Texas

Women's Health
12:38 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

'We Have No Choice': A Story Of The Texas Sonogram Law

iStockPhoto

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:19 am

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. But in some states, access to facilities that perform abortions remains limited.

In part, that stems from another Supreme Court ruling from 20 years ago that let states impose regulations that don't cause an "undue burden" on a woman's abortion rights.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
11:36 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Study Sought on Effect of Possible Federal Funding Cuts

Republican State Reps. (l to r) Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen; James White, R-Woodville, Bryan Hughes, R-Marshall,; and Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, work on HB4 budget amendments on March 31, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

A Texas lawmaker has filed legislation that would require the state to study the effects of cutting financial ties with the federal government.

Rep. James White, R-Hillister, said he filed HB 568 because the state needed to be prepared for the possibility that the federal government could not meet its financial obligations because of "fiscal dysfunction" in Washington, D.C.

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The Lead
8:36 am
Tue January 22, 2013

The Lead: Austin Marks MLK Day, AISD Takes Up Bond Package

Participants in yesterday's rally and march, marking Martin Luther KIng Jr.'s birthday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Good morning! The National Weather Service says Austin's in for a sunny and mild day, with highs in the mid-60s.

Lead Story: Many Austinites took time to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. yesterday.

People gathered at the MLK statue on the UT campus Monday morning to kick off the city’s annual march honoring the civil rights leader. Austinite Stan Johnson says he was inspired to come out when he heard King’s “I Have a Dream” speech for the first time.

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Education
8:18 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Texas High School Graduation Above National Average

Texas sits roughly in the middle of the pack when it comes to four-year high school graduation rates.
National Center for Education Statistics

A new study shows Texas' four-year high school graduation rate rose to 78.9 percent in 2009-2010, putting the Lone Star State above the national average of 78.2 percent.

A federal study released by the National Center of Education Statistics shows that Texas' four-year graduation rate increased from its previous study, from 73.1 percent in the 2006-2007 school year to 78.9 percent in 2009-2010.

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Texas
9:49 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Four Texans Linked to Algerian Hostage Crisis

Map Data @2013 Google

There's been a lot of confusion in the aftermath of the four-day long hostage crisis at a remote Algerian natural gas production facility. KUT News takes a look at the information and tries to sort out the information relevant to Texas.

The siege ended in a violent standoff Saturday, after security forces stormed the natural gas production facility, leaving a preliminary count of 58 hostages dead. That number is likely to go up as more information becomes available. The New York Times reports “there are a good 20 bodies,” some badly burned, left to be identified.

Details are murky about who survived and who was lost during the siege, but what is known is that out of the reported 685 Algerian and 107 foreign workers at the plant, at least four Texans have been linked to the crisis.

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The Lead
8:48 am
Thu January 17, 2013

The Lead: Mayor Applauds Obama’s Gun Measures; APD Looks for Shooting Witnesses

Austin Police are looking for witnesses to Monday's officer-invloved shooting.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Good morning. Austin’s warming trend continues today; the National Weather Service says Austin’s due for a high near 60, with slightly warmer temperatures expected this weekend.

Lead story: President Obama’s call for a series of stronger gun control measures has met with immediate opposition from state officials. Governor Rick Perry issued a statement soon after the President’s speech calling for prayer, and stating that “guns require a finger to pull the trigger.” 

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Texas
7:54 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Bill Could Increase Availability to Texas Mental Health Care

Ruth Jones McClendon has filed legislation that would separate funding for 'civic' and 'forensic' mental health patients.
ruthmcclendon.org

New attention could be coming to a bill filed by a State Representative out of San Antonio. Democrat Ruth Jones McClendon filed the bill in November but the topic is timely.

McClendon says House Bill 205 would increase the availability of mental health beds provided by the state.

She says, right now, Texas provides one pool of funding for beds for two main categories of people in need of mental health services: those unable to make sound decisions and those detained for mental evaluation after a crime.

