Texas

Same-Sex Marriage
8:49 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Will Texas' Same-Sex Couples Benefit From New Federal Protections?

Cori Samilpa of Austin waves an LGBT flag as the 2013 Austin Pride Parade makes its way down Congress Avenue.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The U.S. Department of Justice says it will extend federal protections to all U.S. same-sex couples married legally – regardless of where they live.

That includes couples living in Texas – which has banned such marriages. So what does this federal decision mean for the state?

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Texas
11:24 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Governor Candidates Sparring Over 'Third World' Remark

Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

The latest debate between the major candidates for governor is taking place in the letters to the editor section of McAllen's newspaper, The Monitor. The sparring began after remarks about the border made by Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, in which he compared public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices.”

Abbott made the comment during a campaign stop in Dallas last week. Democrats immediately took issue with his comparison. His expected Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, joined them with a letter to The Monitor on Sunday. She called on Abbott to apologize for his remarks, disputing his comparison and calling it hurtful to the state and harmful to economic development in border communities.

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University of Texas
8:14 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Sources: Cigarroa to Step Down as UT Chancellor

UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at the House Select Committee hearing on Dec. 18, 2013
Credit photo by: Bob Daemmrich

Francisco Cigarroa, the chancellor of the University of Texas System, will announce Monday that plans to step down to become the head of the pediatric surgery unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, three sources tell The Texas Tribune.

Cigarroa's intention to resign his post was first reported late Sunday by the Austin American-Statesman. A Sunday release by the system said Cigarroa and Paul Foster, the chairman of the Board of Regents, will appear together at a Monday morning news conference at which the chancellor will make a "special announcement."

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Affordable Care Act
7:44 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Refugees in Texas Face Hurdles Signing Up for Obamacare Plans

Pastor John Monger, top right, worries about refugees understanding the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

This story is a result of a partnership with the Austin-American Statesman’s Tim Eaton and Kelly West. You can find more at Statesman.com.

By the end of March,  all people in the U.S. legally must have health insurance – or pay a tax penalty next year. That includes refugees, who often lack the English skills to understand the ins and outs of the insurance system.

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Texas
1:54 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Photos: Mack Brown & Wife Sally Honored by City

Mayor Lee Leffingwell proclaims January 30th as "Mack and Sally Brown Day." A small ceremony was held for the couple in the council chambers at City Hall.
Sam Ortega for KUT News

Former Longhorns head coach Mack Brown and wife  Sally were honored by the City of Austin last night.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell issued a proclamation marking Thursday, Jan. 30 as “Mack and Sally Brown Day” in the capitol city. Brown resigned in December after 16 seasons with 158-48 record, being replaced by Louisville’s Charlie Strong.

See photos of the event in the slideshow above.

Education
7:48 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Fewer Social Studies Requirements for Texas Students Worry Advocates

Next year, high school students will only have to take three years of social studies to graduate instead of four, which has advocates concerned about the role of social studies in an increasingly global society.
Ryan Stanton, Flickr

The State Board of Education will make its final decision today on new high school graduation requirements. The changes come after state lawmakers passed a bill last year that reduces the number of required courses to graduate. Among the changes: students only have to take three social studies classes to graduate instead of four.

In the early 1990s, Texas became the first state to require students to take four social studies classes to graduate. The change back to three has some worried that Texas students won’t be as prepared for an increasingly global society.

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Texas
11:26 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Almost Half of Texas Lacks Savings to Cover Job Loss, Medical Emergency

Volunteers sort food at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. A new report suggests almost half of Texas households aren’t financially prepared in the event of a job loss or health emergency.
Credit KUT News

Another national report card is out, and Texas households are still struggling to beef up their savings. 

Almost half of Texas households don’t have enough savings to pay for basic expenses for three months, which means most families aren’t prepared in the event of a job loss or health emergency.

According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s 2014 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, the state’s policies are also not helping residents achieve financial security.

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Texas
8:41 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Texas' Income Gap Widens as Minority Populations Grow

In Texas, poverty rates among Hispanics and African Americans are about 2.5 to 3 times higher than whites.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight. He’s expected to make a big deal about economic mobility and reducing income inequality in the U.S.

But the challenges are substantial when it comes to narrowing the divide. Texas has the eighth highest level of income inequality,  based on 2010 Census data.

"In terms of Texas, we have a lot of upper end income inequality," says Mark Frank, an economics professor at Sam Houston State University. "We have a lot of income inequality because we have the top 1 percent or .01 percent."

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Abortion
7:06 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Is Texas' Abortion Law an Undue Burden? What's at Stake in New Rules

A federal appeals court is deciding whether certain provisions of Texas’ new abortion law are unconstitutional by using the undue burden test.
photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

A federal appeals court is deciding whether certain provisions of Texas’ new abortion law are unconstitutional.

In making that decision, judges will have to weigh those provisions using what’s known as “the undue burden test.”

For two decades, judges have been weighing the constitutionality of abortion regulations using this concept.

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Texas
3:17 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Hospital In Texas Removes Life Support From Brain-Dead Woman

Timm Hobbs, along with his two sons, Keegan and Layton, were part of a group near John Peter Smith Hospital supporting the decision of JPS in the case of Marlise Munoz and her baby earlier this month.
Ben Noey Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:08 am

A Fort Worth, Texas, woman who was 14 weeks pregnant when she was found unconscious and brain-dead after suffering a pulmonary embolism, has been taken off life support after a weeks-long court battle by the hospital to keep the ventilator on.

A ventilator that had kept Marlise Munoz's heart and lungs functioning for two months was switched off at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, a family attorney said.

