Texas

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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Ebola
5:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Nurse Who Treated Ebola Patients Agrees to Self-Quarantine in Texas

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Oct. 29, 2014.
Image courtesy Dave Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this morning.

The nurse has no symptoms of the disease, but has agreed to a request from Gov. Rick Perry to self-quarantine at home for 21 days. In a statement, Gov. Perry called her a "health care hero" and said the state will check in on her twice a day, but she was not forced to quarantine.

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Criminal Justice
10:38 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Texas Criminal Justice Spending Driven Largely by Elderly Inmates

Members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee expect to discuss ways to reduce spending, at the 2015 legislative session, on geriatric inmates, like medically recommended parole.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Because Texas spends millions of dollars a year on geriatric prison inmates to treat chronic health conditions, lawmakers are discussing options to change this.

Next session, members of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee expect to discuss geriatric parole, also known as medically recommended parole, which would allow some elderly inmates to finish out their sentence outside the prison system. 

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2014 Elections
10:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

On 'Daily Show,' Davis Says a Blue Texas is 'On Its Way'

From The Texas Tribune:

During an appearance on The Daily Show in Austin on Monday, state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, dismissed speculation that Texas is showing no signs of turning blue.

Host Jon Stewart asked Davis about the "tough campaign" she has faced this year. Recent surveys, including the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, have shown her trailing her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, by double digits.

"How conservative a place is Texas — and what is the demographic?" Stewart said. "We’ve heard a lot about 'it's flipping blue,' but it looks like it ain’t even flipping like a cool azure. What’s going on?"

Davis told Stewart that Texas "really is on its way."

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Texas Standard
8:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Outside Donations Aid Davis Campaign – But Will That Mean Votes?

Texas Democrat for Governor Wendy Davis, during a visit to the KUT studios.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

If you believe the latest polls, Wendy Davis faces an uphill battle, to say the least, in her race for Texas Governor. But what if the race turned into a national one? Would the tables be turned?

Jonathan Tilove and J. David McSwane of the Austin-American Statesman sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk about Davis’ popularity, particularly in light of the campaign contributions she’s received from across the nation.

“I think it’s the filibuster,” Tilove said. “That made her a sensation overnight across the country. It was on an issue people cared about, and I think people saw her as the great Democratic hope for Texas.”

 

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Texas Standard
4:36 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Here's Your Insider Guide to Navigating the Texas Book Festival

Vistors stroll through one of the outside tents at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Book Festival will take center stage on the weekend of Oct. 25-26 as it expectedly brings more than 40,000 book lovers to the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and surrounding areas. The festival will host more than 280 authors - the largest lineup in the festival’s history.

Transforming Texas’ political arena into a platform for literary discussions and performance arts, Texas Book Festival will feature author panel discussions, readings, literary performances and interviews. 

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Ebola
9:05 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Texas' Infectious Disease Task Force Listens to Experts on Viruses like Ebola

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to hours of testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.

In fact, that hearing has already yielded many lessons.

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Texas
11:44 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Here Are 12 Interviews With 2014 Texas Book Festival Authors

The Texas Book Festival will take place on October 25 and 26.
Texas Book Festival

Are you going to the Texas Book Festival?

Some 250 authors are descending on Austin for the festival this weekend. And Texas Standard and KUT have sat down with a dozen of them.  Here's a roundup of authors appearing at the festival, both big literary names and under-the-radar authors.

(Editor's note: This post used to contain nine interviews – but we've since recorded a few more and updated accordingly.)

Lawrence Wright:

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2014 Elections
9:28 am
Thu October 23, 2014

UT/TT Poll: Abbott Holds Commanding Lead Over Davis

University of Texas/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Republican Greg Abbott has a 16-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the closing days of this year’s general election for governor, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Abbott has the support of 54 percent of likely voters to Davis’ 38 percent. Libertarian Kathie Glass has the support of 6 percent, and the Green Party’s Brandon Parmer got 2 percent.

“The drama of the outcome is not who wins, but what the margin will be,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Wendy Davis has not led in a single poll in this race.”

Among men, Abbott holds a 61-32 lead in this survey. And he leads by 2 percentage points — 48 to 46 — among women.

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Texas Standard
4:13 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Why Ireland's Opening a New Consulate in Austin, Texas

A different type of Hill Country: Ireland is opening a consulate in Austin to focus on trade and development.
flickr.com/georgiesharp

Ireland is getting ready to do something it hasn’t done that often in the past century: open some new consulate offices. Hong Kong, Bangkok and São Paulo are among the cities selected. Oh, and one more – Austin, Texas.

Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Consul General Adrian Farrell about plans for the new office, trade between Ireland and Texas, and efforts to reach out to Irish Texans and Americans.

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Texas
9:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Texans in Contact With Ebola Patient Cleared; Army To Train Medical Teams in Texas

Texas health officials say 43 patients are no longer being monitored for Ebola symptoms, schools should remain open and that medical support teams will be trained in San Antonio.
Credit flickr.com/photos/127444369@N04/

43 patients were cleared from twice-a-day monitoring; Texas State Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey urged schools against closing because of the low risk the virus poses to schoolchildren and administrators; and the Dept. of Defense announced it's sending a medical support team to begin training U.S. officials and responders on how to respond any future cases of the virus.

Below you can read a full recap of all the Ebola developments in Texas over the weekend.

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Texas Book Festival
1:34 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Carrie Fountain and the 'Daring Political Act' of Writing About Motherhood

Carrie Fountain at the 2010 Texas Book Festival. "Writing poetry has always been, quite simply, about trying to make sense of the experience of being in the world," she says.
Larry D. Moore [Creative Commons]

Carrie Fountain is searching for something.

The Austin-based poet recently released "Instant Winner," her second book of poems. In it, she reflects on parenthood and captures vignettes of moments from everyday life.

Fountain will be reading at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26. She spoke with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue about her book in advance of the festival.

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Ebola
8:04 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Texas Hospital: 'We Are Deeply Sorry' For Missing Ebola Diagnosis

The exterior of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:29 pm

In a full-page letter published in Sunday's Dallas Morning News, Barclay Berdan, the CEO of the company that owns Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, said the hospital was "deeply sorry" for missing the ebola diagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan.

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Voter ID
7:21 am
Sat October 18, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Texas Voter ID Law to Be Enforced in Upcoming Election

Texas voters will be required to show one of seven forms of approved identification at the polls when early voting begins Monday, after Saturday's U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Credit: KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing Texas' voter ID law to be enforced for the Nov. 4 election. The law requires voters to show one of seven forms of approved identification when voting.

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