KERA

As Texas braces for its notoriously scorching summer temperatures, the state House agreed to install air conditioning in dozens of uncooled prisons within seven years — but only if lawmakers specifically set aside money for it.

Legislation that would ban abortions after as early as six weeks — before many women know they are pregnant — and let virtually any private citizen sue abortion providers and others was given final approval by lawmakers Thursday and is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has signaled he will sign it into law.

Senate Bill 8, a Republican priority measure, is similar to “heartbeat bills” passed in other states that have been mostly stopped by the courts. But proponents of the Texas legislation believe it’s structured in a way that makes it tougher to block.

The Texas House on Wednesday rejected changes the Senate made to a Republican-backed proposal to allow Texans to carry handguns without a license, sending the bill behind closed doors for further negotiations.

An effort to expand government health care for working poor Texans is likely dead for this legislative session, supporters say — mired in conservative opposition and faced with a fast-approaching deadline in the Republican-led Texas Legislature.

The Texas House on Friday passed a bill to financially penalize the state's largest cities if they cut their police budgets. The measure was sent to the Senate after two days of heated debate and emotional speeches, with the bill authors calling to "back the blue" and the opposition decrying the bill as political propaganda.

Texas lawmakers are poised to enact sweeping restrictions on access to abortions, prohibiting the procedure before many women know they are pregnant, and opening the door for a potential flood of lawsuits against abortion providers.

Mirroring moves by other red-state legislatures across the country, Texas Republicans are attempting to reach into classrooms and limit what public school students are taught about the nation's historical subjugation of people of color.

After a citizen’s vote, Lubbock is now the largest so-called “sanctuary city for the unborn” in the country. The city is the first to pass an ordinance like this that actually has a health center that offers abortions.

Proposition A passed with 62% of votes on Saturday. Over 21,000 people voted in favor of the ordinance and 12,860 voted against it. In total, 34,260 Lubbockites voted on the measure, according to the Lubbock County Elections Office.

At its peak, the mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Williamson County was administering about 4,000 doses per day.

Now it’s half that.

County health officials will close the North Austin drive-thru hub in mid-May, shifting the responsibility to a growing number of doctors, pharmacies, public health offices and other smaller providers who have closer relationships with and easier access to the county’s estimated 200,000 eligible residents who haven’t yet gotten vaccinated.

The Texas House on Friday quickly approved three police reform measures that are part of a sweeping set of legislation following the in-custody murder of George Floyd last year.

The bills would require Texas law enforcement agencies to implement more uniform and substantive disciplinary actions for officer misconduct, bar officers from arresting people for fine-only traffic offenses and require corroboration of undercover officer testimony.

Asking whether the state’s election system discriminates against people of color depends on whether you are talking to Hispanic voters, who are split, Black voters, a majority of whom say it is discriminatory, and white voters, most of whom say it isn’t, according to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Ogas was laid off right as the pandemic hit. She'd spent a career working on the business side of health care, and had a good professional network. She’d been laid off before, and always found another job.

Then, the shutdown happened.

“As a week turned into another week and turned into another week, it just became really scary,” Ogas said.

Ogas has spent countless hours over the past year navigating the unemployment system, searching for jobs and networking.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday he would sign legislation allowing Texans to carry handguns in public without a license, breaking his silence on a proposal that has been building unprecedented momentum in the Texas Legislature.

Texas will continue to see its political clout grow as it gains two additional congressional seats following the 2020 census, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.

Thanks to its fast-growing population — largely due to an increase in residents of color, particularly Hispanics — the state’s share of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives will increase to 38 for the next decade. The new counts reflect a decade of population growth since the last census, which determines how many congressional seats are assigned to each state.

The gaming empire Las Vegas Sands is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz to build support for its campaign to bring casinos to Texas.

The company will begin airing TV and radio ads Thursday in the state's biggest markets, according to an announcement first shared with The Texas Tribune. The news of the ads came the same day that a Texas House committee reviewed proposals to expand gambling in the state, including one being backed by Las Vegas Sands.

