Texas

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

book cover, "The Meanest Man in Congress"
Shelly Brisbin/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The list of notable Texans to serve in the U.S. House is a long one. Names like Sam Rayburn, "Cactus Jack" Garner, Barbara Jordan and Lyndon B. Johnson have been lionized through history. But that parade of names often leaves someone out: Congressman Jack Brooks.

NASA Earth Observatory/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

This may be a difficult summer for Texas marine life. Experts predict a near-record dead zone, which is caused by heavy rainfall and agricultural activity along the Mississippi River that trickles down to Texas’ upper Gulf Coast.

Wendy Rigby/Texas Public Radio

From Texas Standard:

In this installment of our "Spotlight on Health" series, we're looking at access to health care – something that can be a problem for many military veterans. 

Robert Wilkie, secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, says wait times at VA clinics have shown "marked improvement" since 2014 when the agency was embroiled in controversy. In one example from that time, a Phoenix VA facility was criticized for having extremely long wait times. 

Thousands Of Asylum Seekers Left Waiting At The U.S.-Mexico Border

Jun 17, 2019
Julia Reihs / KUT

Over the past three months, the number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has jumped exponentially, and total border crossings have reached levels last seen in 2006.

An Army veteran wearing a mask and carrying more than 150 rounds of ammunition for his high-powered rifle was shot dead Monday after he opened fire outside a busy federal courthouse in downtown Dallas, authorities said.

Schlitterbahn said in a news release it sold a water park and resort in New Braunfels, Texas, and another property in Galveston, Texas, to Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.
Carol Bell/(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A Texas-based water park company on Thursday announced an agreement to sell two of its attractions and will also give the buyer the right to acquire its Kansas site where a 10-year-old boy was killed nearly three years ago.

Big Bend, West Texas' Sprawling And Historic National Park, Turns 75

Jun 13, 2019
Members of the Civilian Conservation Corps were sent to the Big Bend area to work, building roads, trails and other facilities.
L. Bartsch / National Park Service

It’s time to blow out the candles. Big Bend National Park — home to 800,000 acres of sweeping Chihuahuan desert landscapes, imposing mountains, wiry cacti and an international boundary in the Rio Grande — is turning 75.

Alan Levine/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Have you ever pulled something out of the fridge only to see that it expired a week ago? Or did it? A 2017 Food and Drug Administration survey of U.S. consumers found that less than half could determine the difference between the terms “Sell By,” “Use By” and “Best If Used By.” To end the confusion, some industry regulators are urging producers to standardize the meaning of these terms.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Three named plaintiffs launched a class action lawsuit last year against the City of Austin, Travis County and several local officials, claiming they failed to adequately investigate and prosecute their sexual assault cases.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texans have become more supportive of transgender rights in recent years, a new public opinion survey suggests. 

Greg Miller/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

From Texas Standard:

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act. Before the law, a vast majority of Native American children in foster care were placed in homes outside of native communities. The law was meant to correct that, and it mandated that Native American families have priority in adopting Native American children.

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Horror stories of untested, long-forgotten and even moldy sexual assault evidence kits have been a problem in Texas for years. And those forgotten kits have been on Becky O’Neal’s mind for a long time. 

Lyza Renee

From Texas Standard:

Charley Crockett is no cookie-cutter cowboy. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley as the son of a single mother, and he lived on the streets as a wandering musician, drifting from the Valley to New Orleans and New York before winding his way back to Texas.  

But no matter where he is, he has an unmistakable sound and style that is garnering sensational reviews from Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines, where his latest collection of songs landed in the top 10 on the blues album chart.

But calling his music “blues” can be misleading because it seems to weave some thread that ties together the Big Apple, the Big Easy and that big valley in South Texas that he once called home.

Lynda M. González for KUT

The federal government is opening a new facility to hold migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, and considering detaining hundreds more youths on three military bases around the country, adding up to 3,000 beds to the already overtaxed system.

A time-lapse video of a massive sandstorm approaching Lubbock
The National Weather Service in Lubbock

The alert went out after 6 p.m. Wednesday: A dust storm is coming.

The wall of dust swept across the South Plains of Texas, creating low-visibility conditions in Lubbock.

