Texas

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

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. 

The Story of the Alamo's Second Siege

Jan 6, 2016
Ernst Wilhelm Raba, San Antonio Conservation Society via Portal to Texas History 2010-0053BR

A militant group is now in day five of its occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. And, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Texas historically has seen its own share of standoffs involving armed militias.

It’s safe to say that every single one of the six flags that have flown over Texas have experienced armed resistance in one way or another over the years. But the state’s most famous siege, the Alamo, spawned yet another siege of its own 70 years later, when a beleaguered Daughter of the Texas Republic barricaded herself in a decrepit, rat-infested building that was once the mission's convent.

Image via imwithlizzie.com

From Texas Standard:

As the new year gets off to a start, many folks are looking for that "new year new you" combination of resolutions.

Why Texas is a Hotbed for Tropical Diseases

Jan 6, 2016
Image via Flickr/US Department of Agriculture (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Heavy rains capped by periods of hot muggy weather, spare tires holding standing water, mosquitoes and fleas carrying dangerous strains of diseases that threaten the local populace. You’re probably picturing the Philippines or maybe Haiti, but what if I told you this scene is right here in Texas?

Federal immigration agents have initiated a controversial roundup of Central American families who were part of the border surge that began in 2014.

They are mainly young mothers with children whose asylum claims have been rejected. The Homeland Security Department says 121 have been picked up out of more than 100,000 immigrants who crossed the border illegally.

At a shelter home in East Austin, the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, have terrified immigrants here who lost their cases and await deportation.

Image via Flickr/Emil Pakarklis (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

At any given time of the year, there are anywhere between 115,000 and 135,000 active military men and women serving the armed forces from the state of Texas. These men and women are stationed across the globe.

Image via Stella M. Chávez/KERA News

From Texas Standard:

Emotions can run high after a natural disaster. After the Christmas weekend twisters in North Texas, many have been asking what could have been done to better prepare for such an event.

The answer may be much more than previously thought.

 


Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

From the Texas Tribune: Intervening in what could be a landmark decision, the Obama Administration, state and federal lawmakers and medical experts asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to overturn Texas’ 2013 abortion law, which could shut down about half of the state’s 19 remaining abortion clinics.

In 45 amicus briefs filed to the Supreme Court, opponents of the Texas abortion law known as House Bill 2 argued that restrictions under the law are unconstitutional because they impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions and would do little to improve women’s health.


Image via Flickr/Joe Gratz (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

We often hear about achievement gaps and income gaps, but a new commission in Texas is tasked to address a “justice gap.” They warn that a growing number of people make too much money to qualify for legal aid but aren’t wealthy enough to afford legal services on their own.


Image via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

What do three Atlanta-based rappers, a professor from the University of Richmond and a 50-year-old lawyer in Dallas have in common?

No, this isn't the beginning of a bad joke – these men have all stepped up to protect the speech rights of Taylor Bell, a young man that was suspended from his high school for recording a song that alleged sexual misconduct toward female students by two of the school's coaches.

 


The celebrations for the new year also marked a new open-carry gun law taking effect in Texas. Handgun license holders in Texas will now be allowed to carry their guns in visible holsters on their hip or shoulder.

Previously, Texans wanting to carry a handgun had to obtain a concealed handgun license and conceal their weapon. With the new law, the more than 826,000 state license holders will be allowed to openly display their handguns in most public places.

Todd Wiseman/Callie Richmond via Texas Tribune

Underage Texas women seeking abortions without their parents' consent will face a tougher set of legal hurdles in the new year.

State law already requires minors — those under age 18 — to get sign-off from at least one parent before receiving an abortion, unless doing so could put the young woman in danger of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In those cases, a judge can be asked to approve the procedure.

Michael Tefft/Texas Tribune

As of today, a new state gun law is in effect: Open carry begins today, meaning that license holders are able to openly carry their weapons.

But, will those license holders who already carry concealed handguns opt to start carrying openly instead? How will Texas police officers know if an individual is brandishing a firearm, or just legally openly carrying? And, what if a business doesn’t want firearms on its premises—can it ban open carry?

KUT's Jennifer Stayton spoke with Austin Police Department Chief of Staff Brian Manley to find out more about what changes the law brings.

From the Texas Tribune

A "winter solstice" display by the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been ordered removed from the Texas Capitol after Gov. Greg Abbott called it a "juvenile parody."

The display had been approved by the State Preservation Board, of which Abbott is chairman, after it was sponsored by state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. 

Photo via Bland's social media account

From Texas Standard:

In a highly anticipated decision earlier this week, the grand jury refused to issue any indictments related to the death of Sandra Bland.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant on July 10 in Prairie View, Texas. She had allegedly failed to use her turn signal while changing lanes and was pulled over. After her arrest, she went through intake and was booked into Waller County jail. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell.

 


Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman

Texas universities would violate the state's new campus carry law if they banned guns in dormitories, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a non-binding opinion issued Monday afternoon. 

That opinion goes against recommendations made by a task force at the University of Texas at Austin, which suggested banning guns in dorms in a report to university President Greg Fenves earlier this month. 

Image via Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The average American family will spend $900 this holiday season. If you are among the lucky 22 percent of Americans who will get a bonus this season – that's probably what you'll use. The majority of us in situations like these that require extra cash look for alternatives.

Perhaps you've seen commercials like this one: A camera zooms in and out shooting some pretty nice trucks and cars. Vehicle owners point to bumper stickers that reflect their personalities. The images in the commercial may vary but the message is the same: if you own your car, borrow money from us. Just let us keep your car title as security.

 


Image via Flickr/Rachel Johnson (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The next military conflict might not start with a bomb, but with a blackout.

National security experts have long warned that the United States’ infrastructure was vulnerable to hackers abroad. A few high profile cases have made headlines in recent years. In 2012 and 2013, Russian hackers were able to get into the U.S. public utilities and power generators to send and receive encrypted messages.

 


Image via Flickr/Adam Barhan (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you attended the Texas Craft Brewers festival earlier this year, you saw the work of more than 60 of those craft brewers. It was an opportunity for these breweries to get their brands and their beers in front of the drinking public because many haven’t been around for very long.

Image via Flickr/MSC U13 (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Soccer star Abby Wambach suited up for the last time as a member of the US women's national team last night. Wambach ends her career with 184 goals scored in international play. That's the most by any player, man or woman: Two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup. Her accomplishments led some, including the President, to call her the GOAT – the Greatest Of All Time.

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