Texas

Affordable Care Act
10:46 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Texas Obamacare Plans Cost More in Big Cities Than in Rural Areas

A new report suggests that Texas residents in big cities will pay slightly more than those in more rural areas for health insurance plans on the federal marketplace.
healthcare.gov

Open enrollment for health insurance on the federal marketplace begins on Saturday. A new report suggests that if they buy a plan through the marketplace, Texas residents in big cities will pay slightly more than those in more rural areas.

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Affordable Care Act
5:11 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Texans Urged to Update Income Information on Obamacare Website

A certified application counselor helps a health insurance consumer at Insure Central Texas in Austin's Highland Mall on Nov. 10, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Starting next week, people can once again start enrolling for health insurance on the federal marketplace. Consumers should expect a number of differences when they go on healthcare.gov this time.

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Perry Indictment
11:16 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Bipartisan Group of Lawyers Wants Perry Case Dismissed

Gov. Rick Perry addresses the media following his court hearing on Nov. 6, 2014. At far left is attorney Tony Buzbee.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

A bipartisan group of lawyers led by former Texas Solicitor General James C. Ho filed an amicus brief Monday in Austin, asking a judge to dismiss the case against Gov. Rick Perry. 

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Texas Elections 2014
1:51 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Battleground Texas Has to Sell Its Pricey Goal to Big Donors Again

Texas Republicans expanded their margin of victory in this week’s elections, despite the money, volunteers and strategizing of Battleground Texas.
Photo by clockwerks http://www.flickr.com/photos/clockwerks/

The group Battleground Texas was begun with the idea that Texas is a state that can turn blue, but despite the money, volunteers and strategizing, Republicans expanded their margin of victory in this week’s elections.

Battleground Texas never promised a blue state by 2014, however, so there’s still a chance the group can keep its thousands of volunteers motivated.

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Texas Elections 2014
7:25 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Democratic Share of Latino Vote Shrinks in Texas

According to research firm Latino Decisions, Wendy Davis won 68 percent of the Latino vote and Greg Abbott got 32 percent.
Nathan Bernier/KUT News

With Election Day in the rear-view mirror, we’re getting a look at research into what voters had to say. Political opinion research firm Latino Decisions surveyed 4,200 likely Latino voters in 10 states in its 2014 Election Eve poll.

In Texas, it found immigration is the most important issue facing Latino voters, followed by jobs and the economy and health care came in last.

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Texas Standard
3:45 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Political Junkie's Ken Rudin on 2014's Republican Win

Republicans swept the statewide elections last night. Already, controversial national issues are on the table for the next session, including immigration, border security, education and health. However, this is good time to be a Republican in Texas. And pundits expect at least two people with Texas connections could be preparing themselves for a presidential run. Guessing any names, anyone? 

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Texas Elections 2014
10:19 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election Results Roundup: Final Numbers From Texas and Austin Races

Governor-elect Greg Abbott celebrates at the ACL Live Moody Theater on Tuesday night with his fellow Republicans. They swept statewide offices on Election Day.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Election Day totals are in.

Republicans swept the statewide elections, with Greg Abbott winning the gubernatorial race and Dan Patrick besting San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte for Lieutenant Governor in the top two races.

Citywide races weren't so clear-cut. There will be nine run-offs in races for Austin City Council and for Mayor of Austin. Council Member Mike Martinez trails Austin attorney Steve Adler 29.63 percent to his nearly 37 percent. Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen were the only two Austin City Council candidates to win their districts with more than 50 percent of the vote in Districts 2 and 5, respectively. The rest of the races will be decided in run-off elections in December. 

Additionally, three Austin School Board elections went to run-offs; Sarah Eckhardt became the first female Travis County Judge; and Texas passed a statewide road improvement bond.

While Austinites couldn't forge consensus on council candidates, they did vote down by a wide margin a billion-dollar proposition to build a light rail system and accompanying road improvements, with 57 percent of Austinites voting against and nearly 43 percent voting for it.

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Texas
9:52 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Voters In Texas City Approve Ban On Fracking

From left, Topher Jones, Edward Hartmann and Angie Holliday hold a campaign sign outside City Hall in Denton, Texas, on July 15, 2014. Voters in the college town approve a ban on fracking on Tuesday.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 11:55 am

Residents of Denton, Texas, voted Tuesday to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city.

According to unofficial results posted on the city's website, 58.64 percent of voters supported banning the controversial drilling method that is also called fracking; 41.36 percent voted against the proposition. It's the first time a city in the energy-friendly state has voted to ban fracking.

The vote is expected to be challenged, but Mayor Chris Watts said he would defend the ban.

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Texas
8:05 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Amid Oil Boom, Texas Votes On Who Holds the Reins of Regulation

Steve Brown, left, and Ryan Sitton, right, are the two major party candidate for the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Credit GRAPHIC COURTESY OF THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Update: Ryan Sitton defeated Steve Brown in the race for Railroad Commissioner 58.31 percent to 36.49 percent.

Original Story (Nov. 4, 4:14 p.m.): An empty seat on a strangely-named state regulatory agency usually flies under the radar of voters. But the race to serve on the Railroad Commission of Texas has gained additional attention and importance this election. That’s because whoever wins will not oversee railroads, as the name suggests, but will regulate the Texas oil and gas industry. It’s an industry in the midst of a boom that’s transforming global energy markets and pumping billions into the Texas economy.

The two major party candidates competing for the seat offer starkly different visions for what the job entails.

