some of those rivals, Warren touted her refusal to accept donations from lobbyists, corporate PACs or the support of super PACs, and challenged "every other candidate who asks for your vote in this primary to say exactly the same thing.

    Kennedy III, who introduced, endorsed and painted his former professor a prescient political voice. Yes, politicians wore blackface. Herring D of Virginia have admitted that they wore blackface as students in the s in imitations of famous African Americans. News broke Thursday that the Virginia Senate majority leader, Tommy Norment R , was an editor of a college yearbook filled with blackface photos.

    The answer is almost certainly yes. More politicians probably took part than we will ever know. Blackface is as American as the ruling class. Throughout the 20th century, all-male fraternal orders, schools, federal agencies and the U. Watching blackface performances was a common pastime for U. Even now, one recent poll by YouGov found, only 58 percent of Americans oppose the practice. Democrats from Virginia declined to call on Lt Gov. Justin Fairfax or Attorney General Mark Herring to resign on Thursday in their first comments about the scandals facing two top lawmakers in the commonwealth.

    Warner and Kaine — along with other lawmakers from the state — reiterated their call for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign. Other Democrats — including the House Democrats — quickly followed their lead, issuing statements of their own hours later. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer publisher tried to extort him. In an explosive tell-all blog post published Thursday, Jeff Bezos accused the publisher of the National Enquirer of trying to extort him.

    The post by Bezos on the blogging platform Medium revealed what he said were the full text of emails his representatives got from executives at AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer. His post included what he said were emails from AMI detailing what he described as "extortion and blackmail.

    Documents obtained by the outlet confirmed the divorce filing in Williamson County—where part of the City of Austin is located. As the new Democratic majority in the U. House takes its first tentative steps to obtain President Donald Trump's tax returns, Texas Republican Kevin Brady has emerged as one of the administration's top congressional defenders, arguing that the move would jeopardize all Americans' right to privacy.

    Brady, the former chairman of the tax-writing committee and now its ranking Republican, registered himself "deeply concerned" and accused Democrats of "weaponizing our nation's tax code by targeting political foes.

    Lloyd Doggett, one of the panel's top Democrats, has filed six motions in the past two years calling for Trump's tax returns. Edward Markey are introducing a resolution spelling out congressional support for a Green New Deal — an ambitious plan to remake the U.

    The resolution largely sticks to a blueprint Ocasio-Cortez laid out when she proposed creating a House select committee to establish a Green New Deal. That framework called for generating percent of the nation's power from renewable sources, making all buildings energy efficient and eliminating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and industry — all within about 10 years.

    The plan also proposes massive investments in research and development to make the U. In addition, the Green New Deal envisioned by Ocasio-Cortez aims to implement progressive policies such as a federal jobs guarantee, basic income and universal health care. The resolution being introduced by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey clarifies the scope and scale of the Green New Deal and paves the way for legislation that would lay out explicit projects and policies.

    Ocasio-Cortez plans to begin crafting that legislation immediately. Texas Republican warns of 'dangerous precedent' as Dems take first step to get Trump's tax returns. House Democrats on Thursday made their first tentative step toward demanding President Donald Trump's tax returns, holding a high-profile hearing on the law that allows Congress to inspect those documents.

    A key Texas Republican warned them to not go any further. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands cautioned Democrats against using the tax code to pry free Trump's returns, with the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee saying that "weaponizing the tax code for political purposes sets a dangerous precedent.

    That view is unlikely to dissuade Democrats, who've clamored to peek at Trump's financial information ever since he broke modern presidential tradition by not releasing his tax returns. Many Democrats are actually prodding their party's leadership in the House to move more quickly in chasing down Trump's documents —— one of several areas in which there are nascent investigations into the president's personal and political dealings.

    Texas might be ready to toughen sexual assault laws at last. At least five good bills have been filed by Democrats and Republicans to help victims in reporting crimes and putting their attackers behind bars. A measure in Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and Rep. Why is Dallas Rep. Colin Allred taking a break from Congress to return home? Colin Allred is taking a break from Congress to return to Dallas. He and his wife, Alexandra Eber, are expecting the birth of their first child "very soon," the freshman congressman said in a statement Thursday.

    President Donald Trump called for federal paid family leave during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, saying his plan would allow every new parent a "chance to bond with their newborn child. Conservative groups attack gay rights bills as effort to 'ban the Bible' in Texas. Texas Values, a religious advocacy organization, is leading the effort, flooding social media and the conservative press with allegations that passing the bills would force Christians to violate their faith.

