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

From Texas Standard:

Autonomous cars are coming. Not everyone is ready to hand over driving duties to a computer, but some Texans have had the chance to experience a driverless vehicle in relatively safe confines. If you’re going to South by Southwest in Austin next week, you may get your chance to see the driverless shuttle bus.

Jennifer Martin/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

Enforcing laws that make possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal offense are costing taxpayers a lot of money, with little benefit in return. That’s the argument made by State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs). The bill he co-sponsored with Democrat Joe Moody of El Paso would reduce penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $250 civil fine.


On what House Bill 81 does:


From Texas Standard:

After less then two months in office, the Trump administration can point to at least one statistic that may indicate the president is succeeding in his goal of stemming the tide immigration. From January to February, apprehensions at the Mexican border with the U.S. decreased by 40 percent.


Born in 1912 on the shores of Caddo Lake, Claudia Alta Taylor attained her childhood nickname — so the story goes — when her childhood nursemaid said she was “as pretty as a lady bird.” She earned degrees in history and journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1934 she met Lyndon B. Johnson.


From Texas Standard:

The number of refugee children in some Texas schools is actually going down – but it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump's latest ban on refugees.


To understand why these children leaving is a big deal, it may serve us well to understand why their arrival was also a big deal.

Remembered as South Texas philanthropist and matriarch of a large family, Petra Kenedy was born to modest beginnings in Mier, Mexico, in 1823. She was one of 17 children and a descendent of the town’s settlers. She had eight children of her own with Mexican army officer Luis Vidal, who married someone else but in common practice maintained two families.


Bob Daemmrich

School principals and superintendents who fail to report teachers involved in inappropriate relationships with students could face criminal charges under a bill passed unanimously Wednesday in the Texas Senate.

From Texas Standard:

In Los Angeles minimum wage doesn’t go very far. It’s hard to find an apartment for less than a thousand bucks – over half your monthly pay at that income level. Groceries, utilities, transportation and insurance eat up what’s left of your budget.

The struggle to keep their heads above the water has many Californians longing for someplace cheaper. As it turns out, Texas might be that place.

Pictures of Money /Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The greatly anticipated Republican legislation to alter the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health care law better known as Obamacare, has finally been revealed.


Mary Elizabeth Branch was born the child of former slaves in 1881 in Virginia. By 1930, she was the president of Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University), having served decades as an accomplished educator. The Tillotson campus was badly in need of improvement when Branch arrived.

 Over the next 14 years, Branch successfully transformed Tillotson from a women’s junior college to a four-year, coeducational undergraduate school with an A rating from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. At the time, Branch was the only African-American female president of such an institution.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

School officials whose districts would lose money under a Texas House plan to revamp the public school funding system asked legislators on Tuesday to ensure there are as few "losers" as possible.

From Texas Standard:

Texas is the land of the gridiron. But what about just…the grid? You know, 64 squares, 32 pieces, knights, rooks, kings, queens. It turns out Texas is a hub for elite college chess.


In the mid-1990s the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) had some problems, says Tim Redman, a former English professor at the school.

USAG- Humphreys (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For those leaving the military, readjusting to civilian life can be a rocky transition. For veterans or families of veterans, trying to juggle college classes and homework assignments on top of that can be frustrating.


That's the reality for more than 800,000 college students across the nation. The number of ex-military students at universities is rising thanks to expanded GI Bill, which have increased the number of veterans who qualify for full tuition at state schools in Texas and elsewhere.

Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art (UT Press, 2016)

Even before the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that separate was not equal, Tejanas, especially members of the American G.I. Forum Women’s Auxiliary, lobbied for equal civil rights. An early victory, the 1948 lawsuit Delgado v. Del Rio prohibited public schools from segregating Mexican-American students.

In the late 1940s, Tejanas organized a grassroots campaign to treat with dignity the remains of Felix Longoria, a World War II soldier whose hometown of Three Rivers refused to bury him. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in 1949.


Tejanas also worked to increase voting. In 1960, to elect a Democratic president, Manuela Contreras González and Dr. Clotilde García campaigned through Viva Kennedy clubs to get John F. Kennedy elected.

These clubs led to the formation of a group called PASSO, which fought to pay farm workers minimum wage. In 1963, the group voted out the Anglo political machine in Crystal City, winning all five council seats. This marked the beginning of the Chicano movement in Texas.

This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas.

Joy Diaz

From Texas Standard:

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are paying close attention to the deportation policies of the Trump administration. More and more it appears that those who have committed crimes are not the only ones who are a priority for removal.


J.A. de Roo / Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard:

Early Monday morning, in the country’s latest display of aggression toward the West, North Korea fired four intermediate range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. Three missiles landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, leading Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call North Korea’s actions a clear violation of several UN Security Council resolutions.

With the measure scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas Republicans are expected to offer a new version of the controversial “bathroom bill” with two significant changes.

Traroth / Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard:

Some of the world's largest energy producers, along with government officials from nations where significant amounts of fossil fuels reside are gathering this week in Houston for the annual CERAWeek conference.

Todd Wiseman

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. on Monday came out in support of the so-called "bathroom bill," giving Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick a Democratic supporter in his push for the high-profile legislation. 

Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Best known for her dedication to winning the right to vote, Jane Y. McCallum was a lifelong activist, a prolific writer and influential opinion-maker. Born in 1878 in La Vernia, Texas, McCallum became the president of the Austin Suffrage Association in 1915.