Texas News

More than 600 miles of wall are already built along the U.S.-Mexico southern border but President Donald Trump’s administration is working hard to expand that. That includes possible construction in Laredo, where city officials continue to walk a fine line with federal officials throughout the project, and in the Rio Grande Valley across a historic cemetery that residents are working hard to preserve.

In areas where a significant part of the population has limited English proficiency, the 1975 Voting Rights Act requires the "clear, complete and accurate” translation of election materials. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas says 69 counties in the Lonestar State are violating that provision with inadequate or poorly translated information for Spanish-speaking voters.

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Retail stores, restaurants, gyms, office buildings, museums and libraries in regions where COVID-19 hospitalizations are under control can open at 75% capacity starting Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Thursday. Hospitals in these areas can resume elective surgeries immediately, he said.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, Sept. 17. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced the “I am Vanessa Guillen Act” on Wednesday.

Texas DHS Changes How It Reports COVID-19 Positivity Rate

Sep 16, 2020

Texas health officials announced Monday that they are changing the way the state reports a key metric used to evaluate the extent of coronavirus infection, a move that conceded that the state’s previous method of calculating the “positivity rate” muddied the extent of viral transmission by mixing old data with new.

Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics, oft-cited philosopher and environmental activist told TPR's "The Source" on Monday that Texas does not have a bright future as an oil state. Chomsky and Dr. Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have co-authored the book "Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal."

State health officials walked back a plan to cut $15 million in funding from health and safety net programs, including services that offer low-income Texans access to birth control and cancer screenings, and support families of young children with disabilities or developmental delays.

Jessica and her five children haven’t seen Hilder Lainez-Alvarez — their husband and father — in several months. He’s being detained at the Port Isabel Detention Center in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Texas State Board of Education gave preliminary approval this week to a sex education policy that includes teaching middle schoolers about birth control beyond abstinence — its first attempt to revise that policy since 1997.

A group of faculty at Texas Christian University wants the school to take stricter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff — including a possible return to online-only classes.

The number of cases at TCU spiked shortly after students returned in August, according to the school’s self-reported COVID-19 data. At the beginning of September, there were more than 400 active cases.

From Texas Standard:

Many Texas businesses have been deeply affected by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. But breweries, distilleries and wineries are especially vulnerable because of a series of orders by Gov. Greg Abbott that categorized them similar to bars.

Texas primary care doctors say they’re hemorrhaging cash and at risk of closing their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, and a new trade group proposal argues it’s time for Texas lawmakers to overhaul how physicians’ practices get paid.

More patients are forgoing office visits as they stay home to avoid the virus, and doctors’ offices report that their revenues have fallen sharply as a result. Many large health insurance companies have posted huge profits during the same period.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Texas can keep its strict eligibility rules for voting by mail.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday named U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as a potential nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

From Texas Standard:

John Cornyn has been a U.S. senator for Texas since 2002. He is the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, and many say he's in the toughest race of his political career this year, facing Democratic challenger MJ Hegar.

Political Divides On COVID-19 Could Risk Public Health

Sep 10, 2020

From Texas Standard:

For some, how they feel about the science, treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is related to their political beliefs.

Back in April, Politico and the research company Morning Consult polled almost 2,000 registered voters and found that 71% of Republicans supported treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine – a treatment President Donald Trump has touted, but that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned is unsafe for the self-treatment of COVID-19. Meanwhile, only 29% of Democrats felt the same about that drug.

Maria Flores thought she was doing the right thing when she surrendered her dog, Muffy, to Dallas Animal Services. The 10-year-old Maltese needed medical treatment, but she couldn’t afford to pay for it.

That visit led Dallas County Sheriff's deputies to arrest Flores five months later. Now, she’s in an immigration detention center, facing a felony and possible deportation.

As Texas prepares for an expected deluge of mail-in votes in November, a federal judge has found that one facet of the state’s signature verification rules for those ballots is unconstitutional and must be reworked for the upcoming election.

As Texas college towns see rising COVID-19 cases with the return of hundreds of thousands of students to campus, a small but increasing number of universities are disciplining students who attend or host house parties or Greek rush events.

On a normal first day of school, Texas children would wake up early to cram into school buses, eager to huddle and chat with their friends in the hallways before streaming toward their classrooms.

The North Texas Poison Center's received regional reports of at least 46 cases of ingestion or overexposure to bleach since Aug. 1. A few involved attempts to avoid or stop COVID-19.

The numbers were similar to the same time period a year ago. However, Cristina Holloway, Public Health Education Manager for the center, said there were shifts in the ages involved.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Standing in front of a blue curtain adorned with the seal of the Republican Party of Texas, Allen West offered up what he deemed an “instructional video” for Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

A federal judge on Saturday ordered the U.S. Census Bureau to halt its plans to wind down operations a month early.

From Texas Standard:

Federal Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi said in a hearing Thursday that the state has let for-profit providers endanger the lives of vulnerable kids in the care of Child Protective Services, or CPS.

Gov. Greg Abbott is considering a legislative proposal that, if passed, would put the control of the Austin Police Department under state authority.

From Texas Standard:

COVID-19 cases at Texas' public universities are spiking. University and local health officials anticipated that might happen, as colleges and universities try to return to some semblance of a normal fall semester.

Ahead of the November election, President Trump’s administration said it is racing to build 10 miles of border wall a week.

Many of those projects along the Texas-Mexico border have been met with controversy, including one next to a historic cemetery in the Rio Grande Valley.

Federal Appeals Court Hears Texas Vote-By-Mail Case

Sep 2, 2020

The Texas Democratic Party is suing the state over an election rule that limits mail-in ballots to those over 65, saying it constitutes age discrimination.

In what it’s calling its biggest week-long registration effort in history, the Texas Democratic Party is trying to contact one million unregistered voters in the span of a week.

Through phone calls and text messages, they’ll direct people to a party website to get the registration process started. Voters can enter their information and then receive an application form in the mail.