Lynda M. González/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A single picture can change the way people think about an issue or event, even something happening on the other side of the world. Think of the girl running from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. Or, more recently, the image of the dead body of the Syrian toddler, Alan Kurdi, who washed up on a beach in Turkey after an attempted escape from Syria. How does what we see in those images compare with what the photojournalist sees? Does the click of the shutter imply a certain photojournalistic responsibility?

Gov. Greg Abbott
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott claimed Tuesday he can keep Texas' plumbing board alive without calling a special legislative session, as he reassured plumbers who were worried their profession will no longer be subject to state regulations.

The city of Juárez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has long been a migrant gateway to the United States.

In mid-May, Mexican authorities said at least 14,500 asylum-seekers either have passed through Juárez on their way to the U.S. or were still waiting in Juárez for their opportunity to apply.

Residents, business owners and political leaders in Laredo, Texas are bracing for President Trump's implementation of a 5% tariff on all goods coming from Mexico that would begin June 10th.

The president said the tariff will gradually increase to 25% if Mexico doesn't do more to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S.

Ernesto Gaytan Jr. is the general manager of Super Transport International in Laredo, a company founded by his father almost 30 years ago in Mexico.

"Laredo exists because of its location and the closeness we have with Mexico," he said.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

With a looming trade war with Mexico on the horizon, Texas’ proximity to its southern neighbor could spell economic trouble for the state’s consumers and workforce.

But it’s the added dynamic of how this country trades with Mexico that could do far greater damage to the state and national economies than President Donald Trump's current trade battles with China or Canada, analysts warn.

Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Most whiskey distillers will likely say that “aging” is a crucial part of their process. Aging is when the spirit is left to sit in a barrel, sometimes for years. The older the spirit, the better it will likely taste. But for Austin-based distillery, Still, it’s the grain from which the whiskey comes that also matters. Still uses 100-year-old heirloom wheat, which can be hard to come by. So it asked a Texas farmer to grow it.

Lynnelle Richardson /Pexels

From Texas Standard:

The Department of Family and Protective Services was in the news this week because its commissioner, Hank Whitman is retiring. His announcement came a day after the Texas legislative session ended. Child advocates say the session was marked by little action on foster care.

The San Antonio City Council voted Thursday to ban electric scooters from city sidewalks on July 1. The move comes along with city efforts to reduce the popular mobility option’s fleet.

Famartin/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you were making a list of things Texans say that set them apart from non-Texans, friendliness would rank pretty high. Signs of friendliness – literal and otherwise – are ubiquitous here. Look no further than reminders along the interstate to "Drive Friendly, the Texas Way." "Friendship" is the state’s official motto.

Marijuana on top of a Texas flag
KUT

Sixty-three bills related to marijuana or hemp were filed at the beginning of the 86th Texas legislative session in January. Four measures passed out of the House, including bills that would establish a hemp market in Texas, reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession and expand the list of Texans who can access medical marijuana.

From Texas Standard:

A North Texas town with about 400 residents is the source of more than $230 million in bonds for the city of Dallas and elsewhere. Windthorst, a small dairy farming community close to Wichita Falls, has issued bonds for several projects, most notably the Dallas Arboretum, Texas Christian University and the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.

NASA/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Scientists are warning that new 5G internet connectivity could interfere with their ability to forecast the weather. Now, they're bringing their concerns to Congress.

Along one rugged stretch of the Rio Grande, U.S. citizens routinely cross the border into the United States illegally. A shortage of basic services in rural Texas, such as health care, means U.S. citizens rely on Mexican services and rarely pass through an official port of entry on return.

Informal, unregulated crossings have been a fixture of life for generations in rural communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Today, however, with the unrelenting focus on border security, this kind of unfettered back-and-forth by U.S. citizens is rare.

the moon
Christopher Dart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The first lunar landing was almost 50 years ago, and NASA is making plans to return to the moon. This time around, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says, the agency plans to stay there.

The space agency is planning to build a “lunar gateway,” or a space station, that will orbit the moon and make it easier for astronauts to come and go. It’s part of its long-term plan to develop a lunar outpost.

Medication bottles
Alan Levine/Flickr (CC0 1.0)

From Texas Standard:

Americans pay some of the highest prices in the developed world for prescription medication: On average, each individual spends $1,200 per year. But now, some states are trying to change that. On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a bill that would implement a price cap on insulin, the first law of its kind in the nation.

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