Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

In this first week of the 2021 Texas legislative session, lawmakers weighed in on some practical matters like how to vote remotely during the pandemic and picking the new House speaker. But members of the Texas Senate also voted to change a rule to give Republicans an advantage.

From Texas Standard:

CBD products have given many people the promise of a natural way of coping with stress and anxiety, especially during the pandemic. But recent actions by the Federal Trade Commission suggest that the health claims made by some CBD companies are dubious.

From Texas Standard:

In the past 20 years, 119 journalists have been killed in Mexico, making that country the most dangerous in the world for reporters.

From Texas Standard:

With the Texas Legislature set to open its 2021 session in January at the Capitol, questions remain about how the body will address COVID-19. Legislators, staffers, citizens, the press and advocates all descend on the building every two years, making social distancing and other pandemic precautions a matter of concern.

From Texas Standard:

Texas is ready to distribute 100,000 vaccine doses as soon as Pfizer-BioNTech gets the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration. And some of the first people in line will be Texas nursing home residents.

From Texas Standard:

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against four battleground states, alleging they made unconstitutional changes to their voting laws before the 2020 election.

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.

From Texas Standard:

As new cases of coronavirus soar in Texas, the White House Coronavirus Task Force is calling on state officials to do more to stem the spread.

From Texas Standard:

Texas now leads the country in total coronavirus cases, this week reaching 1 million total cases since the start of the pandemic.

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.

From Texas Standard:

President-elect Joe Biden has begun rolling out his transition plan, including a website listing four priorities for the start of his administration: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.

Lee esta historia en español.

Below are results for statewide races and Texas Legislature elections in Central Texas, courtesy of The Texas Tribune.

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA. It bars discrimination in public accommodations and is supposed to allow for full participation for people with disabilities.

But even with something as fundamental as voting, people with disabilities sometimes face limited access.

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

On Election Day, members of the Texas Army National Guard will be in the streets of some Texas cities. According to reporting on Monday, the order came from Gov. Greg Abbott. The troops are said to have been called in case of disturbances that arise during the Nov. 3 election.

But many questions remain about where exactly troops will be, and what they'll be doing. 

From Texas Standard:

Lubbock saw the same summer spike in COVID-19 cases as much of Texas. And, like much of the state, those cases decreased for a while after. But they jumped back up again in recent weeks, says Covenant Health Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. Craig Rhyne.

Lee esta historia en español. 

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.

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.

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.

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month, something unusual happened. Birds — thousands of them – seemingly dropped dead overnight in New Mexico. Jenna McCullough, a PhD student in ornithology at the University of New Mexico, went to investigate.

From Texas Standard:

Around the end of March, Chris Swenson thought he had a problem with his website.

Swenson is the head of Swenson ranches, a cattle operation in Elgin and Stamford that’s been in his family since 1882. It was started by his great-great-grandfather Svante Magnus Swenson, Texas’ first immigrant from Sweden.

From Texas Standard:

Of the more than 1.1 million public school students estimated to have returned to some form of on-campus school activity in Texas, just under 4,000 have tested positive for COVID-19. That's far less than many teachers and administrators feared. But are those numbers accurate?

From Texas Standard:

The Surplus Agricultural Products Grant is a program Feeding Texas CEO Celia Cole describes as a “win-win-win.” It’s been around for 20 years and Cole says it helps food banks across Texas like those within the network she leads. She says providing food keeps people healthy, which reduces other costs for the state and, she says, it helps specialty crop farmers by paying them for donated produce.

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.

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.

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.

Migrants Expelled Under COVID-19 Rules Land In Mexico City

Aug 31, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported an increase of Mexican nationals crossing the border into the U.S. between March and May, raising concerns of COVID-19 spread into the United States. The concern prompted a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and the government of Mexico to expel migrants through repatriation flights to Mexico City.

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas State Health Services is spending over $6 million to partner with social media influencers and enhance awareness of COVID-19. 

From Texas Standard:

For many students, starting a new school year completely online is an adjustment. For students experiencing homelessness, that adjustment will likely be even greater. And now, some homeless advocates worry that more students will experience homelessness and challenges with their education because of economic hardship resulting from the pandemic.

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