APTOPIX Winter Weather Texas

Raella Mills, 3, plays mop-up at her home on Tuesday in Dallas. Raella and her mother's apartment flooded last week by a pipe that burst during the record winter cold. 

South Dakota House moves to impeach AG after fatal crash

PIERRE, S.D. | South Dakota House lawmakers on Tuesday began impeachment proceedings against the state’s attorney general, who is facing misdemeanor charges for striking and killing a man with his car and is already under pressure to resign.

Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution in the House to impeach the state’s top law enforcement officer, Jason Ravnsborg, after he indicated Monday he would not heed calls for his resignation.

The Republican attorney general faces three misdemeanor charges but no felonies in the September death of 55-year-old Joseph Boever.

Lawmakers argued in the impeachment resolution that Ravnsborg should be removed from office for “his crimes or misdemeanors in office causing the death” of Boever.

Board leaders resign after deadly Texas power outages

AUSTIN, Texas | Top board leaders of Texas’ embattled power grid operator said Tuesday they will resign following outrage over more than 4 million customers losing electricity last week during a deadly winter storm, including many whose frigid homes lacked heat for days in subfreezing temperatures.

The resignations are the first since the crisis began in Texas, and calls for wider firings remain in the aftermath of one of the worst power outages in U.S. history.

All of the five board directors who are stepping down, including Chairwoman Sally Talberg, live outside of Texas, which only intensified criticism of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The resignations are effective Wednesday — a day before Texas lawmakers are expected to sharply question grid managers and energy officials about the failures during hearings at the state Capitol.

Gov. Greg Abbott has largely blamed the outages on ERCOT and called for investigations. But the problems were wider than ERCOT, including power plants that were knocked offline by the extreme cold and natural gas producers didn’t protect wellheads from freezing.

ERCOT president Bill Magness has said Texas’ power grid — which is uniquely isolated from the rest of the U.S. — was on the brink of collapse in the early hours of Feb. 15 as power plants froze in the cold and a record demand for electricity to heat home overwhelmed the system. He has defended the outages as a necessity, while Abbott has accused ERCOT of misleading Texas about the readiness of the grid.

Lawsuits filed against auto insurers over rates in pandemic

LAS VEGAS | Class action lawsuits were filed in Nevada against 10 major auto insurance companies on Tuesday, contending that the companies charged excessive insurance premiums during the pandemic by failing to account for a drop in driving and crashes.

The lawsuits acknowledge that some insurers provided discounts over the emptier roads and drop in accidents and claims, but the discounts did not offer “any meaningful relief that actually reflects the reduction in cars on the road and reduced driving during the pandemic,” according to the court filings. The rates that were charged violate state law against excessive premiums, the lawsuits contend.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Nevada insurance customers against State Farm, USAA, Geico, Acuity, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, Progressive, Travelers, Nationwide and Allstate.