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

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From Texas Standard:

If President Donald Trump has his way, the U.S. air traffic control system will be privatized. The idea is the first bullet point in the transportation section of the White House budget blueprint. Some major airlines including Texas-based American and Southwest support privatization of air traffic control.


Best known for her landmark bill that guarantees college admission to Texas high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduation classes, Irma Rangel was the first Tejana elected to the Texas House of Representatives.


Rangel began her career participating in workers’ marches in the 1960s and working as a teacher and a principal. After becoming a lawyer, she was assistant district attorney in Corpus Christi, insisting on equal pay before she took the job. She opened her own law practice and got involved in local politics.


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From Texas Standard:

A glitch that causes the Dallas 911 system to receive “ghost calls” from T-Mobile cell phone numbers is preventing callers with real emergencies from getting through. So far, two people have died because they weren't able to make contact with 911 using their T-Mobile phones.


In 1976, a former social studies teacher named Ann Richards took her family to the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio to instill a love for Texas in her children. After watching a slide and film show designed to illustrate the universal character of Texas people, Richards’ daughter asked, “Where are all the women?” Richards realized they were missing from the show and decided to do something about it.


From Texas Standard:

With flights to Washington D.C. canceled because of a blizzard, Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd – both members of Congress from Texas – needed a way to get back to the nation’s capital. So they rented a car and set out, taking Facebook viewers along for the ride.

Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would require transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex they were assigned at birth. Known as the "bathroom bill," Senate Bill 6 passed on a 21-10 vote along party lines. 

The Texas House on Wednesday passed a statewide ban on texting while driving.

Members voted 113-32 to tentatively approve the legislation, which will get a final vote in the House before it can proceed to the Senate. A Senate committee has passed a similar measure.

For years, the bill's author, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, has pushed legislation that would penalize drivers who use their phones on the road.

Tenacious labor leader and educator Emma Tenayuca was born in San Antonio in 1916. With her family and neighbors strongly affected by the privations of the Great Depression, she joined labor protests on behalf of the working poor. She was arrested for the first time at the age of 16 after joining a picket line of workers striking against the Finck Cigar Co.


Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Tuesday tentatively signed off on the “bathroom bill” on a 21-10 vote with one Democrat — state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville  — voting in favor of the bill.

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From Texas Standard:

For victims of sexual assault, collecting and testing a rape kit can mean the difference between solving a crime and allowing a perpetrator go free. In Texas, as in other states, rape kits are often collected but never tested because funds are not available. One lawmaker wants to give citizens the opportunity to contribute to a solution.

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From Texas Standard:

Remember the Takata airbag scandal? The company’s actions – though they took lives – were not criminal; Takata’s offenses were civil. Nobody went to jail. But the company was fined $1 billion.


Jovita Idar grew up in Laredo, one of eight children of parents who published La Crónica, a Spanish-language newspaper that exposed segregation, lynching and other injustices endured by Mexican Texans in the early 20th century.


From Texas Standard:

When the Texas Legislature passed the Woman’s Right to Know Act, abortion rights advocates decried what they saw as a paternalistic attitude on the part of majority-male sponsors of the law. The law requires patients seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before the procedure and to be informed of potential medical risks. It also tightly regulates where abortions can be performed. 

This session, at least one legislator has decided to fight fire with ... irony?

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From Texas Standard:

You may remember hearing about Crystal City, Texas, about this time a year ago. The story made national headlines and brought a lot of unwanted attention to the small city southwest of San Antonio.


A statewide ban on texting while driving was unanimously approved Monday by the Senate Committee on State Affairs and is now headed to the full Texas Senate.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

A Texas Senate panel cleared legislation Monday that would overhaul the state's voter identification rules, an effort to comply with court rulings that the current law discriminates against black and Latino voters.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-0 to send the legislation to the full chamber.

Hattie Mae White holds the distinction of being the first African-American elected to significant public office in Texas since the Reconstruction. A former school teacher, she won a place on the Houston school board in 1958, a time when the city’s schools remained segregated despite the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education.


One of the most famous rock 'n' rollers to come out of Texas, Janis Joplin grew up unpopular and an outcast during high school in Port Arthur. She often sneaked across the Sabine River with friends to drink and listen to zydeco, blues and jazz in the many bars that lined the Louisiana border.


The grandchild of slaves, Annie Mae Hunt was born in 1909 near Brenham. She picked cotton near Navasota for 50 cents a day in conditions she compared to slavery times. She received a fifth grade education and married at age 15. But she later left her husband and moved to Dallas with her three children, where she met and married Marvin Hunt. Without access to birth control, Hunt had 20 children. She lost seven of them.

Illustration by Anneke Paterson / Todd Wiseman

Some of Texas’ 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of federal judges ruled Friday.