Texas

Texas military families are struggling with food insecurity at a higher rate than military families in other parts of the country, according to a new report from the Military Family Advisory Network, a nonprofit focused on military family needs and services.

One in six military and veteran respondents in Texas were hungry or experiencing low food security before the coronavirus pandemic. Nationally, the rate was one in eight.

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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.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday touted the arrival of a new antibody treatment as progress in Texas' fight against the coronavirus, while again ruling out any new statewide business restrictions as the state experiences alarming growth in cases and hospitalizations.

"It is important for everybody in the state to know that statewide we’re not gonna have another shutdown," Abbott said during a news conference in Lubbock. "There's an overestimation of exactly what a shutdown will achieve, and there's a misunderstanding about what a shutdown will not achieve."

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.

At El Paso's Perches Funeral Homes, manager Jorge Ortiz wheeled a body into his chapel. But not for a funeral service.

"The last two weeks, we have received more COVID cases than the past, I would say, months," said Ortiz.

So many bodies have come in, he said he had to create extra space. That meant converting the chapel into a makeshift storage cooler.

"When we hit the peak back in maybe the summer ... that’s nothing compared to what we’re living right now," Ortiz said.

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.

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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.

With a state budget devastated by the coronavirus, some Democratic lawmakers are hoping the economic crisis could become an opportunity to coax Texas into joining a growing number of states opting to legalize — and tax — recreational marijuana use.

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.

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.

If Texas was a country instead of a state, it would rank in the top 10 nations with the most overall coronavirus cases.

That's according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which also revealed that the state, the second-most populous in the U.S., surpassed 1 million cases on Tuesday.

Immigrant advocates are concerned that another round of asylum seekers from Cameroon may soon be deported from a North Texas detention center, a month after dozens of Cameroonian and Congolese migrants were already deported.

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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.


The 87th Texas Legislature won’t gavel in until January, but state lawmakers on Monday got their first chance to file legislation for what’s expected to be a particularly tough 140-day stretch at the Capitol next year.

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.

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.

Republicans Maintain Majority On Texas Education Board

Nov 6, 2020

Democrats are gaining one seat on the Republican-dominated State Board of Education, while Republicans held on in the other races that Democrats had hoped to flip in the 2020 general election.

At a senior staff meeting one Thursday morning in May, with much of the Texas attorney general’s office working from home and morale seeming low, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arrived at the Price Daniel Sr. State Office Building in downtown Austin with a surprise honor for a top deputy: a copy of "Scalia Speaks," the late conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice’s book.

Paxton had inscribed it with a congratulatory note for Blake Brickman, and presented it personally at the meeting of about 20 people.


Cases of COVID-19 in El Paso continued to skyrocket on Wednesday as the city reported a record 3,100 new people contracted the virus, smashing the previous single-day record by more than 1,000.

Texas House Appears To Remain In Republican Control

Nov 4, 2020

It would be the biggest political shakeup in Texas in nearly two decades – snapping Republicans’ long control of the House, Senate and governor’s office. And it seemed like it might be within reach.

Democrats needed to hold the 12 seats they picked up in 2018 – and win nine more. They poured money into races around the state.

"Democrats gave it a really good try," Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said. "The difficulty is they’re still in a Republican state and a majority of the voters in many of these districts are still Republican-leaning."

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

John Cornyn is headed back to the U.S. Senate. He beat Democrat MJ Hegar by about 10 points. He thanked his family and said he’s committed to serving all Texans, whether or not they supported his re-election.

"My goal as your United States Senator is simple," Cornyn said. "Continue to make Texas a place of exceptional opportunity for all. In the next six years I look forward to our visits, our celebrations and working together to overcome whatever challenges comes our way."

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