    The groups have launched a website and promoted the hashtag BantheBible. But lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans and their allies call these claims totally false. The bills do not mention the Scriptures or other religious texts, they said, and some bills even exempt religious organizations. The "No Bible Ban" effort has the support of Empower Texans, whose political action committee seeks to oust moderate Republicans, and the far-right Texas Pastors Council, which also backed the bathroom bill.

    Where things stand for DACA: So where do things stand now for DACA and its beneficiaries? Whitley was named in December and his short tenure in the obscure and nominally nonpartisan office has been tarnished by a civil rights scandal that garnered national attention and condemnation. Texans deserve an official they can trust to oversee elections across the state.

    The governor should simply replace Whitley with a qualified candidate so we can all move on. People can become citizens after legally obtaining a driver license. Thousands upon thousands of Texans do that every year — and plenty of those new citizens registered to vote and cast ballots in the election.

    Texas power makers say higher revenues will prompt them to dust off old plants for summer. Power companies had told the Public Utility Commission that unless upward price adjustments were made, generators would have little incentive to build new power plants or fix up old ones to accommodate the growing population and demand for energy and avoid power shortages. A state-sponsored website millions of Texans use to shop for electricity could be on the chopping block.

    Jared Patterson, a freshman Republican who represents Denton County, wants the Public Utility Commission to drop Power to Choose, the website introduced two decades ago when Texas deregulated the electricity industry. Patterson has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would eliminate the website that compares dozens of electricity plans, arguing that the government shouldn't be competing with private businesses. Patterson is director of energy services at Rapid Power Management, a retail electric brokerage firm based in Carrollton that buys electricity on behalf of manufacturers and commercial clients.

    One consumer watchdog said it would be a disservice to Texans shopping for electricity to eliminate Power to Choose. Dyer, policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power in Austin, which buys electricity on behalf of municipal governments. At the start of a panel discussion last month, the East Central Independent School District superintendent raised the question that had filled the auditorium with parents: The gun debate in East Central ISD has been loud and bitter since the Guardian Plan, a legal option allowing Texas school districts to set rules and training requirements for teachers and staff who want to carry guns, appeared on a school board agenda in November.

    Its crime rate is below the national average, the FBI reports. The Dallas County Republican Party has some thoughts about the voter purge fiasco. Last week Whitley dethroned the late Michael Jackson as king of the moonwalk, appearing to move forward while walking backward. This was a scam intended to help push through tougher voter registration laws. Everyone except Texas Gov. Friday afternoon, for the second day in a row, the Dallas County GOP pushed out a breathless media advisory, admonishing all who read it not to look behind the curtain.

    Paxton's tweet was labeled "voter fraud alert," not "important research effort alert. Harris County DA Ogg at odds with progressives over push for more prosecutors. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg asked the Commissioners Court for a budget that would fund additional assistant district attorneys and more than 40 support staff.

    Ogg said the surge is needed to clear a backlog in cases exacerbated by Harvey, a driver of overcrowding at the Harris County Jail. Her proposal to expand the prosecutor corps by a third, however, has evolved into a proxy battle over the future of criminal justice reform in Harris County.

    Ogg finds herself so far unable to persuade Democrats on Commissioners Court as well as reform groups, who have questioned her self-identification as a progressive and said her proposal would lead to more residents in jail.

    Ogg, a first-term district attorney who unseated a Republican in with the support of many progressive groups, said these critics fail to grasp the on-the-ground realities of her prosecutors, whose heavy workloads mean they sometimes are the reason cases are delayed and defendants languish in jail.

    Ogg pledged to send the first 25 new hires to the felony trial bureau, where she said they can help achieve the reforms progressives seek, such as identifying low-risk defendants who can be sent out of the criminal justice system without a conviction. Bexar County health officials want to make sure parents know how to protect their kids now that measles cases are popping up in Texas. A local doctor said there is an abnormal number of cases this year, and he believes it's so important for children to get vaccinated.

    There are six confirmed cases of measles in Texas, including four children under the age of two. Three are in the Houston area, one in Galveston, and one more in Montgomery County. More than 50 cases have been confirmed in the Pacific Northwest. Measles are extremely contagious. Doctors said if someone has measles and walked into a room and coughed, then 10 people walk into the room, then 9 out of 10 of those people could get the measles.

    The doctor says important steps to take include washing your hands and not coughing around. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat. Twelve years ago, shortly after City Manager Sheryl Sculley hired Charles Hood as fire chief, the pair sat down to discuss what they wanted to accomplish.

    Early on, Sculley and Hood decided on two goals. Sculley and Hood also wanted the department to become accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. Just days after Sculley is set to retire, the accreditation commission will vote on accredited status for the Fire Department. Young kids of a wealthy former Texas senator gave money to a Dallas City Council campaign, too.

