Texas Public Radio

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.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced two new contracts for nearly 40 miles of border wall construction in Webb County on Wednesday.

The Trump administration has now awarded four contracts for its proposed border wall in the Laredo area for a total of more than $1 billion.

When Jarrod Stringer updated his driver’s license address in 2014, the Texas Department of Public Safety website asked if he wanted to register to vote. He clicked yes and thought he was registered. That fall, when he went to vote in San Antonio, he was denied. According to the system, he had never registered. It was past the registration deadline, so he couldn’t vote.

That kicked off a six-year legal battle that included two lawsuits for the right for Texans to register to vote online while updating their licenses.

Federal Judge Blocks Texas’ Elimination Of Straight-Ticket Voting

Sep 28, 2020

Less than three weeks before early voting begins in Texas, a U.S. district judge has blocked the state from eliminating straight-ticket voting as an option for people who go to the polls this November.

In a ruling issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo cited the coronavirus pandemic, saying the elimination of the voting practice would “cause irreparable injury” to voters “by creating mass lines at the polls and increasing the amount of time voters are exposed to COVID-19.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at a webinar Thursday hosted by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce where he discussed the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the Latinx community and other people of color.

The U.S. death toll exceeded 200,000 deaths this week.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is facing a lawsuit over his extension of early voting for the November election from prominent members of his own party — including state party Chairman Allen West, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and members of the Texas Legislature.

The Texas Historical Commission denied a request to relocate the Cenotaph monument in Alamo Plaza in a 12-2 vote on Tuesday.

The commission vote was needed to allow portions of the Alamo’s $450 million redevelopment plan to go through as previously approved by the San Antonio City Council and Texas General Land Office. The decision leaves uncertainty on how specific aspects will move forward.

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.

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

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."

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.


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.

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.


This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Since March, Melissa and her husband have gutted their savings, spending more than $5,000 caring for their three children. Most of the money has gone to child care and speech therapy for their daughter Nora. Two weeks ago, the couple put their house up for sale.

San Antonio police officers arrested a Black jogger on the city’s Northwest Side on Tuesday Aug. 25, after mistakenly identifying him as a suspect in a family violence call. Now, officials with the San Antonio Police Department say an administrative review is underway into the struggle.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Starting Sept. 8, Texas will require school districts to file weekly reports on new COVID-19 cases among students, teachers or staff, state education officials announced Thursday.

The streets of Beaumont were largely empty Wednesday morning, dotted with boarded-up businesses closed well ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall. Beaumont officials were loading people into buses at Westbrook High School amid a mandatory evacuation order.

Congress is investigating a billion dollar program that includes a controversial contract given to a San Antonio company. Federal investigators may also be looking into the program.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Unemployed Texans could begin receiving $300 in extra weekly jobless payments as soon as next week, a Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson said, after the state received federal approval Friday of funding that President Donald Trump announced in early August.

A fading Tropical Storm Marco continued its steady path along the Gulf Coast on Monday, and forecasters estimated further weakening would follow landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Monday. Once over land, Marco's remnants would cross into East Texas Tuesday night and dissipate.

The delivery of medicine, packages, bills and letters has been delayed across the country as a result of new controversial changes issued by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

In Bergheim, Texas, just north of San Antonio, there’s a skunky smell in the air.   

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

While debate about how to safely reopen public schools in Texas raged through the summer, Kim Olstrup was preparing to bring students back to her Midcities Montessori private school in Bedford. She bought an electrostatic disinfection device similar to one used on airplanes and halved enrollment from about 130 students to about 60 to accommodate social distancing in her classrooms.

With few signs the coronavirus is fading, election officials face an increasingly urgent question: how to accommodate voters who become infected in the days leading up to the election.

In Texas — a state that fought expanding mail-in ballot access all the way up to the Supreme Court — COVID-19 positive voters can be put in the position of choosing between their right to vote and the public's health.

Gov. Greg Abbott is setting the record straight as to who has the final say on when schools can reopen this fall. The power will lie in the hands of local school officials, not public health authorities.


Customs and Border Protection

As of late July, there were more than 9,500 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals — and more than 6,000 had died. Medical teams from the Army and Navy have deployed to help hospitals under stress. 


President Donald Trump met with the family of slain Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen at the White House on Thursday. They shared their grief and expressed their hopes that the military system that failed their daughter and other women will be improved.

According to guidelines issued last week by the Texas Education Agency, students will be able to return to campus for in-person instruction or continue learning remotely in the fall.


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