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:

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.

Oh sure, you could argue there are other, more important things happening in the world. And frankly, you'd be right. (For those things, by the way — which some people, in somber tones, might call news — please see here.)

But sometimes, you just need to watch a big gorilla dance in a small pool.

Barclay Fernandez/The Victoria Advocate

From Texas Standard:

It’s been five months since the Victoria Islamic Center was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 28. The fire was later determined to be arson. Yesterday, there was another development in the case, which is far from over.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The federal government has officially thrown its support behind Texas' so-called sanctuary cities ban.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in federal court Friday in the case brought by several cities, including Austin, that seeks to block enforcement of Senate Bill 4.

Photo courtesy Celis Brewery

From Texas Standard:

With new breweries popping up all the time, buzz over Texas’ booming craft beer scene has been consistent over the last few years. But Austin’s newest taproom is cutting through the noise with a reboot of what the founders say was Austin’s oldest craft brewery.

(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.

Justyna Furmanczyk

The state’s population is still booming, and Hispanic Texans are driving a large portion of that growth. 

New population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show that just over half of Texas’ population increase since 2010 can be attributed to a rapidly growing Hispanic community and its expanding presence in nearly every corner of the state.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Making a list of the best and worst lawmakers after each Texas legislative session isn't quite as old as the Legislature itself, but it's still a time-honored tradition. Texas Monthly has put out such a list since 1973, and each one is an occasion awaited with bated breath by political observers, legislative aides and of course, the lawmakers themselves.

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From Texas Standard:

There are a lot of labels in the world of politics. There are Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives and even libertarians. But socialists is another thing altogether. Socialists are pretty close to communists, as some see it. 

For years, the socialist label has been something of a taboo, not just in Texas but in many parts of the country. Today though, many younger voters are leaning hard left, and they’re looking to old-school socialists for leadership and inspiration.

U.S. Navy Airman Michael Arteaga/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard:

On Monday, Russia threatened to shoot down any coalition jets flying west of the Euphrates river, after the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane over the weekend. Russia is also suspending its use of the hotline between the U.S. and Russia that was set up to prevent accidents in the Syrian combat zone. The U.S. has also suspended talks with Russia over resolution of the Syrian conflict.

 

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.

Erika Rich for the Texas Tribune

As several Texas communities have signed on to a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s new immigration enforcement law, some are putting pressure on their local leaders to hurry up and join in.

While small numbers of Texas voters believe spending on public and higher education is too high, pluralities think the state is not spending enough, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

In both cases, 27 percent of voters said the state is spending about the right amount.

bryansjs/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

There are deals, and then there are big deals. Amazon buying Austin-based grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion certainly falls into the latter category. But what makes this deal so big isn’t even the money – there have been bigger deals before – it’s the ripple effects on workers, wages, other companies and everyday people.

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.

It’s not over yet.

Despite a long and contentious regular session, Gov. Greg Abbott says lawmakers aren’t quite done in 2017. In a far-reaching decree, the governor called lawmakers back to Austin for a special session starting on July 18.

Abbott’s priority is for the House and Senate to address “sunset” provisions to keep the lights on at certain state agencies, like the Texas Medical Board. Aside from that, the rest of the governor’s special session agenda covers everything from tree removal to texting while driving to bathroom regulation.

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From Texas Standard:

Weather watchers are tracking ominous activity in the Gulf of Mexico. An Air Force Reserve helicopter is on standby, ready to fly to a spot off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where a storm system is building steam.

Jacob Villanueva / Texas Tribune

The “bathroom bill” that preoccupied the Texas Legislature for the first half of the year is important to only 44 percent of the state’s voters — and “very important” to only 26 percent, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. 

During the regular session, lawmakers considered but did not pass legislation that would regulate transgender Texans’ use of public restrooms, blocking them from using facilities not designated for their “biological sex.”

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From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement "the worst trade deal in the history of the world." But a group of Texas business leaders begs to differ. In a step toward preserving what works about NAFTA, the Texas Association of Business and Texas Business Leadership Council have formed the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition.

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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