Special Coverage
6:45 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

WATCH: President Obama Announces Executive Order on Immigration

President Barack Obama is expected to announce executive action on immigration policy tonight at 7 p.m. Central time.

Tune in to KUT 90.5 for live coverage and analysis from NPR after the President's speech.

Austin Film Scene
1:45 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Why 'The Hunger Games' Filmmakers Came to Austin With 'Mockingjay - Part 1'

'Hunger Games' Director Francis Lawrence, right, with actress Julianne Moore.
Lionsgate Publicity

The third film in the popular “Hunger Games” series hits theatres on Friday. To drum up anticipation for “Mockingjay Part-1," the filmmakers are traveling the globe for special premieres. So far they’ve been to London, L.A. and Austin. 

KUT sat down with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson to talk about the film and why they made a stop in Central Texas.

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Border & Immigration
12:54 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Executive Action on Immigration: The View from Texas

President Obama's likely announcement of an executive order to advance immigration reform could expand benefits for migrant workers, but Texas lawmakers at the legislature and in Congress could push back on the reforms.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Republicans in Washington and Texas are set to fight President Obama on his expected executive order on immigration. But how will the order affect life in the Lone Star State?

The biggest change would obviously be for the people who qualify for work permits the president is expected to announce tonight. Co-Director of the UT Law School Immigration Clinic Barbara Hines says not only will those people no longer live in fear of deportation, it should also improve their financial situation.

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Energy & Environment
11:39 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Keystone XL or Not, Canadian Crude Already Shipping Out From U.S.

While efforts to build out the Keystone XL pipeline have stalled in Congress, Canadian crude oil is still being shipped internationally from the Texas Gulf Coast.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/shannonpatrick17

Congress’ attempts to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline have re-ignited debate over the project, which would allow more crude oil to flow from the tar sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.  It’s also re-ignited debate over what could happen to that oil once it gets to Texas.

President Obama and opponents of the pipeline say it will be used as a funnel to export Canadian crude to international markets. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, has been unequivocal when asked about that.

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Border & Immigration
6:45 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Dewhurst Says More DPS Officers Will Patrol Border as National Guard Goes Home

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said at a Nov. 19, 2014 Capitol press conference that the Texas National Guard will leave the Texas-Mexico border by next March or April.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says President Barack Obama's expected announcement tonight on immigration policy will do nothing more than encourage more people to try and come into Texas illegally. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst says that's why he supports boosting the number of law enforcement officers along the Texas-Mexico border.

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Austin
12:46 am
Thu November 20, 2014

A Marriage in Transition

Greg Abbink and Joan Henke were married in 2012. Greg was born a female. This summer, he decided to transition.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Tonight, in cities all around the world, people will gather together to remember those from the transgender community who have died. It's called the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Austin's memorial will be at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Tonight's speaker is Greg Abbink, the first transgender police officer in the Austin Police Department. He joined the force after serving in the Army. Back then, his name was Emily Abbink. This summer, Emily decided to transition her appearance to that of a male.

"Because even at five years old, I vividly remember asking my parents, 'Why did God make me a girl?'" he says. "I used to pray at night that I would wake up as a boy."

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Politics
10:36 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Van de Putte Resigning to Run for San Antonio Mayor

Credit Janis Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two weeks after losing her bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte on Wednesday night announced that she was running for mayor of San Antonio and would not finish her term at the Texas Capitol.

“I’m running for mayor. I’m coming home,” Van de Putte said in an interview with KSAT-TV. "My decision to run for mayor had to do with how I can serve the people the best."

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NPR Story
5:41 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

This 'City' Trains First Responders For Bombs, Tornadoes And Even Ebola

Lauren Silverman KERA News

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 1:14 pm

In College Station, there’s a city that’s been hit by disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, even bombs. It’s called Disaster City. This 72-acre site is helping people, and robots, train for the next major disaster.

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Arts Eclectic
12:58 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Meet 'Ghost Horse' Author Thomas McNeely

Thomas McNeely was named a Dobie Paisano Fellow in 2000, and has just published Ghost Horse, the novel he began during that fellowship. It's largely autobiographical, focusing on an eleven-year-old boy growing up, as McNeely did, in mid-1970s Houston. That was a time of great transition and social tension in Houston; McNeely remembers it as a time when society made it, "after a certain age... not okay anymore" to be friends with kids of other races.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Obama To Unveil Immigration Plan On Thursday

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 2:14 pm

Updated at 1:28 p.m. ET.

President Obama says he will announce the executive actions he's taking to "start fixing our broken immigration system" during a speech to the nation at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

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Event
11:58 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Join us for the annual holiday sing-along, tree lighting & downtown stroll with John Aielli

See you at the state Capitol and Congress Avenue on Saturday, Dec. 6

EVENT: The community is invited to kick off the holidays downtown on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the annual Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll hosted by the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, and KUTX 98.9, The Austin Music Experience! All events are free and open to the public.

