Texas

Texas Standard
12:01 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Wendy Davis on the Governor's Race, Her First Filibuster, and 'Forgetting to Be Afraid'

Wendy Davis visited Austin recently for a book signing.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Days after asking the Texas Ethics Commission to look into the Wendy Davis book tour, the Greg Abbott campaign has filed a complaint with the commission, alleging that it's a violation of Texas law.

The Abbott campaign accuses Davis of using political contributions to fund the promotion of the book from which she is profiting. The Davis campaign calls the charge frivolous.  Charges of campaign ethics violations are not rare during election season, relied upon by partisans of all stripes to accuse rivals of wrongdoing. At a recent book signing in Austin, Davis did not speak to reporters. But Davis did stop by the Texas Standard studio to talk with host David Brown about her memoirs--and her decision to step into the political spotlight.

Here are the interview highlights:

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2014 Elections
7:47 am
Thu September 11, 2014

One Group of Texas Voters Contradicts State's Low Turnout Rates

In 2012, among voters 70 plus in Texas, turnout was more than 60 percent, according to Census Bureau data.
Callie Richmond/The Texas Tribune

Texas has historically low rates of voter turnout. In the last gubernatorial election in 2010, less than a third of eligible voters cast a ballot.

That was the second lowest turnout in the nation that November, but one group of voters has proven pretty reliable – even in Texas.

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Border & Immigration
7:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Texas Lawmakers Get Update on Health and Welfare of Children from Central America

At a Texas House Child Protection Committee hearing on Sept. 10, 2014, officials gave updates on the health of unaccompanied children from Central America living in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas lawmakers got an update yesterday on children who’ve crossed the southern border illegally over the last several months.

Officials expressed concern about the unaccompanied children's health and welfare at a hearing of a Texas House Child Protection Committee hearing.

The number of unaccompanied children crossing the border has been dropping over the summer. About 54,000 have crossed the border, and 4,000 of them have settled in Texas, so far.

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Texas Legislature
7:57 am
Wed September 10, 2014

White Student Enrollment in Texas Higher Ed is Down for the Third Straight Year

For the third year in a row, white student enrollment in Texas' public colleges and universities is down, while minority group numbers are up.
KUT News

More people are attending public colleges and universities in Texas, but members of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education heard this week that the increases are not across all groups.

Susan Brown, the assistant commissioner of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for planning and accountability, told lawmakers on Tuesday that enrollment at Texas colleges is up by about 21,000 students right now, but enrollment among white students had declined for the third straight year.

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Same-Sex Marriage
7:25 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Plaintiffs Renew Their Challenge of Texas' Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Texas' same-sex marriage ban filed a brief in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 9, 2014.
photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

Two couples challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage are telling a federal appeals court that the ban, in their words, “defies logic."

In February, a federal judge in San Antonio struck down the voter-approved ban, but the state has appealed.

San Antonio attorney Neel Lane with Akin Gump represents the plaintiffs challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In written arguments to the appeals court filed yesterday [read PDF version of brief], he reiterates the claim that the ban is unconstitutional.

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Texas
10:29 am
Tue September 9, 2014

How Advances in Tech and Research Could Help Battle Future Drought

Climatologists could one day predict the viability of soil by measuring and forecasting moisture levels.
Courtesy of the Lower Colorado River Authority

A couple years ago UT Professor Zong-Liang Yang was at a conference on extreme weather in the Netherlands. It was 2012, just one year after the worst single-year drought in Texas history.

When it came to discussing extreme weather, Texas seemed like a good place to be.  He suggested to colleagues that their next conference should take place in the Lone Star State.

Two years later, he and dozens of some of the world’s leading climate experts from 10 different countries have descended upon UT-Austin to talk about improving our ability to forecast and prepare for extreme weather. They seem confident that they're making progress.

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2014 Elections
7:04 am
Tue September 9, 2014

As Abbott Questions Legality of Davis' Book Tour, Experts Find Little Precedent

Whether Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis can promote her memoir out Sept. 9, 2014 and still abide by Texas campaign finance laws is being questioned by the campaign of her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott.
Credit Blue Rider Press

State Sen. Wendy Davis’ memoir comes out today, though the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s book has already caused some controversy. In it, she shares the stories of two abortions she had for medical reasons.

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign, however, is focusing on another issue – whether she can promote her book and still abide by Texas campaign finance laws. Abbott’s campaign asked the state’s campaign finance regulator to weigh in Monday.

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Texas
4:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Why ISIS is Using a Texas Prisoner in a Bargaining Ploy

Protesters march in support of the release of Aafia Siddiqui.
flickr.com/forpeace

She’s been called “Lady al-Qaeda” for her obvious connection to the terrorist organization, but why is the self-proclaimed Islamic State now demanding the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for U.S. prisoners? 

Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence in a federal prison in Fort Worth for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Now ISIS is using her as a bargaining chip – but how did Siddiqui’s release become a negotiation tactic? 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to religious scholar Dr. Reza Aslan, who says the group is wagering Siddiqui's release to gain influence and ideological inroads in Pakistan. 