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The Lead
9:00 am
Wed January 16, 2013

The Lead: Mayor Leffingwell Standing By Lance Armstrong

Mayor Lee Leffingwell says Lance Armstrong's charitable work has been “a great contribution to our community and to the entire country.”
Leffingwell photo Jeff Heimsath for KUT News; Armstong photo flickr.com/farber

Good morning! Austin’s in for a chilly but sunnier day today, with highs in the lower 50s according to the National Weather Service.

Lead story: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell is standing by Lance Armstrong. Oprah Winfrey says Armstrong admitted in an interview that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. But Mayor Leffingwell says he’s still supports Armstrong. 

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The Lead
9:11 am
Tue January 15, 2013

The Lead: Oprah Says Armstrong Confesses to Doping

Lance Armstrong biking in Hawaii. A confession may clear the way for Armstrong's return to professional sports.
flickr.com/larryobrien

Good morning. Austin’s facing a chilly and drizzly Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says we'll warm to a high in the low to mid 40s. The rest of the state is not so lucky: the AP reports flights have been suspended at Dallas’ Love Field. (Update: the AP reports Love Field is open again.)

Lead story: The fever pitch around Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey continues to build. Now after anonymous reports surfaced that Armstrong confessed, a reported round of apologies to the Livestrong staff, and a panoply of media trucks descended on Armstrong’s West Austin home, the talk show titan herself confirms it: in an appearance on CBS This Morning today, Winfrey said Armstrong did indeed confess to doping in their three-hour long interview.

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The Lead
9:03 am
Fri January 11, 2013

The Lead: Gun Show Pressure, Water Bills at the Texas Lege

Weapons for sale at a gun show in Houston.
flickr.com/glasgows

Good morning, and happy Friday. Austin’s in for a temperature boost today, with warm and breezy weather bringing in a high in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service.

Lead story: As KUT News reported yesterday, the Austin City Council may get involved in efforts to halt gun shows at the Travis County Expo Center. Council member Mike Martinez says a subcommittee will meet next Tuesday to see what it can do at the local level to stop gun violence and illegal trafficking.  While the Expo Center is owned and operated by the county, it sits on city land.

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The Lead
8:52 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Lead: It's Opening Day at the 83rd Texas Legislature

Empty no more: Texas House and Senate members return to the Capitol today.
Texas Tribune

Good morning. Wet weather is making some Austin commutes difficult this morning. With heavier storms forecast this afternoon, you can read these wet weather driving tips from AAA Texas.

Lead story: They’re heeeeeere!

The 83rd Texas Legislature convenes at noon today. And aside from doing its part to boost the local economy, via JoS. A. Bank sales and steakhouse receipts, it’ll try to get a little governing done too.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
6:40 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Combs: Lawmakers Will Have $101.4 Billion for Budget

State Comptroller Susan Combs makes a face while delivering a keynote speech at the Texas Republican Convention June 8, 2012.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

KUT's Ben Philpott talks with KUT's Nathan Bernier about Combs' announcement.

The Texas Legislature will have $101.4 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget, along with an extra $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday morning. (Listen to her full announcement here.)

Combs’ official biennial revenue estimate sets the limit of the state’s general fund, the portion of the budget that lawmakers have the most control over. The general fund typically makes up nearly half of the state’s total budget.

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Texas
12:11 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Clearing Texas Rape Kit Backlog Brings Hefty Price Tag

Pictured is a sexual assault evidence collection kit used by law enforcement throughout Texas.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

There are some 20,000 untested rape kits sitting on evidence shelves in police departments across Texas, the state Department of Public Safety estimates.

Each box with samples of hair, skin and clothing represents one of the worst moments of the victim’s life, a crime that was followed by hours in a doctor’s office submitting the most personal evidence.

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Politics
4:37 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Ethics Commission Fines Simmons' PAC Over Donations

Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

The political action committee for Waste Control Specialists, which is owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, was fined Wednesday by the Texas Ethics Commission over illegal political contributions. 

