Texas

Affordable Care Act
11:15 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Texans Signing Up for Obamacare Will Have More Choices This Year

Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell spoke about the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace on Sept. 23, 2014 at the Brookings Institution.
Brookings Institution

People shopping for health insurance on the federal marketplace in Texas will have more options when the enrollment period begins again later this year.

Sixteen companies will offer health insurance plans in Texas through the federal marketplace this time around, when open enrollment begins Nov. 15 for coverage starting in 2015. At the Brookings Institution on Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell spoke about changes in the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

Read more
Texas
1:26 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

State Audit Finds Perry's Enterprise Fund Lacked Accountability

The governor's Texas Enterprise Fund is under scrutiny from a state audit that claims funds were allocated without review.
Photo illustration by Gage Skidmore / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry made a name for himself luring businesses from other states to Texas with the help of the Texas Enterprise Fund. A new report by the state auditor shows the fund handed out millions in grants to businesses without requiring the companies to create jobs or even apply for the money.

Gov. Perry started the fund in 2003, with a goal of providing additional money to entice businesses considering expansion in or relocation to Texas.

Read more
Perry Indictment
7:32 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Special Prosecutor Says Perry Should Appear in Court

Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum says Gov. Perry should appear at his pretrial hearings, including one scheduled for Oct. 18.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From The Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry should not be excused from all hearings leading up to his felony trial because the governor is no different than "any other citizen of Texas," the special prosecutor in the criminal case said in a motion filed Wednesday.

Read more
Texas
7:30 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

You Can Buy One of the Rifles Used in UT-Austin's Mass Shooting Online

The seller of this rifle says it was used in the UT tower shootings in 1966.
TexasGunTrader.com

Someone is selling a rifle they say was used in a mass shooting at the University of Texas campus almost 50 years ago. Charles Whitman killed 16 people on August 1, 1966 and wasn't stopped until Austin police officer Houston McCoy shot him at the top of the UT tower.

A listing on the Texas Gun Trader website shows a starting bid of $25,000 for the Remington 700 ADL with Lupold scope. Donald Weiss says he's selling it for a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.

Read more
Texas
4:24 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Study Finds Big Jump in Non-English Speaking Workers in Austin

Non-English speakers accounted for one fourth of all workers in the Austin construction industry, according to a Brookings Institution survey.
Photo by KUT

A study from the Brookings Institution released this week shows an increase in Austin area citizens that have limited proficiency in English. Just over 11 percent of people in the Austin-Round Rock area are among the so-called “limited English proficient” (LEP) population.

The survey showed a 40 percent increase in that population from 2000 to 2012, which totaled 142,338.

That population accounts for just over a quarter of the workforce in the area’s construction industry, earning a median income of $24,000. In addition, nearly 83 percent of those listed Spanish as their first language, and half were recent immigrants.

Read more
Texas Standard
3:48 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

What Texas Voters Need to Know Before Heading to the Polls

Texas Governor Rick Perry after a cerimonial signing of Senate Bill 14, which requires voters to present photo IDs upon registration and at the polls.
Flickr user: Covernor Rick Perry, https://flic.kr/p/9Mx7Xy

With the November elections just over two months away, Texans around the state are registering or renewing their voter status. That is, if they first have a government-issued identification card.

Texas' voter ID law is currently being challenged in court by the U.S. Department of Justice, but until a decision is reached, Texans will be required to show an ID to register as voters. But what does this mean for voters in rural areas? Or for Texans who mail in their ballots? 

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry is in charge of informing Texans of the voter ID law and how to register. Berry sits down with Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss the requirements for voter registration, and how to attain a government-issued ID before the November elections. 

Read more
Texas
8:34 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Obamacare Plans in Texas Vary Widely in Price, Report Shows

A new study from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation finds the cost of health insurance on the new federal marketplace varies widely in Texas.
healthcare.gov

A new study from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation finds the cost of health insurance on the new federal marketplace varies widely in Texas.

