Texas

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

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would penalize jurisdictions with so-called “sanctuary” immigration policies. The 20-11 vote fell along party lines.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate, passing its first bill of the 2017 legislative session, unanimously approved an ethics reform package that watchdogs say will help curb conflicts of interest and shed more light on the private dealings of state elected officials.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr.

From Texas Standard:

Selene Moreno is a senior at Benito Juarez-Abraham Lincoln High School in La Joya, Texas. She says she’s looking forward to graduation.

“I’m planning to become a physical therapist after I graduate from high school and I’m planning on going to Texas A&M,” Moreno says.

Lorne Matalon/Fronteras Desk

From Fronteras Desk and Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump says he’ll renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. That has a lot of businesses that participate in cross-border trade concerned. That includes some U.S. energy executives, even though energy was excluded from NAFTA.

 

Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

A special report by the Austin-American Statesman found that teachers who engage in improper relationships or who may solicit sex with students are not always punished for doing so.

The Statesman’s Julie Chang looked at 686 cases between 2010 and 2017 where public school teachers allegedly participated in flirtatious text messages, kissing, sexual relationships and other banned relations with a student within their school district.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A Spanish-language version of this post is available on Texas Standard:

In his inaugural address last month, President Trump called for Americans to focus inwardly – his “America First" movement. But in response, Mexico has come up with its own cry: "Hecho en Mexico” (Made in Mexico).

Ken Lund/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries on Jan. 27. The word came late that Friday, sparking confusion among travelers, visa holders, airlines and government officials. Questions arose over who exactly was affected and how the ban would be implemented.

But before those issues can be fully worked out, a legal battle over the executive order is adding to all the confusion. Trump’s executive order is temporarily blocked nationwide as of this past Friday, Feb. 3.

Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee's recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.

Clay Gilliland/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas A&M University has a new partner – in North Korea. The nation’s only private university has reached out to ask for help teaching students how to grow food in a nation of persistent shortages and high food insecurity.

Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which was founded and is mainly funded by American evangelical Christians, will receive donated teaching materials from the Aggies.

Pexels (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump renewed a campaign pledge Thursday to sign a bill that would alter an aspect of the divide between church and state that's been in place since 1954. At a prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C. he said he would “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”

Some conservatives and religious organizations, among them evangelical Protestants which have been at the forefront in pushing for the amendment’s repeal, argue that the Johnson Amendment infringes on the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

Immigration activists and attorneys in Travis County are bracing for the possibility of deportation raids by federal officials in the coming days. 

Mayor Jess Herbst of New Hope, Texas recently publicly announced she is transgender.

From Texas Standard:

Jess Herbst became mayor of New Hope – a small north Texas town in Collin County – last May when the previous mayor died of a heart attack. As the longest serving alderman on the town council, she was next in line. Herbst just came out publicly as a transgender woman, the first sitting mayor to do so. She publicly announced her transition with an open letter to her constituents on the conservative town's website.

Screenshot via c-span.org

This week, Iran's defense minister confirmed the country had tested a new ballistic missile. Iran has said the weapons test did not violate a deal with the United States aimed at keeping nuclear ambitions in check.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Texas lawmakers heard hours of public testimony Thursday and into early Friday morning over a bill banning so-called “sanctuary cities” in Texas, ultimately voting early this morning 7-2 along party lines to send the bill to the full Senate.

Josh Wool

From Texas Standard:

Buddy Holly. Joe Ely. Butch Hancock. Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. Terry Allen. And the list of musicians from Lubbock goes on. Over the years, music journalists have wondered what it is about this city that makes it produce so many musicians.

Amanda Shires, the current queen of Americana music, says that the answer is actually quite simple: there’s nothing else to do there except make music.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott offered his State of the State address yesterday – his second since taking office. Unless you had the patience to sit through the whole hour, you may have missed something. So Texas Standard brings you the highlights of his speech.

"Well today I am proud to report the state of Texas is exceptional," Abbott said.

Screenshot via ESPN Outside the Lines

From Texas Standard:

A new Title IX lawsuit was filed late last week against Baylor University – the latest of six federal lawsuits against the school, and the second in a week. It alleges staff encouraged football players to commit sexual assault and that staff used female students to have sex with football recruits to make sure they had a “good time.”

The attorney who filed the case claims their investigation found at least 52 acts of rape committed by no fewer than 31 football players between 2011 and 2014 – including five gang rapes.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Saying Texas government needs to live within its means, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday imposed an immediate hiring freeze on state agencies through the end of August.

The freeze bans agencies from posting new jobs or filling ones that are currently vacant, according to a memo from the Republican governor’s office.  

“Just as families have to balance needs versus wants, so must we,” Abbott said during his State of the State speech in the Capitol.

From Texas Standard:

Early Saturday morning, a fire gutted the Islamic Center in Victoria, Texas. The images showed flames leaping out beyond the mosque's domed roof. By morning, that dome and much of what made the mosque recognizable was gone.

Pages