Texas

Technology
3:05 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Bridging the Digital Divide: Conference Aims to Bring Broadband Internet to All Texans

Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

In Texas, nearly one million households still are not using the Internet. More than 38 percent of Texans are still not connected to high-speed Internet at home, even though they could be. And with 11 percent of the Texas population completely unconnected, a lack of digital literacy is a real issue.

The Connected Texas Broadband Summit, being held today in Dallas, is for anyone who wants to address those issues. 

“We want to help plan to create initiatives and momentum behind expanding broadband in areas where it remains gapped, and in areas where digital literacy and broadband adoption lag behind,” explained Jessica Ditto, Director of Communications for Connected Nations.

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AM Update
8:33 am
Wed May 30, 2012

AM Update: Primary Results, Runoffs, and What's Next

Candidates bound for runoffs will keep electioneering until July 31.
Photo by Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Texas Primaries Results

Last night’s Texas primaries resolved several high profile contests, while sending other races to a runoff.

Near the top of the Republican ballot, beneath Mitt Romney’s win in the Presidential primary, the race for U.S. Senate carries on. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst came up short of a plurality, meaning he will face off against former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz in a runoff.

U.S. Rep.  Lamar Smith easily prevailed in his primary, despite opposition from Internet activists.  And on the Democratic side, longtime Austin U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett won handily in newly drawn Congressional District 35.

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Death Penalty
10:27 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Questions About Another Texas Execution: Was Wrong Man Condemned?

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:11 am

Already in the spotlight over whether it executed one innocent man — Cameron Todd Willingham — in 2004, the state of Texas now faces questions about whether another man may have been wrongly condemned to death.

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Criminal Justice
4:50 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Rare Reprieve Granted to Inmate Marked for Execution

A Texas court granted a reprieve to a prisoner due for execution on Wednesday
Image courtesy Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled today to stop the scheduled execution of a convicted killer because of his mental health issues.

The state's highest criminal court gave a reprieve to 49-year-old Steven Staley. Staley’s execution was set for Wednesday. He was convicted of the 1989 shooting death of a Fort Worth restaurant manager during a botched robbery.

Staley's attorney argued that the prisoner's IQ of 70 likely meant he was mentally impaired and therefore ineligible for execution. 

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Weather
1:04 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

In Houston, Billboards Go Digital This Hurricane Season

Digital billboards like this one can display emergency alerts.
Photo courtesy Clear Channel Outdoor

The Texas Gulf Coast is preparing for the upcoming hurricane season.

Today emergency and traffic officials tested digital billboards that will provide emergency messages throughout the Houston area.

Drivers saw a message that said, “Emergency Alert: This is only a test.”

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Texas Primaries
10:13 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Early Voting in Texas Primaries Starts Today

From one election to the next: Early voting in state and county primaries kicks off today.
Photo by KUT News

It's time to vote – again. On the heels of Austin's city election Saturday, early voting for the state and county primaries starts today, and runs through May 25.

The primary was originally scheduled for March but was pushed back because of disagreements over redistricting. Voters will get to choose the party nominees for President, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, among others.

In Travis County, voters will cast primary ballots for offices including district attorney, sheriff, and more.

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Texas
10:25 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Fake Twitter Feeds, Deceptive Websites Shake Up Primary

Image by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Looking for state Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s personal website? It's not jeffwentworth.com, an attack site that blasts the 20-year San Antonio incumbent as “the most liberal Republican senator in Austin.”

Want to know what Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, says on Twitter? Don't follow @RealTedCruz, which calls the former state solicitor general a “trial lawyer standing with a Chinese conglomerate to kill American jobs.” 

Straddling the line between dirty tricks and political strategy is as old as elections. And campaign impersonation dates at least as far back as the 1970s, when Donald Segretti, President Richard Nixon’s re-election operative, forged letters seeking to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie — a move that landed Segretti in prison.

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Health
11:33 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Recalculating The Health Bill In McAllen, Texas

Branded: Hospitals in McAllen, Texas, may not be as costly as first thought.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 10:43 am

Remember McAllen? It's the Texas border town that became synonymous with wasteful medical spending during the nation's big health care debate. Even Barack Obama was talking about it.

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Texas
11:55 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Davy Crockett, King of the Auction House

A letter from David Crockett, drafted some six months before his death at the Alamo, is for sale.
Letter image courtesy rrauction.com

A letter written by famed frontiersman Davy Crockett on the eve of his trip to Texas is being sold at auction.

The letter, dated September 30, 1835, is Crockett’s reply to a dinner invitation. The reply was written while he was still living in Tennessee, before he moved to Texas and about six months before Crockett’s death in the Alamo, according to RR Auction.

Crockett had recently lost his seat in Congress and displayed his distaste for politics in the letter. He states his desire not to attend a political dinner and only accepts due to the social nature of the event.

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Women's Health
4:33 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Court Rules Planned Parenthood Must Stay in Texas Women's Health Program

A Central Texas-area Planned Parenthood.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kellycree

A federal judge says the state of Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The program provides contraceptives and basic health screenings for more than 100,000 low income women in Texas. A state rule aimed at preventing Planned Parenthood from providing services under the program was put in place earlier this year.

A federal appeals judge today said there is evidence that the rule is unconstitutional – and upheld a lower court’s order that temporarily blocks the state from enforcing it.

