Texas

Seventh grade Texas social studies teachers will likely still be required to describe Alamo defenders in terms of their “heroism” and refer to William B. Travis’ letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” contrary to an initial recommendation of a board-appointed work group.

A federal judge in Austin has blocked Texas' so-called fetal burial law.

U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra voided the law, which the Texas Legislature passed in 2017, on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Hundreds of community activists from across Texas gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday to call on Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation to overhaul the criminal justice system here.

ICE Arrests More Than 100 Workers At North Texas Plant

Aug 29, 2018

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested over 100 workers at a trailer manufacturing plant in the north Texas town of Sumner on Tuesday. ICE expects it to be one of its largest workplace raids in a decade, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Creative Commons

An urgent safety alert is being issued for owners of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles.

According to a press release issued Monday, Takata airbags from all makes and models of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles are being recalled because faulty inflators can cause the airbags to rupture and then spray metal fragments into the vehicle, causing serious injury or even death to drivers and passengers.

A Medicaid committee in Texas is requiring those who comment at its meetings to disclose more details about their ties to pharmaceutical companies after a Center for Public Integrity and NPR investigation into the drug industry's influence on such boards.

The state is one of the latest to respond to the findings of the Medicaid, Under the Influence project. Officials in Arizona, Colorado and New York have already taken action.

From Texas Standard:

In the 1920s, archaeologists dug up a trove of ancient artifacts near Clovis, New Mexico. What humans had known about their past was changed forever. These artifacts were the oldest man-made objects found on the Western Hemisphere, and the discovery led to a theory that the first humans to set foot in the Americas did so around about 13,000 years ago, and that they made and used tools like the ones found near Clovis.

Many Texans are struggling to afford health care, according to a new survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

The study found more than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said it is difficult for them and their families to afford health care; a quarter said it is "very difficult."

When it comes to tariffs, the Texas economy has a lot at stake.

“Texas clearly is the No. 1 exporting state in America, so we really have ostensibly the most to lose,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.

Moseley said he's worried about the potential effects of tit-for-tat tariffs from China.

CC0 Creative Commons

Last week, Amarillo unveiled the first historic Route 66 sign along the famed route that traverses the city.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, State Sen. Kel Seliger and State Rep. Four Price were on hand to celebrate the sign’s reveal.

Dora Meroney is the president of the Old Route 66 Association of Texas, and she said she hopes to erect signs along the entire 178-mile stretch of the former highway in the panhandle.

Public Domain

Texas has removed more Confederate monuments than any other state, according to a new study.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, a new breakdown from the Southern Poverty Law Center notes that, since a 2015 shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, 110 Confederate monuments have been taken down or changed nationwide. Over a fourth of those monuments were in Texas.

US Army Corps of Engineers

In recent years, the Texas Department of Public Safety has spent more than $15 million on two high-altitude surveillance planes.

And as the Texas Observer reports, the planes typically fly at more than 2 miles above the earth, so they are impossible to spot from the ground, leaving Texans in the dark about whether they’re being watched.

From Texas Standard.

In an effort to control its borders, the U.S. has been unequivocal in declaring what will happen to those who illegally immigrate to the U.S. with underage kids in tow – you may be be separated from your kids. It’s supposed to be a deterrent. In the past, parents with children were not routinely prosecuted for illegally crossing the border. But that’s changed, and now kids are being separated from their parents.

Eric T Gunther / Wikimedia Commons

Last year, Texas rejected almost 2,500 vanity license plates that violated approval guidelines. As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles turned down the requests for a variety of reasons, including messages that were too political or too sexy.

Some of the requested messages that ran afoul of political guidelines included plates reading NOTRUMP, NOBAMA, and N2TRUMP.

Farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads have helped rural Texans get around since the 1940s. But what happens when these roads become completely surrounded by the city, with fewer ranches and farms on route? The seemingly odd road names caught one listener's curiosity.

From Texas Standard.

