Texas

Affordable Care Act
5:30 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Thousands in Texas Must Prove Immigration Status to Keep Health Coverage

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services is telling people they have until Sept. 30 to prove their citizenship or immigration status, or else lose health coverage.
healthcare.gov

The number of people in Texas without health insurance has declined by less than half a percentage point since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report out by the Census Bureau. The number dropped from 22.5 percent in 2012 to 22.1 percent in 2013.

Now, some of the people who recently got coverage may lose it.

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Texas
1:28 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Texas Still Tops Census List of Highest Uninsured Rates

A U.S. Census Bureau suvey showed 22.1 percent of Texans were uninsured in 2013, a slight drop from 22.5 percent in 2012.
Todd Wiseman/KUT

From the Texas Tribune:

The rate of Texas residents without health insurance has dropped slightly but continues to outpace every other state, according to early figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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2015 Legislature
7:35 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Texas Fails In Nursing Home Care, Prompting a Push for Change

Texas is the worst state in the nation when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a new report from a national advocacy group – Families for Better Care, out on Sept. 10, 2014.
Image courtesy flickr.com/hapal

Texas is the worst state in the nation when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a new report from a national advocacy group – Families for Better Care.

The group has ranked Texas last for the second year in a row, so Texas lawmakers have been discussing what to do to change this when they return to Austin in January.

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Affordable Care Act
4:23 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Affordable Care Act Returns to Texas Lawmakers' Agenda

The Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act on Sept. 15, 2014.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Today, the Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act – from enrollment numbers to costs to identity theft concerns. The public hearing comes after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked lawmakers to study what he called “emerging negative impacts” of the law.

About 734,000 people in Texas signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the first enrollment period, and with another one about to begin, the Texas Department of Insurance says Texas has roughly 200 state-certified navigators who help people use healthcare.gov after taking federal and Texas-specific training courses.

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Texas
4:13 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Texas Schools Get Military Gear Through Federal Program

Austin Police Officer Cory Ehrler monitors the entrance to Ridgetop Elementary School after classes start on the Monday following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Tamir Kalifa via Texas Tribune

Texas school districts dominate the list of those receiving military equipment — including firearms and armored vehicles — through a federal initiative, according to a letter sent by a coalition of civil rights and education advocacy groups to the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday.

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Border & Immigration
8:59 am
Mon September 15, 2014

After Crossing Four Borders, Migrant Family Faces Two More Critical Battles

Sara Beltran-Rodriguez's daughter Neyely has a brain tumor. She's spent the last three years in and out of hospitals. Karnes County Residential Center granted the family temporary medical asylum.

Last month, hundreds of children who were attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border – many of them unaccompanied on their journey – were moved to a family detention center south of San Antonio.

The Karnes County Residential Center houses hundreds of immigrants that, as of now, stand little chance of being released from the facility.

In many cases, immigrants have been priced out of their release bonds, with some bonds as high as $25,000. In effect, the detainees have been denied the release, except for one family.

Sara Beltran Rodriguez and her daughter were the first to be released from the facility. And while they’ve traveled thousands of miles and crossed several borders on their journey to Texas, the family has another life-threatening battle to fight.

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HB2
5:17 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Federal Court Hears Abortion Law Arguments in Lengthy Appeals Process

A panel of federal judges are considering arguments related to provisions in Texas’ newest abortion law that were struck down late last month.
photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

A panel of federal judges are considering arguments related to provisions in Texas’ newest abortion law that were struck down late last month. It's one step in a long process of appeals.

The State of Texas is asking the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant an emergency motion to enforce the state’s abortion law.

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Texas
2:55 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Three Earthquakes Rattle Texas So Far This Week

Regulators are trying to craft rules to respond to the dramatic uptick in quakes
Credit OLIVER BERG / DPA/LANDOV

It’s been a shaky week in Texas with two small earthquakes rattling the Dallas-Fort Worth area and another slightly more powerful quake detected in South Texas.

On Sunday, the first quake measuring magnitude 2.4 struck near Arlington. It prompted some residents to call 9-1-1 after feeling their houses shake and hearing “explosions,” according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Earthquakes are often accompanied by loud “booms,” something that has become a source of anxiety in newly quake-prone parts of the state.

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Texas Standard
2:04 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

What Allies Could Offer the US in the Fight Against ISIS

Around seventy five Iraqi activists staged an anti-terrorist rally with flags, costumes and theatrical performances in front of the White House, June 20th 2014.
flickr.com/photos/stephenmelkisethian/

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is touring the Middle East to press for cooperation in battling the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, following President Obama's announcement that the U.S would increase its efforts to "degrade and destroy" the group.

In the months leading up to Wednesday's announcement, Bloomberg News reports the United States has flown approximately 2,700 air missions over Iraq against ISIS. The AP reports France has already stated that it will dedicate efforts alongside the United States, but who else might?

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Texas Standard
12:01 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Wendy Davis on the Governor's Race, Her First Filibuster, and 'Forgetting to Be Afraid'

Wendy Davis visited Austin recently for a book signing.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Days after asking the Texas Ethics Commission to look into the Wendy Davis book tour, the Greg Abbott campaign has filed a complaint with the commission, alleging that it's a violation of Texas law.

The Abbott campaign accuses Davis of using political contributions to fund the promotion of the book from which she is profiting. The Davis campaign calls the charge frivolous.  Charges of campaign ethics violations are not rare during election season, relied upon by partisans of all stripes to accuse rivals of wrongdoing. At a recent book signing in Austin, Davis did not speak to reporters. But Davis did stop by the Texas Standard studio to talk with host David Brown about her memoirs--and her decision to step into the political spotlight.

