KUT

Texas typically uses the most electricity in the heat of summer. That’s why, after February’s devastating blackouts and March’s unexpected call for electricity conservation, many have wondered how the state’s grid will fare heading into the hotter months.

As of Sunday, about 635,000 Texans were 43 or more days from their first COVID vaccine shot but still hadn’t gotten their second, state health officials say.

Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said federal and state health officials recommend people get their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine within three to six weeks after the first. For the Moderna vaccine, they recommend getting the second dose four to six weeks later.

But there are Texans who are missing that window.

The Austin native will take the helm of The Texas Newsroom, a public radio journalism collaboration that includes NPR, KERA in North Texas, Houston Public Media, KUT in Austin, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and other stations across the state.

Corrie MacLaggan, managing editor of the pioneering digital news site The Texas Tribune, will become the new statewide managing editor for the public radio stations of The Texas Newsroom.

More than 370 members of Texas’ legal community sent a letter to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and other members of the Texas House on Wednesday raising legal concerns about two bills aimed at limiting access to abortion in the state.

From Texas Standard:

Exxon Mobil is proposing a plan to capture carbon dioxide and store it deep in the Gulf of Mexico as one way of reducing CO2 emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere.

After the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed Saturday it’s investigating an allegation that a lobbyist used a date rape drug on at least one Capitol staffer, a prominent Austin-based lobby shop said Sunday it had launched an internal investigation into the matter, telling state lawmakers in an email that the firm and its employees “do not and will not tolerate a culture where anyone is not valued with respect and dignity."

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Legislature is set to, again, refuse billions in federal money for Medicaid expansion. House Republicans voted last week against baking that money into the state’s biennial budget.

From Texas Standard:

Despite facilities’ best efforts, nearly 9,000 Texas nursing home residents have died of COVID-19 this past year. That’s the conclusion from a new Texas Tribune analysis.

From Texas Standard:

The holy month of Ramadan began on Tuesday. Ramadan is a time for reflection and spiritual growth, and thousands of Texas Muslims will take part by fasting in the during the day, breaking that fast and praying in the evening.

Muslims are a fast-growing community in the state; there are at least 420,000 Muslims in Texas today.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas ended its conservation alert Tuesday just before 9 p.m.

"Our conservation appeal has ended without the need for an energy emergency," it said in a press release.

ERCOT had issued the alert Tuesday afternoon as demand for electricity on the grid edged close to surpassing supply. It had urged consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use into the evening. The grid covers 90% of the state.

Mexico Has Its Own Movement Against Police Brutality

Apr 12, 2021

From Texas Standard:

As Americans continue to grapple with the consequences of racial injustice and police brutality, Mexico is having its own reckoning, sparked by recent police killings, including that of a Salvadoran woman.

From Texas Standard:

In many parts of rural Texas, broadband Internet access is hard to come by — connections are unreliable and slow, and service often costs more than it does in more densely populated parts of the state.

Lee esta historia en español.

Bills aimed at restricting access to abortions in Texas are moving quickly through the state Legislature.

The Texas Senate already approved a slew of anti-abortion measures late last month. This week, the House heard a series of bills that would make it harder to get the procedure. The bills in the House committee were left pending, but could be approved at any time.

Texas Home Buyers: Meet Your Other Competition

Apr 8, 2021

From Texas Standard:

Having trouble buying a home in Texas right now? The flurry of business relocations to the state are not the only reasons the real estate market is tighter.

Voting rights groups in Texas are asking corporations to apply pressure on lawmakers to fight Republican bills that would inhibit voter access.

During a call with reporters Tuesday, the groups called on corporations to stop political contributions to lawmakers who vote for the slew of voting bills moving through the Legislature.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he banned state agencies, political subdivisions and organizations receiving public funds from creating "vaccine passports" or otherwise requiring someone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to receive services.

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Legislature is considering new measures to improve Texas’ electric grid after February’s devastating winter storm and widespread power outages.

Lee esta historia en español.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has launched an online portal matching people with an appointment to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Texas House will vote Tuesday on a handful of bills related to February’s deadly blackouts. The package of legislation has been fast-tracked by lawmakers who say it will safeguard Texas against future blackouts. But among the bills is a proposal that some analysts say would actually make another blackout more likely.

House Bill 17 by Beaumont Democratic state Rep. Joe Deshotel would stop Texas cities and towns from banning natural gas hookups in new construction.

From Texas Standard:

Mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia have returned the issue of gun violence to the national agenda. But in Texas, where four recent mass shootings in a three-year span took more than 60 lives, Republican lawmakers have filed several measures that would expand gun rights.

From Texas Standard:

Texas lawmakers are in the thick of the legislative session. But one of their primary tasks is going to be severely delayed.

Every 10 years, the Legislature redraws Texas’ political maps based on results from the census. But census results are delayed until at least Sept. 30 because of the pandemic.

Last year, when Isabel Longoria had to figure out how to safely hold an election during a pandemic, she saw the daunting task as an opportunity to do things differently.

"I just started dreaming," says Longoria, the elections administrator for Harris County in Texas. "And I just said, 'OK, let's start from the beginning — not with what's possible first — but what do voters want, and what's going to make it safer?' "

Lee esta historia en español.

The State of Texas says it will allow all adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 29.

Texas led the country in documented incidents of white supremacist propaganda in 2020, according to a report out this week from the Anti-Defamation League. These incidents can range from hate groups recruiting people on the internet to distributing flyers to holding rallies.

There were 574 documented incidents in the state last year. Texas was followed by Washington state, which saw 345 incidents.

Lee esta historia en español.

Shawn Fagan stokes a slow-burning fire just beyond the edge of his vegetable farm in Kyle. Usually, the pile is filled with debris from around the farm or leftover cardboard boxes from online orders.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Republicans have made a wish list of sorts, outlining how they want elections in Texas to proceed after some counties changed their voting procedures last year during the pandemic.

At least 57 people died in Texas as a result of last month’s winter storm, according to preliminary data the state health department released Monday.

The largest number of deaths — at least 25 — occurred in Harris County, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported.

ERCOT Says It Doesn't Have To Release Power Outage Data

Mar 12, 2021

From Texas Standard:

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is holding on tightly to records related to last month’s winter storm power blackouts.

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