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Abilene recently became the eighth region in Texas to meet Gov. Greg Abbott’s threshold for rolling back business capacity, as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. A host of local leaders across the state say they would like to do more, but the governor’s statewide orders limit their power to impose restrictions — part of Texas’ ongoing struggle between state and local control.

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Thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are currently being distributed throughout the state, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday.

During a news conference at a UPS center in Austin, Abbott said Texas has already delivered 95,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. He said an additional 129,000 doses will be distributed on Thursday alone.

As COVID-19 continues to spread out of control in Texas, medical laboratory professionals are facing burnout and exhaustion.

In the U.S., these workers have performed approximately 213 million COVID-19 tests alone so far. On average, they perform about 13 billion medical tests a year, and there are only about 300,000 medical lab professionals in the U.S.

The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine began arriving arriving throughout the U.S. on Monday including in Texas, with health care workers first in line to receive the shots.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said 19,500 doses of the vaccine were headed Monday to four sites in Texas: MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Wellness 360 at UT Health San Antonio and UT Health Austin’s Dell Medical School.

Hospitals across Texas are struggling under the weight of the state’s worst COVID-19 surge yet. And the situation is likely to get worse.

Since the beginning of December, the state has set records for the first, second and third highest number of daily cases ever. Confirmed cases typically precede hospitalizations by up to a week. As of Sunday, there were nearly 9,200 Texans hospitalized — the most since July.

Texas health officials on Monday said they hoped to start vaccinating the general public by next July, though that could change based on type of vaccine and how many doses the state receives.

In its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update, the Texas Department of State Health Services laid out its phased approach to vaccinations, with the health agency expecting to have about 1.5 million vaccine doses available for limited distribution by the end of the month to hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients, as well as staff and residents at long-term care facilities.

From Texas Standard:

Texans are hardly rookies when it comes to the back-and-forth between local government officials and Austin. They’ve seen it countless times during weather emergencies or the legislative session.

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

An oil storage tank exploded near the refineries on the northwest side of Corpus Christi on Saturday, injuring at least seven people, city and Nueces County officials reported.

The explosion site was at the Magellan Midstream storage tank facility in the 1800 block of Poth, north of Interstate 37 and south of Nueces Bay, near the turning basins for tankers and other ships that enter the industrial port channel.

Among the seven injured, two people have since been released from the hospital and the remaining five are in stable condition.

The risk of wildfires will be higher than normal through the winter in much of Texas. It's yet another effect of the drought that continues to worsen in much of the state, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows women still only earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by a man. A new report finds that gap is bigger in Texas, where woman earn 79.4% of what men earn on average.

A report released by the Austin-based financial technology company Self compared the income of full-time working men and women in metro areas with more than 100,000 people.

Texas received $11.2 billion in CARES Act funding to cope with bills run up in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there's a catch: it has to spend everything by the end of the year.

Anything left over goes back to the federal treasury. And many state lawmakers and county officials are complaining that Gov. Greg Abbott has been less than transparent as to how his administration is spending the money.

After initially saying he didn't do anything wrong, Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, says he now realizes he "set a bad example" by traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation last month.

Andy Posner founded the Capital Good Fund in Rhode Island right before the last recession, and he says he's seen first hand how the much-vaunted economic recovery after 2008 left a lot of people behind.

More and more people, even those working full-time or more, have been left without the capacity to make ends meet over the last decade. So, they turned to payday and auto title loans, pawn shops and other quick-cash options when hit with an emergency expense or just a higher-than-usual utility bill.

Lee esta historia en español.

The 2020 election will live in history — and misinformation will be part of it. One particular social media platform may have played a big part in swaying Spanish speaking voters.

Several bills have been filed for the next Texas Legislative session that would decriminalize or legalize the use of marijuana in the state. One state representative said legalization could help to fend off a looming $4.6 billion deficit in Texas.

“Every year, over a billion in tax revenue from a mature market and hundreds of millions in savings on enforcement, thousands of jobs generated both directly and in a ripple effect of economic interdependency," said Joe Moody, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House of Representatives.

The number of COVID-19 cases in rural Texas keeps going up, taxing medical resources and challenging the notion that living in relative isolation protects against the disease.

Straight ticket voting had allowed Texans to vote for all the candidates in their chosen political party in one fell swoop.

But that option wasn’t on offer in the recent election, the result of a law passed by the 2017 state Legislature that went into effect for the first time this year.

Some thought even more people would only vote for the top of the ticket without the straight-ticket option. The drop-off still happened, but less than expected.

Research Underway To Find A More Colorful Alamo

Nov 16, 2020

Was the Alamo once brightly painted like other Spanish missions in the area?

Alamo Conservator Pam Rosser believes it most likely was.

“Mission San Antonio de Valero, known as the Alamo during the mid 1700s, was the center of the community. That would explain why it could have possibly been decoratively painted,” she said.

Rosser is setting out to learn more and perhaps discover what those colors were by extracting tiny pigment fragments for examination. But centuries of sun, wind and rain could make it difficult.

Lee esta historia en español. 

The personal information of as many as 22.7 million Texas driver's license holders has been compromised, according to a Denver-based insurance software firm.

Refusing to concede to Democratic incumbent Henry Cuellar last week, Texas Congressional District 28 Candidate Sandra Whitten has raised concerns about Webb County’s use of pencils in voting booths.

In a Facebook Live conducted on Nov. 7, Whitten, a Republican, said she had heard “rumors” about voter fraud from throughout the district, but she zeroed in on Webb County.

This election was the first in decades to not include a straight ticket voting option on ballots across Texas. Back in 2017, the Republican-controlled state legislature scrapped the option, but the change didn’t take effect until this election.

Democrats unsuccessfully sued to stop the change, but not everyone on the left cared too much.

“I was somewhat agnostic on it,” said Ed Espinoza, the executive director of the left-leaning group, Progress Texas.

5 Reasons Why Republicans Won In Texas

Nov 12, 2020

Republicans retained total control of state government in last week’s election, which means leaders in the party will be able to re-draw state and Congressional district lines next year.

Here are five reasons they won:

1. Door-to-door canvassing

The foot soldiers, so to speak, were activists like Sue Reeves of Fairview, a precinct chair with the Collin County GOP.

Luther Hendricks was just a teenager when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened. He says he was determined to fight to save his country from the enemy.

"Once President Roosevelt declared war, I went down the next day to the recruiting station to join up, and I was told they didn't take coloreds in the Marines," Hendricks said.


With more than 23,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas’ prisons, incarcerated Texans are testing positive at a rate 40% higher than the national prison population average, according to a new report from the University of Texas at Austin.

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An Indian Affairs Task Force has been created to help solve the thousands of cold cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center is using its forensic crime laboratory to try and help figure out what's happening and investigate hundreds of cases.

Originally published by The 19th:

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With early election results rolling in, it appears the upswing in Latinx voter turnout that political operatives were eyeing came to fruition — and Latinas likely led some of that charge.

Democrats entered Election Day hopeful that Texas had changed enough politically and demographically in recent years for Joe Biden to win the state’s 38 electoral votes and disrupt the national political landscape.

It didn’t turn out that way.

From Texas Standard:

One outcome of the 2020 election was a loosening of some drug laws in several states. Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota approved the use of recreational marijuana, and Oregon passed a law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs like cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine.

While Texas is far behind when it comes to legalization of any currently illicit drug, Katharine Neill Harris, a drug policy fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, tells Texas Standard that that could change in the upcoming legislative session as Texas learns from the growing number of states where pot is legal.

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