Researchers found almost half of Texans eligible for a tax subsidy for health insurance said plans were still too expensive. The Episcopal Health Foundation’s president, Elena Marks, says she and her colleagues went back to see what was unaffordable to many people.

Read more
environment
5:03 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

What Does Fossil Fuel Divestment Mean For Texas?

Divestment has become a popular topic on college campuses and some boardrooms.But it will likely have trouble taking hold in oil rich parts of the state.
Credit PHOTO BY MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGE

This week in New York, the UN Climate Summit is underway.

The Rockefeller Foundation made news with the announcement that it will divest close to a billion dollars from fossil fuels. Here in Austin, University of Texas President Bill Powers gave his State of the University address Monday. But in contrast to the news from New York, Powers thanked "heavens" for the oil wealth provided to UT by its land holdings, and celebrated the fracking revolution as "good news" for the University.

The disconnect between the two messages leads one to wonder about the role of the divestment campaign in oil-rich parts of the country. Could divestment in other parts of the country grow to the point where it disrupts Texas' fossil fuel economy? By contrast, could divestment ever catch on here?

Read more
Texas Standard at Tribune Fest
3:47 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Leticia Van de Putte on Her Top Texas Priorities

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, sat down with Texas Standard this weekend.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

CNN has called her "the woman who could turn Texas purple."

That's a bold claim in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in two decades. But supporters are hoping that Senator Leticia Van de Putte – the Democrat running for Lieutenant Governor –can bring some blue back to red Texas.

Van de Putte sat down with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue to discuss her top priorities for the state.

Read more
Space X
3:22 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Texas SpaceX Facility Might Land First Human on Mars

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the groundbreaking of the company's launch site near Boca Chica Beach in South Texas on Sept. 22, 2014.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

BROWNSVILLE — Calling South Texas the new frontier of space, Gov. Rick Perry, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and other Texas officials broke ground Monday morning at the site of a future private commercial orbital launch facility expected to boost Brownsville’s economy and start launching rockets in 2016.

Read more
Texas Standard
12:43 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

The Company Insuring the Uninsurable in the Sharing Economy

flickr.com/dhilowitz

When someone shares their car, their home or anything else, they’re entering into what’s called "the sharing economy." Doing so involves a certain amount of risk. What if someone wrecks your car or trashes your guesthouse? Most insurance companies won’t cover instances like that.

That’s where actuary Ashley Hunter saw her opportunity. The president of HM Risk Group sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk all the things her company insures. "We are a boutique insurance and reinsurance brokerage located here in Austin," she says, "and we provide insurance to high-risk businesses – the sharing economy being one of them."

That can include anything from drivers looking for a few extra bucks  – to women carrying surrogate pregnancies. 

Read more
2014 Elections
7:39 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Groups Push to Mobilize Texas' Latino Voters Before Election Day

A number of national groups have announced efforts to get eligible Latinos to the polls on Election Day 2014.
flickr.com/whiteafrican

Just about every politician and political group views Latino voters as the key to future success at the ballot box. Local, state and even several national groups are trying to mobilize Latinos across Texas this year, but will it work?

Texas is home to roughly 10 million Latinos, but their turnout in Texas ranks among the lowest in the U.S. In 2012, about 60 percent of eligible Latinos did not vote.

Read more
Health Care
11:51 am
Thu September 18, 2014

'Balance Bills' Can Hit Texas Consumers Hard After Hospital Visits

A new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities shows that in Texas, and many states in the U.S., people are getting what’s called a balance bill after visiting the ER.
Spencer Selvidge/KUT

Texans may find surprise charges after visiting an emergency room, according to a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities. How they find out about them is when an unexpected piece of mail arrives. 

Most people who have insurance think they know what they’re responsible for when it comes to paying for medical care at a hospital, if they visit one in their insurance provider's network, but in Texas, and many states in the U.S., people are getting what’s called a balance bill.

