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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.

It’s Valentine’s Day and so we put together a story for you about hearts – not candy hearts or even those filled with chocolate, but human hearts. These days, we know quite a bit about them. It’s been 50 years since the first successful transplant. But, in a way, hearts are also still full of mystery – and I’m not trying to get romantic on you. A doctor in Dallas is trying to solve those mysteries of the heart by studying the organs that no one wants anymore.

From Texas Standard.

Candidates all over the Lone Star State are pouring their hearts, souls and resources into their campaigns. The primaries in Texas are only three weeks away.

While resources are a major challenge for every candidate, that’s particularly true for those with little name recognition. Some organizations like Emily’s List and Annie’s List are making money available to the record number of female candidates running this year. but the money is not available to everyone.

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.

Is Texas turning blue? That's the question, dream and lie (depending on your point of view) being discussed across the state.

It's the dream of Democrats, who haven't won a statewide office in Texas since the early '90s. It's a big lie, say Republicans, who argue support for President Trump has been more positive in Texas than in most of the country.

From Texas Standard.

Texas cattle are known more for their beef than their milk. That’s for good reason: The Lone Star State is the country’s leader in beef production by a wide margin.

But don’t count out Texas dairy. Milk production is on the rise in the state, and that’s thanks in part to a move west. Ellen Jordan, a professor and dairy specialist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, says the Texas produces more than 12 billion pounds of milk.

A federal court is hearing a case today that challenges the way Texas elects judges for its high courts. The lawsuit argues at-large partisan elections make it difficult for Latinos to get elected.

KUT's Ashley Lopez talks about the case with Morning Edition host Nadia Hamdan. Listen to their conversation below.


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.

What’s the most popular cocktail in the U.S.? Here’s a hint: It’s one that holds a special place in the hearts of Tex-Mex fans – the humble margarita. But you better enjoy one while you can because we’re on the brink of a full-blown tequila crisis. Reuters reports that agave shortages have manufacturers of the spirit on edge, concerned about keeping up with demand as tequila’s popularity soars.

From Texas Standard.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will feature many athletes from the Lone Star State. Most will compete for the U.S., but a few represent other countries, to which they have ties. And their chances of success are as varied as the sports in which they will compete.

Houston Chronicle Sports Reporter David Barron says the odds of reaching the podium are not overwhelmingly in speed skater Jonathan Garcia’s favor.

From Texas Standard:

On March 6, Texas will hold the first primary contests in the nation this year. If patterns emerge in the statewide results, the primaries could set the tone for contests in the rest of the country.

When it comes to congressional races, a number of retirements among Texas Republicans has resulted in packed fields of candidates vying to replace them. And campaign committees from both national parties have been hesitant to endorse candidates.

From Texas Standard.

The first state-licensed cannabis dispensary for patients with intractable epilepsy is now open in Manchaca, and, so far, 18 neurologist doctors are on the Compassionate Registry – including Dr. Gina Jetter, a member of Northeast Texas Neurologists Association in Tyler.

Texas State University students have called for the resignation of their student body president after racially insensitive social media posts surfaced last week. This follows a tumultuous year of racial issues on campus.

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:

Following the execution of a Dallas man last week, the status of the state's supply of execution drugs is under new scrutiny. In a last-minute appeal to halt the execution, the prisoner's attorneys claimed two other executions this year were botched. The appeal was denied.

From Texas Standard.

In 1941, Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie published The Longhorns, the definitive book on the quintessential Lone Star State livestock. Dobie was unsparing in his description of the breed, calling them bony, thin-flanked, some even grotesquely narrow-hipped, but also uniquely suited for the Texas terrain. They were built for survival, not show, which makes them quite different from their modern relatives.

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.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at his alma mater, UT-Austin, on Thursday during a symposium on U.S. involvement and engagement in Western affairs. The event was hosted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the LBJ Presidential Library.

Among other things, Tillerson talked about issues facing the Americas – particularly corruption.

From Texas Standard:

There are stories that are hard to cover in many newsrooms because they're too dangerous to be told, too revealing, too embarrassing, or too controversial. But what if those stories could be told without revealing the person's identity?

On the Standard, we air these stories as a way to bring you “The Whole Truth." Today, a husband and wife recount a very challenging time in their lives.

His work permit was still valid the day he got deported. He showed up to his yearly check in appointment.

Hurricane Harvey brought more rain than any other hurricane in recorded U.S. history, the National Hurricane Center says.

The center released its final report on the record-breaking storm this morning, putting the death toll at at least 68, all in Texas, with 36 of those in the Houston and Harris County area. Harvey is second only to Hurricane Katrina in terms of storm damage, as well, the center found, with an estimated cost of $125 billion in damages, compared to Katrina’s $160 billion.

More than 40 Texans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are running for public office this year. Advocates say this is an “unprecedented” number of candidates who are openly LGBT – and that this isn’t just backlash to Donald Trump's election.

Mary Wilson, who is gay, is among those candidates running for the first time.

A lot of what you read in the news boils down to numbers. What's the unemployment rate? How's the stock market? What’s the price of a gallon of gas? When those numbers are wrong, the whole story can be wrong. That’s exactly what appears to be happening with some important numbers from the Energy Information Administration.

From Texas Standard.

Global warming and climate change are two oft-used phrases in the conversation about energy production. Much of the time, scientists and reporters present the remedy as “green” energy, such as solar or wind. But there’s a lot we still don’t know about the climate effects of these energy sources.

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, so it makes sense that researchers from New York would turn to the Lone Star State to study how wind power affects local climates.

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.

Does it suddenly seem like people are posting a lot of fine art on social media? Over the past few days, Google’s Arts and Culture app has exploded in popularity – even though it’s been around since 2016 – thanks to its viral selfie feature. You take a picture of yourself and the app locates a work of art that’s similar. It’s currently at the top of both iOS and Android’s most-downloaded lists.

But if you’re trying to access the app in Texas, you might notice that the popular feature is curiously missing. Texas is one of two states in the U.S. – Illinois is the other – where people can’t use it.

Almost the same number of Texans who signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the last enrollment period signed up this time, according to the federal government. The figure took experts by surprise because there were federal cuts in funding for outreach and assistance.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it won’t be hearing a challenge to the state’s political maps from the Texas Democratic Party. In a lawsuit, Democrats claimed state lawmakers drew political boundaries in 2011 in favor of Republicans.

A federal court in Corpus Christi will hear a case Feb. 12 challenging the way Texas voters elect judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Voters and civil rights groups challenging the system say it makes it harder for Latinos to be represented.

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