    School-aged children of a powerful former state senator were among the minors who gave thousands of dollars to city campaigns, according to a review of campaign-finance records by The Dallas Morning News. Top Senate tax writer says GOP will not tweak state and local deduction limits. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley will not tweak the new state and local tax deduction cap while he leads the panel, a spokesman for the Iowa Republican said Thursday.

    The statement comes a day after President Donald Trump said he would be "open to talking about" revising the deduction limit. Democrats slammed the policy change passed in December — and 11 Republicans from the high-tax states of New York, California and New Jersey voted against it. Multiple freshman House Democrats who unseated GOP lawmakers in those states in November ran in part on repealing the deduction limits. Democrats have slammed the GOP tax plan — which slashed the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and trimmed taxes for most individuals — as a boon to companies and the wealthy.

    The party mulled various attacks on the tax law when it took the House majority last month, including criticism related to the state and local deduction limits. Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as it became clear that a trade meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would not happen before a key March deadline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped The Nasdaq Composite lagged, sliding about 1. Virginia Republican was top editor of yearbook that included blackface photos and racist slurs.

    The Virginian-Pilot newspaper first reported on the photos and material on Thursday. Norment was managing editor of the edition of the Bomb yearbook. Barr will now go before the full Republican-controlled Senate, where he is expected to be confirmed and sworn into office as soon as next week. If confirmed, he would promptly assume responsibility for the special counsel investigation led by Robert S.

    Mueller III into possible ties between Mr. Trump, his associates and Russia, and whether the president obstructed justice. Barr will get at least one Democratic vote in the full Senate. Barr to the full Senate revealed how fraught the politics around the Justice Department have become after two years of unrelenting attacks by Mr.

    Thursday began with threats from the House Judiciary Committee to subpoena Mr. Whitaker if he declined to answer questions about his communications with Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing.

    Whitaker, saying there would be no need to issue a subpoena if Mr. Whitaker ultimately agreed to testify after subsequent conversations in which Mr. Whitaker appeared voluntarily, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. Trump praised the acting attorney general Thursday afternoon when reporters asked if Mr. Digital First Media, the hedge-fund-backed newspaper chain whose takeover bid for Gannett Co. The all-stock deal is the largest U. Deposit growth at many small and midsize banks has faltered, threatening a key source of funding.

    The justices said by a vote late Thursday that they will not allow the state to put into effect a law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. If the doctors succeed, they can continue performing abortions, he said. If they fail, they could return to court, Kavanaugh said. The law is very similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down three years ago.

    Roberts dissented in that case. But the composition of the court has changed since then, with Kavanaugh replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to strike down the Texas law. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have admitted wearing blackface as young men in the s.

    Justin Fairfax, meanwhile, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in , an allegation he denies. The men are resisting calls for their resignation. But Democrats are anxious that the dizzying developments could suddenly halt their progress. And now, with the new powers of being chairman, he is drawing both new weapons and new scrutiny. Sometimes such scrutiny inevitably turns to questions of hypocrisy.

    Which bring us to the issue of some photographs taken at the prestigious Aspen security conference last July. Both men insisted to me through spokesmen that they met only briefly last July. At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

    Utah residents may have thought they were done fighting about Medicaid expansion last November. During the election, voters approved a ballot measure to expand the health program for low-income residents to cover , uninsured people in the state.

    But when Utah lawmakers opened a new legislative session in late January, they began pushing through a bill to roll back the scope and impact of that expansion. After six years of talking about Medicaid expansion, voters approved the ballot measure on Nov. But the issue erupted again when the legislative session started Jan. Similar legislative efforts to curtail expansion are also happening in Idaho, where voters passed a Medicaid expansion initiative in November by a 60 percent majority.

    Idaho lawmakers are considering ways to scale that program back. The cause of death was prostate cancer. Debbie Dingell, his wife of nearly four decades and successor in Congress, was at Dingell's side when he died.

    He was involved in crafting and passing legislation that aimed to ensure clean air and water, safer food and health care for Americans. He worked vociferously to protect the American automobile companies — the dominant industry in his southeastern Michigan district, which stretched from Detroit's edge to the college town of Ann Arbor.

    Dingell's power came from his chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel he controlled from until , and then again from to , when he was knocked off by California Rep.

    Henry Waxman, whose candidacy was tacitly backed by Nancy Pelosi, a longtime Dingell foe. The son of a House member, Dingell served in Congress from to The legislation was introduced by Sens. It would prohibit the Defense Department from denying the enlistment or continued service of transgender people solely on the basis of their gender identity.

