2011 Legislative Session http://kut.org en Austin Supports Gay Marriage. So What Happens Next? http://kut.org/post/austin-supports-gay-marriage-so-what-happens-next <p>Proponents of gay marriage in Texas <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/first-texas-austin-city-council-declares-support-same-sex-marriage?nopop=1">scored a symbolic victory this week</a> when Austin City Council became the first in the state to <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/443629-austin-city-council-same-sex-marriage-resolution.html" target="_blank">adopt a resolution</a> supporting same-sex marriage. But what does that actually mean for gay rights in a place that – as Gov. Rick Perry <a href="http://www.rickperry.org/blog/statement-governor-perry-texas-republican-runoff-election" target="_blank">claims</a> – is “the most conservative state in America.”</p><p>Gay rights activists believe their best hope for legalizing same-sex weddings in Texas will come in the form of a Congressional action or a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to declare prohibitions of gay marriage unconstitutional. Texas voters approved <a href="http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Article_1,_Texas_Constitution#Section_32" target="_blank">an amendment</a> to the state constitution in 2005 that defines marriage as the “union of one man and one woman.” (Travis County was the only county statewide to vote against it.)</p><p>But same-sex advocates see political opportunities in seeking smaller legislative successes. <a href="http://www.equalitytexas.org/" target="_blank">Equality Texas</a> – the gay rights lobby group – has identified two priorities: making it illegal to fire someone because they’re gay, and allowing gay parents to adopt children as a couple.</p><p>Right now, state law doesn’t prohibit employers from firing people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Gay couples who adopt children must do so as a single person, and <a href="http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/reqproc/faq/adoption.shtm" target="_blank">only one of them</a> can be listed on the birth certificate as the parent.</p><p> Sat, 29 Sep 2012 15:44:44 +0000 Nathan Bernier 5203 at http://kut.org Austin Supports Gay Marriage. So What Happens Next? 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? First Person: Working With Autism http://kut.org/post/first-person-working-autism <p><object height="246" width="425"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/UUHBfoZxXEI?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;showinfo=0" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="246" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/UUHBfoZxXEI?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;showinfo=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425"></embed></object></p><p>This morning on KUT, we <a href="http://kut.org/2011/11/working-with-autism/">reported</a> on the challenges people with autism face when trying to find gainful employment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/features/counting-autism.html">reports</a> increases in the prevalence of autism. Meanwhile, the state legislature slashed spending that would help people afflicted by the disorder.</p><p>One of the people we talked to was Daniel Shackelford. He has <a href="http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm">Asperger&rsquo;s Syndrome</a> but was able find gainful employment at <a href="http://www.seton.net/locations/smc/">Seton Medical Center</a> through a privately run program called <a href="http://www.projectsearch.us/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=46&amp;Itemid=53">Project SEARCH</a>. You can hear more from Shackelford in the video above, shot and edited by <a href="http://www.jeffheimsath.com/">Jeff Heimsath</a> for KUT News.</p><p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 16:54:14 +0000 Nathan Bernier 2983 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories for June 30, 2011 http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-june-30-2011 <p>THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS OVER!!!&nbsp;(Sorry just had to get that out of my system)</p><p>On to the news of the day (so far):</p><p><strong>Watching and Waiting for Gov. Perry</strong></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 14:04:33 +0000 Ben Philpott 1842 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories for June 30, 2011 Sunday Morning Round-Up: June 26, 2011 http://kut.org/post/sunday-morning-round-june-26-2011 <p>Another hot day ahead in Central Texas. Not that you needed me to tell you that. The forecast will remain pretty much the same until....hmmm....maybe October?</p><p>So why not sit back, stay cool and read this round up of the day&#39;s news.