It’s time once again for what they call the most exciting two minutes in sports. The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby will happen this Saturday.

From Texas Standard:

Sunday, the third and fourth largest mobile carriers in the U.S. announced a $26.5 billion plan to merge. A marriage of Sprint and T-Mobile, if approved, would yield a company with more than 90 million customers. But the merger isn’t a done deal yet, and another pending communications merger could shape the outcome – the proposed acquisition of Time-Warner by AT&T. That merger is in court, facing opposition from the U.S. Justice Department.

From Texas Standard.

At Amarillo City Council meetings, clapping is a sign of rebellion. And citizens are called out for doing it.

Mayor Ginger Nelson recently enforced the city’s no clapping policy.

As the White House continues to expand deportations and push measures to curb illegal immigration, many Texas immigrants are forced to navigate the immigration system without the help of an attorney.

From Texas Standard.

Every spring, wildflowers bring Texans and visitors alike out of their homes for all kinds of photo ops. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of cars parked along Texas highways as families pose in patches of bluebonnets.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors on the southwest border to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy against anyone who enters or attempts to enter the country illegally, a mandate he said “supersedes” any prior directives.

From Texas Standard.

Texas is re-upping a request to “opt in” to a federal law that would speed up the execution appeals process in the state, potentially leading to quicker executions.

KB35 / Flickr Creative Commons

Did you know you can travel the world without ever leaving the Lone Sar State?

The Houston Chronicle has published a list of worldwide landmarks that Texas has created its own versions of. For example, in Ingram, Texas, you can visit Stonehenge II and replicas of the famed Easter Island heads.

In Paris, Texas, you can visit the Eiffel Tower, and in Stafford visitors can visit an Indian temple that calls to mind the Taj Mahal.

Richie, Robert Yarnall / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas isn’t quite as special these days as it has been for most of this new century, claims a new editorial in the Dallas Morning News.

The state, notes the contributor Richard Parker, “has burned brightly since the beginning of the century.”

But now that bright Lone Star is cooling off. Parker is careful to note that the state’s changing fortunes don’s so much signal a downturn as “a leveling off.”

SMU Central University Libraries / Flickr Creative Commons

Back in July, The New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright published an investigation into the politics of the Lone Star State entitled “America’s Future is Texas.” The essay became one of The NewYorker’s most popular pieces of 2017.

This week Wright followed up his politics piece with a look at the Texas economy’s longstanding attachment to the fossil-fuel industry, which has resulted in a seemingly endless boom-and-bust cycle.

Texas Voters Approve Seven Constitutional Amendments

Nov 9, 2017
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Texans on Tuesday night voted in favor of seven constitutional amendments.

As The Texas Tribune reports, as of late Tuesday evening, about 85 percent voted in favor of a proposition authorizing tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It was a similar outcome for a proposition authorizing property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

My Plates press release

Seventeen years ago, at the dawn of the new millennium, the State of Texas scrapped its traditional white license plates for a more graphics-heavy design.

The 2000 plate, with its cowboy and space shuttle and oil derricks and moon and stars, gained popularity among some but was lambasted by others who saw the design as an unfortunate departure from the clean design of the past.

If you fall into the first group, then you have cause to rejoice this month as the state has announced that independent contractor My Plates is bringing back the millennial design.

Could Pot Be Closer To Legalization In Texas?

Oct 26, 2017
CHUCK GRIMMETT / CREATIVE COMMONS

Legalized pot has taken great strides in Texas over the past couple of years, thanks in part to a surprising ally – a conservative lawmaker and fundamentalist Christian who actually used the Bible to make the case for legalizing weed.

Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Continuing a dramatic reversal on voting rights under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to allow Texas to enforce a photo voter identification law that a lower court found discriminatory.

Department of Defense

Hurricane Harvey may permanently alter the way the State of Texas operates. As POLITICO reports, the storm may put a serious dent in the Lone Star State’s penchant for rugged individualism.

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