Texas

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

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

DALLAS — Nearly four years after a federal judge first ruled that Texas violated foster children’s civil rights by placing them in a system where rape and over-medication were the norm, it’s high time for the state to stop dragging its feet and start making changes, that same federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Sandra Reed, Rodney Reed's mother, calls for an end to the death penalty and a fair trial for her son at the Texas Capitol on Oct. 19, 2019.
Jolie McCullough / The Texas Tribune

As the execution date nears for a Texas man whose guilt has long been shrouded in doubt, all eyes are shifting from the courts to the governor’s mansion.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

“Out of sight, out of mind.” That’s how the saying goes. And it’s exactly the way wildflowers are right now, for most Texans. But the flowers that beautify state roadsides each spring are not out of mind for the team that makes it happen.

Meet Forrest Smith, with Texas A&M-Kingsville. His research team has put in “decades of work” in search of the perfect seeds for the different climates and soils we have in Texas.

Ghosts Of Galveston May Be Inspiring More Tours Than The City Can Handle

Oct 31, 2019
Galveston ghosts
Flickr.com/July Dominique (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you have ever been to Galveston, you may have noticed something eerie about it -- Galveston County Daily News reporter Kathryn Eastburn says the city seems to have seen more than its fair share of untimely death.

William Munoz/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texan, and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified Wednesday in a Manhattan courtroom, where New York prosecutors are seeking to prove that Exxon Mobil lied to investors about the costs the company faced because of climate change. Tillerson is Exxon Mobil's former CEO.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texans who want to legally grow industrial hemp are one step closer to making that a reality after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its framework plan for hemp production on Tuesday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library

From Texas Standard:

As Bill Jones and his wife Kathy Murray of Austin found out in 2008, getting sick with murine typhus can be scary business. When a high fever persisted for five days, Jones sought help at a local hospital. There, he spent nine more terrifying days, while doctors searched for an explanation for his symptoms and nearly operated on his liver unnecessarily.

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A growing number of asylum-seekers are setting up makeshift camps on the Mexican side of the southern border, across from El Paso, while they await hearings with U.S. immigration officials. Some wait weeks or even months for that appointment. But now, the Trump administration is testing a secretive program called Prompt Asylum Claim Review to fast-track those hearings.

Bill Abbott / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Perhaps no airline has a greater stake in the fate of the Boeing 737 Max than Texas-based Southwest Airlines, which bought 34 of them before the plane’s design issues made national headlines following two fatal crashes.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Top Texas Republicans have directed the state’s child welfare agency to investigate whether a mother who supports her 7-year-old child’s gender transition is committing “child abuse” — a move that has alarmed an already fearful community of parents of transgender children.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

From Texas Standard:

Travis County named a building in Southeast Austin after Ray Martinez in 2004, but the inclusion of the former Austin police officer's name on the facade didn't tell the whole story. Now, the county is honoring Martinez – and telling his whole story – with a new historical plaque.

Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media

From Texas Standard:

Harris County is negotiating a settlement with plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit that could lead to dramatic changes in the county’s bail system.

Janis Joplin: More Than Just A Great Big Voice

Oct 22, 2019
David Gahr/Getty Images)

From Texas Standard:

Janis Joplin left her Texas home in the early 1960s. She didn't fit in in Port Arthur, where she grew up, and she wanted to make a name for herself as a musician. She did that, and more, becoming the biggest female rock star of the era. Joplin's greatest musical success, the album, "Pearl," was released after her death from a heroin overdose in 1970. She was just 27. 

By Tuesday morning, over 30 House Republicans had already called for the speaker's resignation or pulled their support.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

 

First-term Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen on Tuesday announced he will not seek reelection to the lower chamber in 2020 — completing a stunning fall for the Angleton Republican who enjoyed near unanimous support in the House just months earlier.

Savana Dunning/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The American West isn’t a fixed idea; its scope and definition can change depending on whom you ask. So how does Texas fit into it? University of Texas historian H. W. Brands tries to answer that question and more in his new book, “Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West.” In it, he invites readers to rethink the West, how Texas fits into it, and what the West meant to Americans in the past and what it means to them today. 

