Texas

Texas
7:17 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Texas' Voice in Washington Will Get Louder Through House Committee Chairs

Texas Republicans will chair six of the 21 U.S. House committees when the 114th U.S. Congress starts in January 2015.
Photo by jmtimages http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/

The 114th U.S. Congress is getting attention for how few women will chair committees in the House, but when it comes to Texans – they won’t be under-represented. Texas Republicans will chair six of the 21 U.S. House committees.

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2014 Elections
11:41 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Early Voting Starts Today to Fill Texas House District 17 Seat

Early voting starts on Dec. 29, 2014, for a state representative, District 17, special election.

Early voting starts today in several special elections, including one to fill a State House seat vacated by State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington.

Voters in Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee Counties are casting a ballot once again. They’re choosing a new Texas House member to represent House District 17, a seat that opened up after Rep. Kleinschmidt resigned to work for the Texas Department of Agriculture.

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AirAsia
11:33 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

AirAsia Plane Missing After Takeoff From Indonesia

Relatives of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 comfort each other Sunday at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Trisnadi AP

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 1:48 pm

Updated at 1:00 p.m. ET

Search operations have been suspended for the night for an AirAsia plane with 162 aboard that lost contact with air traffic control after takeoff from Indonesia on a flight to Singapore, the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority reports.

The plane, en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, lost contact about an hour before it was due to arrive in Singapore. It was scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday), Hadi Mustofa, an official with the Indonesian air ministry, said on Indonesia's MetroTV.

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Texas
1:38 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Bugged by Tiny Gnat-Like Insects? What They Are & Where They're Coming From

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachypsylla#mediaviewer/File:Hackberry_Nipplegall_Maker_1.jpg

Hackberry trees are pretty common in this part of Texas. If you’re not sure whether you have one in your yard – there’s a pretty obvious sign.

Insect experts say hundreds to thousands of the little insects that love hackberry trees are swarming right now.

"I’ve been getting lots of calls on hackberry psyllids," Texas A&M Agrilife Extension program specialist Wizzie Brown says.

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Texas
9:04 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Medicaid Eligibility Changes Have Texas Parents Scrambling to Regain Coverage

When Julio Solis Milam, 12, became ineligible for the Medically Dependent Children’s Program in 2013, his mother Claire Milam appealed the decision. He’s now eligible for a different Medicaid waiver program.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas has Medicaid programs that help parents or guardians care at home for children who would otherwise be eligible for nursing facility care, but recently the requirements for children to qualify for some programs have changed.

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Texas
8:28 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Physicians Groups Oppose Treatment of Sleep Disorders by Texas Dentists

The Texas Medical Association has filed a lawsuit in the Travis County District Court challenging a new rule adopted by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.
Photo by Keith Burtis/http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

Last June, The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners adopted a rule allowing dentists in the state to diagnose and treat certain sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea in collaboration with a physician, but a number of physicians groups have spoken out against this new rule, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

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Same-Sex Marriage
7:45 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Texas Plaintiffs Hope Federal Appeals Court Will Rule Against Gay Marriage Ban

Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss are plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Texas' same-sex marriage ban. They spoke at a Freedom to Marry event at the LBJ Library on Dec. 15, 2014.
KUT News

In February, a U.S. district judge in San Antonio ruled that Texas’ gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia didn’t allow gay couples to marry right away, however. He issued a stay on his ruling pending an appeal from the state.

Next, three judges at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from both sides in this case challenging the same-sex marriage ban in Texas.

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Texas
12:14 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Where Are All of Texas' Christmas Trees Coming From?

Bastrop County produced the most Christmas trees in Texas last year, but the industry in Texas is still dwarfed by states like North Carolina and Oregon.
Via, flickr.com/photos/aquariawintersoul

A Christmas tree strapped to the roof of a car, or shimmering in a cheerfully decorated living room is a common sight this time of year.  The USDA estimates the Christmas tree industry to be a $14.5 billion enterprise. While states like Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan lead in harvests, a new USDA survey shows Central Texas leads the state in production, but where are those trees coming from?

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Texas
8:03 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Volunteers Caring for Texas Children Need Financial Support, Report Suggests

A new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities says more than 250,000 children in Texas are living with volunteer caregivers who need financial support.
Filipa Rodriques/KUT News

In Texas, more than 250,000 children are living with grandparents or other volunteer caregivers, but a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities suggests that many of them are not up to the task financially and could use more support and guidance.

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2014 Elections
7:11 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Majority of Texas Voters Chose 2014 Candidates Based on Political Party

Straight ticket voting in Texas reached an all-time high in the 2014 elections, according to a new report.

Straight ticket voting in Texas reached an all-time high in last month’s elections, according to a new report released by the Austin Community College Center for Public Policy and Political Studies.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
10:56 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Liveblog: The 2014 Austin City Council Runoff Elections

Mayor-elect Steve Adler shakes a young supporters hand at his Election Night party.
Joy Diaz/KUT

After years of build-up and build-out, tonight the Austin City Council will finally transfer from an at-large, seven-member council to a geographically elected council with 10 members. Two of the council seats were decided on Election Day in November – Delia Garza won the District 2 seat and Ann Kitchen won District 5. Council Member Kathie Tovo, after nearly beating fellow Council Member Chris Riley with 49 percent of the vote, won the District 9 seat after Riley’s November concession.

