Martin do Nascimento / KUT

To Help Homeless Overcome Addiction, Start With Stable Housing, Social Workers Say

Social service providers didn’t need a survey to tell them there is a substance abuse problem among the homeless community in Austin, as the 2017 Point in Time count shows.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration is open to direct talks with North Korea as long as the agenda is right — that is, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

As he prepared to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on the subject, Tillerson sat down with NPR's Steve Inskeep to explain his approach. The secretary says North Korea has to come to the table willing to talk about giving up its nuclear weapons.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

The Texas House on Thursday approved a proposal that would phase out an unpopular business tax that provides funding for public schools.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

For years, residents of the Cross Creek Apartments in North Austin have been complaining about poor living conditions. They say they continue to pay rent while living with broken windows, poor security and a lack of hot water, among other issues.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

We are about 48 hours away from the federal government shutting down if members of the House and Senate can't come to some sort of budgetary agreement. We have been here before – passing continuing resolutions at the 11th hour to keep the government's doors open has become something of a Washington tradition. Right now, lawmakers are haggling over funding President Donald Trump's proposed border wall, increased defense spending, and payments to insurance companies that offer plans on Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

You may not realize that a bottle of wine can be labeled as if it's from Texas, but only 75 percent of the grape juice used needs to be from the Lone Star State.

House Bill 1514, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), would require "Texas wine" to be made entirely with grapes grown here. 

We learned more about the story from Texas Monthly drinks columnist Jessica Dupuy, who attended a hearing on the bill this week. 


"I think Austin Opera is the highest-potential opera in the U.S. right now," says Annie Burridge, the newly-appointed general director for Austin Opera. "We have an outstanding artistic product."

As part of her mission at the opera, Burridge hopes to keep producing quality work while reaching a new and larger audience. She acknowledges that opera isn't the primary style of music that people associate with Austin, but adds with a laugh, "Now, I hope to change that."

If you're one of the many who text, read email or view Facebook on your phone while driving, be warned: Police in your community may soon have a tool for catching you red-handed.

The new "textalyzer" technology is modeled after the Breathalyzer, and would determine if you had been using your phone illegally on the road.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

As the Texas House works to balance the state's budget, some lawmakers are attempting to abolish a tax – a source of revenue whose loss others fear could jeopardize public education to the tune of untold billions. Earlier in the legislative session, the Senate voted to eliminate the franchise tax – a tax on businesses that's based on gross receipts. The franchise tax brings in $8 billion, during each two year budget cycle. A large chunk of that revenue pays for public schools.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Several weeks ago, a federal court ruled Texas lawmakers intentionally diluted the voting power of minorities when it drew up congressional districts in 2011; last week the same court ruled the Texas House maps also were drawn with the intent to discriminate.

Today, the court begins hearings on how to remedy this situation, which could include requiring the state to get federal preclearance before any new maps or voting rules go into effect.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

President Trump told reporters Thursday he had been planning to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement within days, but decided to try to renegotiate the agreement instead. The president held out the possibility of killing the trade deal later if the negotiations fail.

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