Texas Public Radio

With two months left in the legislative session, Texas state policymakers are split on two key issues related to the deadly power outages in February: electricity repricing and natural gas reforms.

A Republican candidate in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington, is facing intense backlash and has lost two of her biggest supporters after saying she does not want Chinese immigrants in the United States.

A Texas Hill Country lifestyle coach and her boyfriend were both arrested last week for allegedly entering the U.S. Capitol building during the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to the FBI.

Elizabeth Rose Williams, of Kerrville, and Brad Bennett were seen on Capitol grounds and inside the building in security camera footage and social media posts that Bennett had posted onto Facebook, according to court documents.

"Stormed the Capitol. Pray for us all," Bennett allegedly wrote via Facebook. "This is OUR HOUSE!"

In the last month, Texans have received more than $95 million in federal funding for damages from the February winter storm.

After Specialist Vanessa Guillen was killed by another soldier at Fort Hood last April, a civilian review panel looked at how Army investigators handled the case — and the base’s ability to respond to sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Texans may soon have fewer electricity providers to choose from, and the most powerful corporations that remain are likely to scoop up even more of the market share.

Right now, most Texans choose from a handful of retail electric providers that offer competing rate plans. The prevailing idea is that more competition helps lower costs, but the market is highly consolidated.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott visited Mission, Texas, on Tuesday to address the rising number of migrants arriving at the border and federal immigration policy changes.

Abbott spoke after being briefed by Border Patrol and law enforcement in the Rio Grande Valley, a high entry point for migrants.

The chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the agency that regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, resigned Monday, according to a resignation letter provided to the Texas Tribune.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, in a speech Friday at a major national conservative gathering, joked about his recent trip to Cancún during the Texas winter weather crisis and promised that former President Donald Trump would be a lasting force in the Republican Party.

Texas grocery store shelves have begun filling out again. But for the state’s agriculture industry, recovering from the winter storm will take time, and consumers are likely to feel it in their pockets.

The historic freeze and power outages brought agriculture across the state to a halt. Dairy farmers were forced to dump gallons of unpasteurized milk for days as processing plants were left without power. Packing houses also shut down with machinery cut off from electricity and employees unable to make their shifts, said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

Texas Winter Storm May Lead To COVID-19 Surge

Feb 23, 2021

Texans did a lot of things to stay safe and warm last week that weren’t necessarily pandemic-safe and could contribute to another surge in cases.

Texas Agency Bans Utility Cutoffs For Failure To Pay

Feb 22, 2021

The Public Utility Commission of Texas has implemented a ban on utility cutoffs for consumers who don’t pay their bills. The move does not apply to cooperatives or to municipality-owned utilities like CPS in San Antonio or Austin Energy.

Commission chair DeAnn Walker introduced the order during a Sunday afternoon emergency meeting. She explained that the commission met on Sunday — when disconnections aren’t allowed — to ensure that no consumer cutoffs begin on Monday.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Dominic Anthony Walsh: Help us understand the components of the power grid in Texas at the most general level. When a Texan flips on a light switch, where is that electricity coming from?

When the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for use in December, Pastor Timothy Sloan was chatting with some of his congregants and the question of whether to get the vaccine came up. Sloan leads a Black megachurch in Humble called The Luke Church, and he knew that some of his 5,000 members would look to him for guidance.

TPR’s Jerry Clayton recently spoke with Heather Fazio, Director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy about legalization efforts and the voters who support those efforts.

This story includes violent language that may offend some readers.

In an arrest affidavit submitted on Jan. 16, the Federal Bureau of Investigation described This Is Texas Freedom Force as “an extremist militia group.”

The new label from one of the United States’ primary federal law enforcement agencies came 10 days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Gov. Greg Abbott will give his State of the State address at 7 p.m. Central time Monday. You can watch it live here, courtesy of our partners at KXAN-TV in Austin.

A group of Republicans has launched a national campaign targeting Republican Senator Ted Cruz and others who they say need to be held accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

The group, called the Republican Accountability Project, is made up of leaders of Republican organizations and some former Trump administration staffers.

They've purchased billboards in cities across the country.

This summer, students called on the University of Texas at Austin to stop playing the “The Eyes of Texas,” the alma mater song that has historical minstrel show ties. Aggies petitioned Texas A&M University to take down the statue of Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, a former governor and Confederate general.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday voided rulings from lower courts that upheld a ban on most abortions in Texas early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Hidalgo County Health Authority Ivan Melendez says coming into COVID-19 units nowadays feels like going through a nonlinear version of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“You cry,” he told the Tribune. “There’s a lady that I’m taking care of that I’ve known since I was a child. … We grew up together, and I know she’s going to die. … It’s the same thing: ‘We got together for Christmas.’ Now we’re seeing the ramification of it.”

Yira Aldape said she “woke up with a little pep” in her step Wednesday morning. Tricia Cortez said it was “a party” in her house. Juanita Valdez-Cox breathed “a sigh of relief” as she watched President Joe Biden take the oath. But Marianna Treviño-Wright said she was “not yet celebrating.”

On a recent day, the parking lot at Pasquotank High School in Elizabeth City, N.C. was transformed into a kind of vaccine freeway, with four lanes of cars bearing drivers and passengers getting COVID-19 inoculations.

And several of those administering the shots were in camouflage.

President-elect Joe Biden says he's going to activate National Guard troops to help with the nation's lagging COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn new information. Details are gathered from federal court documents and research from the George Washington University Program on Extremism.

Updated March 31, 8:37 a.m. CT

O'Rourke Slams Cruz For Attending Inauguration

Jan 18, 2021

The office of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has confirmed the Texas Republican plans to attend the inauguration of President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this week in Washington D.C.

Cruz's 2018 democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke tweeted that he doesn't think Cruz should be invited after what O'Rourke called sedition and incitement of violent insurrectionists at the nation's Capitol earlier this month. O'Rourke also said Cruz's actions should result in him being expelled from the Senate.

The Texas legislature kicked off a new session on Tuesday, a mere six days after a violent mob breached the U.S. capitol. What the 87th legislative session lacked in action on the floor, it made up for with a large police presence.

More than a hundred state troopers in full tactical gear stood outside the entrances. Some officers monitored the capital grounds, and many more roamed inside.

Less than a week after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol, San Antonio Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said the day was much more somber than usual.

The chairman of the Republican Party of Texas is asking Republican legislators to ignore “fairness” in the next round of legislative redistricting this year, adding to the state’s history of gerrymandering.

“They must realize this strategic opportunity and not concern themselves with ‘fairness’ to the progressive socialist left,” said Allen West, in an email to supporters Monday.

Prominent Texas Republicans criticized the actions of a pro-Trump extremist mob at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have been at the forefront of conspiracy theories and court cases around the results of the 2020 presidential election. On Tuesday, Paxton spoke at a Trump rally in D.C. that preceded the insurrection.

Lee esta historia en español.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is suing ExxonMobil for employment discrimination.

The group alleges the Texas-based oil giant denied Aldo De Leon a job because of his immigration status. De Leon is a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), authorizing him to work in the U.S.

Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. As Hendrick Health chief medical officer Rob Wiley explained, the intensive care unit has been over capacity for weeks.

“So right now, we are presently staying over probably 130% capacity every day,” he said. “And we've been that way for a very long period of time — for over a month.”

That means there are more patients requiring intensive care than the total number of staffed beds. Hendrick Medical Center and other hospitals have been forced to activate surge capacity.

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