Jill Ament

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

"Thanks, Democrats, for showing up for Tuesday’s opening day of the oh-so-special legislative session, but it looks like you’ll be just a minor speed bump as the Republicans steer the state even farther to the right."

So wrote Austin American-Statesman columnist Ken Herman on Tuesday.

Image via Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Former Olympic gold medalist and transgender activist, Caitlyn Jenner, is flirting with the idea of running for the U.S. Senate. So is metal-rapper Kid Rock, though his campaign website seems mostly geared toward selling trucker caps and T-shirts.

Bob Daemmerich/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Just four days before the start of the special legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has spelled out plans to give longevity bonuses to public school teachers, and boost benefits for retired teachers.

Spencer Selvidge / KUT News

From Texas Standard:

As Senate Republican leaders reveal another version of their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, taking politics out of the health care picture may be just the medicine needed. Political noise aside, the fact remains that health care costs are still too high, and many individuals can’t afford coverage. Experts say the political debate is essentially moot until the financial barriers to care are sorted out.

Bill Erickson/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

July is typically the height of peach season in Texas, but many of the Hill Country’s well-known peach farms don’t have as much of the savory fruit to offer this year.

Robert Young/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is facing tough times. The agency’s acting director quit recently, and several high-level employees were fired after a news investigation revealed spending sprees on out-of-state trips.

Kendalyn Aldridge

From Texas Standard:

As the sun was setting on the city of Dallas on July 7, 2016, few noticed the SUV parked sideways on Lamar Street, its flashers blinking.

The street was virtually empty, cleared out for a protest in response to the police shootings of two black men a few days earlier in Louisiana and Minnesota. The Dallas protest was one of many scheduled in big cities across the nation.  

WhisperToMe/Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

From Texas Standard:

For years, Texas lawmakers have been trying to stem the bleeding of the state's health care plan for retired teachers. The plan has been at risk of going unfunded for nearly two decades because of demographic and economic changes, including more retirees and rising health care costs. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers took steps to make up for the plan's $1 billion shortfall  .

U.S. Census Bureau/Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

From Texas Standard:

The upcoming special legislative session is likely to provide just as many fireworks as the regular session did. Among the most controversial issues on the table is the contentious debate between the House and Senate over "private school choice."

Tony Hisgett/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

A new program helps first responders with work-related trauma avoid criminal prosecution if they commit a crime. House Bill 3391, which is now law, gives counties the option to set up specialty courts to divert people into treatment rather than jail.

Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

From Texas Standard:

Some eyebrow-raising comments made in 2009 by a then-member of the Baylor University Board of Regents made headlines in Texas this weekend.

Mengwen Cao/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The week began with expectations that by now, the Senate would be preparing for a vote on the GOP health care plan – perhaps over the holiday weekend. But that's not going to happen because Republican leaders couldn't muster the votes.

Joey Palacios / TPR

From Texas Standard:

On Monday, a San Antonio federal judge heard arguments in what could be a lengthy legal battle over Senate Bill 4, also known as the “sanctuary cities” law.

KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Plaintiffs have filed a new lawsuit challenging the University of Texas at Austin's race-based admission rules. Unlike a well-known case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the new suit was filed in state court, and bases its claims on the Texas Constitution and state statutes. Because the Supreme Court ruled in Fisher v. University of Texas that UT-Austin could retain its race-based admission system, it is unclear how the new case will fair.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. Senate leadership is promising a vote before July 4 on its bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Ken Lund/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

California prohibits state-funded or state-sponsored travel to several U.S. states. In the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott's signing of a controversial adoption-related measure into law, Texas has become one of them. California's attorney general says the Texas law is discriminatory against the LGBT community.

(stephan)/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

As all eyes in Washington, D.C. are on the Senate health care bill, another major issue has been pushed to the sidelines. But U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble) isn’t content to let it sit there. He’s pushing to have the U.S. label North Korea as a terrorist state in the wake of the death of American student Otto Warmbier.

melnikas1/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in more than a decade, the Supreme Court will take up a case questioning a common practice U.S. lawmakers use to draw political maps: gerrymandering.

SuperJew/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

From Texas Standard:

One measure among the dozens Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed last week was a bill that attempted to help Texas communities deal with the illegal dumping of scrap tires.

stephenvelasco/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to casting your ballot at the voting booth, we hear this phrase a lot: “Make your vote count.” But in an age where cyberattacks seem to be happening every day around the globe, maybe we should head to the ballot box with another phrase in mind: “Make your vote safe.”

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