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Affordable Care Act
7:26 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Health Policy Experts Explain the Affordable Care Act's Impact in Texas

L-R: Tim Eaton, Prof. Sam Richardson, Bee Moorhead and Rep. John Zerwas discussed the Affordable Care Act at KUT on Nov. 18, 2014.
Ben Philpott/KUT

A few days after the start of the second enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, a discussion took place at KUT on the health care law's implementation in Texas. Topics included what lawmakers considered in the 2013 legislative session to get the 1.5 million Texans who fall in the Medicaid coverage gap insured, how premiums shifted for 2015 plans on the federal marketplace in Texas, the people who make up Texas' high rate of the uninsured and what the chances are the 84th Legislature will take up this discussion in January.

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Same-Sex Marriage
6:58 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Gay Marriage Campaign in Texas Points to Republicans for Support

Texas for Marriage is a new campaign from Freedom to Marry and Equality Texas that promotes support for same-sex marriage in Texas.
Texas for Marriage

Gay-rights advocacy organizations Freedom to Marry and Equality Texas are teaming up to build support for same sex marriage in Texas.

Their campaign is called Texas for Marriage. It’s a grassroots effort to get volunteers in Texas spreading support for same-sex marriage – including Republicans.

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The Salt
4:48 am
Wed November 19, 2014

No 'Misteak': High Beef Prices A Boon For Drought-Weary Ranchers

Black Angus cattle in pens outside the sale barn at 44 Farms, a 3,000-acre ranch in Cameron, Texas. The cattle were on display for bidders ahead of 44 Farms' fall auction in October.
Andrew Schneider Houston Public Media

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 10:18 am

If you've shopped for meat recently, you no doubt have noticed that beef prices are up. Some grades are even at the highest levels ever recorded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Though the inflated prices may be hard on consumers, they're helping Texas cattle ranchers recover from a fierce drought.

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Perry Indictment
4:57 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Judge Allows Perry Case to Go Forward, Overrules Objections Over Prosecutor's Oath

Governor Rick Perry addresses reporters outside a Travis County courtroom earlier this month.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The judge in the abuse of power case against Governor Rick Perry is overruling objections from Perry's legal team over the way the special prosecutor was sworn in. 

Perry's attorneys argued that special prosecutor Michael McCrum had not taken the oath of office and filed a required document in the proper way. The defense said because the oath wasn't done properly, McCrum was not authorized to act as prosecutor and everything he had done to this point -- including overseeing grand jury proceedings that produced the indictments against Perry -- were invalid.

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Texas
2:11 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Border Surge Could Continue Through August

Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety.
Credit Julián Aguilar/Texas Tribune

The surge of state law enforcement on Texas’ southern border will continue through August if a request made by the state’s top leaders is approved next month by budget writers. 

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Energy & Environment
10:22 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Texas Grid Operator Says Clean Energy Plan Could Raise Bills and Lead to Blackouts

The agency in charge of running the state's energy grid says the EPA's plan to reduce carbon emissions could put strain on the grid and raise rates for consumers.
Mose Buchele/StateImpact Texas

The clean energy plan put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency aims to combat climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by power plants.  But it may come at a price, according to a report released Monday by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the group that manages much of Texas electric grid.

The report says electricity bills could rise as much as 20 percent because of the carbon reduction goals, adding that the goals could also endanger electric reliability. Part of that is due to the way the plan would change Texas' energy mix.  

“What we found is that the likely impact of the clean power plan is going to be the retirement of a significant portion of the coal-fired capacity in ERCOT," says ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher.

The goal of the EPA’s clean energy plan is to reduce Texas carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

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Education
9:50 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Textbook Battles Heat Up as SBOE Approval Nears

State Board of Education members work their way through proposed revisions to social studies textbooks at a meeting with publishers in Austin on Monday, October 20, 2014.
Credit Martin do Nascimento/Texas Tribune

A conservative grassroots group formed by a San Antonio man with ties to a national anti-Muslim organization has made a late entry into debate over new social studies textbooks for Texas schools, which are set to gain final approval from the state Board of Education this week. 

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Affordable Care Act
7:10 am
Tue November 18, 2014

As ACA Sign-Ups Begin, Here’s a Look At What All That Insurance Jargon Means

Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act lasts until Feb. 15, 2014. People have three months to learn the health insurance jargon they need to know.
healthcare.gov

Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is underway. If you’ve ever shopped for insurance, or had insurance, you know this involves lots of technical terms that might be confusing.

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Energy
4:39 am
Tue November 18, 2014

What You Need To Know About The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Pipes for TransCanada's planned Keystone XL pipeline are stored in Gascoyne, N.D. The U.S. House has voted to approve the proposed project, which would allow crude oil to flow from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Senate plans to vote Tuesday on legislation that would greenlight the project.
Andrew Cullen Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 6:36 pm

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

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