Sandra Dahdah

From Texas Standard:

Water nourishes us. But it also forms borders between geographic regions, and has even become responsible for migration, as individuals and families make decisions about where to live based on the availability of this critical resource. In Texas Standard's series, "Drop by Drop," reporter Joy Diaz set out to learn how water affects politics, migration, the environment and economics. Diaz says she was motivated to produce the series by the growing importance of water in cross-border issues.

A memorial for the 26 people killed in the Sutherland Springs shooting in 2017.
Lynda M. González / KUT

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A sporting goods retailer violated the law by selling an AR-15-style rifle and large capacity magazine to a man who later used them to kill more than two dozen worshippers at a Texas church in 2017, federal prosecutors said in a court filing.

Devin Patrick Kelley presented a Colorado driver's license at an Academy Sports + Outdoors store in Texas to buy the rifle and ammunition, the Department of Justice said in a motion filed Tuesday in San Antonio.

Louis Vuitton Sets Up Shop in Small-Town Texas

Oct 17, 2019
jackmac34/Pixabay (Public domain)

From Texas Standard:

Keene, a small Texas town southwest of Dallas, will soon be home to a new 256-acre leather workshop for the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton. President Donald Trump will cut the ribbon during the grand opening this week. 

WikiCommons

From Texas Standard:

By the beginning of this year, more than 30 states had legalized some form of cannabis use, mostly for medical purposes. But Texas has been slow to embrace the change. And companies looking to obtain a license to lawfully sell medical marijuana in the state find the process particularly challenging.

Census 2020 sign
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The U.S. Census Bureau has opened offices in Austin and Leander ahead of the 2020 census, a constitutionally mandated count that happens every 10 years.

Pexels

From Texas Standard:

A new commissioner will take over at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in December.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week that Jaime Masters, from Kansas City, Missouri, will lead the struggling agency. The announcement came after The Dallas Morning News reported that a federal judge is threatening to fine Texas if the agency doesn’t comply with court-ordered fixes to the state's foster care system.

Whatever Happened To The Dennis Bonnen Scandal?

Oct 8, 2019
Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Not long after the end of this year's "Kumbaya" legislative session, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen was accused of trading press access to the House floor for the targeting of potential political adversaries. But some two months later, Bonnen is still in power, and little has come of the scandal. 

Paul Oliver

From Texas Standard:

Many people have strong opinions about Texas music, but few are true experts on the subject. Alan Govenar is one of those experts. He's studied Texas blues, and has written award-winning books. His latest work is the completion of a long-awaited project started by two musicologists more than half a century ago.  

Protesters stand outside the Governor's Mansion at a rally in support of refugee resettlement services in November 2015.
Pu Ying Huang for KUT

Texas’ refugee resettlement programs are bracing for what could be a huge blow – one that stakeholders say could weaken the state's support system for years to come.

Courtesy Héctor Galán

From Texas Standard:

There’s a historical marker in Presidio County that tells the story of a massacre that took place a century ago in the small town of Porvenir. The Spanish word, porvenir, means “future” in English. But when Texas Rangers and others rounded up more than a dozen townspeople and shot them dead in 1918, Porvenir didn’t seem like it had much of a future at all.

Wells Dunbar/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Next year, U.S. residents will be asked to fill out the 2020 Census. A misleading political document being mailed out now could confuse some recipients.

Carlos Morales/Marfa Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

An arraignment hearing will be held next week for the suspect accused of targeting Hispanics, and killing 22 people, at an El Paso Walmart in August. But covering legal proceedings for those who’ve committed mass violence poses a problem for news organizations: How do they identify the shooter?

Brian Reading /Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. The measure entitles college athletes in the Golden State to make money from their name, image and likeness, including through endorsement deals or jersey sales. Those opportunities are currently forbidden under NCAA rules.

Photo courtesy Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle

From Texas Standard:

Many Texas cities have neighborhoods that have been changed by gentrification: Bishop Arts District in Dallas and East Austin are just some examples. And now, Houston’s Independence Heights – considered Texas’ first black city – could face a similar fate.

A roadside memorial continues to grow for Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal.
Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

A man loved by those he knew and admired by thousands he didn’t will be laid to rest Wednesday, as mourners gather in Cypress to honor fallen Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. 

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