Jill Ament | KERA News

Jill Ament

From Texas Standard:

The just-released Quinnipiac University survey of some 1,029 registered Texas voters says incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz can count on 47 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has 44 percent. That 3-point lead for Cruz makes this race too close to call, with an election looming in November.

From Texas Standard.

For anyone who’s spent much time online, snark and nasty comments seem to come with the territory, but for women journalists, is it also part of the job? In a new cross-cultural study, 75 women journalists reported attacks they’ve experienced ranging from misogynistic comments to sexual violence – and they say it influences how they go about their reporting.

From Texas Standard.

Facing potential new tariffs with China, some Texas agricultural producers say they’re concerned about extra taxes on the products they ship to China. But the state’s Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says most Texas producers won’t be affected.

From Texas Standard.

Texas is re-upping a request to “opt in” to a federal law that would speed up the execution appeals process in the state, potentially leading to quicker executions.

From Texas Standard.

In Texas, where the weather is no laughing matter, it’s not an exaggeration to say storms are wreaking havoc in many parts of the state.

On Thursday, tornadoes touched down near Rockport and Refugio. KUT Ausin’s Jimmy Maas says at least three Texas communities recovering from Harvey – Holiday Beach, Seadrift, and Woodsboro – are once again picking up the pieces.

From Texas Standard.

You can squeeze a lot into a spending proposal that’s 2,200 pages long and $1.3 trillion deep. But if you look at the fine print in the spending deal passed by Congress and signed by the president late Friday, you may notice something big in there when it comes to Texas – $1.6 billion in new border security infrastructure.

From Texas Standard.

A joint investigation by the Associated Press and the Houston Chronicle reveals something about Hurricane Harvey recovery that officials aren’t talking about – massive petrochemical contamination, a toxic impact of the storm that’s far more widespread than previously suspected.

From Texas Standard.

A gas explosion in Dallas killed a 12-year-old girl last month and prompted the evacuation of a northwest neighborhood of close to 3,000 people.

From Texas Standard.

In the middle of all of the hype surrounding South By Southwest, the European ambassador to the U.S. has landed in the Texas capitol city.

Ambassador David O’ Sullivan is representing the EU at SXSW’s Cities Summit.

From Texas Standard.

In the 2016 presidential election, evangelical voters were some of President Donald Trump’s most stalwart supporters. But new data from the Pew Research Center indicates that his support among white evangelical women has dropped about 13 percentage points, to 60 percent, compared with about a year ago.

From Texas Standard.

There’s not much more politicking left in the 2018 Texas primary elections. The mailers have been sent, the town halls have been held, the donations have been deposited. There’s not much left to do but wait for the returns – and vote on Tuesday, if you haven’t yet. You can be sure that political journalists across Texas are already writing outlines for Wednesday’s news, gaming out possible outcomes and wondering about what it all means.

From Texas Standard.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Texas but the one about being the reddest of the red states may be about to become less accurate. Karen Tumulty is a veteran reporter – now political columnist – for the Washington Post. In her latest column she writes Texas could turn a little bit bluer in 2018.

From Texas Standard.

Thomas Bartlett Whitaker wasn’t supposed to be alive now. He was scheduled to be the fourth person executed in Texas this year, sentenced to death for coordinating the 2003 Sugar Land murders of his mom and brother and the attempted murder of his dad. He wanted the insurance money.

From Texas Standard.

If you’re loyal to a particular political party, have you – or a fellow Democrat or Republican – at least thought about voting in the opposing party’s primary? Maybe for a person you think would be a weaker candidate in the general election? Or maybe just to “mess” with the “other team”?

From Texas Standard:

As Texans head to the polls for early voting, a new Texas Tribune report has found that state campaigns have raised $67 million so far– and $57 million of that went to Republican candidates.

From Texas Standard.

It’s been two days since a young gunman opened fire on a Florida high school, taking many lives and forever altering many more. As outsiders to this event, it’s probably about the time when we begin to move on. It’s harder, though, to resist the hurt for those who relate directly to the victims – parents of high schoolers in this case. And it’s harder for those who work in schools, which have so often been the target of horrific mass shootings.

