Jill Ament

Texas Standard Producer
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From Texas Standard:

It's something you don't hear often in the news: President Donald Trump is endorsing a measure that has the support of Democrats and Republicans in Congress. This rare occasion for bipartisanship represents what some consider the biggest overhaul to the nation's criminal justice system in recent memory.

Shaila Dewaun is national criminal justice editor for The New York Times. She says the bill would help people leaving prison with reentry into the outside world, including providing money for education and treatment programs.

flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces; U.S. Army photo by Maj. Randall Stillinger.

President Donald Trump is now planning to send between 800 and 1,000 active-duty U.S. troops to the southern border to counter a caravan of migrants from Central America. The migrants are now making their way through Mexico. The president has called the approaching caravan a national emergency.

To get a perspective from the border, Texas Standard Host David Brown spoke with John Ferguson, the mayor of Presidio, in far west Texas, and Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council.

Derek K. Miller/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In February, 12-year-old Linda Rogers died when her home in Northwest Dallas exploded as she was getting ready for school. A preliminary report cited a crack in a natural gas line.

An investigation by the Dallas Morning News finds that, since 2006, more than two dozen homes across  North and Central Texas have been destroyed or damaged because of natural gas leaking from Atmos Energy's aging system. Nine people have died. At least 22 others have been injured.

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From Texas Standard:

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that the Rebuild Texas Fund reported the amount of recovery money Nueces County, where Port Aransas is located, has received. The reporting agency is called the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas.

City leaders say Hurricane Harvey damaged 100 percent of Port Aransas' businesses and 85 percent of the beach community's homes.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Political pundits, pollsters and activists have been saying for a while that the 2018 midterm elections are likely to result in some upheaval in the ranks of incumbent officeholders. Already, in special elections in other states, Democrats have run strong in reliably Republican areas, and here at home, one senator, and several members of Congress face enthusiastic opposition. But statewide officeholders – Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller – face somewhat easier paths to reelection. Still, Democrats are campaigning aggressively.

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From Texas Standard.

In early January 2017, a fire allegedly started by Mark Vincent Perez burned a mosque in Victoria to the ground. Since then, the community has remained quiet about the motivations for this act of arson. As the case goes to trial, details are finally coming out, one witness at a time.

Photo via Office of the Texas Attorney General

From Texas Standard.

Texas is facing lawsuits over some of its abortion laws, including House Bill 2, which restricts access to abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires abortion clinics to maintain the same medical facilities as hospitals. The state is also being sued over the Fetal Burial Law, which requires clinics to bury remains from abortions and miscarriages.

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From Texas Standard.

Still celebrating its advance in the World Cup this week, Mexico is headed into another emotional weekend as the much anticipated presidential election gets underway.

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From Texas Standard.

In a backlash against the president’s immigration policies, agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, are now echoing calls from some Democratic Socialists and other progressives that ICE should be dissolved. The Texas Observer first reported this story, picked up today by The New York Times.

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From Texas Standard.

Immigrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border could potentially be housed at military bases – including a few in Texas – according to a recent report. Questions are swirling about how exactly this will play out.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard.

In recent days we’ve been seeing a wave of protests at detention centers in South Texas over the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy at the border, which has led to the separation of families. There are now signs that something’s changing. Case in point: the detention camp in Tornillo, outside El Paso.

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From Texas Standard.

Residents living in the Rio Grande Valley have experienced several days of heavy rains this week, which have overwhelmed cities like McAllen and Weslaco.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

South Texas is ground zero for a fight to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Trump administration has tried to end it, but twice, courts have ruled that the administration can’t do that. Now DACA opponents are trying a different legal maneuver – Texas and six other states have sued the federal government. The Trump Justice Department’s not putting up a fight, which could mean the end of DACA.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday that it was OK for Ohio to remove people from voter registration rolls if those voters skip a few elections and then fail to respond to a notice from election officials. Ohio claimed this was necessary for the proper upkeep of voter registration lists and to prevent voter fraud.

