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Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Austin and Dallas school districts said Friday that they would defy a request from Texas state Rep. Matt Krause who initiated an investigation into schools' library books, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The big picture: The Austin school district, one of the largest in the state, was the first school system to disregard the probe set by Krause. Dallas followed shortly after late Friday night, according to the Chronicle.

  • The Austin independent school district (ISD) spokesperson Jason Stanford said that a response was unnecessary because "anyone can search our library catalogs."
  • A Dallas ISD spokesperson said the district would not respond because "the letter is an unofficial request," per the Houston Chronicle.

Driving the news: Krause, the chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced on Wednesday that the probe would focus on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex."

  • He included a 16-page list of nearly 850 targeted books that deal with topics such as racism, abortion and homosexuality.
  • Democrats and Texas education groups have criticized the probe as a "precursor to future censorship," according to the Houston Chronicle.
  • Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Round Rock, Northside and Spring Branch ISDs also received Krause's letter, according to the Texas Tribune.

What's next: Schools have until Nov. 12 to respond to Krause's investigation, though the consequences of schools not complying is unclear.

Go deeper: Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality.

Go deeper

Rep. Louie Gohmert running for Texas attorney general

Rep. Louie Gohmert at the U.S. Capitol in October. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Louie Gohmert announced Monday his bid to become Texas attorney general in 2022 and said he's already raised $1 million in his effort to unseat the incumbent, fellow Republican Ken Paxton.

The big picture: The Texas congressman and Trump loyalist joins a crowded field of candidates challenging Paxton, who is under investigation by the FBI and is facing securities fraud charges.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.