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Texas Standard
3:12 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

No More Books: This San Antonio Library Went Digital

Bexar BiblioTech

Bibliotech, the first-ever entirely digital library in the United States, will celebrate its first anniversary this month. The Bexar County space, which contains no physical books, still offers readers and researchers the traditional library experience of a quiet environment, or speaking with a librarian in person.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with head librarian Ashley Eklof about Bibliotech and how it is changing the landscape of public libraries in America.

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HB2
5:23 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Abortion Provider To Reopen Clinic in Texas, Expands to New Mexico

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, stands outside the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

A federal appeals court will hear arguments next week over Texas’ new abortion law, after a federal judge in Austin struck down parts of that law last week.

Since that ruling, one abortion provider announced plans to reopen at least one clinic that closed due to the new requirements, and it says it will add a new clinic in New Mexico.

The company is also launching an initiative intended to remove what it calls the stigma of abortion.

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Texas Standard
9:06 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Meet the Sewer Fishing King of Katy, Texas

Kyle Nagley estimates he's caught about 500 fish in his sewer drain.
Youtube

There's a grand tradition in Texas of going down to the old fishing hole, but sometimes the fishing hole isn't the pastoral setting that comes to mind.

Kyle Nagley, 16, has pioneered – and some might say created – the art of sewer fishing.

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Texas
7:31 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Texas Welfare Rate Among Lowest in Country

A map showing the percentage of households in 2012 that received public assistance in the past 12 months.
U.S. Census Bureau

Texas has one of the nation's lowest rates of people on welfare, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. It says 1.8 percent of Texas households received benefits through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program in 2012. 

Only Wyoming (1.7 percent), South Carolina (1.6 percent), North Dakota (1.5 percent) and Louisiana (1.5 percent) had lower welfare rates than Texas. The United States average is 2.9 percent. The tally did not include food stamps or Social Security benefits. 

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HB2
5:02 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Provisions of Texas Abortion Law

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A federal judge in Austin has struck down several parts of House Bill 2, the controversial abortion law passed by the Texas Legislature last year.

The provisions were set to go into effect on Monday.

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Politics
9:25 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Texas Gubernatorial Candidates Differ Most on Education, Wendy Davis Says

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, talks about education in Austin on Aug. 27, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat running for Texas governor, talked education in Austin today. She offered few specifics on what she would do, but instead tried to highlight differences between her and her opponent.

Sen. Davis says she and Attorney General Greg Abbott couldn’t be any more different on how they view education in Texas.

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Texas Standard
4:12 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Is ISIS a Real Threat to the Texas Border?

U.S. Army soldiers in the Qarah Cham village in Iraq, March 27, 2007.
Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/U.S. Air Force

Texans are still talking about Gov. Rick Perry's statements this week on the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terror group, known by the acronym ISIS.

Gov. Perry told an audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation that "ISIS or other terrorists" could have crossed into the U.S. through the Mexican border. "I think there is a very real possibility that they may have already used that," Perry said. 

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Aging
7:39 am
Fri August 22, 2014

As Austin's South Asian Community Swells, Seniors Seek More Interaction

The growing community of South Asian seniors in Austin are pushing for more opportunities to cook and eat together as their numbers swell.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

South Asian Indians make up the largest portion of Asian Americans in Austin, and within that group, seniors need meals and social interaction as much as anyone else. Many are isolated at home, however, and say free meal delivery programs don’t follow dietary restrictions.

As a result, a growing group of seniors of South Asian descent want a community kitchen to help meet their needs.

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Perry Indictment
9:09 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Rick Perry's Attorneys Dismiss Claim Veto Had Link to Cancer Agency Probe

Gov. Rick Perry arrives at the Travis County criminal justice center to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken on Aug. 19, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's legal team is fighting back against allegations from his political opponents, who have suggested the reason Perry vetoed funding for a legal unit that investigates public corruption was because it was investigating him.

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Texas Standard
9:31 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Would You Eat an Energy Bar Made of Crickets?

Would you eat an energy bar made out of this guy?
flickr.com/gemmastiles

Wake up, make yourself some coffee … and eat an energy bar made out of crickets?

One Austin company is betting that you'll change your habits, just as long as you don't mind eating bugs. John Tucker is the owner of Hopper Foods, which makes a protein-rich, gluten-free energy bar made out of cricket flour. 

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Perry Indictment
11:15 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Perry Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Charges

Gov. Rick Perry addresses a gathered crowd of media, supporters and protesters at the Travis County Courthouse where he surrendered himself to county authorities to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry has pled not guilty to charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, both felonies. The charges stem from Perry's threat to veto funding for the Travis County District Attorney's anti-corruption unit, unless DA Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.

The governor and his lawyers decided to waive Friday's scheduled arraignment at the Travis County courthouse. Perry's private lawyer David Botsford submitted the waiver of arraignment to the court yesterday when he was booked at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday.

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Perry Indictment
6:00 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Governor Perry Booked on Two Felony Counts

Gov. Rick Perry's booking photo on August 19, 2014.
Travis County Sheriff's Office

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been booked at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Complex in Austin on two felony counts: Abuse of Official Capacity and Coercion of a Public Servant.

Perry was fingerprinted and photographed and then left the courthouse.

The charges stem from Perry’s threat to veto state funding for a Travis County based investigative unit with jurisdiction over state officials, unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned in the wake of a DWI conviction.

Speaking at the courthouse today, Perry called his indictment a political witch hunt.

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