Texas

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

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

By now, most Texans are familiar with Sid Miller. Famous for his ever-present cowboy hat, the state agriculture commissioner – who's also a rancher and a Republican – has generated his share of controversy in recent months. But this week he's making news on his own terms with a commentary written for TribTalk, the editorial wing of the Texas Tribune.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

After months of back and forth over how to fix what ails funding for Texas schools, lawmakers argued late into the night, Wednesday over a bill that would pump more state money into school budgets statewide. In the end, members of the House and Senate couldn't see eye to eye on what to leave in the bill to make school financing more equitable statewide.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton, which preemptively seeks to have the state's new "sanctuary cities" law deemed constitutional.

The motion, filed Wednesday, argues the state cannot sue because Senate Bill 4 is not in effect yet, so Texas has not been harmed. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The U.S. Census is out with new numbers on which cities grew the most and which cities grew the fastest last year. Texas leads the pack in both categories.

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From Texas Standard:

IBM is calling its employees into the office. After decades of allowing a large part of its workforce to telecommute, Big Blue is requiring many of those remote workers to start showing up to a physical office building, like the company's location in north Austin.

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From Texas Standard:

"Dead on arrival" is how Texas senior senator, Republican John Cornyn, characterized the formal budget plan unveiled by President Trump. It puts 66 programs on the chopping block, and includes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, a 30 percent cut for the State Department and 20 percent from the Department of Agriculture.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

A bill aimed at ending the practice of “lunch-shaming” in Texas public schools died at the hands of Freedom Caucus members earlier this month. But state Rep. Helen Giddings, who filed the bill, isn’t giving up on the issue. 

Giddings, D-DeSoto, filed House Bill 2159 in February after learning that some public schools in Texas won’t feed schoolchildren whose parents cannot or have not paid for their lunches. In some of these schools, hot meals are thrown away in front of students.

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From Texas Standard:

Around the world, people are sharing expressions of outrage, concern and solidarity with the people of Manchester, England.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News.

From Texas Standard:

in 46 states, texting while driving is illegal. But not in Texas. It appears that could change on Tuesday. Though many cities in Texas ban using smartphones while driving, a bill is en route to the governor's desk that specifically outlaws texting while driving. But your apps and GPS might still be within legal reach.

KUT News.

From Texas Standard:

The 2011 Texas voter ID law was one of the strictest such laws in the nation. It required Texans to show one of seven approved forms of photo identification to vote.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate Sunday night approved a bill that would both simplify the formulas for funding public schools and allow parents of kids with disabilities to take state money to leave the public system for private schools or homeschooling.

Senators voted 21-10 to approve House Bill 21, which the House originally intended to reform a complicated system for allocating money to public schools and to provide a funding boost for most public schools.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The end may be near for straight-ticket voting in Texas. House Bill 25, which would ban the practice, passed out of the Senate on Thursday. It's got one more stop in the lower chamber before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. Prominent Democrats are decrying the bill – saying it would dilute Democratic votes.

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From Texas Standard:

On its current path, the Dallas police and fire pension fund would run out of money in 10 years, leaving thousands of public safety pensioners in the lurch.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This may be the most anxious time of year for affordable-housing developers in Texas. In a few weeks, they'll find out whether their applications for low-income housing tax credits have been approved, and the decision could spell life or death for their proposed projects.

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The Texas House on Thursday passed a package of sweeping measures aimed at addressing a crisis in the state's child welfare system.

After a lengthy debate, the House passed Senate Bill 11, a measure that would have Texas shift to a "community-based care" model for handling some endangered children and allowing contracted organizations — not just the resources-strapped state — to monitor children in foster care and adoptive homes.

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From Texas Standard:

Each legislative session, there are bills that grab the spotlight and then those that move through far more quietly, but still have the potential to affect a lot of lives. That may be the case this session for Senate Bill 715.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas Senators have approved a bill that creates statewide regulations for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. House Bill 100 would preempt regulations on the so-called transportation network companies in cities like Austin. The Senate passed the bill on a 21-9 vote.

Pat Jones Photography/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

It was May 17, 2015, shortly after noon in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Little is known about what started it. Some say it was a fight over a parking space that led to a patron’s foot being run over. And suddenly in the mix – a flurry of gunfire.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Some Texas Democrats in Washington are suggesting a Trump impeachment. U.S. Rep. Al Green of Houston was the first to call for the president's impeachment on Monday. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, also of Houston, and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville have said it is a possibility.

Texas Republicans, meanwhile, are either waiting to weigh in or are silent.

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

State Sen. Carlos Uresti, accused of misleading a former client who invested in a company in which Uresti has a financial stake, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 charges over his involvement in the alleged investment Ponzi scheme, one of two separate indictments issued Tuesday. 

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