    Transgender rights advocates hailed the legislation as a step toward ensuring the equal treatment of transgender service members. Ohio's Governor stopped an execution over fears it would feel like waterboarding. At the Coroner's office in Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Mark Edgar stood over the body of Robert Van Hook. Van Hook had died one day earlier, on July 18, , inside the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Nevertheless, compared to recent executions in Ohio, things seemed to go smoothly.

    Still, Edgar had cause for concern. For the past few years he had been examining the autopsy reports of men executed using midazolam across the country. Of the 27 previously available autopsy reports for people executed using midazolam, Edgar had found evidence of pulmonary edema in Van Hook was the 24th. President Donald Trump will bring his campaign for a border wall Monday to El Paso, a city whose safety the president said in his State of the Union address is proof that walls work.

    Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. Despite rampant speculation that Mueller is close to finalizing his report, the language used in court documents over the past few months offers clues that suggest his probe might ensnare more individuals. Legal analysts say those moves indicate federal prosecutors are investigating other subjects linked to the troll farm and Manafort cases who could ultimately be charged if government attorneys obtain evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

    The price of access skyrocketed from there. The chair of the nonprofit inaugural committee that organized the festivities, banker and Texas Transportation Commission Chair J. Philanthropist Mindy Hildebrand and billionaire oilman Ray Hunt, the co-chairs of the committee, did not comment and deferred questions to Bugg. Sources familiar with the donation process said bundlers — fundraisers who help collect contributions without personally donating — were also named in the page inaugural program.

    Other committees were zeroing in on similarly sensitive oversight targets. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee readied a subpoena for the acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, in case he tried to avoid Democratic questioning. And a House Appropriations subcommittee chairwoman began an inquiry into administration rule-bending during the day partial government shutdown.

    But Democrats and even some Republicans conceded that the targets offered up by Mr. Texas homeowners rejoice, local leaders brace for cuts as property tax cap gets first Senate hearing. A property tax relief bill that would force local governments and school districts to cap their tax revenue endured its first hurdle Wednesday after hours of testimony from nervous city leaders, who fear tighter budgets, and homeowners giddy about the possibility of lower taxes.

    The committee heard public comment for almost 13 hours before adjourning at 11 p. Police officers, mayors, and local officials came from across Texas to implore the five-member committee to vote against the 2. A representative from San Antonio said their public safety budget increases by 6 percent a year, driven by contractual pay increases.

    If you really need the money, let the voters decide, Sens. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, told the officials. Under the bill, to exceed the cap, voters must approve. Currently, that tax cap is set at 8 percent for local governments. Beto O'Rourke appears to be close to jumping into the race for president, but some Texas Democrats hope he'll run for Senate instead. That's not to say they would be terribly upset by their favorite son running for the White House.

    But in terms of what's best for Texas Democrats, some contend challenging Republican incumbent John Cornyn would provide a greater opportunity for victory and push Texas close to becoming a battleground, if not a bluer state.

    Hinojosa, who said he would be fine with whatever decision O'Rourke makes, said the best chance for the former El Paso congressman to score a groundbreaking victory is against Cornyn in O'Rourke, and by extension Texas Democrats, are faced with a difficult decision.

    Does he take on the difficult task of running for president, a high risk even higher reward venture? Or does he make the seemingly safer choice of running against Cornyn, though that would also be a difficult contest? His choice could determine the future of the Texas Democratic Party that's been struggling for decades to get out of the political wilderness.

    Six cases of the measles have been confirmed in Texas in recent days, health officials say. Five of those involve children. The three Harris County patients are two boys younger than 2 and a woman who is between 25 and 35 years old. The cases are the first in Harris County this year. The last was in Houston in , according to the county's health department.

    In Galveston County, the confirmed case is a boy between 1 and 2 years old who was tested Jan. Health officials say the case is part of the cluster in the region. The Montgomery County case is a girl, the Houston Chronicle reported.

    The Bell County case involves a child who is not school-aged and is too young to be vaccinated, according to the county health department. The Chronicle reported that four of the children had gotten the first of the two vaccines, though the state health department could not confirm that. County officials were working to confirm that the woman had been vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine — one between 12 and 15 months and the second between ages 4 and 6 — to be fully protected against measles.

    There were nine confirmed cases of measles in Texas last year. Should schools be required to disclose the number of unvaccinated students to parents? Plano, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston were identified as national hotspots for nonmedical vaccine exemptions in schools, according to a study published in the Public Library of Science last year.

    Texas is one of 18 states that allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children because of their philosophical or religious beliefs. A bill from Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would allow parents to obtain immunization information about a specific school without filing an open records request, which is the current policy.

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