Texas

Affordable Care Act
7:10 am
Tue November 18, 2014

As ACA Sign-Ups Begin, Here’s a Look At What All That Insurance Jargon Means

Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act lasts until Feb. 15, 2014. People have three months to learn the health insurance jargon they need to know.
healthcare.gov

Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is underway. If you’ve ever shopped for insurance, or had insurance, you know this involves lots of technical terms that might be confusing.

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Affordable Care Act
7:57 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Things to Know as Obamacare Enrollment Begins Again

Adrian Zeh, right, helps a health insurance consumer at the Foundation Communities center inside Austin's Highland Mall on Nov. 14, 2014.
KUT News

The first day of a new open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act is Nov. 15 and lasts three months, through Feb. 15.

This time around, Central Texas consumers have 115 plans to choose from, up from 80 last period, and nine insurance companies are participating in this rating area. Rating areas are usually based on counties.

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Texas Standard
3:24 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Listen: He Lost His Texas Twang – But Held On to So Much More

Ain't's, y'all's, and Texas drawls: Houstonian Scott Vogel reflects on accents.
flickr.com/taylor90

Is a Texan truly Texan without a propensity for hunting and fishing – or even speaking with a Texas twang?

Scott Vogel, editor in chief of Houstonia magazine, ponders his decidedly un-Texan upbringing by a New York father with a disdain for Lone Star culture. 

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Women's Health
5:00 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Texas Launches Women's Health Website for Low-Income Care Consumers

The new state-run Healthy Texas Women website is aimed at helping low-income women find health services after many clinics have closed across the state.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

More than 20 women’s health clinics in Texas have closed since a new abortion law went into effect last year, but a new website is aimed at helping low-income women find health services.

The services include cancer screenings, access to birth control and help to stop smoking. Texas lawmakers say they’re available largely because of $113 million in state funding set aside in 2013, and they’re also funded by Medicaid dollars.

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2014 Elections
7:04 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Abbott Picks Hispanic Republican as His First Nomination as Governor-Elect

Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott introduced his pick for secretary of state, Judge Carlos Cascos of Cameron County, at the Capitol on Nov. 11, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Governor-elect Greg Abbott says he has a plan to unite Texas, and it includes whom he appoints to key state offices.

In fact, Abbott began reaching out to minority groups as part of his landslide election victory. He says he’ll continue those efforts to communicate with minorities as governor.

He says he recently attended a Texas Legislative Black Caucus meeting, and he’s picked a Hispanic to be the next secretary of state, pending senate confirmation -- Judge Carlos Cascos of the Rio Grande Valley.

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Veterans Day
6:11 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Austin Senior Day Center Honors Veterans With Visit From ROTC Cadets

Veteran Nicholas Valdez served as an infantryman in the Army during the Korean War. He was honored on Nov. 11, 2014 at AGE of Central Texas in Austin.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

In Texas and across the country today, military veterans are being honored for their service. Here in Austin, some senior vets got a visit from University of Texas Air Force cadets at AGE of Central Texas, a non-residential adult day center.

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Affordable Care Act
10:46 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Texas Obamacare Plans Cost More in Big Cities Than in Rural Areas

A new report suggests that Texas residents in big cities will pay slightly more than those in more rural areas for health insurance plans on the federal marketplace.
healthcare.gov

Open enrollment for health insurance on the federal marketplace begins on Saturday. A new report suggests that if they buy a plan through the marketplace, Texas residents in big cities will pay slightly more than those in more rural areas.

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Affordable Care Act
5:11 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Texans Urged to Update Income Information on Obamacare Website

A certified application counselor helps a health insurance consumer at Insure Central Texas in Austin's Highland Mall on Nov. 10, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Starting next week, people can once again start enrolling for health insurance on the federal marketplace. Consumers should expect a number of differences when they go on healthcare.gov this time.

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Perry Indictment
11:16 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Bipartisan Group of Lawyers Wants Perry Case Dismissed

Gov. Rick Perry addresses the media following his court hearing on Nov. 6, 2014. At far left is attorney Tony Buzbee.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

A bipartisan group of lawyers led by former Texas Solicitor General James C. Ho filed an amicus brief Monday in Austin, asking a judge to dismiss the case against Gov. Rick Perry

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Texas Elections 2014
1:51 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Battleground Texas Has to Sell Its Pricey Goal to Big Donors Again

Texas Republicans expanded their margin of victory in this week’s elections, despite the money, volunteers and strategizing of Battleground Texas.
Photo by clockwerks http://www.flickr.com/photos/clockwerks/

The group Battleground Texas was begun with the idea that Texas is a state that can turn blue, but despite the money, volunteers and strategizing, Republicans expanded their margin of victory in this week’s elections.

Battleground Texas never promised a blue state by 2014, however, so there’s still a chance the group can keep its thousands of volunteers motivated.

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Texas Elections 2014
7:25 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Democratic Share of Latino Vote Shrinks in Texas

According to research firm Latino Decisions, Wendy Davis won 68 percent of the Latino vote and Greg Abbott got 32 percent.
Nathan Bernier/KUT News

With Election Day in the rear-view mirror, we’re getting a look at research into what voters had to say. Political opinion research firm Latino Decisions surveyed 4,200 likely Latino voters in 10 states in its 2014 Election Eve poll.

In Texas, it found immigration is the most important issue facing Latino voters, followed by jobs and the economy and health care came in last.

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Texas Standard
3:45 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Political Junkie's Ken Rudin on 2014's Republican Win

Republicans swept the statewide elections last night. Already, controversial national issues are on the table for the next session, including immigration, border security, education and health. However, this is good time to be a Republican in Texas. And pundits expect at least two people with Texas connections could be preparing themselves for a presidential run. Guessing any names, anyone? 