</p> Sun, 26 Jun 2011 13:16:04 +0000 Ben Philpott 1806 at http://kut.org Sunday Morning Round-Up: June 26, 2011 Top Morning Stories June 23, 2011 http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-june-23-2011 <p><strong>Lawmakers at Odds Over Windstorm Insurance</strong></p><p>Texas lawmakers are running out of time to overhaul the cash-strapped Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s the insurer of last resort for people who live along the Texas coast. The Texas Senate approved its version of a <a href="http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=821&amp;Bill=HB3">TWIA overhaul bill </a>yesterday.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s very different from the House version which is stricter and limits how much residents could sue TWIA for, if they feel their policy isn&rsquo;t being honored. Thu, 23 Jun 2011 11:14:38 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 1774 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories June 23, 2011 Gov. Perry Vetoes 24 Bills http://kut.org/post/gov-perry-vetoes-24-bills <p>Governor Rick Perry announced late this afternoon that he is vetoing a long list of bills. Sunday was the last day he could veto a bill without it <a href="http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/gtli/sessions/dates.html">automatically becoming law</a>.</p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 22:08:42 +0000 Nathan Bernier 1732 at http://kut.org Gov. Perry Vetoes 24 Bills Non-Profits "Shortchanged" By Specialty License Plate Program http://kut.org/post/non-profits-shortchanged-specialty-license-plate-program <p>Money that non-profits receive from a <a href="https://rts.texasonline.state.tx.us/NASApp/txdotrts/SpecialPlateOrderServlet?grpid=20">Texas specialty license plate program</a> will be cut in half unless the legislature takes action, according to a coalition of charities. The diverse group of non-profits includes the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life and the pro-cycling organization BikeTexas. Fri, 17 Jun 2011 21:35:25 +0000 Nathan Bernier 1730 at http://kut.org Non-Profits "Shortchanged" By Specialty License Plate Program Group Calls Education Bill An Attack on Teachers http://kut.org/post/group-calls-education-bill-attack-teachers <p>The Texas House has given final approval to a big education bill.&nbsp; Supporters say Senate Bill 8 would give school districts more flexibility, as the state&nbsp;makes cuts to&nbsp;public education spending.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:37:24 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 1725 at http://kut.org Group Calls Education Bill An Attack on Teachers Texas Moves Ahead With Secure Communities Program http://kut.org/post/texas-moves-ahead-secure-communities-program <p>Republican lawmakers in Texas, unfazed by state governments across the country opting out of a controversial immigration enforcement program, are instead seeking to expand it here.</p><p> Wed, 08 Jun 2011 17:19:05 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 1660 at http://kut.org Texas Moves Ahead With Secure Communities Program Online Purchases Might Get Taxed, After All http://kut.org/post/online-purchases-might-get-taxed-after-all <p>Texans may soon have to pay sales tax on many of the products they buy online, despite an attempt by Governor Perry to stop that from happening. Last week, Governor Perry <a href="http://kut.org/2011/05/perry-vetoes-bill-that-would-have-boosted-online-tax-collection/">vetoed a bill</a> that would have required internet retailers with a physical presence in Texas to charge sales tax.</p><p>But now that same provision has found its way into <a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=821&amp;Bill=HB1">House Bill 1</a>, a sweeping fiscal matters bill being considered during the special legislative session. Perry would not have line-item veto power on House Bill 1, so he would have to veto the entire spending bill to block the internet tax provision he already vetoed when it was <a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&amp;Bill=HB2403">House Bill 2403. Fri, 03 Jun 2011 17:31:05 +0000 Nathan Bernier 1627 at http://kut.org Online Purchases Might Get Taxed, After All E-Verify Bill May Find New Life in Special Session http://kut.org/post/e-verify-bill-may-find-new-life-special-session <p>A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week upholding an Arizona law that punishes employers who hire illegal immigrants may give Texas lawmakers some newfound momentum to file immigration-related legislation with the hope that the governor adds the topic to the special session now underway.