The PAC illegally donated nearly $65,000 to 18 state lawmakers — 15 Republicans and 3 Democrats — in 2011, shortly after the organization was formed. At the time, Simmons was the only contributor to the PAC. Texas elections code requires a PAC to have at least 10 donors before it makes a political contribution.

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Texas
10:59 am
Wed January 2, 2013

They Weren't in the Running, but They Still Won Votes

Todd Wiseman / Gage Skidmore / Bob Jagendorf for Texas Tribune

When 11 Travis County voters scribbled in "Mickey Mouse" for president on their ballots in November, the cartoon character didn't get any closer to becoming the first animated leader of the most powerful nation in the world. After all, counties don't count write-in votes for uncertified candidates.

In every presidential election, hundreds of names are written in by voters who choose not to vote for a major candidate. Among those names is a trove of living and deceased politicians, fictional characters and popular personalities. That trend continued in Texas in 2012.

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Politics
3:03 pm
Tue January 1, 2013

Tea Party Texan Cruz Gives GOP Hope In Hunt For Hispanic Votes

Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas answers a question from a television reporter on Nov. 6 in Houston.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:19 pm

Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its growing problem luring Hispanic voters.

Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But when he stepped in front of a microphone, he could light up a room in a way that made the other Republican candidates seem lifeless.

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Top Stories 2012
1:06 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

KUT News' Top Stories of 2012

clockwise from top left: Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune; Jeff Heimsath for KUT News; Lance Armstrong, via Twitter; Valerie Romness

What is it about a story that captures people’s imaginations?

For the last two weeks, KUT News has been looking back at the year’s top stories. It’s an admittedly imprecise measure: some stories begin with a single person, while others concern sweeping environmental, political, health and development decisions. But stories that resonate – whether tragedy, politics, or even entertainment-related – invariably resonate beyond their initial radius, to touch the lives of countless others.

Here’s KUT News’ Top 10 stories for 2012, in a rough chronological order:

Tragedy can strike at any time. Austin’s music community was painfully reminded of that lesson when a mainstay of the local music scene, Esme Barrera, was murdered at her home in the West Campus during the first hours of the New Year.

Nearly a whole year later, the District Attorney's officesays sufficient cause exists to arrest her alleged murderer, if he hadn't killed himself soon after Barrera's murder. APD is now declaring the case closed. 

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Top Stories 2012
2:03 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Top Stories of 2012: The Central Texas Wildfires, One Year Later

Scenes from the fire's aftermath in Bastrop last year.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Among the somber anniversaries of 2012: the one-year anniversary of the Central Texas wildfires.

Thousands of people were forced out of their homes on Labor Day weekend of 2011 by the massive wildfires and clouds of black smoke. Altogether, the wildfires claimed two lives, more than 1,600 homes, many pets and livestock, and thousands of acres of land and forests.

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Texas
12:51 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Fewer State Layoffs in 2012

The state laid off fewer employees this year than in 2011 - in part because so many were laid off last year.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The number of state employees let go this year was down dramatically compared to 2011, according to a report from the State Auditor's Office. But that’s mainly because so many people lost their jobs last year, after lawmakers slashed the two-year state budget by $14 billion. 

Those cuts led to a round of government layoffs: 1,225 people lost their jobs last year as the result of a "reduction in force," the bureaucratic term used to label job cuts caused by budget reductions. This year, that number was 96. A lot of people were fired for other reasons, but the number of state employees "involuntarily" laid off still dropped by more than 15 percent compared to last year.

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Women's Health
2:15 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Texas Stories of 2012: The War Over Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood supporters rally on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on March 8, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

When state lawmakers pushed to remove Planned Parenthood from Texas’ Women’s Health Program as part of an anti-abortion agenda, some questioned whether the state could absorb the cost of the change.

We still don’t know, because at year’s end, the legal battle over whether Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood – currently the largest provider in the program– is still being fought.

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