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

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From Texas Standard:

The longest state constitution in the nation is about to get longer. Texan voters passed all seven proposed amendments to the constitution.

One amendment aims to fix a problem most all Texans are familiar with: transportation. The state's growing population might be good for the economy, but hasn't done the roadways many favors.

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From Texas Standard:

While it's no longer news that some law enforcement officers abuse the power that comes with the badge, the numbers revealed in a new Associated Press report are shocking: a thousand officers lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sexual assault, possession of child pornography and propositioning citizens. In his investigation, reporter Matt Sedensky found that the reported rate is much lower than what's actually happening.

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From Texas Standard

The healthcare marketplace is open once again, but if you look closely at the offered insurance plans you might find something lacking: coverage for specialized treatments.

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From Texas Standard:

Tuesday, Nov. 3 is voting day. The good news: according to preliminary numbers, more Texans are voting in this off-year than have voted in nearly a decade. The bad news: seven constitutional amendments, that will affect everyone, may still be decided by six out of every 100 Texans.

Texans have until 7 p.m. to vote. If you didn't already cast your ballot during early voting, we have a crash course for you in the proposed amendments. KUT Austin political reporter Ben Philpott has the details.


When Gene and Shirene McIntyre met with an attendance officer in the El Paso Independent School District in November 2006, their nine grandchildren had already been homeschooled for more than a year. But they were concerned the kids weren’t getting a proper education.

According to court documents, the children were always playing instruments and singing — nothing like traditional school. The children's uncle testified that one child said they did not have to do schoolwork because their parents, Laura and Michael, told them they were “going to be raptured.” 

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From Texas Standard:

The world is in the midst of the largest displacement of human beings since World War II. The images of the people leaving their country in makeshift rafts are the images of Syrians.

Not too long ago, it was Cubans who were braving the ocean. Not anymore.


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From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, Texas made headlines when they passed a bill that would move $1 billion of gold bullion being stored in New York to Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement upon signing the bill into law, saying that Texas would work to store the gold into a secure facility. 

In it, Abbott said the Texas Bullion Depository, the "first state-level facility of its kind in the nation,” will keep taxpayer funds from leaving the state through fees for storing gold outside our borders and increase "the security and stability of our gold reserves.”


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From Texas Standard:

Call it a commingling of the sacred and a spectacle.

Halloween "Texas style" starts Friday and goes through Monday with Día de los Muertos and All Souls Day in between.

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From Texas Standard:

Yik Yak is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. A few days ago a student at Texas A&M yakked: "Don't go to campus... this will be my only warning." Officials filed an emergency subpoena to track down the poster, who was arrested for making terrorist threats.

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From Texas Standard:

Municipal elections in presidential off-years usually don't attract too much attention. But the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is the exception to that rule.

Proposition 1 on Houston voters' ballots, HERO, derisively known as the "bathroom ordinance," is getting a lot of national attention.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

This week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency held an open house in San Marcos to answer questions about its newly released flood maps, which show where flood risks in the area will be highest.

The new maps show significant increase in flood risk in the Wimberley area, and varying levels in San Marcos. These areas are still rebuilding after floods over Memorial Day weekend brought down houses, trees and took more than a dozen lives.

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From Texas Standard:

Music is undergoing a transformation – chances are you've not only heard of Spotify and Pandora, you're a subscriber too. The vinyl of old is long gone.

At clubs and bars, the DJs – most of them are men – typically work fake turntables controlling mp3 files. That's just the way its done today.

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From Texas Standard:

Yesterday, a new undercover video was released by the anti-abortion group targeting Planned Parenthood. Shot in Austin, the video shows a doctor describing methods used to perform later-term abortions.

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From Texas Standard: 

The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced yesterday that processed meats are "carcinogenic to humans," meaning their consumption can cause cancer.

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From Texas Standard:

The term "alien" is used to describe many things.

It's the monster that claws its way out of bodies in the Sigourney Weaver franchise. It's the odd-looking form with almond shaped eyes which trolls trailer parks, probing unsuspecting earthlings. One of them allegedly piloted a craft that crash-landed in Roswell, N.M. Maybe an alien will soon may ring your doorbell, shouting "trick-or-treat."

The word "alien" has many uses, but Rep. Joaquín Castro says the word has no business in the official language of the United States. He's calling for the word to be banned because he says it is dehumanizing.


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From Texas Standard:

Back in July, Texas and Arizona were caught illegally importing a lethal injection drug compound as the product was passing through an airport in Houston. The federal Food and Drug Administration, responsible for food and drug regulation in the United States, has said in the past that importing the drug is illegal.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice told the Dallas Morning News that the department had a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration saying the state could import the drug.


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From Texas Standard:

If you're naming off great sports films, "Rudy" and "Hoosiers" are probably high on that list.

A new film called "My All American" is coming out this fall. Written by the same screenwriter of those films, Angelo Pizzo, this time his focus is Texas football – more specifically Freddie Steinmark.

A Chinese investment holding company intends to put down stakes in the United States after signing a letter of intent to purchase oil properties in western Texas for $1.3 billion through a limited liability partnership.

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From Texas Standard:

Laredo is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Between 2007 and 2012 the city grew by more than 13 percent. Downtown merchants, like Maria Velazquez, have been noticing the change.

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From Texas Standard:

In 2013, when Ivy Taylor – now the mayor of San Antonio – told council members she would oppose a sweeping non-discrimination ordinance there, the self-described Democrat was roundly criticized by many on the left.

Her response was telling: "I will not sacrifice my core values and beliefs for political gain," she said. "And if that was the expectation for me as a black woman... you've got the wrong sister in this seat."