</p> Thu, 02 Jun 2011 21:29:13 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 1623 at http://kut.org E-Verify Bill May Find New Life in Special Session Texas Environmentalists Mostly Disappointed With Legislative Session http://kut.org/post/texas-environmentalists-mostly-disappointed-legislative-session <p>Texas environmental activists are pleased with changes in fracking disclosure laws and renewable energy initiatives that cleared the state legislature this session, but they are unhappy with cuts to state parks, delays in air quality requirements for oil and gas miners, and environmental legislation that died before making it to the Governor&rsquo;s desk.</p> Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:54:16 +0000 Nathan Bernier 1610 at http://kut.org Texas Environmentalists Mostly Disappointed With Legislative Session Texplainer: How Does a Special Session Work? http://kut.org/post/texplainer-how-does-special-session-work <p><strong>Hey, Texplainer: How does a Legislative special session work?</strong></p><p>Consider a special session the legislative overtime in Texas. If both the House and Senate reach a stalemate on key issues or if the governor decides the legislative show must go on, he or she can call for a special session.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 30 May 2011 20:29:25 +0000 Andrew Weber 1597 at http://kut.org Texplainer: How Does a Special Session Work? A Make-or-Break Day for the Texas State Budget http://kut.org/post/make-or-break-day-texas-state-budget <article> <header><h1>The 2012-13 budget has been approved by both the House and the Senate, and now, with less than two days left in the legislative session, lawmakers have to pay for it by passing <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/session/82R/bills/SB1811/">one more piece of legislation</a> that raises $3.5 billion in &quot;non-tax revenue&quot; and revises school finance law to allow the state to reduce aid to public schools by $4 billion.</h1><p> Sun, 29 May 2011 19:36:29 +0000 Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune 1588 at http://kut.org A Make-or-Break Day for the Texas State Budget Top Stories May 29, 2011 http://kut.org/post/top-stories-may-29-2011 <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 29 May 2011 14:32:18 +0000 Emily Donahue 1587 at http://kut.org Top Stories May 29, 2011 Smoking Ban Dead, Again http://kut.org/post/smoking-ban-dead-again <article> <header><h1>Many thought this was the year. But Rep. <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/myra-crownover/" target="_blank">Myra Crownover</a>, R-Denton, acknowledged on Saturday that a measure establishing a statewide smoking ban in Texas is dead.&nbsp;</h1></header><div class="content"><p>Crownover blamed its failure on a &quot;handful&quot; of Senate conferees who refused to keep a smoking ban amendment on Senate Bill 1811, a sweeping fiscal matters bill. She said the amendment would have saved taxpayers $30 million in Medicaid spending over the next biennium.&nbsp;</p> Sat, 28 May 2011 22:33:22 +0000 Emily Ramshaw, Texas Tribune 1586 at http://kut.org Smoking Ban Dead, Again How New School Funding Formulas Cut Districts http://kut.org/post/how-new-school-funding-formulas-cut-districts <p>The House and Senate will take up <a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&amp;Bill=SB1811">SB 1811</a> tomorrow. The bill creates about $2.5 billion for the state budget, while also cutting public education by around 4 billion.</p><p>How that money will be cut from individual schools wasn&#39;t known until this afternoon when the House put out what&#39;s called the district runs. The spreadsheet shows how funding in each district will change in 2012 and 2013.</p><p> Sat, 28 May 2011 22:01:39 +0000 Ben Philpott 1585 at http://kut.org How New School Funding Formulas Cut Districts School Finance Deal Running Out of Time http://kut.org/post/school-finance-deal-running-out-time <p>he House and Senate must agree on how to distribute the $4 billion reduction in state public education funding by 5 p.m. today, say Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-River Oaks.</p><p>&quot;The thing that I&#39;m most concerned about is, if we don&#39;t come up with something, what are the schools going to do?&quot; Shapiro asked. &quot;We really are in a very precarious period of time.&quot;</p><p>After rejecting an initial proposal from the House late last night, the Senate sent a counteroffer back across the dome, which members there are currently considering.</p> Fri, 27 May 2011 21:58:46 +0000 Morgan Smith, Texas Tribune 1583 at http://kut.org School Finance Deal Running Out of Time Women's Health Program Stands, But Questions Remain http://kut.org/post/womens-health-program-stands-questions-remain <p>The Women&#39;s Health Program &mdash; long believed to require legislative renewal &mdash; lives on, at least for now, in the form of a budget rider.</p> Thu, 26 May 2011 18:38:17 +0000 Emily Ramshaw, Texas Tribune 1568 at http://kut.org Women's Health Program Stands, But Questions Remain