Five stories that have North Texas talking: A very special end to the 83rd legislative session, Affordable Care Act means no weight loss surgery coverage in Texas, a barbecue legend takes his meat to the street and more.
It wasn’t a long break for lawmakers. The 83rd session of the Texas Legislature was called to an end just after 5 p.m. yesterday. Less than an hour later, legislators were back in special session. This is the 10th time Governor Rick Perry has called a special session during his tenure. Each one can last up to 30 days, but endless special sessions can be called back-to-back. The only official topic listed on this one’s agenda is redistricting.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Attorney General Greg Abbott has been pressing the Legislature to endorse political maps used in November. The thought is this would help him defend against the districts claims of minority discrimination. And while redistricting is sole the special session focus for now, some political insiders expect issues like guns on college campuses and drug testing for welfare applicants to be added to the agenda.
- The Intersection Of Two Veterans: Decorated sniper Chris Kyle was killed earlier this year in Texas by a troubled veteran he reached out to help. In a piece called ‘In The Crosshairs’ that appears in the New Yorker Magazine, Nicholas Schmidle examines the service scars both Kyle and his assailant, Eddie Ray Routh, lived with back at home. NPR’s David Greene spoke with Schmidle this morning about the legend of Chris Kyle, including some of the tall tales he himself may have perpetuated. Kyle spoke to KERA’s Krys Boyd on Think about his new book “American Sniper” just a month before he was killed. You can listen to the full show here.
- Paying Out Of Pocket In The Deep South: The states that struggle most with obesity, Texas included, won’t see bariatric surgery coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The surgery, which restricts stomach size and reroutes the intestines, costs about $42,000. Right now, Medicare and two-thirds of large employers cover it. Because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided to match Affordable Care Act benefits to the most popular small group plan in each state, a swath of the Deep South will be without weight loss benefits. Texas as well as Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi will not have bariatric surgery coverage. [NPR]
- Scripps National Spelling Bee. Keller’s Ansun Sujoe, Wichita Falls’ Kerri Lu and Plano’s Chetan Reddy. Chetan is competing in his fourth consecutive Bee and he’s placed in the top 30 twice before. You’ll hear from Chetan about his study regimen and recipe for success this afternoon on KERA 90.1.
- Smoked Meat That Stands The Test Of Time: Barbecue isn’t hard to come by in North Texas. You can sit and eat brisket or drive-thru and pick up ribs at hundreds of restaurants across DFW. But for one man in West Dallas, the sidewalk and a smoker is all he needs. Clyde Biggins sells his barbecue in the neighborhood where he was raised. His secret ingredient? Time. He smoked barbecue as a child, and after getting mixed up in drugs and serving time in prison, he picked up right where he left off when he was released. Listen to Biggins’ love song to BBQ here. He used to own a traditional restaurant, but that shut down when he went to prison. Read more about Biggins’ comeback journey in this piece by the Dallas Morning News.