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Texas
3:16 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Judge Orders Pregnant, Brain-Dead North Texas Woman Removed From Life Support

Marlise Munoz, right, has been on life support since November. Her husband, Erick, is on the left.
Facebook

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:04 pm

A state district judge has ruled that Marlise Muñoz, the brain-dead North Texas woman who’s 22 weeks pregnant, must be removed from life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

The decision Friday afternoon comes after John Peter Smith Hospital declared publicly for the first time that Muñoz has indeed been brain dead since late November. The hospital also says the fetus inside Muñoz is "not viable."

For weeks, hospital officials had said she isn’t dead and that her condition is serious.

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Affordable Care Act
7:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

It's Official: Texas OKs Extra Rules, Training for Obamacare Navigators

Texas Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber listened to testimony at a public hearing on proposed rules for health insurance navigators in Austin on Dec. 20, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Texas now has extra requirements for Affordable Care Act navigators who help consumers find their way around the federally-run health insurance marketplace. 

Beginning at the end of 2013 and lasting through early January, the Texas Department of Insurance listened to public testimony and received more than 300 pages of written comments on the proposed rules.

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StateImpact Texas
1:36 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

How Climate Change Could Lead to More Massive Fish Kills in Texas

Dead fish washed ashore during a toxic bloom of golden algae in Canyon Lakes in Lubbock, Texas.
Credit Photo by Michael Hooper courtesy of USGS.

From the Asian Carp to the Zebra Mussel, Texas has its fair share of invasive species. Some of them get a lot of attention (I'm looking at you, voracious feral hog). Others tend to sneak under the radar even when they damage ecosystems.

Take Golden Algae. Originally from Europe, the microscopic plant was discovered on the Pecos River in 1985 when an algae bloom killed hundreds of thousands of fish. Since then, it has colonized other Texas river basins and killed millions more fish. Unlike deadly algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico that kill fish by taking all the oxygen, golden algae is, itself, toxic. Under the right circumstances, it produces a poison that kills fish and bivalves in the affected waters.

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Texas
12:00 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Texas Singer-Songwriter Steven Fromholz Dies

Steven Fromholz was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in March, 2003.
George Brainard, Austin, TX

Texas singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz died after a hunting accident this weekend near Eldorado, Texas. He was 68.

The Schleicher County Sheriff's Office told the Associated Press Fromholz was shot when a rifle discharged as it fell to the ground while being transferred from one vehicle to another.

Steven Fromholz was well-known in the Austin music scene and among fans of 1970s outlaw country. He was named a Texas Poet Laureate in 2007.

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Texas
11:12 am
Mon January 20, 2014

In These Gyms, Nobody Cares How You Look In Yoga Pants

Kendall Schrantz, center, stretches after a class at Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth.
Lauren Silverman for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:46 am

If you want to lift weights or use the treadmill at Downsize Fitness, you have to be at least 50 pounds overweight.

Kendall Schrantz is a fan – and a member.

The 24-year-old has struggled with her weight since she was in the second grade. The looks she got at other gyms made her uncomfortable.

But now she drives more than an hour to Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth three times a week, just to exercise.

"It's worth every single penny I paid for gas," she said. "It's worth the time I spend on the road, the miles."

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Texas
5:39 am
Mon January 20, 2014

How Access to Documents at Texas Presidential Libraries Is Changing

This in-person view of the stacks at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library will only be seen by groups that get clearance from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Texas has more presidential libraries than any other state. And they’re going through changes with regard to accessing classified documents.

On the 10th floor of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, the sound of archivists pushing wooden book trucks on the bright red carpet is a familiar one.

"We have a reading room where researches come to do the research, and we bring up the boxes that they need," Senior Archivist Regina Greenwall says. She's the team leader of the library's foreign policy staff. "And they work on them in the reading room under supervision. The stacks are where we keep things not in use or that have not already gone through the process of being opened."

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Texas
4:49 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

The North Texas Man Who Paid $350,000 To Hunt A Black Rhino Is Getting Death Threats

A North Texas man who paid $350,000 has received death threats.
Credit Frank Vassen / Flickr

A North Texas man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety.

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Texas
4:29 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Physicians Group Gives Texas a Failing Grade for Access to Emergency Care

Texas is failing in several categories when it comes to its emergency care environment, according to a new report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Nathan Bernier, KUT

Texas is failing in several categories when it comes to its emergency care environment, at least according to a report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians.   

Based near Dallas, the physicians group grades states each year on their emergency care environment.

This year, Texas gets an F, ranking 47th in the nation, for access to emergency care.

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Texas
11:09 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Higher Fees Coming to Austin Area Parks

Since the 2009 fee was charged, the elevated number of patrols and arrests has increased nearly 20%.
friendsofthehollow.com

The Travis County Commissioners Court has approved a park-use fee hike, raising entry fees at Hamilton Pool and Hippie Hollow, as well as increasing field reservation fees. Travis County's Park fees were last raised in 2009.

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UT Football
9:49 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Why The Race Of The New Football Coach At University Of Texas Matters

University of Texas president Bill Powers (left) and athletic director Steve Patterson (right) introduce new Longhorns head football coach Charlie Strong during a press conference January 6, 2014 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Erich Schlegel Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:59 pm

The Texas Longhorn football team is trying to regroup after several disappointing seasons under veteran coach Mack Brown.

The University of Texas hired Charlie Strong last week to usher in a new era in Austin. He will be the first black head coach of any men's sport at the university.

Strong has not been a popular hire with some of Texas' billionaire boosters, despite having led an impressive career since 1986.

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