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

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.

Born in Hidalgo County, Maria Elena Zamora O’Shea vindicated the Tejano presence of the state with her 1935 novela El Mesquite. Her efforts counteracted the Anglo-Texan Centennial celebration of Texas Independence, which largely ignored the Tejano presence in the state.

To tell her story, she drew from family records and her own research. Written from the point of view of a mesquite tree, the book includes details of cultural traditions and women’s work.


Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Indian women led tribes, acted as intermediaries and more.

Spamily/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The United States Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection unit says it will begin soliciting proposals from companies interested in constructing President Donald Trump's proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico divide.

The federal government posted a pre-solicitation this week and has already garnered hundreds of responses – dozens from Texas alone – for what promises to be one of the biggest contracts of any infrastructure project planned by the Trump administration.

Disney|ABC News Television Group/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

"Journalism in the age of Trump" is more than just a very popular title right now for academic symposia. The media industry has been doing a lot of self-examination under a new presidential administration that's changing the rules of engagement.

Hailed as “the mother of Texas women’s history,” Ruthe Winegarten is widely regarded for her strong social conscience and as a trailblazer in the field of Texas history. She earned a masters in social work and began a Ph.D. in history, but left academia to pursue her passion for telling the stories of powerless or  “forgotten” women.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Three months before Election Day, a federal judge issued an order forcing Texas to allow people to vote without a photo ID as long as they signed an affidavit claiming a reasonable impediment to obtaining one.

Only a small percentage of voters signed them but officials in Tarrant County are asking their district attorney to investigate 15 affidavits that may have been issued improperly.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has again thrown out securities fraud charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, effectively ending one of two legal battles that have dogged Paxton for close to a year.