From Texas Standard.

It’s been a costly and deadly flu season in Texas and across the country. State health records released earlier this month indicate nearly 3,000 adult Texans have died from either the flu or pneumonia. Many of those who died were over the age of 65. Five pediatric deaths have also been reported.

From Texas Standard.

Two big proposals from President Donald Trump are currently on the table. One is a budget plan that ramps up military spending but cuts domestic programs – and would add to the federal deficit. The other is a $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal that everyone seems to agree is needed. Leaders are not on the same page, though, about where exactly that money would come from.

From Texas Standard.

After a long night in Congress – propelled by an hours-long objection from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky)– lawmakers passed a budget measure to avert another government shutdown. Texas Sen. John Cornyn called Paul’s blockade “irresponsible.”

Sean Theriault, a professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas, says that Thursday night was typical behavior from Rand Paul, particularly because he’s known as a deficit hawk.

From Texas Standard.

The Texas primaries are less than a month away, with many officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, up for reelection. Abbott announced on Tuesday what some are calling a big campaign push – it’s a “preventing, protecting, punishing” proposal aimed at rape kit testing backlogs, sexual misconduct in the State Capitol, and stronger penalties for human trafficking and prostitution.

From Texas Standard:

There’s a shakeup going on at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department after a Dallas Morning News investigation revealed widespread allegations of different types of abuse. Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced this week he's replacing the chief of the independent office that investigates safety complaints by youth in the department's custody. The new person in the office, JD Robertson, is a retired Texas Ranger.

From Texas Standard.

Despite an economy that is reportedly continuing to grow, the state’s budget chief is looking ahead to the next legislative session and warning lawmakers that some bills with hefty price tags are set to come due – and that revenue will be tight.

From Texas Standard.

Unless Congress passes a continuing resolution, this week non-essential federal spending will dry up on Friday at midnight, and the U.S. government will shut down. Disagreements over DACA and other immigration priorities continue to divide the Congress, and the potential shutdown is being used as leverage. But how would a government shutdown affect Texas and Texans, and what essential services are exempted?

From Texas Standard.

Texans don’t care about primary elections – at least if history is any indication. Single-digit turnouts are not uncommon in non-presidential election years. But there’s reason to think conventional wisdom could be turned on its head this March.

An unlikely coalition of business groups and educators are coming together to get out the vote, and they appear to have rattled allies of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

From Texas Standard.

Twenty-three percent of the students in Fort Worth ISD are black. But according to a recent report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 62 percent of all girls suspended in the district last school year were African-American. Fort Worth ISD administrators are looking into why this is happening in their district.

From Texas Standard.

Conflict over Texas’ voter ID law was in the courts for most of last year, and 2018 will probably be no different. The state’s restrictive voter ID law, passed in 2011, has been found by courts to have been crafted with discriminatory intent. Now it’s up to a three-judge panel to decide, among other things, whether Texas’ new law, designed to fix problems with the old law, goes far enough. 

From Texas Standard.

North Korea and Russia dominated foreign policy headlines in 2017, and a Texas-based geopolitical intelligence firm is indicating international decision makers should continue to keep an eye on those countries in the new year.

That’s part of a handful of predictions that Austin-based Stratfor is making in its Forecast for Geopolitical Risks for 2018.

From Texas Standard.

Innocent until proven guilty is a core principle of the U.S. legal system. But what happens when you’re no longer considered guilty, but have not yet proven innocent? That’s just one factor in a complicated case in Houston.

From Texas Standard.

Israel has long been a focal point in international policy for Texas Republican lawmakers. Several current Texas officials have traveled to the country. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick even got baptized in the Jordan River.

But Peggy Fikac, Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express News, reports that some aspects of these trips have come with hefty price tags for the state’s taxpayers.

From Texas Standard.

Thousands of residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in northwest Houston are still in cleanup mode after their homes were inundated. It was only after the rain stopped falling that many of those homeowners discovered they were living in zones intended to be flooded in order to save downtown Houston from disaster.

Weren’t developers required to tell buyers this information? If officials knew these areas were flood pools, why would they permit construction on these sites in the first place?

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