The remaining seven races, and the race for Mayor of Austin, will be decided by today’s runoff elections.

UPDATE: The final numbers are in. Here’s a look at the Austin City Council runoff winners according to the Travis County Clerk's unofficial voting totals:

District 1 – Ora Houston wins with 74.25 percent of the vote over opponent DeWayne Lofton

District 3 – Sabino “Pio” Renteria wins over Susana Almanza 59.76 percent over 40.24 percent

District 4 – Greg Casar wins the seat over opponent Laura Pressley with 64.62 percent of the vote. Pressley garnered 35.38 percent of the vote

District 6 – Don Zimmerman defeats Jimmy Flannigan with 51.21 percent in a close race. Flannigan carried Election Day, but his 48.79 percent in total runoffs wasn’t enough to win the seat.

District 7 – Leslie Pool wins with 66.23 percent over Jeb Boyt’s 33.77 percent.

District 8 – Ellen Troxclair wins the seat by less than 60 votes, earning 50.23 percent of the vote against opponent Ed Scruggs, who got 49.77 percent of the vote.

District 10 – Sheri Gallo defeats Mandy Dealey with 54.76 percent of the vote. Dealey got 45.24 percent of the vote.

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Affordable Care Act
9:37 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Finding Health Care for Uninsured Latinas to Reduce ER Visits

Seton Survivorship Nurse Navigator Veronica Serrano, right, helps a purposely unidentified former cancer patient on Nov. 19, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

We've all heard the stories about how a lack of health insurance can force someone to ignore small health issues, until they end up in the emergency room with a more traumatic, and sometimes untreatable, problem. This is happening frequently with the country's uninsured Latina population.

In Austin and across the U.S., nonprofits are helping connect them with health care resources in their communities.

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Texas
7:50 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Update: Missing Denton Boy Believed in Danger

Suspect and missing boy.

Update: Denton Police have discontinued an AMBER Alert for a missing 4-year-old boy. But Ricardo Lara has not been found yet.

Police say the investigation no longer fits requirements to continue the Amber Alert – though they are still pursing all leads to find the child.

Police still believe Lara is with his father – 23-year-old Ricardo Martinez. The two were last seen in Denton on Friday afternoon. Martinez is also a suspect in the murder of Lara’s mother.

Original Story (Dec. 15, 2014, 6:04 a.m.): Law enforcement officers across the state are keeping an eye out for a missing 4-year-old boy.

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Same-Sex Marriage
6:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Federal Court Holds Off on Decision Against Texas' Same-Sex Marriage Ban

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review same-sex marriage cases from five other states, allowing gay marriage in Utah, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Texas' gay marriage ban will remain in effect for now. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declined today to permit immediate same-sex marriages in Texas. 

In February, Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Texas’ same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal treatment under the law, but placed a hold that prevented same-sex couples from immediately getting married. Today, Judge Garcia declined a request to lift that stay on marriages, citing an impending appeal in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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2015 Legislature
5:18 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Public Can Comment on Whether Texas Should Merge Its Health Agencies Into One

On Dec. 10, 2014, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission voted unanimously to approve a merger of the state's five health agencies into one.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is recommending that all Texas health agencies be consolidated into one “mega-agency," but the move would need approval from Texas lawmakers next legislative session.

Back in 2003, Texas lawmakers passed a measure that reduced the number of health and human services agencies from 12 to five. Now, the Sunset Advisory Commission has approved merging those five agencies into one.

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Texas
10:08 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Petition Seeks to Get Posthumous Degree for Texas Man Cleared by DNA

An online petition has more than 12,000 signatures in support of asking Texas Tech University to grant a posthumous degree to Timothy Cole.
thepetitionsite.com

Timothy Cole was the first person to receive a Texas posthumous pardon for a crime he didn’t commit. That happened in 2010. Now, a Texas resident wants Texas Tech University to grant Cole an honorary degree.

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Texas Standard
3:13 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Interview: Steve Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson on the Internet's Wild 'Innovators'

Patrice Gilbert

Tech maestro Elon Musk worries too much.

That seems to be Walter Isaacson’s conclusion – at least when it comes to artificial intelligence.

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Texas
8:21 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Gov.-Elect Abbott Lays Out His Priorities for His Term in Office

Attorney General Greg Abbott, seated next to his wife, Cecilia Abbott, lists his priorities for his term in office as future governor of Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott says his staff is ready to get to work when the 2015 legislative session begins in January. At a press conference on Monday, he laid out his priorities.

Education started off the list. Abbott says he wants more pre-kindergarten classes and improved reading and math skills by the time students reach the third grade. He says he also wants to elevate the quality of Texas universities.

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Texas
4:42 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Texas Prisons Make Family Visits Easier

Credit Sean Hobson via Texas Tribune

Hoping to weave stronger social safety nets for inmates after they are released, the Texas prison system is making it easier for family members to visit loved ones behind bars.  

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Texas Standard
12:45 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Setting A New Standard, Texas Style

In the 21st century, as Texas goes, so goes the rest of the nation?

Many think so – and not just Texans. As a Time magazine cover story proclaimed, "it's not an accident that three of the five fastest growing cities are in Texas. It's more like destiny."

Perfect timing, it would seem, for public radio's first daily news program from Texas, for Texas and beyond: Texas Standard.

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