Texas

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

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From Texas StandardIn 2012, the mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro, won a spot at the Democratic National Convention. He gave a keynote address that would propel him into the national spotlight – in a similar way that Sen. Barack Obama's speech had some eight years before. Castro's rising profile was reaffirmed when President Obama tapped him to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014.

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardOfficials say about 10,000 Texans paid up to $50 million in debts they didn’t owe.

The Federal Trade Commission says one Kansas man, Joel Tucker, got his hands on some very valuable data like social security numbers and banking information. But FTC attorney Michael Tankersley says they don’t know how Tucker allegedly got this info. Tucker himself has not commented on the charges.

Screenshot U.S. Senate

From Texas StandardTexan Rex Tillerson, former Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO, sat in a grueling and contentious senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled Tillerson on foreign policy to help determine whether or not he’s suitable to take up the mantle of secretary of state under President-elect Donald Trump.

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From Texas StandardThe 85th Texas legislative session started up Tuesday, and lobbyists pushing all types of agendas are flocking to the Capitol. Among them is Charles Vallhonrat, head of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Vallhonrat is hoping to sell lawmakers on the need to update rules on beer marketing to better compete with big-name brands like Bud Light and Miller Brewing Co.

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From Texas Standard:

After Donald Trump is sworn in as president, the center of his operation is expected to move from Trump Tower in Manhattan to the White House. But not all of Trump’s team will be making the transition.

@whitehouse/Instagram

From Texas Standard:

As President Barack Obama leaves office, one of the legacies he’ll leave behind is his social media presence. He was one of the first presidents to use social media in such an extensive way, across multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today marks the start of the 85th Texas legislative session. Lawmakers will have 140 days to pass bills and set the budget for the next two years. But the projected amount they’ll have to work with is 2.7 percent less than what they've been expecting.

The Wall: A Special Report from Texas Standard

Jan 9, 2017
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Click here to experience "The Wall: A Special Report from Texas Standard"

 The Texas Standard gets a lot of emails: story ideas, feedback - sometimes good, sometimes different. On occasion, we get a call to action.

Photo from Lydia Ann Channel Moorings via an open records request submitted to the Texas General Land Office.

From Texas Standard:

In 2014, a man calling himself Mike Edwards proposed a project to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office. He wanted to build a barge mooring facility in an ecologically sensitive part of the Texas coast near Port Aransas. The Army Corps gave it a quick green light.

Cooper Neill for The Texas Tribune

ARLINGTON — North Texas was freezing during a three-day stretch last month, but Mary Garcia refused to turn on the heat in her cramped apartment. She feared that doing so would too quickly drain her pay-as-you-go account with Penstar Power, a Dallas-based electricity provider.

 

On Dec. 19, with just $15.31 in her account and the outside thermometer showing 27 degrees, Garcia composed a plea to Lite-Up Texas, a state program that had long helped low-income folks pay their electricity bills.

Javier Palomarez/Twitter

From Texas Standard:

Over the course of the 2016 campaign, Javier Palomarez, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO repeatedly criticized Donald Trump, calling him a "buffoon," and calling his mass deportation plan "the argument of a child and fear mongering at its worst."

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From Texas Standard:

Citizens and journalists requesting Texas public records won’t have a lot of luck getting government contract information right now. Requests for information on nonprofits getting state funding also will come up short.

David Brown/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A handful of musical instruments are so closely associated with certain artists that the instruments themselves are known by their first names.

Maybe you've heard of Lucille, B.B. King’s favorite guitar, or Eric Clapton's Blackie, the famous Stratocaster you see photos from the 1970s.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Statistics of officer-involved shootings are scarce in Texas. But the investigations team at the Houston Chronicle has been examining the city's police force to get a handle on the numbers.

Campaign website

From The Texas Tribune: After being hit in the head with a bullet shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, state Rep. Armando Martinez plans to file legislation aimed at reducing or preventing celebratory gun firings.

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From Texas Standard

Over the last few months, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has tanked, with reports saying the fund turned into a catastrophe after a string of bad real estate investments. To make matters worse, participants attempted to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to take legal action to stop the bleed off. Now Rawlings is asking for  a full-blown criminal investigation led by the Texas Rangers.

Courtesy UNC Press

From Texas Standard:

Much has been made over the past few years about the potential shifting of political tides in Texas – from the "sleeping giant" of the Latino vote to Donald Trump's slimmer-than-usual margin of victory in the presidential race.

Texas remains largely Red, and at times it feels like it's always been that way. But progressive undercurrents in a state known for "cowboy conservatism" are not a new phenomenon.

Phil Gingrey/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on security along Texas' border with Mexico. Along that line, one of President-elect Donald Trump's signature campaign promises is a wall that stretches the entire length of the border.

But those efforts are undermined by breaches that are invisible to most people: bribes.

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