Texas

Immigration
4:31 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Deportation Threat Doesn't Diminish Young Migrants' U.S. Hopes

Ezequiel Vazquez and his 15-year-old son, Ilbaro, leave a government-run shelter in Guatemala City. Ilbaro was deported from the U.S. after spending six months in a Texas detention facility. He returned with a U.S.- issued duffel bag full of clothes, shoes, books and toys.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 10:23 pm

The Obama administration says it will try to speed up deportations of tens of thousands of children who have illegally entered the U.S. from Central America in recent months. It's part of a stronger message the administration is hoping gets back to would-be migrants contemplating coming to the U.S.

But the message isn't getting through, and even those who have recently been deported say they will try again.

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Border & Immigration
2:35 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Perry Calls for Security & Federal Funds in a Congressional Hearing on Border Crisis

The Texas-Mexico border has become the focal point of a national debate on immigration after a surge in Central American immigrations.
Lorne Matalon Marfa Public Radio

The ongoing surge of Central American immigration into Texas was the focus of a field hearing Thursday of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R - Austin) invited Governor Rick Perry to testify at the hearing in the Rio Grande Valley.

The governor laid out a four-point plan for handling the situation, including increasing National Guard operations, screening immigrants for medical conditions and federal reimbursement of the money Texas has spent on border security.

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Food
1:21 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

H-E-B Cites the Presence of 'Foreign Materials' in Voluntary Beef Recall

H-E-B has issued a voluntary recall for some of its beef products.
Credit Photo courtesy of H-E-B

H-E-B has issued a voluntarily recall of 13 items due to the "possible presence of a foreign material." 

The San Antonio-based grocer said no customers have reported illnesses, but they recalled certain skirt steaks, beef fajitas and stew meats with packaging dates as early as June 9 as a precautionary measure. 

Below is a full list of  affected items.

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Food
9:44 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Ranchers Approve Added Charge for Cattle Sales in Texas

Before the beef even hits a butcher's slab, Texas' so-called "beef checkoff" sends $2 towards industry groups for every cow sold, but some say the funds undercut small-scale ranchers.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarale/6688989961/

From StateImpact Texas: 

Every time a cow is sold in Texas, a dollar of that sale goes to industry groups that use it to promote and research beef. It’s part of a national program called the “beef checkoff,” and that charge will now rise to two dollars in Texas after a statewide vote by cattle owners.

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Texas
3:05 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

For Trailblazing Texan Oveta Culp Hobby, a Long Overdue Biography

Col Oveta Culp Hobby (right) talks with Auxiliary Margaret Peterson and Capt. Elizabeth Gilbert in this 1943 photo at New York's Mitchel Field.
Al Aumuller/ World Telegram & Sun/Library of Congress

From the small Texas town of Killeen, Oveta Culp Hobby grew up into a remarkable woman, serving her country and opening doors for women in the military.  

She helped establish the Women’s Army Corps and received a distinguished service medal – the first woman in the army ever to do so. She also served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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2014 Texas Democratic Convention
11:47 am
Mon June 30, 2014

After Rallying Party Faithful, Texas Democrats Get Back on Campaign Trail

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, wave at Democrats at the Texas Democratic Convention on June 27, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

At their statewide convention in Dallas over the weekend, the top Democratic nominees took the stage and the party set its priorities for the upcoming year. Texas Democratic Party leaders urged the party faithful to knock on doors and make phone calls to change the political color of the state. State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, chair of the convention, was among them.

"I’m crazy enough to believe, and I hope you are too, that we can do big things better if we turn Texas blue," Sen. West said.

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Immigration Reform
11:06 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Why Children in Texas Illegally Could Stay in the U.S. for Years

Many of the thousands of children from Central America crossing the Texas-Mexico border are eventually subject to deportation, but it could take years before their cases goes to immigration court.
flickr.com/cbpphotos

Many of the thousands of children from Central America crossing the Texas-Mexico border are eventually subject to deportation, but it could take years before their cases goes to court.

