Federal Appeals Court Hears Texas Vote-By-Mail Case

Sep 2, 2020

The Texas Democratic Party is suing the state over an election rule that limits mail-in ballots to those over 65, saying it constitutes age discrimination.

In what it’s calling its biggest week-long registration effort in history, the Texas Democratic Party is trying to contact one million unregistered voters in the span of a week.

Through phone calls and text messages, they’ll direct people to a party website to get the registration process started. Voters can enter their information and then receive an application form in the mail.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Since March, Melissa and her husband have gutted their savings, spending more than $5,000 caring for their three children. Most of the money has gone to child care and speech therapy for their daughter Nora. Two weeks ago, the couple put their house up for sale.

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.

Lee esta historia en español. 

Part one in a four-part series.

On March 13, Cheasty Anderson sat in the conference room at her office. She and her colleagues at the Children's Defense Fund were grappling with the sudden mandate to work from home.

Daily life was about to become unrecognizable in many ways, and one of Anderson's biggest challenges began that day.

A persistent Texas voter, twice thwarted when he tried registering to vote while renewing his driver's license online, has for the second time convinced a federal judge that the state is violating federal law.

The Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus Wants An Investigation Into Fort Hood

Aug 31, 2020

A dozen Texas Senate members are reupping their request for a congressional investigation into the Fort Hood military base after a soldier was found dead earlier this week, becoming at least the ninth person stationed at the Killeen post to have been found dead this year, according to officials and media reports.

Officials with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Texas say their volunteers are no longer allowed to leave voter registration forms at U.S. post offices.

San Antonio police officers arrested a Black jogger on the city’s Northwest Side on Tuesday Aug. 25, after mistakenly identifying him as a suspect in a family violence call. Now, officials with the San Antonio Police Department say an administrative review is underway into the struggle.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Starting Sept. 8, Texas will require school districts to file weekly reports on new COVID-19 cases among students, teachers or staff, state education officials announced Thursday.

A note to listeners: this story discusses suicide. If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

More Americans are reporting thoughts of self-harm as social distancing measures continue. In Fort Worth, the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation is virtually training people to intervene when someone is in crisis.

The streets of Beaumont were largely empty Wednesday morning, dotted with boarded-up businesses closed well ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall. Beaumont officials were loading people into buses at Westbrook High School amid a mandatory evacuation order.

As families, educators and students adjust to remote instruction, teachers say that in these initial days, they’re spending more time than ever checking in on students and their families, dealing with connectivity issues and answering questions about virtual learning technology.

Several teachers said they’re working longer hours than usual as they constantly seek new ways to engage students. Attention spans already waned during pre-pandemic schooling, and being behind a screen doesn’t make it any easier.

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission passed rules Tuesday aimed at making it easier for bars to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress is investigating a billion dollar program that includes a controversial contract given to a San Antonio company. Federal investigators may also be looking into the program.

Young people have the potential to influence races in seven congressional districts in Texas, according to a new study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.

Originally, the Republican National Convention was supposed to bring together more than 2,500 delegates — including 155 from Texas — in Charlotte, North Carolina. But, with COVID-19, that’s been scaled back to just six per state or territory.

Paying for her tuition at the University of North Texas was already going to be a challenge this fall for Aimee Tambwe. Just recently, her dad — who helps pay for her education — lost his job because of pandemic-related layoffs.

So Tambwe, who is taking most of her classes remotely this semester, was dumbfounded to see her tuition bill increase by $315 because of “distance education” fees for five courses she’s signed up to take.

Shortly after Allen West took over as the Texas GOP chair last month, he gave the party a new slogan — "We are the storm" — and plastered it everywhere: fundraising emails, social media accounts, even on T-shirts and hats for sale.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Unemployed Texans could begin receiving $300 in extra weekly jobless payments as soon as next week, a Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson said, after the state received federal approval Friday of funding that President Donald Trump announced in early August.

Authorities on Friday are searching in Central Texas for another soldier who has gone missing from Fort Hood, with the man’s family members and the U.S. Army asking the public for help.

From Texas Standard:

Reviews for Joe Biden's speech accepting his party's presidential nomination on closing night of the Democratic National Convention were generally positive – even from Republicans, like Karl Rove. Democrats, perhaps more predictably, praised the speech. 

That includes the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, Gilberto Hinojosa. He told Texas Standard that Biden's speech came from the heart, and provided a contrast between Biden and President Donald Trump.

"I think it was a speech that told America what he was all about, and what he stood for, and why he believed it was important that we unite together to save our democracy," Hinojosa said. 

A fading Tropical Storm Marco continued its steady path along the Gulf Coast on Monday, and forecasters estimated further weakening would follow landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Monday. Once over land, Marco's remnants would cross into East Texas Tuesday night and dissipate.

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. 

On Thursday. Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas will apply for federal funding to provide an extra $300 every week for people who have lost their jobs. More than 10 states have already been federally approved for the additional jobless relief, providing an extra $300, and in some cases, $400 in unemployment checks.

The delivery of medicine, packages, bills and letters has been delayed across the country as a result of new controversial changes issued by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

The July memo was blunt. Students at Sam Houston State University had been promised “direct contact” with faculty, and even in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, the Huntsville school needed to deliver, Provost Richard Eglsaer told the faculty.

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.

When the pandemic hit, 16-year-old Amruth Nandish of Houston found he had a lot of time on his hands. 

Chocolate can bring people together — as Ena Ganguly found when she stopped at a store in her hometown.

Earlier this year, we put out a call for your stories about overcoming differences — true stories about finding common ground.