Read more
Texas Standard
4:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How Marshall, Texas Became Ground Zero for 'Patent Trolls'

A Texas company has claimed the patent for podcasting – and it's gone after some of entertainment's biggest names.
Flickr user Patrick Breitenbach, https://flic.kr/ps/rNSVJ

A courtroom in Marshall, Texas – population 25,000 – is deciding patent cases with implications for some of entertainment's biggest names.

Marshall was the setting for a court case against CBS this week. A small company, Personal Audio, has sued media giants including Apple, Sirius XM, and CBS for damages related to alleged infringement of their podcast patent. (Podcasts are digital files on the Internet that can be downloaded to a computer or media player.)

A jury found CBS did infringe the patent – awarding Personal Audio $1.3 million.

Read more
Affordable Care Act
5:30 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Thousands in Texas Must Prove Immigration Status to Keep Health Coverage

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services is telling people they have until Sept. 30 to prove their citizenship or immigration status, or else lose health coverage.
healthcare.gov

The number of people in Texas without health insurance has declined by less than half a percentage point since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report out by the Census Bureau. The number dropped from 22.5 percent in 2012 to 22.1 percent in 2013.

Now, some of the people who recently got coverage may lose it.

Read more
Texas
1:28 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Texas Still Tops Census List of Highest Uninsured Rates

A U.S. Census Bureau suvey showed 22.1 percent of Texans were uninsured in 2013, a slight drop from 22.5 percent in 2012.
Todd Wiseman/KUT

From the Texas Tribune:

The rate of Texas residents without health insurance has dropped slightly but continues to outpace every other state, according to early figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Read more
2015 Legislature
7:35 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Texas Fails In Nursing Home Care, Prompting a Push for Change

Texas is the worst state in the nation when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a new report from a national advocacy group – Families for Better Care, out on Sept. 10, 2014.
Image courtesy flickr.com/hapal

Texas is the worst state in the nation when it comes to nursing home quality, according to a new report from a national advocacy group – Families for Better Care.

The group has ranked Texas last for the second year in a row, so Texas lawmakers have been discussing what to do to change this when they return to Austin in January.

Read more
Affordable Care Act
4:23 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Affordable Care Act Returns to Texas Lawmakers' Agenda

The Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act on Sept. 15, 2014.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Today, the Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act – from enrollment numbers to costs to identity theft concerns. The public hearing comes after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked lawmakers to study what he called “emerging negative impacts” of the law.

About 734,000 people in Texas signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the first enrollment period, and with another one about to begin, the Texas Department of Insurance says Texas has roughly 200 state-certified navigators who help people use healthcare.gov after taking federal and Texas-specific training courses.

Read more
Texas
4:13 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Texas Schools Get Military Gear Through Federal Program

Austin Police Officer Cory Ehrler monitors the entrance to Ridgetop Elementary School after classes start on the Monday following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Tamir Kalifa via Texas Tribune

Texas school districts dominate the list of those receiving military equipment — including firearms and armored vehicles — through a federal initiative, according to a letter sent by a coalition of civil rights and education advocacy groups to the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday.

Read more
Border & Immigration
8:59 am
Mon September 15, 2014

After Crossing Four Borders, Migrant Family Faces Two More Critical Battles

Sara Beltran-Rodriguez's daughter Neyely has a brain tumor. She's spent the last three years in and out of hospitals. Karnes County Residential Center granted the family temporary medical asylum.

Last month, hundreds of children who were attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border – many of them unaccompanied on their journey – were moved to a family detention center south of San Antonio.

The Karnes County Residential Center houses hundreds of immigrants that, as of now, stand little chance of being released from the facility.

In many cases, immigrants have been priced out of their release bonds, with some bonds as high as $25,000. In effect, the detainees have been denied the release, except for one family.

Sara Beltran Rodriguez and her daughter were the first to be released from the facility. And while they’ve traveled thousands of miles and crossed several borders on their journey to Texas, the family has another life-threatening battle to fight.

Read more

Pages