Texas

Texas National Guard
4:41 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Pentagon Pushes States On Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

The Pentagon extended military benefits to same-sex spouses this summer, but some states have been resisting. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called that resistance "wrong" on Thursday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:49 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the National Guard Bureau to resolve a dispute that is making it difficult for same-sex couples to receive military benefits.

The Pentagon started to recognize same-sex marriages soon after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this summer. But some states are resisting.

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Texas
7:42 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

5th Circuit Reverses Ruling on TX Abortion Regulations

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23122254@N07/7305861684/

Texas abortion providers’ Monday victory was short-lived. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a federal district court ruling that found part of the state's new abortion regulations unconstitutional, meaning the provisions of House Bill 2 could take effect immediately if state officials choose to enforce them.

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Texas
7:28 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

A UN Takeover of the Alamo? 'Horse Hockey' Says Texas Land Commissoner

http://www.flickr.com/photos/imcom/7186596299/

The Texas Land Commissioner is responding to Internet rumors that the Alamo could be handed over to the United Nations if the San Antonio mission is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In a statement issued today, Commissioner Jerry Patterson said reports that a UN flag would fly over the Alamo are "horse hockey," by which he means nonsense. 

The rumor gained steam when it was posted this week to InfoWars, the website owned by nationally syndicated radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. It was picked up by other sites including Liberty News and Universal Free Press. And it appeared on forums like SurvivalistBoards and the Fal Files. But other bloggers were expressing concern about the UN designation at least since September.  

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Texas
3:09 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Extroverts, Come to Texas! New Study Maps Moods, State by State

Feeling moody lately? Depressed even?

Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s the weather. Or maybe it’s the state you live in.

Acting on over a decade’s worth of surveys, a team of researchers have charted relative moodiness state by state across America.

The study measured personality traits, including the so-called big five personality traits test: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, or OCEAN. So how does Texas measure?

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Affordable Care Act
9:38 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Rural Texas Has Fewer Obamacare Choices - And Less Expensive Plans

Though people in urban Texas who buy health insurance on the federally-run marketplace have dozens of plans to choose from, they're not cheaper than in rural Texas.
healthcare.gov

One of the big promises of the Affordable Care Act was that encouraging insurance companies to compete to sell their health plans would drive down prices.

Here in Austin, people who choose to buy health insurance on the federally-run health insurance marketplace have dozens of plans to choose from. Texans in many rural parts of the state will find far fewer. But they're not necessarily more expensive than in urban parts.

Take Loving County. It's pretty rural. According to the Census Bureau, just 71 people were living in this West Texas county in 2012, down from 82 in 2010.

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Football
1:34 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Did Bullying Claim After 91-0 Game Do More Harm Than Good?

A.J. Rich iStock

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:15 am

Sports talk shows and news outlets have been all over the story of a Texas parent who filed a complaint about bullying after his son's high school football team lost a game last week by the score of 91-0.

If you haven't heard about what happened during that game, here's how Fort Worth's Star-Telegram sums up the story:

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Abortion Law Lawsuit
3:40 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

It's a Wrap: Lawyers Finish Arguments For, Against New Texas Abortion Law Provisions

Plaintiffs, their attorneys and assistants exit the federal courthouse in Austin on Oct. 23, 2013, after the HB 2 injunction hearing ended.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

A federal judge in Austin now has the task of deciding the constitutionality of certain provisions in the state’s new laws on abortion.

The state argued that the plaintiffs don’t have proof to support the claim that one-third of abortion clinics in Texas will close on Oct. 29. That’s when the provision requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals goes into effect.

Andy Oldham argued on behalf of the state. He said no one can predict the future and said plaintiffs’ claims fall “like a house of cards."

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StateImpact Texas
11:00 am
Wed October 23, 2013

More than Prayer: How Prop 6 Aims to Improve Water Supplies in Texas

Water sources like Lake Travis have seen record lows since the drought in 2011, Proposition 6 hopes to develop techniques to preserve existing, and develop new, water supplies.
Lower Colorado River Authority

2011 was the driest year in Texas’ recorded history — crops failed, herds were sold off and lakes and reservoirs literally went dry. And in the middle of this catastrophic drought, the state of Texas had one vocal strategy: Pray for rain. Texas Governor Rick Perry issued a proclamation that year asking Texans to pray for rain for three days.

Now, a few dry years and billions of dollars in drought losses later, the state government has decided that prayer alone isn’t enough for a thirsty state. And, while Perry admits we can't make it rain,  Proposition 6, a state constitutional amendment on the ballot this year, will extend the existing water supply and develop new supplies.

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Hunting Season
8:36 am
Thu October 17, 2013

More Texas Latinos Are Seeking Hunter Education - In Spanish

A student points a pellet gun at a paper target, required as part of the curriculum taught in the Spanish-language Hunter Education course of Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is handling an increased demand for hunter education from Latinos.

In recent years, the department has begun offering the course in Spanish. The move not only reflects the changing demographics of the state, but could also help Texas combat one of its most unwelcome pests. 

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StateImpact Texas
3:35 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Want to Learn About a Nearby Dam? In Texas, Some Questions Are Off Limits

Texas has more dams than any other state in the country. This is a map of Texas dams from the USACE. Texas has more dams than any other state in the country. This is a map of Texas dams from the USACE.
USACE

This is part three of a series looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it. You can find part one here, and part two here.

In 1978 a massive storm hit the West Texas town of Albany. It dumped 23 inches of rain in just eight hours. Waters caused 9 deaths, flooded hundreds of homes, and broke through a local dam. Troy Henderson, who now works on the Brownwood Texas Lake Patrol, says since then he’s followed a simple rule.

