Texas

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

Photo via Office of the Attorney General

From Texas Standard:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has vowed to beat the odds and quash online sports gambling. Even if you don't play daily fantasy sports, you've probably encountered the names of the sites: Draft Kings, Fan Duel. They advertise incessantly so you might be tempted to admit that's a measure of their prominence and popularity.

Despite that popularity, those sites may soon be gone from Texas. Paxton says sites that charge players to compete cannot operate legally in the state.


Image via Dennis Foley

From Texas Standard:

As you made your way up Austin’s West 5th Street in the past few days you may have noticed a little ch-ch-change in street signage. Woe be to the vandals of such an affront to city property.

I stopped a few passers-by to gauge their reaction:

“I wouldn’t consider it as vandalism. It’s a tribute.”

“Austin is known as the music capital of the world. If we’re going to call it the music capital of the world, when someone as prominent in music as David Bowie passes away, I don’t see anything wrong with doing something like this .”

“I was born and raised here and love David Bowie and I think it’s a perfect city for it. And it’s a tiny street, too. Why not? It’s only a couple blocks long. Why not?”

 


Image via Twitter/GregAbbott_TX

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott is on his third official international trip since being sworn in last January. Yesterday in Jerusalem, the Governor met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week Abbott said the purpose of the upcoming meeting was to promote business ties abroad.

However, since news broke over the weekend of the U.S. prisoner swap and an end to sanctions against Iran, Monday's meeting seemed more like a political trip. That’s left some scratching their heads, and others nodding in approval.

 


Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: While placing bets on fantasy sports sites might involve skill, there is still an element of chance that equates such leagues with illegal gambling in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion released Tuesday.

The "odds are favorable that a court would conclude that participation in paid daily fantasy sports leagues constitutes illegal gambling," Paxton said in the nine-page opinion. But "participation in traditional fantasy sport leagues that occurs in a private place where no person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings and the risks of winning or losing are the same for all participants does not involve illegal gambling."

Image courtesy Texas A&M

From Texas Standard:

Who would have thought that in the annals of the dull, ordinary and all-too-predictable layout of the modern office cubicle, there’d be a development that captured pretty much everyone’s imagination? Standing desks – it seems like everyone glued to a cubicle wants one. In many office settings, people while away their days sitting and, let’s face it, snacking.

 


Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The national debate over whether Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is eligible to be President continues. The fact that Cruz was born on Canadian soil to an American mother has constitutional legal scholars at odds over whether he meets the criteria for the nation's top office.

Now a Houston attorney has filed a suit further questioning Cruz’s eligibility and asking the Supreme Court to define the term, "natural-born citizen."

 


Image via Flickr/Kim Davies (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address this week – and yet still there are those in this country who would argue he was never eligible to be president. These so-called "birther" arguments are now haunting GOP Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz says it's a non-issue, but one particularly outspoken opponent disagrees.

 


Image via Twitter/TiffsTreats

From Texas Standard:

When you think about childhood, many think of the cool feel of your skin in the rain, the flickering candles on your birthday cake and the warm bite of freshly baked cookie.

Image via Flickr/Jarrod Carruthers (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

HELP!

That's the message coming from two environmental groups petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Caddo Lake Institute are asking the EPA to take over enforcing federal air and water laws in Texas. But why?

Environmental Defense Fund's regional director Jim Marston says the petition asks the EPA to take back authority that they delegated to the state "when Texas made certain promises about how they would run the federal programs."

 


Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The new trend in quilting is called modern quilting, inspired by modern art.

“Traditional quilts usually follow this column and row format and modern quilters tend to change that traditional grid pattern up,” says Heather Grant, director of marketing and programming for the Modern Quilt Guild.

 


Image via Texas Department of Public Safety 2014 Report

From Texas Standard:

This story involves sensitive material that may upset some readers.

On Thursday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will publicly announce the state's new human trafficking unit, with Kirsta Melton at the helm. Melton has been working on human trafficking cases since 2009.

She says she’ll never forget her first case, which involved a 13-year-old girl.

 


Why Are There So Few Basements in Texas?

Jan 12, 2016
Christopher Connelly/KERA

Growing up in Indiana, Phil Crone loved having a bedroom in the basement.

“It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t know the difference noon and 6 a.m.,” he says. “It was wonderful.”

So when Crone, who now heads the Dallas Builders Association, moved down to Texas, he started asking why there are so few basements. After all, meteorologists say basements are one of the best places to take shelter during a tornado. 

Photo via Flickr/thepaco (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The race to keep horse racing alive in Texas is on its last leg. The latest battle in the war between the legislature and the industry involves an accusation that Texas is using an unconstitutional maneuver to threaten the viability of racing.

Photo via Flickr/fattytuna (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The last time a Walmart opened in Austin was six years ago. It opened, but not without a massive fight that lasted years.

Hope Morrison was one of hundreds who testified against Walmart and Lincoln properties – the developer in the deal. She spoke before the Austin City Council in 2006.

 


Image via Flickr/Phil Darnell (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

We’ve got some great news for you shellfish lovers out there – mudbug season has begun! Not quite yet, but thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures, delicious crawfish have made their way into restaurants and markets across Southeast Texas.

Image via txs.uscourts.gov (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard: 

Update (11 a.m. CT):  After a 40-minute hearing, Al Hardan has been ordered to be held without bond until his detention hearing on Wednesday.

Original story: Thursday, two Iraqi-born refugees were arrested on terror-related charges – one right here in Texas, the other in California.

via Flickr/jdg32373

Blue Bell officials say they are still finding Listeria bacteria in their facilities, but that their enhanced cleaning procedures are working. 

"Because Listeria is commonly found in the natural environment, no manufacturer can ever assume it can be entirely eradicated," the company says in a written statement on their website. Blue Bell says none of its products shipped since their August relaunch have contained the food-borne bacteria, but adds that "no manufacturer can ever assume [Listeria] can be eradicated."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Federal agents have arrested a 24-year-old Iraqi man who immigrated to Houston four years ago and charged him as a terror suspect allegedly aligned with the Islamic State, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston.

In a three-count indictment, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a Palestinian born in Iraq, was charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Image via Flickr/Paul Weaver (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Tonight, President Barack Obama will speak and take questions at a televised town hall hosted by CNN.

The topic? Guns – specifically, the administration's new executive orders on gun control.

 


Texas Department of Public Safety

Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed.

The charge against the lawman stems from the trooper's statement at the time of her arrest on July 10 about why he felt he needed to pull her out of her own vehicle, Jordan told The Texas Tribune. 

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