Texas has the second highest number of pending immigration cases after California. The problem is simple, immigration lawyers say: The courts just don’t have enough judges.

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2014 Texas Democratic Convention
6:56 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Democrats Say Texas Values Align With Their Party Platform

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa speaks at the Texas Democratic Convention in Dallas on June 27, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Democrats support immigration reform – so it came as no surprise that the issue arose on at the party's convention of Saturday. But at the start of the day, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins made an unexpected announcement regarding the surge of unaccompanied minors in Texas from Central America:  the county is locating facilities to take in roughly 2,000 unaccompanied minors. 

"We had a lot of the elected officials here, all of whom stand for the proposition that it is the right thing to do to be compassionate to children," Jenkins said, when asked why he made the announcement at the convention. "If [the state] would open up facilities to the federal government and work with them instead of working against them, then we could move these children from cages on the border to compassionate care." The move is expected to take place by late July;  the average stay of children will be about 21 days. After that, the children would be taken to relatives' homes.

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2014 Texas Democratic Convention
1:35 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Texas Democrats Focus on Women, Voter Outreach at 2014 State Party Convention

Thousands came out to the Dallas Convention Center for the 2014 Texas Democratic Convention.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Democrats are in Dallas for their party’s statewide convention that was called to order shortly after 6 p.m. Friday.

Thousands of elected officials, candidates and activists have come to nominate the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor – State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Democrats are also already working on their party platform.

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Texas Standard
2:55 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Listen: A World Cup Translation for Texans

Sonny Carl broke Texas into five states in "Bernie." Listen to his take on World Cup Soccer, err, football.
Millennium Entertainment

Been following the World Cup?  If so, you can stop right here.  

This one's for the rest of us. 

Sonny Carl Davis (you know, that guy from "Bernie" who broke Texas into five states?) has been thinking about America's new love affair with what much of the rest of the world calls football.  

Sonny's been doing so much thinking, he reckoned it high time to offer something of an explainer for fellow Texans baffled by the phenomenon. Texans like … him. Take two minutes to listen:

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Texas
2:25 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Interview: Remember the Alamo? Phil Collins Sure Does.

Rocker and Texas Revolution expert Phil Collins (r) talks with Texas Standard's David Brown in the Alamo.
Rhonda Fanning/Texas Standard

On Thursday, Phil Collins – the multi-million selling British singer, former Genesis drummer, and Texas history buff – returned to the Alamo with an offer: his entire collection of Alamo artifacts, valued in the millions of dollars.

In exchange? Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who oversees the management of the historic site, pledged to build a new structure to display the Collins collection, telling a more well-rounded story of the seminal 1836 battle at San Antonio de Bexar. 

In an exclusive conversation with the Texas Standard's David Brown – recorded in  the Alamo's sacristy – Collins talks about how his fascination with Texas' Independence story blossomed into an adult obsession. 

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Texas
2:30 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Big Tex Is Named The Country's Quirkiest Landmark (Of Course!)

Howdy, folks! Big Tex has been named the country's quirkiest landmark.
State Fair of Texas

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 1:49 pm

Big Tex, the beloved but odd State Fair of Texas icon, has been named the country’s quirkiest landmark. 

After four weeks of online voting, the larger-than-life cowboy earned the most votes in the USA Today and 10Best "Best Quirky Landmark" contest. The winner was announced Wednesday. 

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2014 Election
1:37 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Texas Democrats Mark Filibuster Anniversary Ahead of Convention

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, left, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spoke to supporters on June 25, 2014, the one-year anniversary of Sen. Davis's filibuster.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Abortion rights supporters gathered last night to mark one year since State Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster of legislation restricting abortions in Texas.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Fort Worth spoke at an event Wednesday marking the day, but also aimed at gathering momentum for her race against her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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Texas
8:45 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Democratic Party Chair Says Texas Convention Will Highlight Women

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, nominee for lieutenant governor, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, nominee for governor, are at the top of Texas' Democratic ticket.
Callie Richmond Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats will shine a spotlight on their top-of-the-ticket female candidates as they begin their three-day convention in Dallas Thursday.

