Texas

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

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Proposes Millions For Teacher Bonuses And Retirement

Jul 13, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera

With less than a week before the start of a special session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal Thursday to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery. 

aaronisnotcool/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Believe it or not, it's been five turf-pounding, penalty-yielding, ball-fumbling years since Texas A&M seceded from the Big 12 athletic conference, and shook hands with the Southeast Conference (SEC.)

Spencer Selvidge / KUT News

From Texas Standard:

As Senate Republican leaders reveal another version of their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, taking politics out of the health care picture may be just the medicine needed. Political noise aside, the fact remains that health care costs are still too high, and many individuals can’t afford coverage. Experts say the political debate is essentially moot until the financial barriers to care are sorted out.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Tim Mattox doesn’t want to live in Austin, but soon he might not have a choice. Mattox has lived in the River Place neighborhood for 19 years. It’s a community of about 1,100 homes just northwest of the city near Lake Austin. In December, Mattox’s neighborhood is scheduled to be annexed by the city.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

With the start of the special legislation session less than a week away, Morning Edition is looking at issues on the agenda. Today, we answer a listener question about a proposed $1,000 pay increase for teachers: Who is pushing for the increase and where is it coming from?

Bill Erickson/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

July is typically the height of peach season in Texas, but many of the Hill Country’s well-known peach farms don’t have as much of the savory fruit to offer this year.

Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

A type of synthetic marijuana that is undetectable on standard drug tests is quickly becoming the most popular form of contraband in Texas prisons.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A week after the Fourth of July, independence is still on the minds of Texans. But two-and-a-half centuries after the U.S. became a nation, Texas lawmakers, rather than a king, are the despot in some eyes.

Robert Young/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is facing tough times. The agency’s acting director quit recently, and several high-level employees were fired after a news investigation revealed spending sprees on out-of-state trips.

Lawmakers File Dozens Of Bills As Abbott Officially Calls Special Session

Jul 10, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration for a special session of the Texas Legislature on Monday, formally inviting lawmakers back to Austin to pass “sunset legislation” that will keep several key state agencies open.

The long-awaited procedural move allows lawmakers to begin filing bills for the special session set to begin July 18. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Only weeks into the job, the acting executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is calling it quits.

Ed Swedberg’s abrupt and unexpected resignation from the agency, effective Monday, marks the sixth high-level departure since April from the agency that oversees alcohol regulation in Texas. The TABC has been rocked by revelations of lavish spending, mismanagement and regulatory overreach.

Kendalyn Aldridge

From Texas Standard:

As the sun was setting on the city of Dallas on July 7, 2016, few noticed the SUV parked sideways on Lamar Street, its flashers blinking.

The street was virtually empty, cleared out for a protest in response to the police shootings of two black men a few days earlier in Louisiana and Minnesota. The Dallas protest was one of many scheduled in big cities across the nation.  

Stephanie Odam of Austin marches in a campus carry protest in Austin, Jan 8, 2015.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has dismissed a longshot lawsuit filed by three University of Texas at Austin professors seeking to overturn the state's 2015 campus carry law, which allows people to carry concealed handguns inside most public university buildings. 

Jeff Heimsath / KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The 2016 election campaign featured much concern for the fate of coal miners and auto workers, whose jobs have been swept away by automation and globalization. Today, there may be another group at risk for large-scale cuts – retail workers.

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump addressed thousands of people in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, focusing, in part, on the nation's dependence on Russian energy. He said Poles will not be "held hostage" anymore by the Russian energy market, and pitched U.S. energy as an alternative.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

In a Texas congressional district that includes one of the country's largest military bases, a military hero is betting she can stage a political upset.

WhisperToMe/Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

From Texas Standard:

For years, Texas lawmakers have been trying to stem the bleeding of the state's health care plan for retired teachers. The plan has been at risk of going unfunded for nearly two decades because of demographic and economic changes, including more retirees and rising health care costs. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers took steps to make up for the plan's $1 billion shortfall  .

Stefan Krasowski/Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile capability over the weekend. It launched a guided missile with a range of at least 3,400 miles. It landed in the Sea of Japan. Experts say such a missile could reach Alaska, but North Korea does not yet have the capability to arm one with a nuclear warhead.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, nearly two years into his fight against state securities fraud charges, is continuing to get plenty of help from his friends to cover his soaring legal bills.

The Republican accepted nearly $218,000 in 2016 earmarked for his legal defense from “family friends” and others who Paxton says are exempted from state bribery laws that bar elected officials from receiving gifts from parties subject to their authority, according to a newly released financial disclosure statement.

U.S. Census Bureau/Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

From Texas Standard:

The upcoming special legislative session is likely to provide just as many fireworks as the regular session did. Among the most controversial issues on the table is the contentious debate between the House and Senate over "private school choice."

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