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From Texas Standard:

As we've seen since 9/11, partnerships to strengthen national security can sometimes make for interesting bedfellows. One case in point is a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension Service. Under the 10-year project, the institutions will launch a new Center for Excellence in cross-border threat screening and supply-chain defense. The project has nearly $4 million in funding for its first year.  

Once a hub for refugees starting new lives and reuniting with their families, refugee resettlement efforts in Texas are now a shadow of what they once were.

With the registration deadline only three days away, Texans looking for voter-registration forms on the Secretary of State's website this weekend got an error message for nearly a day. Applications for mail-in ballots were also inaccessible. Information about who's running for office this November was also knocked offline.

Service was restored by late Saturday.

EL PASO — Former President Barack Obama has endorsed 11 Texas Democrats leading up to next month’s midterm elections. But none go by the popular four-letter moniker “Beto.”

From Texas Standard:

As the clock approached midnight  Sunday, word began to spread that Canada was ready to sign on the dotted line of the new trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico. Formerly known as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, the retooled trilateral deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. But the new name is only a small part of the changes.

From Texas Standard:

Texas has long had a “tough on crime” reputation, and the numbers back that up.

Texas is seventh in the nation when it comes to its incarceration rate: 891 out of every 100,000 people are in lockup.  And it has long led in number of executions, too. Since the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976, Texas has executed more than 550 inmates, including two this week.

From Texas Standard:

There’s a question that moves in parallel with the increased use of computerized voting machines – can your vote be hacked? It’s a question that was put to the test in the 2016 presidential election cycle, when Russia was found to be influencing voters in the election, but not the voting machines themselves. Some say the risk of vote-hacking could be reduced by using paper ballots in addition to electronic vote-counters.

WASHINGTON — An explosive week at the U.S. Capitol is expected to climax Thursday when the Senate Judiciary Committee hears allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — and Kavanaugh gets the opportunity to respond.

The morning of Oct. 2, 2017 was not the first time that India Landry, a senior at Windfern High School outside Houston, refused to stand when the Pledge of Allegiance came on over the intercom.

The protest had gotten her kicked out of her English class five times; her law teacher told her she was disrespectful, according to a 2017 lawsuit. But on that October morning, when the then-17-year-old refused to stand, she was expelled.

We got a question for our TX Decides project from Victoria, who asked:

I am registered in Bastrop County but am working in D.C. at the moment, is there a way to get a ballot?

The short answer is: Yes. You can vote by mail.

Sixty-five percent of children born to young parents in Texas are living in poverty, according to a new report.

The report, released Tuesday by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that 450,000 children were born to young parents in Texas from 2015 to 2017. It defined young parents as people between 18 and 24.

The Trump administration last weekend publicly released a draft of new rules for people hoping to immigrate legally in the U.S. Overall, the changes would disproportionally affect mixed-status families with low incomes in Texas.

After exploring the idea and stirring worries and warnings from retired teachers and elected officials, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas opted Friday not to raise monthly health care premiums for a group of nearly 68,000 retired teachers.

Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote in the November elections in Texas. It’s also the last day to update your address if you’ve moved since the last time you voted.

High school seniors have something extra added to their workload in the fall semester. Those who are going on to college have to navigate the college application process. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton dissect that annual dash to compile transcripts, test scores, essays and teacher recommendations.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) kick off the first of three debates tonight in Dallas. Tonight's debate at the SMU campus, like the one in Houston on Sept. 30, will focus squarely on domestic policy. Their final debate on Oct. 16 in San Antonio will split time between domestic and foreign policy.

The race is expected to be the closest we've had in Texas since the 2002 race for lieutenant governor. So both sides head into the three debates hoping to change just enough minds to eke out a victory on Nov. 6.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, leads Republican incumbent Ted Cruz by 2 percentage points among likely voters, according to an Ipsos online poll released Wednesday in conjunction with Reuters and the University of Virginia. O’Rourke has been closing the gap over the last several months, but this is the first poll that puts him ahead of Cruz.

Federal Judge Upholds Texas' Partisan Statewide Judicial Elections System

Sep 17, 2018

A federal judge has rejected a race-based challenge to the way Texans fill seats on the state’s highest courts.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi handed the state of Texas a win Wednesday, writing that its current method for electing judges to the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals does not violate federal safeguards for voters of color.

Watchdog groups say changes to the 2020 census could make it harder to accurately count people living in rural areas, which could ultimately lead to future funding shortfalls.

High school students pack into front row seats at the University of Oklahoma stadium in Norman on a muggy Thursday evening, set to watch the city’s biggest rivalry: the Norman High School Tigers versus the Norman North Timberwolves.

Hundreds Of Separated Families May Get A Second Chance At Seeking Asylum

Sep 14, 2018

Hundreds of migrant families who were separated at the border may have a second chance at seeking asylum in the United States after the federal government late Wednesday reached an agreement with those families’ legal representatives.

For the first time in years, the uninsured rate in Texas is starting to climb again. After the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014, the state’s uninsured rate dropped from 22 percent to about 16 percent in 2016. However, that trend has started to move in another direction.

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.

From Texas Standard:

The start of the new school year is one of the busiest seasons for the The Boy Scouts of America, which happens to be among of the country's biggest youth organizations. Right now, the group's representatives are focused on recruiting new scouts, but this year, they're taking a different tack with their usual membership drive.

Sixteen years ago, it was a beautiful enough morning that Pete Olson, a staffer in the U.S. Senate, chose to drive from suburban Virginia into work with his Jeep’s top down. Just as the future Sugar Land-based congressman passed the Pentagon, his wife called to tell him a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.  

Election administrators should use “human-readable paper ballots" by the 2020 presidential race, experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine warned in a new report

After Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 elections, the academies convened a group of computer science and cybersecurity experts – as well as legal and election scholars and officials – to come up with recommendations for the next presidential election.

An advisory committee is expected to recommend today that the Texas State Board of Education remove the word "heroic" from social studies curriculum when referring to defenders of the Alamo.

From Texas Standard:

Two years ago, the Houston Chronicle investigated how Texas had been creating the false impression that there was declining demand for special education. The investigation was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and it showed that Texas had found ways to cap the number of special-education students, and block others from even qualifying. It was essentially a money-saving strategy, but now the federal government says it's time to pay up, and fix the system.

A lack of referees may make Thursday – and even Saturday – games a regular occurrence – in a state known for "Friday Night Lights."

The gap in refs may be attributable to a seemingly mythical prospect in Texas: There's too much football, so high schools share stadium space.

A plan to build a publicly funded seawall to protect oil refineries has highlighted gaps in how oil and gas companies inform investors of potential risks associated with climate change.

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