Republicans have been pushing for such restrictions without much actual evidence of fraud, while Democrats have often seen such moves as attempts to suppress voting. What does the ruling mean for Texas?

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Headlines of the past few days have heralded the potential consequences of the impending decision by a federal district judge on whether Texas-based AT&T can merge with Time Warner. Business writers say the decision will determine whether old-line media companies will have the tools to compete with tech and entertainment companies in the future, or whether those media companies will lose out, as tech giants and makers of entertainment go around the older firms to sell to viewers. And entertainment consumers will be affected too, if fewer companies consolidate to control both the means of accessing content, and the content itself.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

Four years later, the disappearance of 43 Mexican college students is still a mystery. A government inquiry was inconclusive – and it turned into an international scandal after it came to light that some people were tortured to make confessions.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

As many reacted with shock this week to the deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, we also learned from the Centers for Disease Control that suicide rates have risen in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available. Though Texas remains below the national rate, suicides have been rising here, too. The state experiences 12.9 suicides per 100,000 Texans. Across the nation, there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides in 2016. The CDC says these trends cannot be linked to any specific medical diagnosis. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

In efforts to avoid strict state sanctions, Houston ISD, San Antonio ISD and Waco ISD are all school districts that have recently either considered or adopted plans to consolidate several of their consistently failing public schools into charter school partnerships.

Photo credit: NASA

From Texas Standard.

The first words uttered from the surface of the moon were “Houston, tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” More than 50 years ago, part of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s legacy was making the biggest city in his home state a center of space exploration. Fast forward to today, you’d think that excitement about projects aimed at Mars and beyond would be reason for ‘Space City’ to celebrate a coming renaissance – but there may be problems on the relaunching pad.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse of minors in the state’s juvenile lockups, the scandal-rocked Texas Juvenile Justice Department has had a massive leadership shakeup in recent months. Gov. Greg Abbott has demanded to see an action plan to address how kids at state lockups are treated – and now the head of the Juvenile Justice Department has submitted one.

Austin Price/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been fighting to keep a secret for years now – the name of the pharmacy that supplies its execution drugs. But late last week, after a lengthy court battle, the state Supreme Court refused to grant an appeal of a lower court ruling that the state must reveal where it gets these drugs.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report based on some 30,000 pages of internal records from the Department of Homeland Security between 2009 to 2014, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. What they’ve found is what they call “the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

Travis Wise/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Something is happening in far west Texas that could be a harbinger for the rest of the state. El Paso has no place to send recycled trash. China, which is a destination for much of what we recycle in the U.S., doesn’t want it anymore.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard.

In an effort to control its borders, the U.S. has been unequivocal in declaring what will happen to those who illegally immigrate to the U.S. with underage kids in tow – you may be be separated from your kids. It’s supposed to be a deterrent. In the past, parents with children were not routinely prosecuted for illegally crossing the border. But that’s changed, and now kids are being separated from their parents.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Following the May 18 mass shooting at Santa Fe High School – and the Sutherland Springs church shooting in November, and the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida – Gov. Greg Abbott convened roundtable discussions about gun violence at the Capitol this week.

Darrell Issa/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Former Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold, who recently resigned his seat after it was discovered he had paid a $84,000 sexual harassment settlement with taxpayer money, is now in hot water back home in south Texas.

WhatsApp/Houston Public Media

From Texas Standard.

After another school shooting in Texas, this time in Santa Fe, calls for action have come from various places along the political spectrum. Some believe that beefed-up school security is the answer, while others advocate gun regulation. Texas lawmakers are talking about how to move forward, including Republican Jason Villalba, a member of the Texas House from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Sunday will mark the second presidential debate for candidates vying to be the next political leader of Mexico. The debate will be televised and take place in the border city of Tijuana.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is seeking more money for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, and he’s asking Gov. Greg Abbott to dip into the state’s rainy day fund to pay for it. The governor says Houston has access to $50 million, of which the city has used only $5 million. And now there’s a war of words between Turner and other local officials seeking funding and Abbott.

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