Legislature http://kut.org en New Texas Law Protects Collateral Victims of Domestic Violence: Pets http://kut.org/post/new-texas-law-protects-collateral-victims-domestic-violence-pets <p class="p1">The holidays are a time for gift-giving and celebration but, for some, it's also a time of increased family and financial pressure. Some mental health health professionals say this pressure can lead to a spike in domestic violence.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">In Texas, domestic violence victims who find the courage to leave an abusive situation can now have their pets included in protective orders.</p><p>Patt<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>Nordyke<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> of the </span><a href="http://www.txfacs.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> fought for eight years </span><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&amp;Bill=SB555" style="line-height: 1.5;">to pass the law</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in the Texas legislature.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/127136997&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></span> Mon, 30 Dec 2013 17:14:32 +0000 Laura Rice 9391 at http://kut.org New Texas Law Protects Collateral Victims of Domestic Violence: Pets Bill Would Train Teachers to Spot Mental Illness http://kut.org/post/bill-would-train-teachers-spot-mental-illness <p>A state lawmaker says Texas students are grappling with mental illness, but not all teachers, counselors and principals know how to recognize the signs. So the lawmaker, Sen. <a href="http://www.deuell.senate.state.tx.us/">Bob Deuell</a>, R-Greenville, is backing a mental health bill that he says would encourage educators in more than 1,100 school districts to get the necessary training.</p><p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 00:36:55 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 7139 at http://kut.org Bill Would Train Teachers to Spot Mental Illness Hearing for Bill That Could Fell Austin's Heritage Tree Ordinance http://kut.org/post/hearing-bill-could-fell-austins-heritage-tree-ordinance <p>Another battle is brewing in the Texas Legislature over local control, this time over trees. The city of Austin’s ability to regulate heritage trees on private land may be in jeopardy.</p><p><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&amp;Bill=HB1377">House Bill 1377</a> received a hearing in the house Urban Affairs committee yesterday. <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/more-austin-bashing-bills-texas-capitol-update?nopop=1">Dubbed an "Austin bashing" bill</a>&nbsp;by the City Council,&nbsp;HB 1377 would limit a city’s power to regulate and preserve trees by making a uniform law for all Texas cities to follow.&nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 28 Mar 2013 22:53:16 +0000 Andrew Weber 7136 at http://kut.org Hearing for Bill That Could Fell Austin's Heritage Tree Ordinance Bill Would Hold Tire Haulers Accountable for Illegal Dumping http://kut.org/post/bill-would-hold-tire-haulers-accountable-illegal-dumping <p><strong>Correction:&nbsp;</strong>An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the&nbsp;TCEQ&nbsp;counted six illegal piles of tires in Travis County.&nbsp;In fact, the&nbsp;TCEQ&nbsp;has identified only&nbsp;<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/628075-tceq-2013-texas-scrap-tire-map.html">one pile&nbsp;</a>in Travis County with a tire count between 7,300 and 299,999.&nbsp;We regret the error.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>Original story: </strong>Next time you’re driving your car, look at all the tires around you. When those tires wear out, they have to go somewhere.</span></p><p>Every year, more than 24 million tires <a href="http://www.tceq.texas.gov/tires/tirefacts.html">leave the roads</a> in Texas. And many of them are dumped illegally. A proposal before the Legislature today aims to reduce that problem.</p><p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:04:53 +0000 Nathan Bernier 7112 at http://kut.org Bill Would Hold Tire Haulers Accountable for Illegal Dumping Should School Ratings Take At-Risk Students Into Account? http://kut.org/post/should-school-ratings-take-risk-students-account <p>The Texas Education Agency (TEA) reports that less than 85 percent of the students in the class of 2010 graduated. At a hearing Thursday in the Texas Senate, lawmakers heard the case for better tracking students who end up back in school.</p><p>Sen. <a href="http://www.vandeputte.senate.state.tx.us/">Leticia Van de Putte</a>, D-San Antonio, a member of the Senate Public Education Committee, told members that even though high school graduation rates in Texas are improving, some schools aren’t getting credit for their part in those improvements. She was talking about schools that enroll dropouts and give students a high school diploma if they earn their credits and meet the requirements.</p><p> Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:07:00 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 7048 at http://kut.org Should School Ratings Take At-Risk Students Into Account? Legislature Talks Jobs for Vets http://kut.org/post/legislature-talks-jobs-vets <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Unemployment among U.S. veterans fell in 2012 but is still higher than the rest of the workforce. Two bills dealing with vets and employment are before the Texas Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. One would help veterans find work in Texas agencies; the other would ensure they could take time </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">off</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> from work.</span></p><p>Both bills are aimed at reintegrating veterans into civilian life and jobs.