Texas

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

Archeological records revealed the existence of a strong tradition of pottery-making by Caddo women dating back to about 800 in the Common Era. For hundreds of years, Caddo women made pottery for daily use, as well as for decorative uses and cultural rites and rituals. The extraordinary skill and creativity of Caddo potters is confirmed by the tens of thousands of pottery fragments or near-complete ceramics found at Caddo archeological sites.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question, submitted by Charles Douglas III:

What is a typical ratio between the number of bills proposed versus the number of bills voted on during a legislative session?

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of a story that originally ran in January 2013.

The Texas Legislature is just now getting into full swing. We're more than two months into the session, but you might notice that things have been relatively quiet so far when it comes to actual law-making.

And while it might seem like a slow start to the every-other-year meeting, actually, it’s all part of the plan.

In musical terms, each session has its own rhythm and tempo.


The SpaceX complex at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Bill VanderMolen/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a space shuttle filled with tourists? While that idea sounds like science fiction, the reality of sending tourists to space is right around the corner – at least if you believe Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. He recently announced that Blue Origin, his private space company, could begin flying private citizens to the edge of the atmosphere by next year.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate tentatively approved legislation Monday that would revamp the state’s voter identification rules, a response to court rulings that the current law discriminates against minority voters.

Following more than an hour of debate, the chamber voted 21-10 to move the bill to a final vote, likely later this week. 

A middle school hallway
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

It’s standardized testing season for Texas public school students. For some school districts, test time means missing documents, computer glitches and shoddy technical support.

 

U.S. F-15E fighter planes
Stuart Rankin/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you Google "Syria and civilian casualties," you’ll find numbers that vary widely depending on who is reporting the information and why. Russia has long been blamed for a lack of discretion in choosing targets for its airstrikes, leading to massive numbers of civilian deaths. But with President Donald Trump giving field commanders more latitude to fight ISIS, claims of civilian casualties caused by American-led forces have increased significantly.

 Talented musician, writer, and activist Maud Cuney-Hare rose to prominence in the Northeast, but she never gave up her Texas heritage.

Born in Galveston in 1874, she was the daughter of Adelina and Norris Wright Cuney, one of the state’s most influential African-American politicians and civil rights leaders of the post-Civil War era. She grew up in an upper-class home filled with music and literature, and after graduating from high school studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

When white students tried to have her barred from living on campus, she stood her ground and won the right to remain in her dormitory. She cultivated relationships with prominent black leaders, including W.E.B. DuBois, to whom she was briefly engaged and with whom she remained close both personally and professionally throughout her life. 

 

 Allie Victoria Tennant was one of the most accomplished sculptors in Texas during a career that spanned more than five decades. Tennant became a prominent artist in the Regionalist style during the 1930s, joining a circle of artists who chose Texas themes as their subject matter. Many of her sculptures are now displayed in the Dallas Museum of Art. Her best-known public work is the monumental Tejas Warrior, which still stands at the Hall of State at Fair Park.

 In 1923, Mary Couts Burnett gave more than $3 million to Texas Christian University, one of the largest gifts to a Texas institution.  A native of Weatherford, Burnett married wealthy cattleman and oil baron Burk Burnett about 1892. After the death of their only child in 1917, Mary Burnett feared that her husband was trying to kill her. In response, he had her declared insane and confined to a private house in her hometown.  

KUTX Austin

From Texas Standard:

Ten years ago, Joe Lewis – a 20-something from the Austin suburbs –  first tried to storm the stage. By day, he was delivering fish for a local seafood restaurant; by night, he was putting his unique spin on the blues that Austin was best known for. With a sound that evokes Stax and Muscle Shoals more than the cosmic cowboys, Lewis stands out in Austin.

 

bigbirdz/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A new survey reports that 15 percent of undergraduate women at the University of Texas at Austin say they’ve been raped. The survey, conducted by the university’s School of Social Work’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, is the most comprehensive of its kind ever done. The survey polled 28,000 students during the 2015 academic year.

When she was 23, Sophie Alice Callahan wrote the first novel by an American Indian woman, titled Wynema, A Child of the Forest. The book tells the story of a Creek girl and her teacher, an Anglo woman from the South. Callahan used the cross-cultural friendship between the two women to educate Anglo readers about the rights of Native Americans and of women. The book highlights the women’s opinions about the suffrage movement and the painful realities of U.S. Indian policies, like the effects of the Dawes Act and the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

It’s no surprise that the Texas population continue to grow. The state’s major cities are all getting bigger, but it’s the areas surrounding the urban core – the suburbs – where growth rates are highest.

John Morgan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Reform of the Texas foster care system has been an elusive goal for state lawmakers. A federal judge ruled the system unconstitutional and "broken" two years ago. One proposal that has received support in the current legislative session would have the state contract with religious organizations and other non-profits to provide care for foster children. But the idea has received pushback from some of the religious groups themselves.

 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Legislature’s two houses have about nine weeks to approve a balanced two-year budget. But disagreement over accounting “gimmickry” is dividing lawmakers in the House and Senate. The Senate finance committee approved a $107 billion budget, but House Speaker Joe Straus says that the senators relied on questionable accounting practices to avoid tapping into the state’s rainy day fund, a savings account funded mainly by oil and gas tax revenue.

Consuelo González Amezcua (called Chelo), a poet and artist, gained acclaim for the "filigree art" drawings she did in Texas, which drew inspiration from pre-Columbian, Mexican American and Egyptian history. Her unique drawing technique reflected the elaborate metal work found in Mexican jewelry.

 

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A House vote on the American Health Care Act – the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare – is slated for Thursday. But some conservatives are wary – they worry the bill will leave too many people uninsured. Others say it doesn't go far enough in repealing the original law.

 

Terry Canales/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

What's in a name? It turns out that question has relevance long after Shakespeare's time. In fact, it's at the center of a bill before the Texas Legislature this session.

 

  In 1942, six months after the U.S. entry into World War II, the Army Air Force, facing a shortage of male combat pilots, turned to pioneering pilot Jacqueline Cochran to launch a flight-training program for women. Of the 25,000 women who applied, 1,830 were accepted, and 1,074 completed the training to become Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs.

 

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