Texas

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.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Wednesday that he wants to lower the threshold of support legislation needs to make it on to the Senate floor to match the size of the new, smaller Republican majority. It's the second time during his tenure that he's sought such a change, which would allow Republicans to continue deciding which bills are brought up for consideration without Democratic input.

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.

Texas health officials on Monday said they hoped to start vaccinating the general public by next July, though that could change based on type of vaccine and how many doses the state receives.

In its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan update, the Texas Department of State Health Services laid out its phased approach to vaccinations, with the health agency expecting to have about 1.5 million vaccine doses available for limited distribution by the end of the month to hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients, as well as staff and residents at long-term care facilities.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — whose election results handed the White House to president-elect Joe Biden.

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.

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

An oil storage tank exploded near the refineries on the northwest side of Corpus Christi on Saturday, injuring at least seven people, city and Nueces County officials reported.

The explosion site was at the Magellan Midstream storage tank facility in the 1800 block of Poth, north of Interstate 37 and south of Nueces Bay, near the turning basins for tankers and other ships that enter the industrial port channel.

Among the seven injured, two people have since been released from the hospital and the remaining five are in stable condition.

Food banks across Texas are projecting food shortages in coming months due to the end of three key federal and state programs that have helped them respond to high demand during the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying recession.

The risk of wildfires will be higher than normal through the winter in much of Texas. It's yet another effect of the drought that continues to worsen in much of the state, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic isn't easy. Social distancing, remote learning and ramped-up school safety rules have, quite possibly, made education more challenging now than at any other time in recent memory.

That's one of major reasons the nonprofit Teach for America DFW has partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to focus on the mental health of educators.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows women still only earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by a man. A new report finds that gap is bigger in Texas, where woman earn 79.4% of what men earn on average.

A report released by the Austin-based financial technology company Self compared the income of full-time working men and women in metro areas with more than 100,000 people.

Texas received $11.2 billion in CARES Act funding to cope with bills run up in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there's a catch: it has to spend everything by the end of the year.

Anything left over goes back to the federal treasury. And many state lawmakers and county officials are complaining that Gov. Greg Abbott has been less than transparent as to how his administration is spending the money.

After initially saying he didn't do anything wrong, Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, says he now realizes he "set a bad example" by traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation last month.

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.

Andy Posner founded the Capital Good Fund in Rhode Island right before the last recession, and he says he's seen first hand how the much-vaunted economic recovery after 2008 left a lot of people behind.

More and more people, even those working full-time or more, have been left without the capacity to make ends meet over the last decade. So, they turned to payday and auto title loans, pawn shops and other quick-cash options when hit with an emergency expense or just a higher-than-usual utility bill.

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.

Lee esta historia en español.

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.

Lee esta historia en español. 

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.

Pages