Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A judge has dismissed a complaint against confessed Austin bomber Mark Conditt now that his body has been identified and released to his family, U.S. Attorney John Bash said today. The investigation into a motive is ongoing, he added.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard.

You’ve heard the saying – the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Of the two, taxes are arguably less painful. Death, on the other hand, is a reality so serious that most of us don’t expose our children to the concept, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

After months of scrutiny over why University of Texas Professor Richard A. Morrisett – who pleaded guilty to a felony account of assaulting his girlfriend – was allowed to stay on the job, employees at the university will now face a tougher policy that requires them to self-report any arrest, as well as the ultimate disposition of the case. The announcement went out last week in a letter to employees from UT-Austin President Greg Fenves.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

Every spring, wildflowers bring Texans and visitors alike out of their homes for all kinds of photo ops. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of cars parked along Texas highways as families pose in patches of bluebonnets.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

In response to President Donald Trump's call earlier this week to mobilize the U.S. military for border protection, the Texas National Guard deployed a handful of troops to the Texas-Mexico border on Friday evening, with plans to send 250 more in the next 72 hours.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors on the southwest border to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy against anyone who enters or attempts to enter the country illegally, a mandate he said “supersedes” any prior directives.

Charlie Jackson /Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In February 2017, several newspapers in north Texas carried the story that 250 workers were being laid off from a General Electric facility in Fort Worth that makes locomotives. Now, that same plant has plans to bring back nearly double that workforce by the end of the summer.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Facing potential new tariffs with China, some Texas agricultural producers say they’re concerned about extra taxes on the products they ship to China. But the state’s Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says most Texas producers won’t be affected.

Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media

From Texas Standard.

It seems as though President Donald Trump wants to tie border security to the ongoing negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The pact between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada has been in place for 24 years.

Austin Price / KUT

From Texas Standard.

Texas is re-upping a request to “opt in” to a federal law that would speed up the execution appeals process in the state, potentially leading to quicker executions.

From Marfa Public Radio:

Late Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation directing the deployment of National Guard troops as a quote “immediate deterrent” to illegal immigration along the U.S.- Mexico border.

This comes after days of tough talk from President Trump on immigration enforcement, including Tweeting that he’d secure the border through military force until his proposed border wall is complete. The news is being met with some mixed reaction on Texas’ southern border.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday announced the National Guard will once again be deployed to the country’s southern border in an effort to stop illegal immigration into the country.

The announcement by DHS officials comes after President Donald Trump said this week he was deploying military units to the area because Congress, and especially Democrats, have refused to act on the border security.

Ryan Healy/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Hackers are a threat to credit card information, election data, and now – according to a report from iDefense, an arm of consulting group Accenture – they’ve come for the energy sector.

Photo courtesy of Dorceal Duckens

From Texas Standard.

Fifty years ago today, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on a hotel balcony in Memphis. King was the preeminent leader of the American civil rights movement, and advocated nonviolent resistance to discrimination against black Americans. King had gone to Memphis to support sanitation workers who were in a labor dispute with the city.

Maciek Lulko/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Depending on your sense of community, and how intentional you want to be regarding whom you do business with, the ownership of your bank is not just a remote, esoteric question.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Teachers have walked off the job in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma – and there are rumblings that Arizona could be next. Their demands in each state vary, but they can be boiled down to wanting a bigger piece of the pie, either for themselves or the schools they work in.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke has raised $6.7 million so far this year from 141,000 contributions in his race to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. The Cruz camp hasn’t released fresh numbers yet, but a filing deadline is coming up April 15.

U.S. Air Force photo/Stephen Najjar

From Texas Standard.

One of the staples of elementary school library shelves across Texas is Hank the Cowdog – the dog who fancies himself the “head of ranch security” at the M-Cross Ranch in the Panhandle. Since 1983, Hank has solved mysteries, fended off coyotes, and pined for the affection of the ranch’s collie, Beulah.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

In Texas, where the weather is no laughing matter, it’s not an exaggeration to say storms are wreaking havoc in many parts of the state.

On Thursday, tornadoes touched down near Rockport and Refugio. KUT Ausin’s Jimmy Maas says at least three Texas communities recovering from Harvey – Holiday Beach, Seadrift, and Woodsboro – are once again picking up the pieces.

Carol M. Highsmith/Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard.

In 1978, the CBS TV network took a chance on broadcasting a five-episode miniseries about the schemes and struggles of a Texas family. Five shows – that’s all there were 40 years ago. But people loved it. So, CBS brought the series back for 24 more episodes. By then, America was hooked.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Mayors and city councils along the Gulf Coast didn’t have a lot of time to make decisions during Hurricane Harvey. The situation on the ground changed almost constantly as wave after wave of rain doused their cities. But some of those local officials say their response was impaired by a law meant to keep their communities better-informed: the Texas Open Meetings Act. It requires a certain amount of advance public notice before a meeting – something officials say slowed their decision-making during the storm. This week they brought those claims to the Texas Legislature.

Kumar Appaiah/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

According to the Dallas Federal Reserve’s monthly Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey, activity at Texas factories expanded in March. But the report also indicated that the production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell 15 points – the sixth biggest drop since 2004. So what does this mean for the state and its manufacturing industry?

Wendy Lopez

From Texas Standard.

Loteria is a game that is very dear to some, and completely unfamiliar to others. In the U.S., Loteria is known as “Mexican Bingo.” To win, participants must mark the images called out by the cantador or caller, of the game. Once a player completes a line of four squares, that person yells out “Loteria!”

Catmom42/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

You may not be familiar with the name Jeff Henry, but you almost certainly know his company. Henry is the co-owner of Schlitterbahn, which has four waterparks in Texas. On Tuesday, Henry was arrested in Cameron County. The charge: second-degree murder.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

If you’ve ever been curious about the return on investment for a college degree – think employment rates, student debt burden, and the like – you’d be pretty much out of luck. Since 2008, there’s been a ban on a federal database that would track information linking student education data to national employment data.

Saeru/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Legend has it that the Easter Bunny has its origins in Fredericksburg, which explains why the city is preparing for a major annual event this weekend: the Easter Fires of Fredericksburg Pageant.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

In the aftermath of the bombing spree that paralyzed Austin over the past several weeks, many have suggested that the race of the bomber and his victims played a role in the way the case was discussed, even by law enforcement officials. The bomber’s first three victims were African-American and Latina, and critics have charged that Austin’s collective reaction to the attacks underwent a change when later victims, who live in an affluent, predominantly white area of town, were injured. Even after the bomber, a 23-year-old white man, took his own life as police closed in, some charged that descriptions of the crime and the perpetrator were different than they would have been in the case of a person of color.

Gabriel C. Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard.

Remington Arms – a gun company that has been in business for over 200 years – has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and they’re not the only gun company that has seen shrinking profits lately. Sturm Ruger, as well as American Outdoors Brand, formerly known as Smith and Wesson, have been taking hits, too. Is Remington a victim of shifting public sentiment surrounding guns – or is something else going on?

Nicolas Henderson/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Does the Wink Sink ring any bells for you? It is, as the name implies, a pair of giant sinkholes near the town of Wink, located about 60 miles west of Odessa. One of the reasons why they’re remarkable is that they’re unique, though that may not always be the case.

The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

From Texas Standard.

You can squeeze a lot into a spending proposal that’s 2,200 pages long and $1.3 trillion deep. But if you look at the fine print in the spending deal passed by Congress and signed by the president late Friday, you may notice something big in there when it comes to Texas – $1.6 billion in new border security infrastructure.

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