Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

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From Texas Standard:

International homebuyers are banking on the health of the Texas real estate market. A report from the Texas Association of Realtors says that sales of Texas properties to international buyers increased by almost 60 percent between April 2016 and March of this year.

Image via Flickr/Texas Comptroller (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Even though the Texas Legislature failed to pass measures to reform property taxes or the school finance system during the regular and special sessions, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says the Texas economy continues to grow at a solid pace.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar is the chief tax collector, accountant and revenue estimator for the state government. Among his responsibilities is providing the legislature with an estimate of state revenue before each regular legislative session.

 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News`

From Texas Standard:

President Trump put himself back into the debate over Confederate monuments Thursday. In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, he tweeted in defense of the monuments, saying the country is “being ripped apart” with their removal.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

The special session of the Texas Legislature began with an announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, pushing — among other priorities — property tax reform. But that call to action fell short of producing a bill in the 30-day session. And no change in property tax law might be OK, because Texans may not be as overburdened by property taxes as they believe.

Robin Jerstad/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday weighed in on the renewed debate over Confederate monuments in Texas, saying that removing them "won't erase our nation's past, and it doesn't advance our nation's future." 

Lorne Matalon

From Texas Standard:

As the U.S., Mexico and Canada begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA — an agreement that President Donald Trump famously promised to end — American businesses have doubled down on the argument that NAFTA has been good, on balance, for everyone.  

Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

In a much-anticipated ruling, a panel of three federal judges in San Antonio has invalidated two of the state's 36 congressional districts. The ruling represents the sixth time this decade that Texas electoral districts have been invalidated by federal courts, based on findings of intentional discrimination.

Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump staged one of the most memorable press conferences in U.S. history Tuesday afternoon: a combative exchange about last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va. It was an opportunity to reinforce his heavily scripted message from Monday, condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Instead, he went off script, reiterating talking points of the self-described “alt-right.”

Illustration by Anneke Paterson/Todd Wiseman

Federal judges have invalidated two Texas congressional districts, ruling that they must be fixed by either the Legislature or a federal court.

M M/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A plan for a high-speed rail line that would allow Texans to travel from Houston to Dallas in a quick 90 minutes is moving forward, but not without a lot of setbacks and continued opposition from some communities along the proposed route. Topics of concern include the possibility that train tracks will bisect private property, the high cost of building the bullet train and its financing.

Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

From Texas Standard:

There has been a growing public debate over President Donald Trump's plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but many residents in Texas' Rio Grande Valley say a whole host of other issues affecting their region are being ignored.

At two protests last weekend against the wall in Mission, Texas and at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, south Texans tried to call attention to the untold stories.

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

From Texas Standard:

North Korea now says it won't fire missiles at Guam after all. State media reports from Pyongyang say leader Kim Jong Un instead will "watch a little more [of] the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.”

Matthew Watkins / Texas Tribune

A white nationalist rally planned on Texas A&M University's campus has been canceled, apparently out of concern for student safety, officials confirmed Monday.

The school made the decision after consulting law enforcement and "considerable study" because of "concerns about the safety of its students, faculty, staff and the public."

"Texas A&M's support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech cannot be questioned," the university said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The saying, you’re only as good as your equipment, has serious implications for first responders. A faulty service weapon can mean the difference between life and death for police officers and those they protect, which makes what's happening in Houston all the more frightening.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

On Saturday, members of the media received a press release titled: “Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M.” The message came from a group organizing a White Lives Matter rally featuring white nationalist Richard Spencer, scheduled to take place on September 11th at the Texas university. There's plenty of outrage on social media, and a counter-protest has already been planned.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Central Texans are expressing solidarity and concern after Saturday’s deadly white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

A bill that would change the way cities and counties collect property taxes is moving forward in the Texas House. On Saturday, lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1 on second reading. The measure would lower the rollback rate, or the annual percent increase in property taxes, from 8 percent to 6 percent. Any increases above that would have to go to the public for a vote.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, repeatedly noted that SB 1 does not aim to save taxpayers any money, but it would allow them to weigh in on some increases.

Sally Donovan/Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

From Texas Standard:

A coalition of rural Texas hospitals says small-town hospitals in the state are facing a "closure crisis" after those in Crockett and Trinity ceased operations over the summer.

The group says the recent closures bring the total number of closed rural hospitals in the past four years to nearly 20. And if the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress don't act, more rural communities will be left without immediate access to quality health- and emergency care.

 

KUT News

From Texas Standard:

One issue that's been top priority during the special legislative session is school finance. On Thursday, nearly 1,500 school officials sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick urging him to support the primary legislation that deals with school finance, House Bill 21, which passed out of the House on Monday. The Senate's Education Committee heard testimony on HB 21 Friday.

Michael Cavazos/News-Journal

Bernie Tiede lost in the courts again Thursday, but he isn’t giving up.

Tiede — a small-town East Texas mortician whose crime prompted a Hollywood movie — has already been sentenced twice in the 1996 shooting death of wealthy Carthage widow Marjorie Nugent, and he is asking for yet another trial. On Thursday, a state appellate court denied that request, affirming his 99-year sentence.

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