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Women's Health
2:18 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Judge: HHSC Must Keep Planned Parenthood in WHP For Now

La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.
Photo by Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

A district judge in Austin has ordered Texas to temporarily stop its enforcement of a rule that would have removed 49 Planned Parenthood clinics from the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program starting May 1.

In a 25-page opinion, United States District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the Planned Parenthood organizations that filed the lawsuit proved there could be irreparable harm to their clinics that rely on Women’s Health Program funding to help uninsured Texans access cervical and breast cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing. Yeakel also expressed doubt that the state could find enough providers by Tuesday to replace the Planned Parenthood clinics with other health providers.

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Business
11:29 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Amazon to Start Paying Texas Sales Tax

Amazon has promised a Texas expansion, in addition to paying sales tax starting this summer.

After talks between online retailer Amazon.com and the state over paying sales taxes collapsed last year, the parties have reached an agreement.

The Office of the State Comptroller and Amazon stated today that beginning in July, Amazon – which had a distribution center in Irving, Texas – will begin paying state sales tax.

Amazon also announced it will “create at least 2,500 jobs and make at least $200 million in capital investments” in Texas, over the next four years.

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AM Update
8:12 am
Tue April 24, 2012

AM Update: Migration from Mexico, AISD Negotiations, McLeroy Visits 'Colbert Report'

Study finds hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants are leaving the U.S.
Flickr user Noah Jacquemin, bit.ly/127bpAP

Migration from Mexico to U.S. at Net Zero — Or less

Are more Mexican immigrants leaving the United States than entering? Maybe. A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center found net migration from Mexico to the U.S. has stopped—and perhaps reversed.

In an analysis of censuses and other data from both countries, researchers determined 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. from 2005 to 2010. Over that same five-year period, 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from America to Mexico.

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Voter ID
4:18 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Justice Department Blasts Texas Voter ID Law

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (l) and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have clashed over Voter ID requirements.
Holder photo courtesy Justice Department; Abbott photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

The U.S. Department of Justice says a Texas law requiring most people to show ID before they can vote will discriminate against minorities.

In court documents filed today, the department says there is substantial evidence that minorities will be affected the most:

Among other evidence, records produced by the State of Texas indicate that S.B. 14 will disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters who currently lack necessary photo identification and that minority registered voters will be disproportionately affected by the law, based on both a greater likelihood of lacking a required form of photo identification and a lesser ability to obtain a necessary identification.

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Health
4:16 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Teen Birth Rates Down in Texas

The number of babies born to Texas teens is at lowest level in decades.
Photo courtesy Liz Davenport via Flickr

The rate of teen pregnancies in Texas fell by 15 percent from 2007 to 2010.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of 15 to 19 year-old girls having babies in Texas dropped from nearly 62 in every 1,000 to about 52 per 1,000.

54,281 Texas teens gave birth in 2007. That number went down by 6,530 to 47,751 in 2010.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:52 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Santorum's Exit a Blow to Texas' Presidential Primary

Photo by Gage Skidmore via the Texas Tribune

Rick Santorum’s withdrawal today from the 2012 presidential contest makes Texas Republicans, once again, all but irrelevant in their party’s nomination process.

The drawn-out nature of the race had given party activists rare hope that this would be the most competitive presidential primary since 1976, when Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford duked it out in a contest that didn’t end until the party’s convention.

But a legal fight this year over redistricting pushed the Texas primary to May 29 from early March.

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Politics
1:04 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

George W. Bush Says He Doesn't Miss Being President

Former President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., last September.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 11:50 pm

"I'm often asked 'Do you miss the presidency?' I really don't," former President George W. Bush told an audience in New York City this morning, Politico reports.

It was an "was unbelievably interesting experience," he added, but "I had plenty of the limelight."

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Politics
4:40 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Legislators' Complaint Targets Conservative Activist

Photo courtesy Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Michael Quinn Sullivan and the influential conservative group he leads, Empower Texans, haven't filed required disclosure reports on their lobbying and campaign activities, two Republican state legislators said in formal complaints filed today with the Texas Ethics Commission.

In one complaint, Reps. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Vicki Truitt, R-Southlake, said Sullivan lobbied in 2010 and 2011 without filing the required lobbyist disclosures that he had filed up until that time.

In their filing, they said Sullivan and his employees lobbied lawmakers during the last quarter of 2010 and into 2011, when lawmakers began their most recent legislative session. "That direct communication included written communications directed to elected members of the Texas House of Representatives and staff employed by them expressing the action on legislation preferred by Mr. Sullivan's employer," they wrote.

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Texas
3:51 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Lone Star State Of Mind: Could Texas Go It Alone?

Lone Star Nation: Today, the Texas capitol flies both the American and Texas flags, but after independence the Lone Star flag would fly on its own.
Steve Dunwell Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:46 pm

It's a popular idea in Texas that the Lone Star State — once an independent republic — could break away and go it alone. A few years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted that if Washington didn't stop meddling in his state, independence might be an option. In his brief run for the White House, he insisted that nearly anything the feds do, the states — and Texas in particular — could do better.

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Transportation
4:45 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Austin Gas Prices Inching Up

Austin gas prices have risen 17 cents in the last month.
Erik Reyna/KUT News

Gas prices are on the rise nationally, and Austin is no exception.

The price of gas in Texas has gone up another six cents this week, to $3.82 a gallon, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. That's up 25 cents over the last 4 weeks.

The price spike mirrors one hitting the entire country. But gas here is still a dime cheaper than the national average. Austin customers pay $3.75 at the pump, up from $3.58 a month ago.

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