Texas

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

Image credit Jon Shapley/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

House Bill 11, passed during the 2015 legislative session, is a sweeping law pitched as part of a broader $800 million border security effort. It expands the border presence of the Texas National Guard, green-lights hiring more troopers, and mandates an intelligence center to analyze crime data at the border.

One of the law’s other provisions has recently drawn a lawsuit that's just now making headlines. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, better known as MALDEF, has filed suit against Texas over what's called the “immigrant harboring” provision. They argue that it's unconstitutional under federal law.

 


Image via Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Regular gym goers know January is the worst. All those people who usually don’t show up crowd into classes and hog the equipment in an effort to meet their New Year resolutions.

But whether you’re a gym rat or an occasional exerciser, you may not realize that personal trainers – the ones with abs you’d pay big money for – don't usually have equally enviable salaries.

 


Jacob Villanueva/Texas Tribune

A Harris County grand jury on Monday indicted the videographers behind undercover recordings of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston and cleared the women's health provider of any wrongdoing.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

What's the most indulgent thing you've ever done for your birthday? Checked something off your bucket list? Or bought yourself something really expensive? This week, Austinite Taylor Thompson turns 17 and he’s decided to go all out on a spending spree. Normally, birthdays at the Thompsons' are low-key celebrations. The family doesn't even blow up balloons.

This year, however, Taylor Thompson will be spending $170,000 dollars to celebrate his birthday. He announced his plans over the weekend in Austin.


Photo via Flickr/fabliaux (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In November, state district Judge Judy Kocurek was shot in the driveway of her Austin home – a murder attempt that had been preceded by a phone tip to police. Kocurek was never informed of the threat against her.

Tony Plohetski, investigative reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, said it's unclear how many threats are made against judges in Texas and judges aren’t always informed of the threats to their safety.

 


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

From Texas Standard:

There are only nine days left until decision day in Iowa. It’s the first shot that will set the stage for the rest of the presidential nominating process.

On the Republican side, the U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is still within striking distance of the juggernaut that is Donald Trump. Although, a recent issues of the National Review has a roster of 22 major conservatives all coming out strongly against Trump.

 


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

From Texas Standard:

Gas prices are at the lowest they’ve been on average in about seven years, according to AAA. Today crude oil prices are near 2003 lows – under $27 a barrel – and lower gas prices will follow.

Image via Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

The federal government is turning off of some broadcast TV stations forever to free up space for the broadcast signals needed by smartphone users to play videos, run apps, and make calls.

One of the big beneficiaries of this re-allocation of the airwaves will be Texas billionaire Michael Dell.

 


Image via malloreigh/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Eighteen-year-old Suraiya, a student from Dallas tweeted a selfie back in December.

It pictured her lying on her side in her underwear and a striped T-shirt. She was showing off her body because she was proud of it. The exposure showed her true skin color, her hip-to-waist ratio and her belly, covered in fine dark hairs. The image isn’t sexual. 

How Many Guns Can You Open Carry in Texas?

Jan 20, 2016
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Texas’ open carry law took effect at the beginning of the year, combining the state’s pre-existing concealed carry with open carry to create a single permit to carry a handgun in Texas: the license to carry (LTC).

The concerns among most open carry-averse Texans is the proliferation of permitting, which some say could make ordinary Texas sidewalks look like an old west movie. 

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 / 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.

 


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