Texas House Approves Bill That Would Allow People To Carry A Gun Without A License

Apr 16, 2021

The Texas House has approved a bill that would allow handguns to be carried without a permit, marking a win for gun rights activists who have for years pushed the measure at the Legislature but a blow to El Paso Democrats who have been fighting for gun safety measures since the 2019 massacre in their hometown.

Here’s a rundown of immigration and other news from the Texas border and beyond. Look out for a weekly recap from reporters at Texas’ public radio stations.

Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for the Biden administration to shut down an emergency facility for migrant teens at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio due to safety complaints received by the state.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited El Paso on Thursday, as part of his third trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office.

“It was really primarily a listening session for him,” Congresswoman Veronica Escobar said at a press conference after the visit. “I wanted our advocates to have a seat at the table to share with the secretary what they see and live on a daily basis.”

The clock’s ticking to get federal disaster aid from February’s winter storm. The Biden administration is offering grants and low interest loans could help cover losses.

If a business, home or nonprofit suffered more damage than insurance covers, a low-interest federal loan could help close the gap. Susheel Kumar works with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) a government agency that provides disaster assistance.

Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Rangers baseball organization on Monday declining the invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the their home opening game Monday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field. The game is the first U.S. sporting event to allow a full-capacity crowd since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Senate Republicans on Thursday cleared the way for new, sweeping restrictions to voting in Texas that take particular aim at forbidding local efforts meant to widen access.

The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously approved a sweeping bill that would overhaul the state’s electricity industry and infrastructure, including mandating that power plants prepare for extreme weather and outlawing

The League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to allow the Texas Rangers to apply for a special visa on behalf of unaccompanied children coming to the U.S.

Fernando Dubove, a Dallas immigration attorney, says the Texas Rangers could apply for what is known as an S visa. This is a special type of visa that could be granted to an unauthorized immigrant who cooperates with law enforcement in a criminal investigation.

In the first press conference of his presidency on Thursday, President Joe Biden announced plans to fast-track the processing of migrant children out of federal shelters and blamed the influx of migrants arriving at the border on seasonal increases, not “because I’m a nice guy."

Biden said he would redirect U.S. Department of Health and Human Services staff to help children more quickly connect with family in the U.S.so they can be transferred out of overcrowded facilities.

The civil rights lawyer told KERA Friday that the death of Marvin Scott III in the Collin County jail made it clear he needed to take a different approach to protect the civil rights of vulnerable Texans.

“I’ve decided that, this case being the line, that I’m running against Ken Paxton for attorney general in 2022,” Merritt said Friday morning.

Paxton, who lives in the Collin County city of McKinney, was first elected attorney general in 2014.

Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, says the food-insecure families she serves ballooned by 25% in the past year.

"We’ve provided access to about 120 million meals and our goal for 2025 was 92 million," Cunningham said.

Children may become an important factor in helping Texas and the U.S. reach COVID-19 herd immunity, according to preliminary results of an ongoing statewide study.

The research looks at the presence of antibodies for COVID-19 in people across Texas. Preliminary results from thousands of blood samples and patient surveys say between 14 and 24% of Texans have COVID antibodies due to past infection.

Twitter filed a lawsuit against Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a California federal court Monday and asked a judge to halt the state’s top lawyer from investigating the company.

The social media giant’s court filings include a request for a temporary restraining order that would keep Paxton and his office from enforcing a demand that seeks documents revealing the company’s internal decision making processes for banning users, among other things.

Officials with the Plano school district and Plano police department are investigating allegations that classmates abused and bullied a Black middle school student.

Summer Smith said her eighth grader, a student at Haggard Middle School, was at a sleepover party when he was forced to drink a cup of urine. A video of the alleged abuse is circulating on social media.

Gov. Greg Abbott Taps New Head Of Texas Utility Regulator In Wake Of Power Outages

Mar 4, 2021

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday promoted Arthur D’Andrea to chair the state’s utility regulator, replacing the Public Utility Commission leader who resigned earlier this week following widespread power outages in February.

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