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Texas Elections 2014
10:19 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election Results Roundup: Final Numbers From Texas and Austin Races

Governor-elect Greg Abbott celebrates at the ACL Live Moody Theater on Tuesday night with his fellow Republicans. They swept statewide offices on Election Day.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Election Day totals are in.

Republicans swept the statewide elections, with Greg Abbott winning the gubernatorial race and Dan Patrick besting San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte for Lieutenant Governor in the top two races.

Citywide races weren't so clear-cut. There will be nine run-offs in races for Austin City Council and for Mayor of Austin. Council Member Mike Martinez trails Austin attorney Steve Adler 29.63 percent to his nearly 37 percent. Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen were the only two Austin City Council candidates to win their districts with more than 50 percent of the vote in Districts 2 and 5, respectively. The rest of the races will be decided in run-off elections in December. 

Additionally, three Austin School Board elections went to run-offs; Sarah Eckhardt became the first female Travis County Judge; and Texas passed a statewide road improvement bond.

While Austinites couldn't forge consensus on council candidates, they did vote down by a wide margin a billion-dollar proposition to build a light rail system and accompanying road improvements, with 57 percent of Austinites voting against and nearly 43 percent voting for it.

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Texas
9:52 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Voters In Texas City Approve Ban On Fracking

From left, Topher Jones, Edward Hartmann and Angie Holliday hold a campaign sign outside City Hall in Denton, Texas, on July 15, 2014. Voters in the college town approve a ban on fracking on Tuesday.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 11:55 am

Residents of Denton, Texas, voted Tuesday to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city.

According to unofficial results posted on the city's website, 58.64 percent of voters supported banning the controversial drilling method that is also called fracking; 41.36 percent voted against the proposition. It's the first time a city in the energy-friendly state has voted to ban fracking.

The vote is expected to be challenged, but Mayor Chris Watts said he would defend the ban.

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Texas
8:05 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Amid Oil Boom, Texas Votes On Who Holds the Reins of Regulation

Steve Brown, left, and Ryan Sitton, right, are the two major party candidate for the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Credit GRAPHIC COURTESY OF THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Update: Ryan Sitton defeated Steve Brown in the race for Railroad Commissioner 58.31 percent to 36.49 percent.

Original Story (Nov. 4, 4:14 p.m.): An empty seat on a strangely-named state regulatory agency usually flies under the radar of voters. But the race to serve on the Railroad Commission of Texas has gained additional attention and importance this election. That’s because whoever wins will not oversee railroads, as the name suggests, but will regulate the Texas oil and gas industry. It’s an industry in the midst of a boom that’s transforming global energy markets and pumping billions into the Texas economy.

The two major party candidates competing for the seat offer starkly different visions for what the job entails.

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Texas Elections 2014
7:58 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Abbott, GOP Best Davis and Democrats in Texas Elections

Republican Greg Abbott celebrates his victory in the 2014 Texas Gubernatorial election.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Updated throughout with Final Totals.

Republicans swept statewide offices on Election Day, with Attorney General Greg Abbott assuming the Governorship over Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis. The final total was 59.28 percent for Abbott and 38.88 percent for Davis.

The Governor's Office was up for grabs after Gov. Rick Perry decided not to seek re-election last July. Lieutenant Governor was also for the taking this year; Houston State Senator Dan Patrick defeated Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte by a healthy margin – 58.16 percent to 38.68 percent. 

Denton Passes Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

In the final tally, 58.64 percent of voters in the north Texas town approved a measure to make it the first municipality in Texas to ban fracking within city limits. However, experts suggest the ban won't be that simple. Up next: litigation.

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Ebola
4:53 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Texas' Low Spending on Public Health Gets More Attention After Ebola Cases

Texas ranks 33rd in the nation for its public health spending, at $19.31 per capita in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
KUT News

Texas has been criticized lately for the amount the state spends on public health, which includes things like vaccination programs, programs aimed at reducing obesity, tobacco use and diseases like asthma, HIV and diabetes.

Public health also includes tracking and containing disease outbreaks, which is getting more attention since Texas had the first Ebola case in the U.S.

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Texas
4:45 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Female Politicians Face Challenges in Fundraising

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, left, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spoke to supporters on June 25, 2014, the one-year anniversary of Sen. Davis's filibuster.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

There seems to be a clear line dividing the Texas governor and lieutenant governor candidates this election year: girls on one side, boys on the other. But these gender differences may be more than trivial. They can affect the candidates’ experiences running for office. Across party lines, women engage in more grassroots campaigning and, according to some women’s organizations, have a harder time asking for money.

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Texas
4:32 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Paying With Your Phone? You've Got Options – But Are They Any Good?

flickr.com/williamhook

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the notorious Target credit card breach, one of the biggest credit card hacks in history.

And with consumers wary about credit security, companies are rolling out new payment options – like Apple Pay.

Omar Gallaga, tech culture reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, tells Texas Standard the original idea behind mobile pay initiatives was to simplify buying.

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2014 Elections
10:47 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Comptroller Candidates Talk Oversight and Incentives in Debate

via Texas Tribune

The race for Texas Governor has received much of the attention this fall, but last night it was the Comptroller’s race that took center stage.

Republican candidate Glenn Hegar and Democratic candidate Mike Collier met at the debate moderated by Time Warner Cable’s Paul Brown, discussing the state’s incentive policy and the role of the comptroller in the state’s budgeting process.

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