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

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From Texas Standard:

The Dallas Morning News is making some news of its own: the editorial board announced Tuesday that it recommends Hillary Clinton for president.

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

The federal government is accusing Texas of circulating “inaccurate or misleading information” to poll workers and would-be voters about relaxed identification requirements for the November elections.

“Limited funds are being spent on inaccurate materials,” the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in a legal filing Tuesday.

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From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story uses first names only because of an ongoing case with Child Protective Services.

Since at least the 1970s, researchers in Texas have been calling substance use a "family affair." A study by the Texas Research Institute's Drug Abuse Clinic compared two groups of families similar to each other in every aspect – from socio-economic status to ethnic background. The only difference was that one group had at least one family member who was an addict. The study found fathers dealing with drugs were critical and arrogant, mothers were disenfranchised and children were bitter and resentful.

That was in the '70s, but the story is not so different today.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The debate over campus carry across Texas has been a noisy one – and nowhere’s been noisier than the University of Texas at Austin. You've likely heard about the student protests, the counter-protests, and, of course, the sex toys.

But now a YouTube video has upped the ante on the outrage scale.

Matamoros Planning Commission

From Texas Standard:

Texan and Mexican border cities are often interconnected - for example, Brownsville and its sister city of Matamoros are seen as one binational urban area.

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From Texas Standard:

About 10 percent of the country’s homeless youth live in Texas – that means more than 100,000 young people don’t have a steady place to live. Austin and San Antonio are two of three U.S. cities participating in a 100-day challenge to reduce a systemic aspect of youth homelessness.

Ana Ramirez/Victoria Advocate

From Texas Standard:

Texas oyster reefs have taken a beating over the past several years. It started with Hurricane Ike in 2008, followed by drought and then flooding. Now the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is making some changes to how oysters are fished in Texas waters.


Reshma Kirpalani for KUT

In 2010, when the Bastrop Education Foundation approved a grant for a children's songwriting workshop, they had no idea what music would spring forth.

The idea was for New York-based composer Jim Papoulis to travel to the Central Texas, meet with Bastrop County's school children and help them craft the lyrics for a tune. 

Papoulis was set to arrive in the fall of 2011. That September, the most destructive wildfires in Texas history struck Bastrop.

Geralt/Pixabay (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Thanks to computers and cameras in things we use and wear, there’s more data available about us than ever before. Whatever you’re doing right now, you’re producing data. Whether you’re walking your dog, sitting in traffic, or jogging on the treadmill, you are leaving a trail of data points behind you like bread crumbs.

D. Jude/Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas is being invaded by an aquatic menace. No, I’m not talking about Alligators or Barracudas, I’m talking about Zebra mussels. At the very least you’ve probably heard that name in passing, as scientists and state officials alike have labeled them the scourge of Texas lakes and waterways.


Robert W. Hart for The Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

After the tragic sniper shooting of police officers on July 7, Dallas Police Chief David Brown was thrust into the national spotlight. Brown's tenure as Dallas' top cop has been tumultuous at times. But after the shootings, the 33-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department suddenly became a rock for the city's recovery.

Courtesy Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Police shootings from around the country have often topped the news for the past year, but details about how much they happen, and who these shootings affect most, have been sparse. The Texas Tribune spent nearly a year putting together a digital project exploring the number of shootings they could independently confirm have happened between 2010 and 2015.

"Unholstered: When Texas Police Pull the Trigger" looks at officer-involved shootings in 36 of the state’s major Texas cities with over 100,000 residents. The project comes complete with data visualizations and six in-depth articles that dig into the data’s implications.

Screenshot from elucy.org

From Texas Standard:

Until now, Lucy’s death has been a mystery. She’s the famous 3.2-million-year-old fossil scientists say is one of the oldest skeletons of an erect-walking human ancestor. Her bones were discovered in Ethiopia back in 1974 but we didn't know how she died. 

Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Conservatives already love to bash Austin — that bag-ban loving, Uber-hating, Democrat-electing enclave in the center of the most Republican mega state in the country. 

Now the Texas capital city is poised to get the biggest target yet on its back: it is likely to become the first true “sanctuary city” in GOP-ruled Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

State lawmakers are set to hear testimony this morning on how to address affordable housing needs throughout Texas.

Bill Lile/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Walmart sells everything from guns to grapefruit. But right now, it can't sell liquor – at least not in Texas. The mega-retailer is going to court to change that, but liquor store owners are fighting the effort, alongside the state of Texas.

Some of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's rules preventing Walmart from selling liquor date back to the end of Prohibition. But the big-box store corporation argues the rules amount to unconstitutional discrimination.


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

From Texas Standard:

A few weeks ago the U.S. Department of Justice announced they will end federal use of privately run prisons. Now their attention has turned to the country’s use of private immigration detention facilities.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement Monday that he has ordered the homeland security advisory council to review processes and costs related to these facilities.


Terry McCombs/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Sam Espinosa was a kid, it took a while for Austin Independent School District to learn he was homeless.

"My mom is a fairly private person – she was never one to let anyone else into,  you know, what we were going through," Espinosa says.

So, Sam and his five siblings became fairly good at pretending they had a place to live.


Michael Rose/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Department of Public Safety is asking for $1 billion to fund its border operations next year. But the state comptroller has been issuing warnings about a possible need for budgetary belt tightening.

But the department says it needs the money to buy new border cameras, replace aging vehicles, buy two helicopters, four planes and, perhaps most significantly, double the number of troops at the border – upping the number of troops at the border to 500.


Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Along with other Texas lawmakers,  state Rep. Diego Bernal, a Democrat from San Antonio, has been getting an earful from all sides on problems with public education in Texas.

But rather than taking someone else's word for it, he did what no other lawmaker has yet to do – he visited every single school in his district, 55 in all.