Texas Station Collaborative | KERA News

Texas Station Collaborative

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.

From Texas Standard.

Texans don’t care about primary elections – at least if history is any indication. Single-digit turnouts are not uncommon in non-presidential election years. But there’s reason to think conventional wisdom could be turned on its head this March.

An unlikely coalition of business groups and educators are coming together to get out the vote, and they appear to have rattled allies of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Texas' energy industry is in flux.

The state's seen recent closures of three coal-powered power plants, as the state market shifts toward renewable sources like wind and solar energy. And, on the national level, the state's former governor is lobbying to extend a hand to the nation's struggling coal and nuclear industries.

KUT's Mose Buchele spoke to Jennifer Stayton about what the closures mean for Texas' energy industry and about this week's rejection of a plan from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to subsidize nuclear and coal power. 

From Texas Standard.

Twenty-three percent of the students in Fort Worth ISD are black. But according to a recent report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 62 percent of all girls suspended in the district last school year were African-American. Fort Worth ISD administrators are looking into why this is happening in their district.

From Texas Standard.

Conflict over Texas’ voter ID law was in the courts for most of last year, and 2018 will probably be no different. The state’s restrictive voter ID law, passed in 2011, has been found by courts to have been crafted with discriminatory intent. Now it’s up to a three-judge panel to decide, among other things, whether Texas’ new law, designed to fix problems with the old law, goes far enough. 

There is a wave of women running for public office in Texas this year.

As The Texas Tribune reported last week, about 50 women have filed to run for Congress. Patsy Woods Martin, the executive director of Annie’s List, says there is the same trend in races for the Texas Legislature.

Welcome to the 2018 Elections!

This could be a historic year at the ballot box. Republicans are looking to sweep all the statewide offices again, but Democrats have fielded more candidates for more races than they have in years. To help you navigate through all of this, we’re starting a weekly column. It’ll include not only the politics at play, but also information on the basics, like how to register or find your polling place.

Texas just got out of its longest cold spell in six years. Starting Sunday, parts of the state dipped below freezing and stayed there for around three days. Ice caused accidents. Snow brought delight. But one notable outcome was something that did not happen: The lights didn't go out.

An election in Virginia was decided this morning by luck. Luck of the draw, specifically. The race between Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds for the Virginia House of Delegates was tied after a recount. So, today the State Board of Elections put their names in a bowl and pulled out the name of the winner: incumbent Yancey.

The news around this unorthodox way to pick an elected official got the KUT Newsroom wondering: What would happen if there were a tie in Texas?

Texas is over-reporting some of its maternal mortality data, a national study released today found.

The study, from the University of Maryland Population Research Center and published in the journal Birth, is a follow-up to a study released in August 2016 that found the maternal mortality rate in Texas had doubled in a two-year period.

From Texas Standard.

Innocent until proven guilty is a core principle of the U.S. legal system. But what happens when you’re no longer considered guilty, but have not yet proven innocent? That’s just one factor in a complicated case in Houston.

A surge in Democratic candidates in Texas could be a turning point for the party, experts say.

According to the Texas Democratic Party, a candidate is running for every congressional seat this year and for almost 90 percent of seats in the state Legislature.

From Texas Standard.

You almost can’t talk about the Texas economy without mentioning the oil and gas industry. Much of the state’s wealth, and its global image, is tied to energy production. But the oil market is a fickle beast.

In a new piece for The New Yorker, staff writer and native Texan Lawrence Wright tracks the boom and bust cycles of the state’s energy industry, and looks at whether the state’s fortunes might always be beholden to black gold.

From Texas Standard.

Israel has long been a focal point in international policy for Texas Republican lawmakers. Several current Texas officials have traveled to the country. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick even got baptized in the Jordan River.

But Peggy Fikac, Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express News, reports that some aspects of these trips have come with hefty price tags for the state’s taxpayers.

Refugio head football Coach Jason Herring spent all summer planning for this week, the Texas Class 2A State Championship game. He would have no idea how far he would have to veer from that plan to get to this point.

From Texas Standard.

Thousands of residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in northwest Houston are still in cleanup mode after their homes were inundated. It was only after the rain stopped falling that many of those homeowners discovered they were living in zones intended to be flooded in order to save downtown Houston from disaster.

Weren’t developers required to tell buyers this information? If officials knew these areas were flood pools, why would they permit construction on these sites in the first place?

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been more urban than rural since the 1950s, and though the state’s wide open space has a lot to do with its mystique, rural Texas is often overlooked when it comes to resources.

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece for the Texas Observer, Christopher Collins writes about the seven most pressing issues facing rural Texas.

From Texas Standard.

Economists and Democrats have leveled a lot of criticism at the GOP tax plan that just passed in Congress. But for many of the 200,000 AT&T workers who have been told they will receive a $1,000 bonus, thanks to the plan, things probably seem pretty good. And that may be the big idea. 

From Texas Standard.

It’s hard to fit Americana music into a traditional category. It’s a little bit rock 'n' roll, a little soul, a lot of blues and more than a dash of country. Long before Americana started to become a growing category of its own, there was a Texan from Fort Worth named Delbert McClinton who really had it to himself.

His life story is told in the new book Delbert McClinton: One of the Fortunate Few by biographer Diana Finlay Hendricks.

From Texas Standard.

Multiple school districts in north and northeast Texas were notified by the Texas Department of Agriculture recently that they were likely exposed to a data breach. The warning estimates that personal information of some 700 students across 39 districts could have been leaked when an employee’s state-issued laptop was hit with a ransomware attack.