Texas

Texas
10:36 am
Thu February 27, 2014

What's Next For Texas After Same-Sex Marriage Ruling?

Texas officials are appealing a decision by a federal judge who ruled Texas' ban on same-sex marriage, and state laws barring recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, are unconstitutional.
flickr.com/weho

Now that a federal judge has found Texas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the state is appealing the ruling to a higher court. 

So what does this mean for the plaintiffs and the state?

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia wrote that even though states can regulate marriage, "Texas’ prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process."

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Breaking
4:55 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Texas Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Same-sex marriage supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol as the Supreme Court began hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. Today, a federal judge in San Antonio declared Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

A federal judge in San Antonio has declared the Texas ban on same-sex marriage in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Today, Judge Orlando Garcia granted a motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the state of Texas from enforcing the ban. However, the ruling is on hold until Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appeals the decision to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Update: Travis Co. Clerk Says It's 'A Joyous Day'

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, whose office issues marriage licenses, is fielding questions on what today's ruling means for gay couples wanting to marry. Although the ruling finds Texas' same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, the decision is on hold pending appeal.  

DeBeauvoir released a written statement this afternoon lauding the decision: “Because of the stay order in the ruling, the County Clerk cannot issue marriage licenses to gay couples at this time. This is a joyous day, but we will have to wait a little longer to actually deliver the justice and equal rights gay couples so deserve.” 

Update: Wendy Davis 'Pleased' With Ruling

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is "pleased" with today's ruling.

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Texas
4:18 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Rep. Castro And Former Bush Press Secretary Back Same-Sex Marriage Push Across The South

Congressman Joaquín Castro's official congressional portrait.
U.S. Government

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 12:00 pm

A national same-sex marriage rights group has launched an effort across several states in the South to campaign for marriage equality.

Southerns for Freedom to Marry, a branch of the New York-based group Freedom to Marry, has mounted a $1 million campaign across nine states including Texas.

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Texas
2:20 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Interview: UT President Bill Powers on Job Reductions, Sexual Assault & Campus Climate

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In late January, President Barack Obama assembled a task force to come up with ideas to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. According to the administration, one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. President Obama urged members of college communities nationwide to ask their leaders what they're doing about this issue. 

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers recently sat down with KUT's David Brown to talk about campus climate and the current job reductions at the University of Texas.

Listen to the interview in the audio player.

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Women's Health
7:34 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Stance On Texas Women's Health Program Depends On Party Affiliation

Abortion-rights activists took part in an event with Democratic lawmakers at the Texas State Capitol on Feb. 20, 2014.
Sam Ortega, KUT

Women's healthcare has been a political seesaw in the Texas legislature the last few years -- from budget cuts in 2011 to budget increases in 2013.

Yesterday a Texas Senate committee heard how women's health programs were doing, with the answer falling along party lines.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, says Texas has never spent as much on women’s health as it does right now, and she says she wanted to "set the record straight" during a hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee -- the committee she chairs.

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Affordable Care Act
4:50 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Even Texans With Health Insurance Struggle to Afford It, Study Suggests

Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the U.S. The Health Reform Monitoring Survey-Texas report says even some people with health insurance are struggling to pay for it.
healthcare.gov

Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, about one in four, and a new survey, the Health Reform Monitoring Survey-Texas report, suggests even some people with health insurance are struggling to pay for it.  

The report looked at how Texans were feeling in September about health care and insurance just before the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace launched. Vivian Ho, an economist with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, helped produce the report. She says they're trying to measure the impact of the health care law in Texas.

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Religion
9:57 am
Wed February 19, 2014

'Crypto-Jews' In The Southwest Find Faith In A Shrouded Legacy

Rabbi Stephen Leon leads a Friday night service at B'nai Zion synagogue in El Paso, Texas. Leon has converted crypto-Jews in the region.
Courtesy of Peter Svarzbein/ mongovision.com

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:32 am

Code Switch has been writing about some overlooked cultural interactions that have helped shape what Jewish identity is today, and we continue the series with this post about the murky and fascinating history of crypto-Jews in the Southwest.

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Fort Hood
8:04 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Video: Site of Fort Hood Massacre Demolished, Memorial to Be Built

In August 2013, a military jury convicted Nidal Hasan and sentenced him to death. The appeals process is likely to drag on for years.
Landov

It was over four years ago when Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan entered the troop-filled soldier processing room at Fort Hood and opened fire with a laser sighted pistol.

