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Voters are seeking as little human contact as possible for this risky election. But there’s a low-contact method that’s getting less publicity than mail-in ballots — curbside voting.

Right after early voting started in Dallas, the line in front of Fretz Park Library stretched hundreds of yards. Mask-wearing voters stood patiently waiting their turn.

But not everyone is able to stand. A car pulled up at a sign that reads “curbside voting.” Lisa Jackson was inside.

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From Texas Standard:

On March 26, the Texas Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, took a rare step, temporarily suspending cutoffs for all the electric companies it regulates. The measure was a response to economic displacement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PUC doesn’t regulate all utilities, but many of them do fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

After several miscarriages over the last few years, Joy Tucker is finally pregnant with her third child at the age of 37.

All but one of the 10 Democrats running to flip nationally targeted U.S. House seats in Texas raised more than their Republican opponents over the past three months, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

In six of those nine races, the Republican ended the quarter with more cash on hand, a financial advantage heading into the last full month before Election Day. But the Democratic fundraising shows serious momentum as the national party reaches the finale of its drive to make Texas the top congressional battleground nationwide this November.

The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners will no longer prohibit social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

A statewide rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations suggests another surge may be on the way in Texas.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas plateaued in early September at slightly around 3,000, then began climbing again on Sept. 20.

More than 4,200 Texans are now in the hospital with COVID-19.

Texas Health Department spokesman Chris Van Deusen says the state is closely tracking these numbers and — by request — is sending extra health care workers to El Paso, Amarillo and Lubbock, where cases have spiked in recent weeks.

Lee esta historia en español. 

Jarymar Arana grips a backpack outside an apartment complex in Pflugerville just after 8 a.m. on a recent Sunday. Arana doesn’t live here, but hundreds of people do, and nearly two dozen of them have had evictions filed against them during the pandemic.

Upon resigning from his job as college preparatory coordinator at Pflugerville High School last month, Daniel Dawer wrote two letters. The first explained to his employer that he would have gladly continued teaching remotely from his home but did not feel safe returning to the classroom as he had been ordered.

The second was to his students, begging them to stick with virtual learning for their families’ safety and expressing his lack of faith in Pflugerville Independent School District’s plan for bringing students and teachers back into classrooms.

Voters Have Two Very Different Choices For Texas' Next Oil And Gas Regulator

Oct 15, 2020

Texas voters have the opportunity to choose the next state oil and gas regulator – and the two candidates in the race would have very different approaches to that role.

Many Texans who were hoping to vote by mail during this election are instead having to vote in person.

So far, about a million Texans have cast a ballot during the state's extended early voting period, which started Tuesday.

Texans were put into this position thanks to a confluence of events that includes the solidly Republican state becoming more competitive and the nation's federal courts becoming more conservative.

In Texas, the pool of potential voters is dramatically different now than it was just a decade ago.

First things first: Most votes don't get counted until Election Day. To be even more clear, those votes aren’t counted until the polls close that evening.

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a Texas law banning the most common procedure for second-trimester abortions.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and his Democratic opponent, MJ Hegar, butted heads Friday evening in a debate over a host of timely issues — the coronavirus pandemic, race and policing, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Immigrant advocates are demanding U.S. immigration officials not deport a group of Black migrants being held at Prairieland Detention Center south of Fort Worth.

Instead, they want federal officials to investigate allegations from eight men who say they were physically abused and threatened while previously detained at Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi.

Texas counties may collect mail-in ballots at only one location, a federal appeals court ruled late Monday, once again upholding an order from Gov. Greg Abbott that restricts voting options.

Texas can limit absentee ballot drop-off spots to one per county, a federal appeals court said, reversing a lower court's ruling from days ago. Democrats said Gov. Greg Abbott's order could suppress voters; the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, saying, "[O]ne strains to see how it burdens voting at all."

Donald Trump Leads Joe Biden By 5 Points In Texas, UT/TT Poll Finds

Oct 9, 2020

President Donald Trump leads former Vice President Joe Biden with the support of 50% of the state’s likely voters to Biden’s 45% in the 2020 race for president, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

The Republicans — Trump and his running mate, Vice President Mike Pence — had strong support from white (62%-34%) and male (55%-39%) voters, while the Democrats, Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, are the favorites of female (51%-46%), Black (87%-11%) and Hispanic (54%-37%) voters in Texas.

From Texas Standard:

In presidential election years past, Democrats weren't willing to spend a lot of money on political ads in Texas because winning in the state was a long shot. But this year is different. Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign recently spent $6 million on online advertisement in Texas, similar to what President Donald Trump's campaign has spent.

Texas bars can reopen at 50% capacity starting next Wednesday if the county judge where they are located approves, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday.

A tremendous amount of attention is now on the U.S. Supreme Court and the confirmation process for Amy Coney Barrett.

Meanwhile, starting with early voting on Oct. 13, voters in Texas will be able to make important judicial choices of their own, including who will sit on the Texas Supreme Court. It’s the highest state court for all civil cases.

Four seats will be on the ballot, including chief justice.

Why The Court Matters

Early voting in Texas can begin Oct. 13, following the timeline the governor laid out months ago, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, rejecting a request from several top Texas Republicans to limit the timeframe for voters to cast their ballots.

After thousands took to the streets this summer to protest police brutality and racial injustice, galvanized by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, some Texas law enforcement agencies faced stiff criticism for their responses.

Allegations of excessive force prompted Austin to slash its police budget and other jurisdictions to adopt a series of reforms, from prohibiting the use of certain “less-lethal” weapons to requiring officers to intervene when they see another use extreme measures.

From Texas Standard:

Texan Hispanics will soon outnumber white, non-Hispanics in the state. But that demographic shift won't necessarily equate to Texas turning blue, politically. That's because although more Hispanics tend to vote Democratic, about 30% tend to vote Republican. More importantly, neither statistic is set in stone, and understanding the complexity of the Latino political identity could be key to understanding the future of Texas politics.

Senior officials in the Texas Attorney General's Office have asked federal law enforcement to "investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes" by their boss, the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE-TV first reported Saturday.

The senior staff members, including Jeff Mateer, who resigned from his post as Paxton’s top aide this week after several years leading the agency, notified the agency’s human resources director that they sought the investigation.

Senior officials in the Texas Attorney General's Office have asked federal law enforcement to "investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes" by their boss, the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE-TV first reported Saturday.

Texas voters and voting rights groups are suing Gov. Greg Abbott in federal district court over his order limiting the number of hand-delivery sites for mail-in ballots.

Voting rights advocates and civic groups have rushed to the courthouse in a bid to block Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's Oct. 1 order allowing Texas counties no more than one drop-off location for voters casting absentee ballots, calling the directive an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote that will disproportionately impact voters of color in the state’s biggest cities.

Lawmakers Say Texas Needs A Statewide Broadband Plan

Oct 2, 2020

From Texas Standard:

The pandemic has been hard for everyone, but especially for those who don't have dependable access to high-speed internet. One thing that might have helped – a statewide broadband plan. Texas is among just six states that don't have such a plan, even though over 2 million Texans lack access to high-speed internet, according to the state comptroller's office. 

From Texas Standard:

In 2018, Texas state health officials were preparing for the possibility of a future pandemic. But by the time COVID-19 reached Texas last spring, not much more had been done. As a result, the state was caught flat-footed like much of the rest of the country as the pandemic worsened.

Almost 16,000 Texans have died so far from COVID-19, and a recent investigation by the Houston Chronicle found that Texas failed to prepare for a major outbreak when it had the chance.

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