</p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:22:00 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 7028 at http://kut.org Legislature Talks Jobs for Vets Senate Passes Budget That Reverses Some 2011 Cuts http://kut.org/post/senate-passes-budget-reverses-some-2011-cuts <p>The Texas Senate approved a budget for the next two years today, one that would restore some of the cuts from two years ago.</p><p>A balanced budget is the one thing the Texas Constitution requires lawmakers to pass when they meet in Austin every two years.</p><p>Much of the attention this session is on funding for <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/will-surplus-revenue-go-public-education">public education</a>, which lost about $4 billion in the budget passed in 2011.</p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:34:47 +0000 Trey Shaar 7024 at http://kut.org Senate Passes Budget That Reverses Some 2011 Cuts Lawmakers, Public Debate Guns on Campus http://kut.org/post/lawmakers-public-debate-guns-campus <p>Students, parents and police testified Thursday on four bills that would allow some people to carry guns onto college campuses in Texas.</p><p>People crammed into a room at the Capitol to testify before the <a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Committees/MembershipCmte.aspx?LegSess=83R&amp;CmteCode=C420">House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee</a>. One of the bills the committee is considering would allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to carry a weapon at a public university.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:26:30 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 6963 at http://kut.org Lawmakers, Public Debate Guns on Campus Bag Ban Gets Pushback at Capitol http://kut.org/post/bag-ban-gets-pushback-capitol <p>Five days into the <a href="http://kutnews.org/term/plastic-bag-ban">Austin bag ban</a>, a Texas lawmaker has filed a bill that would allow stores and shoppers to use whatever kind of bags they want.</p><p>First-term State Rep. <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=68">Drew Springer</a>, R-Muenster, calls his bill the Shopping Bag Freedom Act, which he says would stop what he calls “the overreach of big government.”</p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 22:23:50 +0000 Trey Shaar 6856 at http://kut.org Bag Ban Gets Pushback at Capitol Bill Introduced to Legalize Gay Marriage in Texas http://kut.org/post/bill-introduced-legalize-gay-marriage-texas <p>State Rep. <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=90">Lon Burnam</a>, D-Fort Worth, has filed a bill that would authorize same-sex marriage in Texas. The bill would also recognize civil unions made in other states.</p><p>An October 2012 <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2012/10/31/uttt-poll-economy-immigration-top-texas-issues/">UT /Texas Tribune poll</a>&nbsp;found 69 percent of Texans support some form of recognition for same-sex relationships.</p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 22:21:58 +0000 Ryland Barton 6612 at http://kut.org Bill Introduced to Legalize Gay Marriage in Texas State College Funding Turns on Definition of 'Provide' http://kut.org/post/state-college-funding-turns-definition-provide <p>The Texas Constitution <a href="http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CN/htm/CN.7.htm">says the state</a> will “provide for the maintenance, support and direction of a University of the first class.”</p><p>In 1984, that meant about half of every dollar in higher education came out of the state budget. Today, it’s closer to 13 percent at the <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/">University of Texas at Austin</a> and 22 percent at <a href="http://www.tamu.edu/">Texas A&amp;M University</a> in College Station.</p><p>So, at that level, is the state really providing for the sort of education championed in its founding document?</p><p>That’s fodder for debate. Lawyers could probably generate a room full of words over the obligations imparted by the word “provide.” The bigger question is whether the state is doing enough, and whether doing enough — whatever that entails — necessarily requires more money. Mon, 05 Nov 2012 13:15:23 +0000 Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune 5513 at http://kut.org State College Funding Turns on Definition of 'Provide' Medicaid Woes Subject of House Committee Hearing http://kut.org/post/medicaid-woes-subject-house-committee-hearing <p></p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; ">At a morning hearing on the implementation of Medicaid managed care in South Texas, lawmakers got a much bigger earful on the consequences of difficult budget decisions they made in the last legislative session.</p> Mon, 17 Sep 2012 21:33:18 +0000 Becca Aaronson, Texas Tribune 5096 at http://kut.org Medicaid Woes Subject of House Committee Hearing Human Trafficking a Problem in Texas? http://kut.org/post/human-trafficking-problem-texas <p>The Texas Legislature&rsquo;s<a href="http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/commit/c820/c820.htm"> Joint Interim Committee on Human Trafficking </a>took testimony today from various state agencies on their efforts to combat human trafficking and to discuss what state lawmakers can do about it.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 05 Mar 2012 21:19:31 +0000 Daniel Guerra 3781 at http://kut.org Human Trafficking a Problem in Texas? Will Texas Primaries Be Pushed Back Again? http://kut.org/post/will-texas-primaries-be-pushed-back-again <p>It looks like the April 3 date for Texas primaries &ndash; already pushed back from March &ndash; may get shoved back again.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gS4Ip_J1uRBzn36xf5cKwnQhm0Fg?docId=12f6f54d413a46d497cf7a39ebf6ee4b">Associated Press reports</a> one of the parties in the redistricting lawsuit that has delayed the primaries, Luis Vera, representing the <a href="http://lulac.org/">League of United Latin American Citizens</a> (LULAC) says negotiations have stalled, and doesn&rsquo;t anticipate talks between the state and the parties that sued to block the state&rsquo;s redrawn map will be concluded in time.