Here are the interview highlights:

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2014 Elections
7:47 am
Thu September 11, 2014

One Group of Texas Voters Contradicts State's Low Turnout Rates

In 2012, among voters 70 plus in Texas, turnout was more than 60 percent, according to Census Bureau data.
Callie Richmond/The Texas Tribune

Texas has historically low rates of voter turnout. In the last gubernatorial election in 2010, less than a third of eligible voters cast a ballot.

That was the second lowest turnout in the nation that November, but one group of voters has proven pretty reliable – even in Texas.

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Border & Immigration
7:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Texas Lawmakers Get Update on Health and Welfare of Children from Central America

At a Texas House Child Protection Committee hearing on Sept. 10, 2014, officials gave updates on the health of unaccompanied children from Central America living in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas lawmakers got an update yesterday on children who’ve crossed the southern border illegally over the last several months.

Officials expressed concern about the unaccompanied children's health and welfare at a hearing of a Texas House Child Protection Committee hearing.

The number of unaccompanied children crossing the border has been dropping over the summer. About 54,000 have crossed the border, and 4,000 of them have settled in Texas, so far.

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Texas
8:01 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Here Are 9 Interviews With 2014 Texas Book Festival Authors

The Texas Book Festival will take place on October 25 and 26.
Texas Book Festival

Are you going to the Texas Book Festival?

The 250-person list of authors attending the 2014 Texas Book Festival is out this evening. Texas Standard has you covered right now. Check out the interviews we did with several authors who will appear at the 2014 Book Festival.

Here's a roundup: 

Cristina Henriquez:

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Texas Legislature
7:57 am
Wed September 10, 2014

White Student Enrollment in Texas Higher Ed is Down for the Third Straight Year

For the third year in a row, white student enrollment in Texas' public colleges and universities is down, while minority group numbers are up.
KUT News

More people are attending public colleges and universities in Texas, but members of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education heard this week that the increases are not across all groups.

Susan Brown, the assistant commissioner of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for planning and accountability, told lawmakers on Tuesday that enrollment at Texas colleges is up by about 21,000 students right now, but enrollment among white students had declined for the third straight year.

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Same-Sex Marriage
7:25 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Plaintiffs Renew Their Challenge of Texas' Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Texas' same-sex marriage ban filed a brief in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 9, 2014.
photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

Two couples challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage are telling a federal appeals court that the ban, in their words, “defies logic."

In February, a federal judge in San Antonio struck down the voter-approved ban, but the state has appealed.

San Antonio attorney Neel Lane with Akin Gump represents the plaintiffs challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In written arguments to the appeals court filed yesterday [read PDF version of brief], he reiterates the claim that the ban is unconstitutional.

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Texas
10:29 am
Tue September 9, 2014

How Advances in Tech and Research Could Help Battle Future Drought

Climatologists could one day predict the viability of soil by measuring and forecasting moisture levels.
Courtesy of the Lower Colorado River Authority

A couple years ago UT Professor Zong-Liang Yang was at a conference on extreme weather in the Netherlands. It was 2012, just one year after the worst single-year drought in Texas history.

When it came to discussing extreme weather, Texas seemed like a good place to be.  He suggested to colleagues that their next conference should take place in the Lone Star State.

Two years later, he and dozens of some of the world’s leading climate experts from 10 different countries have descended upon UT-Austin to talk about improving our ability to forecast and prepare for extreme weather. They seem confident that they're making progress.

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2014 Elections
7:04 am
Tue September 9, 2014

As Abbott Questions Legality of Davis' Book Tour, Experts Find Little Precedent

Whether Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis can promote her memoir out Sept. 9, 2014 and still abide by Texas campaign finance laws is being questioned by the campaign of her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott.
Credit Blue Rider Press

State Sen. Wendy Davis’ memoir comes out today, though the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s book has already caused some controversy. In it, she shares the stories of two abortions she had for medical reasons.

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign, however, is focusing on another issue – whether she can promote her book and still abide by Texas campaign finance laws. Abbott’s campaign asked the state’s campaign finance regulator to weigh in Monday.

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Texas
4:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Why ISIS is Using a Texas Prisoner in a Bargaining Ploy

Protesters march in support of the release of Aafia Siddiqui.
flickr.com/forpeace

She’s been called “Lady al-Qaeda” for her obvious connection to the terrorist organization, but why is the self-proclaimed Islamic State now demanding the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for U.S. prisoners? 

Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence in a federal prison in Fort Worth for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Now ISIS is using her as a bargaining chip – but how did Siddiqui’s release become a negotiation tactic? 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to religious scholar Dr. Reza Aslan, who says the group is wagering Siddiqui's release to gain influence and ideological inroads in Pakistan. 

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Texas Standard
3:12 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

No More Books: This San Antonio Library Went Digital

Bexar BiblioTech

Bibliotech, the first-ever entirely digital library in the United States, will celebrate its first anniversary this month. The Bexar County space, which contains no physical books, still offers readers and researchers the traditional library experience of a quiet environment, or speaking with a librarian in person.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with head librarian Ashley Eklof about Bibliotech and how it is changing the landscape of public libraries in America.

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HB2
5:23 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Abortion Provider To Reopen Clinic in Texas, Expands to New Mexico

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, stands outside the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

A federal appeals court will hear arguments next week over Texas’ new abortion law, after a federal judge in Austin struck down parts of that law last week.

Since that ruling, one abortion provider announced plans to reopen at least one clinic that closed due to the new requirements, and it says it will add a new clinic in New Mexico.

The company is also launching an initiative intended to remove what it calls the stigma of abortion.

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