What we’re reading: Texas executes seventh person this year

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Texas inmate Robert Sparks was executed Wednesday night for the 2007 murder of his wife and two stepsons. He also confessed to raping his two stepdaughters.

Robert Sparks was sentenced to death in December 2008. Photo courtesy of TDCJ.

Sparks’ attorneys petitioned to hire a neurologist to see if Sparks was intellectually disabled, but were denied after a U.S. district judge stated that he had already undergone full analysis before trial.

He was not considered intellectually disabled.

Attorneys said the case contained false testimony from a star witness and the bailiff’s attire was politically motivated.

The bailiff later admitted he wore the tie, a homemade tie showing a syringe, to show his support for the death penalty.

Sparks is seventh person executed in Texas in 2019. Seven more are scheduled for this year, and two are scheduled for 2020.

Ukraine whistleblower tentatively agrees to meet with Congress

The whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump’s language in a phone conversation with the president of Ukraine has agreed to meet with Congress.

The whistleblower’s complaint stated they would be willing to speak to lawmakers under the direction of Intelligence Director Joseph McGuire. The complaint was filed with the Inspector General’s office, Compass Rose Legal Group, which is the whistleblower’s legal counsel.

The letters also request that the whistleblower’s legal counsel receive appropriate security clearances to attend classified meetings with their clients.

The whistleblower’s complaint was declassified and released Thursday morning.

Over half of the House supports an impeachment inquiry

House representatives that publicly support an impeachment inquiry. Photo courtesy of Axios.

In the House of Representatives, 217 Democrats and one independent publicly support launching an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In June, only 80 lawmakers were in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings.

A July NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 21% of registered voters said that there was enough evidence to begin the impeachment process.

That number is now at 36%, according to a Politco/Morning Consult poll.

There was already support for impeachment in the House before the Ukraine incident, specifically when Trump made racist remarks about four Democratic congresswomen and after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s released his report and gave public testimony in May.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump earlier this week.

FDA plans to finalize, release new vaping policy in coming weeks

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to require premarket authorization for all e-cigarette cartridge flavors in the next few weeks, according to an article by CNN.

The FDA also is cracking down on the marketing schemes of vaping products.

“It’ll take several weeks for us to put out the final guidance that will announce all the parameters around the enforcement policy,” US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in an interview with CNN. “Then there will likely be about a 30-day delay to the effective date, as is customary,”

There have been 11 reported deaths linked to vaping-related illnesses nationwide in 2019. The Center for Disease Control says there have been another 530 cases of lung injuries as a result of vaping and e-cigarette products.