Five stories that have North Texas talking: Boy Scouts now welcome transgender kids; fire destroys a South Texas mosque; fact check Greg Abbott’s State of the State; and more.
The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday that it will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in its programs. The organization, which has its headquarters in Irving, made the decision to begin basing enrollment in its boys-only programs on the gender a child or parent lists on the application rather than the gender listed on a child's birth certificate.
The organization's leadership had considered a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender, The Associated Press reports. But the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.
The enrollment decision goes into effect immediately. Boy Scouts of America leaders lifted a blanket ban on gay troop leaders and employees in July 2015. The organization had, after heated internal debate, decided in 2013 to include openly gay youth as scouts. The national Girl Scouts organization, which is unaffiliated with the Boy Scouts, has accepted transgender members for years. [The Associated Press]
- A South Texas mosque will have the funds to rebuild after a fire destroyed it this weekend. A GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the Islamic Center of Victoria, Texas indicated Monday that more than $955,000 has been raised as of Tuesday morning with more than 20,300 people contributing. Fire officials say it's too early to determine the cause of the blaze early Saturday. The mosque was broken into about a week ago and the target of a hate message in 2013, but Muslim leaders and others are cautioning against a rush to judgment. The Victoria Advocate reports that about 400 people attended a prayer rally Sunday outside the remains of the mosque. [The Associated Press]
- Gov. Greg Abbott gives his State of the State address in the House chamber at 11 a.m. Reporters from KERA and other public radio stations across Texas will be annotating his remarks. Abbott is expected to lay out his agenda for the 85th legislative session, prioritizing which issues deserve the most attention from state lawmakers, who are working with a smaller two-year budget. There are several issues facing the state and personal endeavors on Abbott’s radar, namely establishing a convention of states, outlawing “sanctuary cities,” fixing Texas’ troubled child protective services system and implementing school choice. [Texas Station Collaborative]
- For the first time in decades, an outsider will be Dallas city manager. T.C. Broadnax of Tacoma, Wash. starts his new position tomorrow. Though Dallas faces some big issues, Broadnax says those challenges drew him to the job. He tells KERA’s vice president of News, Rick Holter, his three main priorities as city manager are the billion-dollar bond program, the city’s budget and animal care services. “[It’s] kind of a lot of things to work on and I don’t think if I started in one place, I’d be wrong. My hope is I’d be able to work with the team to address many of those things at the same time.” Listen to the full conversation. [KERA News]
- Former President George H.W. Bush was finally discharged from a Houston hospital. Bush 41 spokesman Jim McGrath announced the news Monday. The 92-year-old former president was first admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Jan. 14 for shortness of breath. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, which put him the intensive care unit for a portion of his stay. His wife Barbara Bush, 91, was also recently hospitalized for bronchitis, but she was approved to leave the same hospital on Jan. 23. She stayed that Sunday night to be with her husband and went home the next day. [KERA News]