“If I were to build a home somewhere, I’d make sure that if it was downstream from a lake that their dam is property maintained,” he told StateImpact Texas, “and the reason I say that is, I lived in Albany in 1978.”

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Economy
3:16 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

How a Mexican Boom Could Be the Next Big Thing for Texas

This year, Mexico's economy is predicted to grow at a rate of 1.7 percent. Joseph Parilla of the Brookings Institution says that's not the whole story.
flickr.com/jstephenconn

This year, economists in Mexico are predicting an anemic growth rate for the country of 1.7 percent. Some say the number could be closer to 1.4 percent. However, longtime Mexico watchers, including Brookings analyst Joseph Parilla, say that’s not the big story.  

“In the Mexican case, they had robust growth last year and if you look past 2013, projections are still relatively good,” Parilla says. “Growth rates are between 3.5 and 4 percent over the next five years. I think the general consensus is while 2013 will prove a difficult year for the Mexican economy, there should be a pretty quick rebound after."

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Immigration
11:39 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Another Casualty of Government Shutdown: Texas-Bound Refugees

The Goddess of Liberty atop the Texas State Capitol. The government shutdown has slowed the journey of Texas-bound refugees.
Lizzie Chen for KUT News

A way station for immigrants the world over, New York’s Ellis Island is arguably the truest symbol of American identity. But the island is closed today – along with the Statue of Liberty and all other national monuments, memorials, libraries and parks – all as a result of the ongoing government shutdown

Here in Texas, the shutdown’s made an immediate impact on incoming immigrants: it has forced the State Department and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to delay the arrival of refugees from Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  And approximately 10 percent of these immigrants come to Texas. 

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Women's Health
3:04 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Interview: College-Age Women Hardest Hit by Texas Health Cuts

Abortion rights supporters, gathered on the first day of the second special session at the 2013 Texas Legislature.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

After sparking raucous protests and a famous filibuster, new restrictions on abortion in Texas captured the nation’s attention this summer. But the fight over abortion and women’s health is not new in Texas.

In a new piece for The Austin Chronicle, investigative reporter Jordan Smith examines how the fallout from the abortion fight impacts care options for college-aged women. Her article, “From ‘Abstinence-Only’ to Plan Z” is part of a nationwide day of reporting on women’s health and reproductive issues.  

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Texas Abortion Law
10:41 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Advocates File Lawsuit to Block Abortion Restrictions

A protest inside the Texas Capitol on June 12, 2013, as the legislature approved new restrictions on abortion. Advocates have filed a lawsuit to block the restrictions from taking effect.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

The next stage in abortion rights advocates’ efforts to block implementation of strict new regulations on the procedure in Texas began on Friday, as the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and a group of abortion providers across the state filed a lawsuit in federal court.

“Today's lawsuit is a united strike back against the hostile politicians who have made clear their willingness to sacrifice the constitutional rights, health and even lives of Texas women in support of their extremist ideological agenda,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. 

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Williamson County
4:33 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Judge Ken Anderson Resigns Amid Ethics Lawsuit

Former judge and prosecutor Ken Anderson, speaking about the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.
Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

Williamson County state district Judge Ken Anderson, who oversaw the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton in 1987, submitted a letter to Gov. Rick Perry on Monday resigning his position effective immediately.

Anderson is facing both civil and criminal court proceedings for his role in prosecuting Morton for the 1986 murder of his wife, Christine Morton. Attorneys for Morton allege that Anderson withheld critical evidence that pointed to Morton's innocence and that he lied to the judge about the existence of that evidence. Morton was sentenced to life in prison and spent nearly 25 years behind bars before DNA testing revealed that he was innocent and connected another man to his wife's killing. He was released from prison in 2011.

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BIG TEX
3:35 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Big Tex 101: Check Out The Cowboy's Duds Through The Years

Shutterstock

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 8:21 am

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re offering a daily online look at All Things Big Tex until Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we take a look at Big Tex, the fashion icon.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument
11:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

South Vietnamese Figure Removed from Texas' Vietnam War Memorial

Members of the Vietnamese community outside the Texas State Preservation Board hearing inside the Texas Capitol.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

The Texas State Preservation Board voted Friday to move forward with a proposed Vietnam War veterans' monument at the Texas Capitol. The final design features American combat troops – and not a South Vietnamese solider as initially proposed.

In 2005, the Texas Legislature authorized a Vietnam War memorial for the Texas Capitol grounds. The proposed design featured several combat-weary soldiers – one of them a South Vietnamese solider. But the backers of the memorial, the Texas Capitol Vietnam Monument Committee, chose to remove that figure. The preservation board approved the final design Friday. 

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Photojournalism
10:07 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Donna DeCesare's Unsettling Portraits of Children of War

Photo taken from the book "Unsettled."
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Donna DeCesare is one of four gold medal winners of the 2013 Maria Moors Cabot prize, awarded by the Columbia Journalism School for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. “The Cabot Prize honors journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have furthered inter-American understanding,” reads a statement on the journalism school’s website.

You can see more of DeCesare’s work on her website.

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Tom Delay
10:26 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Appeals Court Overturns Tom Delay's Money Laundering Conviction

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (left) and his defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on November 1, 2010.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

A state appeals court in Austin has overturned the money laundering conviction of former Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader Tom Delay. 

Three years ago, DeLay was convicted for conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

Delay has been free since his conviction while the case was appealed.

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Politics
8:45 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Interview: The Calculus of a Wendy Davis Run for Governor

Wendy Davis during her filibuster of abortion-restricting Senate Bill 5. "She is now an official, certified celebrity who has some life and legs beyond this election cycle," Evan Smith says.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Not since Ann Richards has the star of a Texas Democrat risen as fast or conspicuously as that of Wendy Davis.

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