Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas has a new governor and lieutenant governor; Dallas ISD’s controversial home-rule school proposal comes to an end for now; go behind the scenes of a Dallas musical; and more.
The group that opposes Plano’s Equal Rights Ordinance says it has enough signatures to force a referendum on dropping it. The Texas Tribune reports: “Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute general counsel, said in a statement that its petition drive yielded more than 7,000 signatures to put the question on the ballot. Opponents of the ordinance, which extends Plano’s nondiscrimination policy to include protections for citizens' sexual orientation and gender identity, had to collect about 3,800 signatures by Tuesday. … In a 5-3 vote in December, Plano’s City Council passed the ordinance — becoming the latest in a string of cities to update its nondiscrimination policy to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.” Plano city officials must verify the signatures. Catch up on KERA’s previous stories here and here.
- A North Texas college student had her moment in the spotlight Tuesday as a guest at the State of the Union address. Ana Zamora was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child. Zamora, a student at Northwood University, says she’s benefited under President Barack Obama’s program to defer deportations for eligible immigrants. She was among first lady Michelle Obama’s guests at the State of the Union address. Zamora wrote to Obama about her experience and says her parents will also be eligible for protection under Obama's recent executive actions on immigration. The White House posted some details about Zamora here. The Dallas Morning News has more. The Houston Chronicle reports on how Zamora found out she would be one of Obama's guests. [KERA/Associated Press]
- Texas has a new governor. Greg Abbott was sworn into office Tuesday morning in Austin. There was music, prayers, barbecue – and a speech by Abbott, who’s the first new Texas governor in more than 14 years. During his address, he talked about the importance of great teachers, and thanked his English teacher from Duncanville High School – Nancy Nickel. As governor, Abbott says he’ll improve Texas roads and speed up water projects. The former Texas attorney general also promised to defend the state against what he considers excessive federal regulations. Texas also has a new lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, who will oversee the state Senate. Patrick is a tea party favorite – and he promised Tuesday to take Texas conservatism “to the next level.” [KERA/Associated Press]
- It appears the controversial Dallas ISD home-rule school proposal has come to an end. The Dallas Morning News reports: “The Dallas ISD home-rule commission voted Tuesday not to write a proposed charter that could have overhauled how the district operates and is governed. The commissioners voted 10 to 5 not to move forward with a proposed charter, effectively ending the contentious effort to convert Dallas ISD into the state’s first home-rule charter district. Despite that vote, the commissioners decided to continue meeting in the coming months to discuss DISD and eventually write recommendations for the school board. Unlike a proposed charter, however, the recommendations would not be binding.”
- Take a behind-the-scenes look at a brand-new musical created in Dallas. Jerome Weeks with KERA’s Art&Seek reports: “For more than a year, the Art & Seek team has been behind the scenes, tracking the Dallas Theater Center as it’s developed Stagger Lee. It’s a rare professional musical because it’s been created entirely in North Texas.” The series Stagger Lee: Making a Musical starts today on KERA 90.1 FM. The show’s creator, Will Power, tells Jerome his fascination with the legend of Stagger Lee began in his childhood. Explore the series here.