Texas

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

Image via Texas Department of Public Safety 2014 Report

From Texas Standard:

This story involves sensitive material that may upset some readers.

On Thursday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will publicly announce the state's new human trafficking unit, with Kirsta Melton at the helm. Melton has been working on human trafficking cases since 2009.

She says she’ll never forget her first case, which involved a 13-year-old girl.

 


Why Are There So Few Basements in Texas?

Jan 12, 2016
Christopher Connelly/KERA

Growing up in Indiana, Phil Crone loved having a bedroom in the basement.

“It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t know the difference noon and 6 a.m.,” he says. “It was wonderful.”

So when Crone, who now heads the Dallas Builders Association, moved down to Texas, he started asking why there are so few basements. After all, meteorologists say basements are one of the best places to take shelter during a tornado. 

Photo via Flickr/thepaco (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The race to keep horse racing alive in Texas is on its last leg. The latest battle in the war between the legislature and the industry involves an accusation that Texas is using an unconstitutional maneuver to threaten the viability of racing.

Photo via Flickr/fattytuna (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The last time a Walmart opened in Austin was six years ago. It opened, but not without a massive fight that lasted years.

Hope Morrison was one of hundreds who testified against Walmart and Lincoln properties – the developer in the deal. She spoke before the Austin City Council in 2006.

 


Image via Flickr/Phil Darnell (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

We’ve got some great news for you shellfish lovers out there – mudbug season has begun! Not quite yet, but thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures, delicious crawfish have made their way into restaurants and markets across Southeast Texas.

Image via txs.uscourts.gov (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard: 

Update (11 a.m. CT):  After a 40-minute hearing, Al Hardan has been ordered to be held without bond until his detention hearing on Wednesday.

Original story: Thursday, two Iraqi-born refugees were arrested on terror-related charges – one right here in Texas, the other in California.

via Flickr/jdg32373

Blue Bell officials say they are still finding Listeria bacteria in their facilities, but that their enhanced cleaning procedures are working. 

"Because Listeria is commonly found in the natural environment, no manufacturer can ever assume it can be entirely eradicated," the company says in a written statement on their website. Blue Bell says none of its products shipped since their August relaunch have contained the food-borne bacteria, but adds that "no manufacturer can ever assume [Listeria] can be eradicated."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Federal agents have arrested a 24-year-old Iraqi man who immigrated to Houston four years ago and charged him as a terror suspect allegedly aligned with the Islamic State, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston.

In a three-count indictment, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a Palestinian born in Iraq, was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Image via Flickr/Paul Weaver (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Tonight, President Barack Obama will speak and take questions at a televised town hall hosted by CNN.

The topic? Guns – specifically, the administration's new executive orders on gun control.

 


Texas Department of Public Safety

Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed.

The charge against the lawman stems from the trooper's statement at the time of her arrest on July 10 about why he felt he needed to pull her out of her own vehicle, Jordan told The Texas Tribune. 

The Story of the Alamo's Second Siege

Jan 6, 2016
Ernst Wilhelm Raba, San Antonio Conservation Society via Portal to Texas History 2010-0053BR

A militant group is now in day five of its occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. And, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Texas historically has seen its own share of standoffs involving armed militias.

It’s safe to say that every single one of the six flags that have flown over Texas have experienced armed resistance in one way or another over the years. But the state’s most famous siege, the Alamo, spawned yet another siege of its own 70 years later, when a beleaguered Daughter of the Texas Republic barricaded herself in a decrepit, rat-infested building that was once the mission's convent.

Image via imwithlizzie.com

From Texas Standard:

As the new year gets off to a start, many folks are looking for that "new year new you" combination of resolutions.

Why Texas is a Hotbed for Tropical Diseases

Jan 6, 2016
Image via Flickr/US Department of Agriculture (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Heavy rains capped by periods of hot muggy weather, spare tires holding standing water, mosquitoes and fleas carrying dangerous strains of diseases that threaten the local populace. You’re probably picturing the Philippines or maybe Haiti, but what if I told you this scene is right here in Texas?

Federal immigration agents have initiated a controversial roundup of Central American families who were part of the border surge that began in 2014.

They are mainly young mothers with children whose asylum claims have been rejected. The Homeland Security Department says 121 have been picked up out of more than 100,000 immigrants who crossed the border illegally.

At a shelter home in East Austin, the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, have terrified immigrants here who lost their cases and await deportation.

Image via Flickr/Emil Pakarklis (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

At any given time of the year, there are anywhere between 115,000 and 135,000 active military men and women serving the armed forces from the state of Texas. These men and women are stationed across the globe.

Image via Stella M. Chávez/KERA News

From Texas Standard:

Emotions can run high after a natural disaster. After the Christmas weekend twisters in North Texas, many have been asking what could have been done to better prepare for such an event.

The answer may be much more than previously thought.

 


Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

From the Texas Tribune: Intervening in what could be a landmark decision, the Obama Administration, state and federal lawmakers and medical experts asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to overturn Texas’ 2013 abortion law, which could shut down about half of the state’s 19 remaining abortion clinics.

In 45 amicus briefs filed to the Supreme Court, opponents of the Texas abortion law known as House Bill 2 argued that restrictions under the law are unconstitutional because they impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions and would do little to improve women’s health.


Image via Flickr/Joe Gratz (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

We often hear about achievement gaps and income gaps, but a new commission in Texas is tasked to address a “justice gap.” They warn that a growing number of people make too much money to qualify for legal aid but aren’t wealthy enough to afford legal services on their own.


Image via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

What do three Atlanta-based rappers, a professor from the University of Richmond and a 50-year-old lawyer in Dallas have in common?

No, this isn't the beginning of a bad joke – these men have all stepped up to protect the speech rights of Taylor Bell, a young man that was suspended from his high school for recording a song that alleged sexual misconduct toward female students by two of the school's coaches.

 


The celebrations for the new year also marked a new open-carry gun law taking effect in Texas. Handgun license holders in Texas will now be allowed to carry their guns in visible holsters on their hip or shoulder.

Previously, Texans wanting to carry a handgun had to obtain a concealed handgun license and conceal their weapon. With the new law, the more than 826,000 state license holders will be allowed to openly display their handguns in most public places.

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