</p><p>The parties were given until February 6 to settle on redrawn districts, in time to preserve the April 3 primary. The groups are gathered at <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/top-morning-stories-1272012-texans-can-drive-75-mph">a conference in San Antonio</a> in an attempt to hash out differences.</p><p> Mon, 30 Jan 2012 22:53:51 +0000 Wells Dunbar 3558 at http://kut.org Will Texas Primaries Be Pushed Back Again? What’s Happening With Texas Redistricting? http://kut.org/post/what%E2%80%99s-happening-texas-redistricting <p>With a flurry of legal actions surrounding Texas redistricting efforts, it&#39;s easy to get a little confused.</p><p>The confusion, in part, can be blamed on the different courts in play, each playing a part in the battle over the districts redrawn by the Texas Legislature in 2011.</p><p>Late last week, <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/supreme-court-throws-out-redrawn-district-maps">the Supreme Court threw out</a> re-redrawn district maps drafted by a San Antonio district court. The San Antonio court claimed the Legislature&rsquo;s new districts deprived minority voters of the right to equitable representation; the Supreme Court held that while there might be such problems with the Legislature&rsquo;s maps, the San Antonio court should <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/how-reasonable-supreme-court%E2%80%99s-redistricting-decision">use the Legislature&rsquo;s map</a> as a blueprint for further revision, instead of drafting their own. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has since called for the San Antonio court to <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/texas-ag-san-antonio-court-hurry-and-draw-maps?nopop=1">conclude their work quickly</a>.</p><p> Thu, 26 Jan 2012 19:59:25 +0000 Wells Dunbar 3536 at http://kut.org What’s Happening With Texas Redistricting? How 'Reasonable' is the Supreme Court’s Redistricting Decision? http://kut.org/post/how-reasonable-supreme-court%E2%80%99s-redistricting-decision <p>It&rsquo;s back to the drawing board for a San Antonio court that reworked Texas&rsquo; most recent redistricting plan.</p><p>This morning, the Supreme Court offered an opinion in a lawsuit brought by Gov. Rick Perry, representing the State of Texas, against members of a three-person San Antonio court. The San Antonio justices had <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/court-releases-congressional-maps">rejected the Texas Legislature&rsquo;s 2011 overhaul</a> of congressional districts, drafting their own map of new districts.</p><p>At issue was Section 5 of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act">the Voting Rights Act</a>. Enforced in southern states including Texas, the act requires the Department of Justice to &ldquo;preclear&rdquo; election changes with the Department of Justice to ensure changes don&rsquo;t adversely affect the ability of ethnic minorities to elect the candidates of their choice. The San Antonio court felt that with 2010 census numbers confirming explosive growth in Texas&rsquo; Hispanic and Latino population, the new map drawn by the Texas Legislature in 2011 wouldn&rsquo;t meet preclearance standards. Fri, 20 Jan 2012 17:10:28 +0000 Wells Dunbar 3489 at http://kut.org How 'Reasonable' is the Supreme Court’s Redistricting Decision? Van De Putte: Doctors, Nurses Can Help Prevent Human Trafficking http://kut.org/post/van-de-putte-doctors-nurses-can-help-prevent-human-trafficking <p>&ldquo;Understand that human trafficking is very, very profitable. You can sell drugs or a gun only once. You can sell a human 12 times in one day.&rdquo;</p><p>Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and those words from <a href="http://www.vandeputte.senate.state.tx.us/">Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte </a>underscore the gravity of the problem. Van De Putte <a href="http://www.leticiavandeputte.com/2012/01/senator-van-de-putte-to-host-human-trafficking-health-summit/">co-hosted a summit</a> on Human Trafficking this morning, focused on how health providers can identify and assist victims. The affected can include anyone from young runaways coerced into sex work and prostitution, to American immigrants promised work but essentially bound into slavery.</p><p>Van De Putte spoke to KUT News, addressing the role health providers can play and dispelling some common assumptions about what trafficking actually is and who it affects. Wed, 11 Jan 2012 18:38:57 +0000 Wells Dunbar 3434 at http://kut.org Van De Putte: Doctors, Nurses Can Help Prevent Human Trafficking Cracking open the 'Rainy Day Fund' http://kut.org/post/cracking-open-rainy-day-fund <p>Because Texas doesn&rsquo;t have enough money to run the state for the rest of the fiscal year, legislators gave initial approval to HB 275 today, authorizing a $3.1 billion withdrawal from the so-called rainy day fund to help &nbsp;pay for a more than $4 billion supplemental appropriation. That bill is also set for final passage on Friday.</p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 23:35:48 +0000 Ryland Barton & Ben Philpott 1030 at http://kut.org Cracking open the 'Rainy Day Fund' Republican Party Keeps Building http://kut.org/post/republican-party-keeps-building <p>Governor Rick Perry was declared a winner around 8:30. &nbsp;And his opponent Bill White delivered his concession speech around 9. &nbsp;But Governor Perry is still a no-show in Buda. &nbsp;The initial plan was for the governor to deliver his victory speech around 10 p.m. after a parade of other GOP winners had their turn in the spotlight. &nbsp;And no one seems to think there&#39;s any reason to change the plan.</p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:24:23 +0000 Ben Philpott 188 at http://kut.org Republican Party Keeps Building