Texas

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.

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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.


Masks for students and teachers will be mandatory in counties with more than 20 reported COVID-19 cases when public schools resume in-person classes this fall, under new public health guidelines released by Texas state education officials Tuesday.

Sarah Ramos has spent her summer anxiously awaiting a fall return to Texas A&M’s campus at College Station. She is hoping for some normalcy after she and her classmates were abruptly forced off campus last semester and into Zoom-based classes for the remainder of the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Voting is complicated during a typical election season, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even more confusing. From what’s on the ballot to where to vote, here’s a helpful guide on what you need to know to vote on July 14 in North Texas’ runoff elections. 

The supersized cowboy Big Tex won't be saying "howdy" this year. The State Fair of Texas announced Tuesday that it's canceling the 2020 fair because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This post has been updated. It was originally published on Sunday, July 5, at 2:55 p.m.

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has until mid-July to release migrant children in family detention centers, citing COVID-19 concerns at these facilities.

More than 46,000 Texans who lost their jobs in recent months are having portions of their unemployment benefits clawed back after the Texas Workforce Commission found that they were initially overpaid.

The killing of U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, 20, has sparked a nationwide controversy about sexual assault and harassment in the military.

In a press conference on Monday in front of Dallas City Hall, local Hispanic advocates said the community needs to show their support for Guillén. They urged the North Texas community to attend Tuesday's candlelight vigil in memory of Guillén.

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

Aubrey Matson, a 19-year-old college student, doesn't consider herself "anti-vaccine." But the pandemic hasn’t made her 100% in favor of them, either. She’s concerned that a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine could be dangerous.

From Texas Standard:

Though quickly communicating positive COVID-19 test results can be an important way to limit the spread of the virus, Texans and their doctors don't always learn results within the recommended three-to-four days.

Houston Public Media Senior Producer Davis Land found himself at the center of such a story. He recently got tested before visiting some friends.

In the last two weeks, some Texas counties implemented new face mask orders and Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all bars to shut down — before eventually issuing his own statewide mask order.

Those actions might have been too little, too late. They might not be enough to flatten the rapidly rising curve.  


President Donald Trump would beat former Vice President Joe Biden in Texas by 4 percentage points if the election were held today, according to a new poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Politics Project.

The U.S. Army said a male suspect is dead and a woman has been charged after the disappearance of a soldier from Fort Hood, Texas.

The state Republican Party Thursday night voted to hold an in-person convention in Houston, despite concerns over COVID-19.

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