Five stories that have North Texas talking: Russian hacking attempts failed in Dallas County; Texas businesses band together to protect NAFTA; DART workers find burial ground in Plano; and more.
An elections official tells the Dallas Morning News that Russian hackers targeted Dallas County web servers, attempting to access voter registration rolls, before the November election, but they failed.
Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole tells the Morning News that in early October, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alerted local elections offices about 600 Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that were possibly linked to Russian hackers.
County officials scanned the system for those addresses and found 17 that tried to access its servers. Federal authorities confirmed some of those attempts came from Russian IP addresses. But, Pippins-Poole says they were unsuccessful.
According to the Morning News Dallas County has spent $1.23 million on cybersecurity upgrades since 2014. Collin and Tarrant voter officials didn’t report any issues. [The Dallas Morning News, Associated Press]
- Texas’ largest business associations have formed a coalition to protect trade between the U.S. and Mexico, amid renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Texas Association of Business and Texas Business Leadership Council unveiled the "Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition" on Thursday. Texas benefits from NAFTA more than any other state; trade with Mexico accounts for $200 billion annually, the Associated Press reports. Trump has criticized NAFTA as the worst trade deal ever. Last month, he notified Congress of plans to renegotiate the pact. [El Paso Times, Associated Press]
- DART workers recently discovered a burial ground along the proposed Cotton Belt corridor in Plano. As the Dallas Morning News reports: “The discovery was made by Dallas Area Rapid Transit field investigators along DART-owned right of way in the Douglass Community, a historically black neighborhood in Plano. After discovering the remains, DART immediately contacted the Douglass Community Association and the owner of the L.A. Davis Cemetery, close to where the remains were found.” Archeologists are waiting on the medical examiner to determine next steps. [The Dallas Morning News]
- Republicans think Trump is competent. Democrats don’t. Democrats think Russia influenced the election. Republicans don’t. Party lines run deep in Texas when it comes to the hottest issues currently preoccupying the nation, according to a new poll from the University of Austin and the Texas Tribune. When it comes to health care, most Texans don’t like the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, with just 39 of voters having favorable views. But, only 20 percent held the same views regarding the Republican replacement plan, the American Health Care Act. [The Texas Tribune]
- Texas is helping the country set records in renewable energy production. That’s not too surprising considering Texas leads the nation in wind and solar power production. In March, for the first time, wind and solar grew to more than 10 percent of all electricity generation in the U.S, Houston Public Media reports. It’s typical for renewable energy to spike in spring when winds are strong in Texas. The Energy Information Administration expects the data will show wind and solar topping 10 percent again for April. [Houston Public Media]