Yesterday, the Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works confirmed demolition of Building 42003, the soldier processing room where most of the attack took place.

Video of the demolition – seen below – shows a backhoe tearing into an exterior wall of the building and pulling pieces of it to the ground. The November 2009 attack left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded.

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Valentine's Day
2:17 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

On Border, Flowers an Unlikely Form of Contraband

Ivan Pierre Aguirre for Texas Tribune

EL PASO — The flowers that decorate offices, homes and restaurants along the Mexico border have been inspected as closely at border crossings as many door panels and car trunks, well-known hiding places used by drug mules to export heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

In the weeks before Valentine’s Day, flower shipments passing through Mexico and into the United States have surged. But nestled in those floral arrangements may be tiny pests and diseases that can wreak havoc with domestic plants in the United States. The job of preventing those pests from entering the country falls to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who inspect all plants that pass through the border crossings in Texas and elsewhere.

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Aging in Texas
9:10 am
Fri February 14, 2014

In Texas, Elderly Population Gets Help from Increasingly Older Caregivers

Henrietta City, left, helps Betty Finn at her apartment in Austin on Feb. 12, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

As older Americans make up a greater percentage of the population, more of them are finding themselves in need of home care workers.

That workforce is aging as well, and Texas is no exception. 

Take Henrietta City. She's in her early 60s and she helps Betty Finn in her early 80s every week. On a recent afternoon that meant trying to hang a clock on a wall of Finn’s apartment, but the work takes a lot of different forms. 

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Same-Sex Marriage
8:35 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Supporters in Texas Await Federal Judge's Decision

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is slated to rule soon on a case challenging Texas’ constitutional ban of same-sex marriages.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/fabliaux

A U.S. district judge is slated to rule soon on a case challenging Texas’ constitutional ban of same-sex marriages. The judge heard arguments Wednesday in a federal court in San Antonio. 

The plaintiffs in the case are two same-sex couples – one lives in the Austin area and another near Dallas. They’re asking for a preliminary injunction on Texas’s law. But even if U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia,  a Clinton appointee, finds the state ban unconstitutional, plaintiffs' attorneys don’t expect that we’ll see the long lines of gay couples waiting to get married – like we did after a recent decision in Utah.

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Texas
2:09 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

How the Ongoing Drought is Affecting Texas BBQ

The Texas drought has caused a spike in beef prices.
flickr.com/cpencis

Barbecue is sacrosanct in the Lone Star State, with brisket being arguably the most Texan of dishes. But since 2006, Texas' extended drought has proved a problem for ranchers. In 2011 – the driest year on record – many cattle ranchers gave up, choosing to sell off as they watched their land dry up.

That wave of sell-offs not only affected Texas ranchers, but also affected the bounty of beef ribs, chopped beef and beautifully marbled brisket throughout the state. Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn tells Texas Standard's David Brown it's not only caused beef prices to rise, but could affect the taste and quality of Texas barbecue for years to come.

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Texas
5:56 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

How Did the Magna Carta End Up in Houston?

Hereford Cathedral archivist Rosalind Caird examines the Magna Carta in
Photo courtesy Hereford Cathedral

This Friday, a rare copy of the Magna Carta and an accompanying King's Writ will go on display in Houston at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Known as one of the most important documents in history, the Magna Carta was written and signed by King John and England's feudal barons in 1215. It directly inspired international constitutional law and the tenets upon which the U.S. Constitution is based.

So why has this rare copy — one of only four in existence — traveled from its home at Hereford Cathedral in England to Houston of all places?

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Same-Sex Marriage
8:49 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Will Texas' Same-Sex Couples Benefit From New Federal Protections?

Cori Samilpa of Austin waves an LGBT flag as the 2013 Austin Pride Parade makes its way down Congress Avenue.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The U.S. Department of Justice says it will extend federal protections to all U.S. same-sex couples married legally – regardless of where they live.

That includes couples living in Texas – which has banned such marriages. So what does this federal decision mean for the state?

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Texas
11:24 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Governor Candidates Sparring Over 'Third World' Remark

Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

The latest debate between the major candidates for governor is taking place in the letters to the editor section of McAllen's newspaper, The Monitor. The sparring began after remarks about the border made by Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, in which he compared public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices.”

Abbott made the comment during a campaign stop in Dallas last week. Democrats immediately took issue with his comparison. His expected Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, joined them with a letter to The Monitor on Sunday. She called on Abbott to apologize for his remarks, disputing his comparison and calling it hurtful to the state and harmful to economic development in border communities.

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