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Texas Elections 2014
7:58 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Abbott, GOP Best Davis and Democrats in Texas Elections

Republican Greg Abbott celebrates his victory in the 2014 Texas Gubernatorial election.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Updated throughout with Final Totals.

Republicans swept statewide offices on Election Day, with Attorney General Greg Abbott assuming the Governorship over Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis. The final total was 59.28 percent for Abbott and 38.88 percent for Davis.

The Governor's Office was up for grabs after Gov. Rick Perry decided not to seek re-election last July. Lieutenant Governor was also for the taking this year; Houston State Senator Dan Patrick defeated Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte by a healthy margin – 58.16 percent to 38.68 percent. 

Denton Passes Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

In the final tally, 58.64 percent of voters in the north Texas town approved a measure to make it the first municipality in Texas to ban fracking within city limits. However, experts suggest the ban won't be that simple. Up next: litigation.

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Ebola
4:53 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Texas' Low Spending on Public Health Gets More Attention After Ebola Cases

Texas ranks 33rd in the nation for its public health spending, at $19.31 per capita in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
KUT News

Texas has been criticized lately for the amount the state spends on public health, which includes things like vaccination programs, programs aimed at reducing obesity, tobacco use and diseases like asthma, HIV and diabetes.

Public health also includes tracking and containing disease outbreaks, which is getting more attention since Texas had the first Ebola case in the U.S.

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Texas
4:45 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Female Politicians Face Challenges in Fundraising

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, left, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spoke to supporters on June 25, 2014, the one-year anniversary of Sen. Davis's filibuster.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

There seems to be a clear line dividing the Texas governor and lieutenant governor candidates this election year: girls on one side, boys on the other. But these gender differences may be more than trivial. They can affect the candidates’ experiences running for office. Across party lines, women engage in more grassroots campaigning and, according to some women’s organizations, have a harder time asking for money.

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Texas
4:32 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Paying With Your Phone? You've Got Options – But Are They Any Good?

flickr.com/williamhook

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the notorious Target credit card breach, one of the biggest credit card hacks in history.

And with consumers wary about credit security, companies are rolling out new payment options – like Apple Pay.

Omar Gallaga, tech culture reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, tells Texas Standard the original idea behind mobile pay initiatives was to simplify buying.

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2014 Elections
10:47 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Comptroller Candidates Talk Oversight and Incentives in Debate

via Texas Tribune

The race for Texas Governor has received much of the attention this fall, but last night it was the Comptroller’s race that took center stage.

Republican candidate Glenn Hegar and Democratic candidate Mike Collier met at the debate moderated by Time Warner Cable’s Paul Brown, discussing the state’s incentive policy and the role of the comptroller in the state’s budgeting process.

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Ebola
5:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Nurse Who Treated Ebola Patients Agrees to Self-Quarantine in Texas

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Oct. 29, 2014.
Image courtesy Dave Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this morning.

The nurse has no symptoms of the disease, but has agreed to a request from Gov. Rick Perry to self-quarantine at home for 21 days. In a statement, Gov. Perry called her a "health care hero" and said the state will check in on her twice a day, but she was not forced to quarantine.

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Criminal Justice
10:38 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Texas Criminal Justice Spending Driven Largely by Elderly Inmates

Members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee expect to discuss ways to reduce spending, at the 2015 legislative session, on geriatric inmates, like medically recommended parole.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Because Texas spends millions of dollars a year on geriatric prison inmates to treat chronic health conditions, lawmakers are discussing options to change this.

Next session, members of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee expect to discuss geriatric parole, also known as medically recommended parole, which would allow some elderly inmates to finish out their sentence outside the prison system. 

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2014 Elections
10:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

On 'Daily Show,' Davis Says a Blue Texas is 'On Its Way'

From The Texas Tribune:

During an appearance on The Daily Show in Austin on Monday, state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, dismissed speculation that Texas is showing no signs of turning blue.

Host Jon Stewart asked Davis about the "tough campaign" she has faced this year. Recent surveys, including the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, have shown her trailing her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, by double digits.

"How conservative a place is Texas — and what is the demographic?" Stewart said. "We’ve heard a lot about 'it's flipping blue,' but it looks like it ain’t even flipping like a cool azure. What’s going on?"

Davis told Stewart that Texas "really is on its way."

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Texas Standard
8:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Outside Donations Aid Davis Campaign – But Will That Mean Votes?

Texas Democrat for Governor Wendy Davis, during a visit to the KUT studios.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

If you believe the latest polls, Wendy Davis faces an uphill battle, to say the least, in her race for Texas Governor. But what if the race turned into a national one? Would the tables be turned?

Jonathan Tilove and J. David McSwane of the Austin-American Statesman sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk about Davis’ popularity, particularly in light of the campaign contributions she’s received from across the nation.

“I think it’s the filibuster,” Tilove said. “That made her a sensation overnight across the country. It was on an issue people cared about, and I think people saw her as the great Democratic hope for Texas.”

 

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Texas Standard
4:36 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Here's Your Insider Guide to Navigating the Texas Book Festival

Vistors stroll through one of the outside tents at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Book Festival will take center stage on the weekend of Oct. 25-26 as it expectedly brings more than 40,000 book lovers to the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and surrounding areas. The festival will host more than 280 authors - the largest lineup in the festival’s history.

Transforming Texas’ political arena into a platform for literary discussions and performance arts, Texas Book Festival will feature author panel discussions, readings, literary performances and interviews. 

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Ebola
9:05 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Texas' Infectious Disease Task Force Listens to Experts on Viruses like Ebola

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to hours of testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.

In fact, that hearing has already yielded many lessons.

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