Texas

Caitlin Boehne wasn't too happy that she had to vote in person during a recent primary runoff in Austin, Texas.

Boehne is under 65 and isn't disabled, so voting by mail wasn't available to her under current Texas law. She says it was a frustrating situation.

"The workers, the voters — everybody has to risk their health in order to participate in the democratic process," she says. "It's astounding."


Five of the Texas Legislature’s most conservative members are suing Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials, claiming Texas leaders overstepped their bounds when they awarded a major contract for tracking Texas’ coronavirus outbreak to a little-known technology firm.

For months, as Texans have been asked to stay home to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus, Jennifer Edwards has been doing the rounds at gas stations in a trio of counties near the Texas-Louisiana border.

Volunteering as a census community organizer, the Tarleton State University professor reasoned that gas stations, like grocery stores, would continue to see foot traffic during the pandemic. 

Texas Asians Seeing More Verbal Harassment

Aug 5, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Since the new coronavirus first surfaced in China late last year, the number of reports of racist verbal threats and harassment targeting Asians in the United States has been on the rise, and both public health officials and police are starting to track it.

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.


From Texas Standard:

On Aug. 3, Texas reported 5,839 new COVID-19 cases. But that doesn't mean all positive cases are reflected in the state's tally.

Customs and Border Protection

From Texas Standard:

Democrats running for Congress in Texas are raking in some of the biggest fundraising hauls in years compared to their Republican opponents, according to new campaign finance analysis from The Texas Tribune. The survey found that Texas Democrats have a $7.5 million advantage over Republicans in House races. But how much will the extra cash really matter for Democrats come November?

Adria Gonzalez still remembers the blood, the screaming, the bodies.

On August 3, 2019, she was shopping with her mother at a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman opened fire with an AK-47, killing 23 people and leaving more than two dozen others wounded.

Don't Plant Or Pitch Mailed Mystery Seeds

Aug 3, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Across the country, small packets of seeds have been showing up, unsolicited, in people’s mailboxes and at their front doors. The origin of the packages – where they came from, who sent them and why – is unclear.

Lee esta historia en español. 

Local election officials in Texas are scrambling to find enough polling sites willing to host voters in the upcoming presidential election.


Gov. Greg Abbott will skip the Republican National Convention later this month in North Carolina as he continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in Texas, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will instead chair the state's delegation to the scaled-down gathering.

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.

In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said local health authorities can shut down schools if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students have already returned to campus — but cannot shut them down weeks before schools open.

His statement backs a legal opinion released by the Texas attorney general issued on Tuesday.

In a rare moment in the Trump era, several Texas Republicans pushed back against President Donald Trump on Thursday when he floated in a tweet the idea of delaying the presidential election in November. The president does not have the legal authority to move Election Day; that power resides with Congress.

Local health officials do not have the authority to shut down all schools in their vicinity while COVID-19 cases rise, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in nonbinding guidance Tuesday that contradicts what the Texas Education Agency has told school officials.

From Texas Standard:

Ever since medical experts determined that COVID-19 is a pulmonary disease that affects the heart and other organs, the state of Texas has begun counting deaths from the disease differently. Doing so increased the state's COVID-19 death toll by 12% – to 5,700 lives lost so far. But at the same time, the rate of increase in new COVID-19 cases appears to have reached a plateau.

Lee esta historia en español. 

There has been a huge drop in the number of Texans calling state regulators over surprise medical bills in the past six months.

A new law went into effect at the beginning of the year requiring medical providers and insurance companies to figure out payment disputes themselves – instead of sending bills to patients.

Lee esta historia en español. 

It's Election Day for the primary runoffs and the special election to replace state Sen. Kirk Watson, who announced in February that he was not seeking re-election. The runoffs were supposed to be in May, but were postponed because of the pandemic. 

The CDC has some simple guidelines to follow to protect yourself from the coronavirus if you plan to vote in person.

From Texas Standard:

Five years ago, 28-year-old Sandra Bland died by what was officially ruled a suicide, in a Waller County jail cell. Bland, a Black woman, was about to start a job at Prairie View A&M University. But on July 13, 2015, a Texas state trooper pulled her over for failing to use her turn signal.

The next two weeks are a critical time for North Texas hospitals. Facilities may have to implement surge plans to increase the number of available beds, said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

From Texas Standard:

Around this point in the election cycle, a question often pops up in political circles: Could this be the year Texas turns blue?

From Texas Standard:

Texas ranks low when it comes to participation rates in the 2020 census – 40th in the nation. So far, only 57% of Texans have returned their census forms.

Demographer Lila Valencia from the Texas Demographic Center told Texas Standard on Thursday that could lead to an undercount of the population, which could mean a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding over the next 10 years.

Texas is no stranger to droughts. From the bone-dry stretch of the 1950s, the state’s longest drought, to the fiery months of 2011, the state’s single driest year, droughts have shaped Texas' culture and economy.


But, according to the state climatologist of Texas, we ain’t seen nothing yet.


With reported coronavirus cases in Texas child care facilities rising quickly, parents face terrifying uncertainty as they try to decide whether to entrust their children to child care centers.

The Latinx vote gets a lot of attention in an election year. Many groups worked against the odds to organize the vote, including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Mexican American Youth Organization.

UTSA Libraries Special Collections is working to preserve the origins and history of another important voting rights organization: the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.


Family, friends and hundreds of Dallasites laid out flowers and candles on Tuesday night outside city hall in honor of 20 year-old soldier Vanessa Guillén. 

From Texas Standard:

Less than three weeks ago, Texas was set to unveil its public-school reopening plan for the fall. That announcement was stalled after coronavirus cases and hospitalizations started to soar in the state.

But on Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency finally released its back-to-school guidelines, which included recommendations for preventing the spread of the coronavirus on campuses.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the Trump administration’s push for a border wall in South Texas. But it also didn’t stop residents of Webb and Zapata counties from protesting against the efforts.

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