Texas

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

Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said this week, "Eight, as you know, is not a good number for a multi-member court."

To wit: Texans are waiting for a Supreme Court decision over state abortion restrictions this session, but the court isn’t at full-strength after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia last year. This raises the possibility of a potential stalemate. And a tie among the highest court in the country doesn't get a do-over – it just means the lower court ruling stands.


Bob Daemmerich/Texas Tribune

Long before Trump University fell in the crosshairs of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, one of Donald Trump's fellow Republicans drew a bead on the now-defunct school: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Over the past week, the Brazos River has risen to its highest level in more than 100 years. The rains that caused the overflow have led to at least six deaths in Texas.

Meteorologists are predicting that some 10 inches of rain will fall in the Houston area over the next several days. If so, we may be looking at another round of devastation in the fourth largest city in the nation. Houston has activated its emergency operations center.


Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton intends to rise to the challenge of that old Texas motto: Come and Take It.


Flickr/Julio César Mesa (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The store shelves are bare. Food riots are growing. Patients are dying at hospitals because supplies are exhausted. Major airlines are discontinuing service to this country, and yet it is home to the largest reserve of underground oil in the world.

Venezuela, just to the south, may not be top of the news but what happens there next is important to us here in Texas.

 


Alex Steffler/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today marks the beginning of hurricane season – and with it, stories about hurricane preparedness. There's no shortage of them, seeing as how we've recently capped off National Hurricane Preparedness Week. 

Michael Bilodeau

From Texas Standard:

1. “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” Davy Crockett said this angrily after losing his Tennessee bid for the U.S. Congress.

I think he really said, “Y’all can go to hell,” but grammatical purity likely corrupted the original transcription.

 


Roy Luck/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old Texan arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant at a traffic stop on July 10, 2015, ended up in jail in part because she didn’t have $500 to make bail. Robert Durst, on the other hand, was arrested in New Orleans on charges of murder for slaying a friend, then released on a $2.5 million bond.

Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) says those two disparate cases come to mind as examples of two separate systems of justice in the country: “One for the rich and one for the poor.”


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Grey humid weather brings some anxiety to the residents of Martindale in Central Texas. Many of them are still recovering from last year’s Memorial Day floods.


U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Flickr (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardData from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show apprehensions of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas-Mexico border has hit levels not seen since the 2014 border surge. There were more than 7,100 such cases in the Rio Grande sector last month alone.

Summer is the time we usually see spikes in illegal border crossings, so what does this mean for the coming season?


Momentum Instruction

From Texas Standard:

In Texas education, there always plenty of fodder still out there to spark outrage. Take a proposed social studies textbook titled “Mexican-American Heritage”submitted to the Texas Education Agency as required for review before appearing on bookshelves in the classroom.

Tony Diaz, an activist based in Houston and host of Nuestra Palabra on KPFT, says this book is the opposite of what activists and scholars, who have campaigned for more visibility of Latino stories in history, wanted to include in the Texas curriculum – in part because of its racist undertones.


klndonnelly/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Amid reports that Kenneth Starr, Baylor University's high-profile president, was fired this morning over a scandal related to the university's response to sexual assault allegations against football players, university officials said they expect to announce the results of an internal inquiry by June 3. They declined to directly address Starr's future.


Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

One phrase often heard this year: There's never been a political year like 2016. But that’s not exactly true.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Everyone needs a copy editor. (Thank you, Susan and Amy and Pam.)

Today, the Texas Republican Party is probably wishing it had one, too.

Pexels (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

This week, Texas lawmakers in both the Senate and House vowed to end the abuse of emergency leave for state workers.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, most low-income, black and Hispanic people were segregated to the east side of what is now IH-35 in Austin. Now, the same people who’ve lived in the area for decades are being pushed out. Old houses are torn down to make way for new ones and property taxes are rising rapidly.


Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

About a year ago, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett posted a haiku on Twitter:

Who would the Donald/Name to #SCOTUS? The mind/reels. *weeps — can't finish tweet*

Maybe those were tears of joy. 

Are Cops in Schools Creating a 'Climate of Fear?'

May 18, 2016
Flickr/Jan Paul Yap (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard: A viral video was making the rounds, showing a 12-year-old girl body slammed by a police officer in a San Antonio school. That officer has since been fired, but the incident raised concerns about 

Callie Richmond and Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students?

That's the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on the directive, which advises the nation's public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

From Texas Standard:

Friday morning the Obama administration issued a directive – what some on the right see as a decree – telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. If schools refuse to allow this, they could be in violation of the Civil Rights act of 1964.

The notice comes in the middle of a heated national debate over bathroom laws in public spaces, but it has no official force of law behind it. It amounts to what the New York Times calls an “implicit threat.”

Attached to the letter that went out to schools across the U.S., was a 25-page booklet of what are called emerging practices, or tips on how to comply.


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