In an interview with KERA, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said his party will also contrast its beliefs with those Republicans enshrined in their state platform earlier this month.

Hinojosa said this is the first time Texas has had two women – both state senators – running for office on the top of a party ticket.


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Sunset Advisory Commission
4:20 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Sunset Commission Hears Testimony on Closing Austin State Supported Living Center

Members of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission are hearing testimony from the public on June 25, 2014 about reports recommending reforms of several state agencies.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Members of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission are hearing from the public today about reports recommending large-scale changes to several state agencies – including shutting down six state-supported living centers. 

Most people at the Capitol are testifying in support of the Sunset staff’s report on the Department of Family and Protective Services and severe inadequacies that lead to child deaths and caseworker turnover. But others are there to testify against a Sunset staff report [click here for PDF] suggesting the Department of Aging and Disability Services should shutter the Austin State Supported Living Center, off of W. 35th Street near Camp Mabry, by 2017.

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Anniversay of Davis Fillibuster
1:27 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Listen: When Wendy Davis and a Deafening Roar Slowed Texas' New Abortion Law

Sen. Wendy Davis suring her 11-hour filibuster last June 25.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

June 25 marks the one-year anniversary of Sen. Wendy Davis' historic filibuster on the Texas Senate floor.

It was one year ago that Democratic Sen. Davis began an 11-hour filibuster intended to derail Senate Bill 5, a bill containing several new restrictions on abortion. While Davis' filibuster ended before the legislature adjourned, a supportive crowd in the Senate gallery erupted in cheers and screams minutes before the midnight deadline to pass SB 5 – squashing Republican efforts to pass it that night.

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Sunset Advisory Commission
9:15 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Commission Hears Input on Fixing Major Flaws of Texas Agencies

The Sunset Advisory Commission's first day of public meetings about recommendations to reform state agencies took place on June 24, 2014.
KUT News

The second day of the Sunset Advisory Commission’s public meetings at the Capitol is underway.

Today, the public can comment on recommendations made in recent commission staff reports on how to fix major flaws at state agencies, including the Department of Family Protective Services. A June report [click here for PDF] of the Sunset Advisory Commission had about 100 pages of recommendations for reforming the department.

Sunset staff member and project manager Amy Tripp, who worked on the report, told lawmakers Tuesday that caseworkers complain about the punitive work environment.

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Texas
11:01 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Listen: Texas Veterans on ISIS and the Future of Iraq

Members of the 1st Air Cavalry on patrol near Taji, Iraq.
U.S. Army, flickr.com/soldiersmediacenter

Last week, the Obama administration announced their response to the unraveling situation in Iraq. The U.S. is sending 300 military advisors to help government forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The Al-Qaeda augmented militants have recently taken control of much of northern Iraq. 

The White House has not ruled out air strikes, and the possibility of further military action is the talk of Washington. But what about the men and women who served in Iraq? The Texas Standard's David Brown recently sat down with three veterans for a roundtable discussion of recent events.

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Border & Immigration
4:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Latest Surge at Texas Border: Politicians Cruz, Abbott, Davis & Perry

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (foreground, L, R) were joined by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, (background, R) in touring Joint Base Lackland San Antonio today.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Texas politicians are getting a close-up look at how border authorities are handling an influx of Central American immigrants – many of them children who came here without family members.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott got a tour Monday of one facility housing immigrant children after they’re processed near the border: Joint Base San Antonio, where children wait for judicial hearings or to be placed with relatives.

Both Abbott and Cruz blame the increase in immigrants on the Obama administration’s deferred action for childhood arrivals policy, which offered a delay of immigration proceedings for children brought to the U.S. before 2007.

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Amber Alert
9:35 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Update: Baby Missing From Houston Apparently Found

Update: Houston media is reporting that Genesis Haley was found early this morning. 

Original story (7:11 a.m.): Police in Houston have issued an Amber Alert for an infant girl.

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