Texas

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

Cooper Neill for The Texas Tribune

ARLINGTON — North Texas was freezing during a three-day stretch last month, but Mary Garcia refused to turn on the heat in her cramped apartment. She feared that doing so would too quickly drain her pay-as-you-go account with Penstar Power, a Dallas-based electricity provider.

 

On Dec. 19, with just $15.31 in her account and the outside thermometer showing 27 degrees, Garcia composed a plea to Lite-Up Texas, a state program that had long helped low-income folks pay their electricity bills.

Javier Palomarez/Twitter

From Texas Standard:

Over the course of the 2016 campaign, Javier Palomarez, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO repeatedly criticized Donald Trump, calling him a "buffoon," and calling his mass deportation plan "the argument of a child and fear mongering at its worst."

Images Money/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Citizens and journalists requesting Texas public records won’t have a lot of luck getting government contract information right now. Requests for information on nonprofits getting state funding also will come up short.

David Brown/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A handful of musical instruments are so closely associated with certain artists that the instruments themselves are known by their first names.

Maybe you've heard of Lucille, B.B. King’s favorite guitar, or Eric Clapton's Blackie, the famous Stratocaster you see photos from the 1970s.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Statistics of officer-involved shootings are scarce in Texas. But the investigations team at the Houston Chronicle has been examining the city's police force to get a handle on the numbers.

Campaign website

From The Texas Tribune: After being hit in the head with a bullet shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, state Rep. Armando Martinez plans to file legislation aimed at reducing or preventing celebratory gun firings.

Michael Zanussi/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard

Over the last few months, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has tanked, with reports saying the fund turned into a catastrophe after a string of bad real estate investments. To make matters worse, participants attempted to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to take legal action to stop the bleed off. Now Rawlings is asking for  a full-blown criminal investigation led by the Texas Rangers.

Courtesy UNC Press

From Texas Standard:

Much has been made over the past few years about the potential shifting of political tides in Texas – from the "sleeping giant" of the Latino vote to Donald Trump's slimmer-than-usual margin of victory in the presidential race.

Texas remains largely Red, and at times it feels like it's always been that way. But progressive undercurrents in a state known for "cowboy conservatism" are not a new phenomenon.

Phil Gingrey/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on security along Texas' border with Mexico. Along that line, one of President-elect Donald Trump's signature campaign promises is a wall that stretches the entire length of the border.

But those efforts are undermined by breaches that are invisible to most people: bribes.

Screenshot from spaceexpeditions.XCOR.com

From Texas Standard:

Drive down a windy, muddy road, hidden on the backside of Midland airport’s southernmost tarmac, and you’ll find a shiny new hangar and office building: XCOR Aerospace’s Texas headquarters.

NASA/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In 2016, the world lost iconic celebrities and change-makers like Prince, David Bowie, Sharon Jones and now Carrie Fisher. Tragedies like the Orlando shooting, the death of black men at the hands of police, the shooting of five Dallas police officers, the attack in Nice and the war in Syria and destruction of Aleppo and its people have made headlines.

Are Inmate Phone Privileges Too Costly?

Dec 27, 2016
Martin Cathrae/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Bill Pope knows a thing or two about prison phones. He’s the president of NCIC, a service provider for phones in Texas detention centers. He also knows about how the phones affect lives.

Inmates in Texas prisons and jails use pay phones every day. It’s hard to understate the importance of pay phones when they’re inmates’ only line to the outside world.

He is known only as Case 0408. The remains of a middle-aged male immigrant were discovered in Jim Hogg County, Texas, on Nov. 3, 2009. Six belongings are the only things in the universe that may help identify him: a beat-up sneaker, a size L pullover shirt and hoodie, a ring found sewn into the waistband of his pants, a red and black lucha libre wrestler's mask, and a stuffed smiley lion.

Manuel Fernando Gutiérrez/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

CrowdStrike – a cybersecurity firm – has linked malware used in the hacking of the Democratic National Convention’s emails to similar malware used by the Ukrainian army against pro-Russia separatists, the Washington Post reports.

Myriams-fotos/Pixabay (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month state officials granted Child Protective Services (CPS) an emergency request to give the agency an additional $150 million to raise pay for current employees and hire 800 more.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: After more than a year of delays, Texas is officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program.

In a move that could affect thousands of low-income women, state health officials on Tuesday delivered a final legal notice to defund the organization from the Medicaid program through which it provides family planning and women’s health services to the poor. 

Max Goldberg/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A new Texas nonprofit is hosting an “Opening Day 2017” event the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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