Texas

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

WhisperToMe/Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

From Texas Standard:

For years, Texas lawmakers have been trying to stem the bleeding of the state's health care plan for retired teachers. The plan has been at risk of going unfunded for nearly two decades because of demographic and economic changes, including more retirees and rising health care costs. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers took steps to make up for the plan's $1 billion shortfall  .

Stefan Krasowski/Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile capability over the weekend. It launched a guided missile with a range of at least 3,400 miles. It landed in the Sea of Japan. Experts say such a missile could reach Alaska, but North Korea does not yet have the capability to arm one with a nuclear warhead.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, nearly two years into his fight against state securities fraud charges, is continuing to get plenty of help from his friends to cover his soaring legal bills.

The Republican accepted nearly $218,000 in 2016 earmarked for his legal defense from “family friends” and others who Paxton says are exempted from state bribery laws that bar elected officials from receiving gifts from parties subject to their authority, according to a newly released financial disclosure statement.

U.S. Census Bureau/Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

From Texas Standard:

The upcoming special legislative session is likely to provide just as many fireworks as the regular session did. Among the most controversial issues on the table is the contentious debate between the House and Senate over "private school choice."

Doug Young for The Texas Tribune

MCALLEN — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waded into this Democratic stronghold Tuesday to celebrate the Fourth of July — and predictably got an earful from protesters, many upset with the Senate's efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

An article by New Yorker staff writer and Texas resident Lawrence Wright makes the case that Texas is a political bellwether. In "America's Future Is Texas," Wright argues that, indeed, as Texas goes, so goes the nation — politically speaking, at any rate.

Drone Classes Take Flight At The University Of Houston

Jul 4, 2017
Michael Hagerty / Houston Public Media

They’re filming a remake of The Fast and the Furious movies on the University of Houston campus. Well, sort of.

Instead of Dodge Chargers and Corvettes, they’re using golf carts. And instead of Vin Diesel at the wheel, there are students. They’re using a drone to emulate a (much slower) version of a chase scene from The Fast and the Furious films in order to demonstrate the video production capabilities of drones.

Tony Hisgett/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

A new program helps first responders with work-related trauma avoid criminal prosecution if they commit a crime. House Bill 3391, which is now law, gives counties the option to set up specialty courts to divert people into treatment rather than jail.

Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

From Texas Standard:

Some eyebrow-raising comments made in 2009 by a then-member of the Baylor University Board of Regents made headlines in Texas this weekend.

Mengwen Cao/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The week began with expectations that by now, the Senate would be preparing for a vote on the GOP health care plan – perhaps over the holiday weekend. But that's not going to happen because Republican leaders couldn't muster the votes.

Joey Palacios / TPR

From Texas Standard:

On Monday, a San Antonio federal judge heard arguments in what could be a lengthy legal battle over Senate Bill 4, also known as the “sanctuary cities” law.

Tamir Kalifa for the Texas Tribune

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lower court ruling that favored of government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits and sent the Houston case back to trial court for reconsideration.

Photo courtesy Palmer Fireworks

From Texas Standard:

If you're a Texan trying to make it in the fireworks business, take some cues from the products themselves: You've got to get off the ground and blow up in short order.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

At airports in big cities across Texas and around the country, part of the president's new travel ban is taking effect, in the wake of this week's Supreme Court ruling that some aspects of the ban could be enforced. The court will fully consider the ban, and the lower court rulings that blocked portions of it, when its new term begins in October. For now, travelers from the six predominantly Muslim countries included in the ban will be barred from the U.S. unless they can show a "bona fide relationship" with someone in this country. That includes relatives and employers, and other unspecified connections to the U.S.

Photo Courtesy of Houston Forensic Science Center

From Texas Standard:

By now you’ve likely heard of fentanyl, one of the narcotics at the center of the nation’s opioid crisis. But now, authorities in Houston are issuing an urgent warning that goes beyond the narrative of addiction. Officials have found a powerful analogue of fentanyl, carfentanil, a drug so powerful that mere skin contact can lead to lethal exposure.

KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Plaintiffs have filed a new lawsuit challenging the University of Texas at Austin's race-based admission rules. Unlike a well-known case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the new suit was filed in state court, and bases its claims on the Texas Constitution and state statutes. Because the Supreme Court ruled in Fisher v. University of Texas that UT-Austin could retain its race-based admission system, it is unclear how the new case will fair.

Christopher Rose

The city of El Paso voted on Tuesday to join the growing list of local governments that have filed a legal challenge in hopes of stopping Texas’ new immigration enforcement law from going into effect.

joenevill/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Senate Bill 4, known as the “show me your papers” law to its opponents, currently faces a challenge in a San Antonio federal court. If the law takes effect, police in Texas will be able to ask people they stop about their immigration status.

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

From Texas Standard:

It has been more than seven years since U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot and killed Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican boy. Hernandez and his friends were standing on the Mexican side of a culvert that separates Ciudad Juárez from El Paso, throwing rocks at Mesa.

Leif Hinrichsen/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The White House warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad publicly Monday night that if his regime carried out another chemical weapons attack, it would pay a “heavy price.” The statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the “United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.” It said the preparations were similar to those before the April 4 sarin gas attack that killed dozens of Syrians.

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