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Texas Station Collaborative

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.

From Texas Standard:

The last time a Democrat won statewide office in Texas, grunge rock topped the music charts. The state has been solidly red ever since Republican George W. Bush took over from Democrat Ann Richards in the Governor's mansion. That was more than 20 years ago.

Updated 12/19 11:15 a.m.

When the exclusions and exceptions the state grants charter schools are stripped away, Texas charter schools have an average graduation rate almost 30 percentage points lower than the state’s traditional school districts.

From Texas Standard.

For decades, if you pulled into any gas station in Mexico, the brand name on the pump would invariably be PEMEX, the name of the state-run oil monopoly. Now oil giant Exxon Mobil has announced it will open 50 gas stations in Mexico in 2018. Eight are opening this week. Most other major energy companies have begun operations in Mexico since the nation opened its energy economy to private companies.

From Texas Standard.

Something happened last night that hasn’t happened in 25 years: The state with "Heart of Dixie" stamped on its license plate elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. The question is whether Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama is an anomaly or a turning point. His opponent, Roy Moore, was a flawed and controversial candidate, but with a Democratic victory, and the weakness of President Donald Trump among some moderately conservative Republicans, it’s possible to envision Democrats making more gains, even in bright red Texas. 

In deep-red Texas, Republicans will have to fight for every congressional seat in next year's midterm elections. For the first time in 25 years, Democrats are running in all of Texas’ 36 congressional districts, according to documents filed with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

From Texas Standard.

The deadline for Texas candidates to file to run in the 2018 primaries was Monday. And if you’ve been trying to keep up with the latest rash of Congressional retirements and scandals, plus what’s turned out to be a pretty crowded field of Democratic gubernatorial candidates, you may be wondering how to sort through all of the noise.

The Austin American-Statesman’s Political Editor Bob Gee highlights five Texas races that are worth a closer look.

Monday was the last day anyone could file their candidacy in a statewide primary election.  And one of those candidates making a last minute filing is former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.


From Texas Standard.

A six-year-old class action lawsuit over the system of foster care in Texas may be reaching a climax. It’s the case in which a federal judge found Texas’ foster care system to be so dangerous to foster kids as to be unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has called the system that cares for some 10,700 kids “broken.” Now, court special masters are making recommendations that are sure to attract pushback from the state of Texas, which has been aggressively privatizing the foster care system.

Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News reports Texas could be forced by the court to recruit thousands of foster parents, as the crisis in child protective services continues.

Trey Murphy is a grad student in North Carolina, but he has dreams of owning land in West Texas. A few months ago, he was looking at real estate online and came across something strange.

“I saw that there was this particular listing that was selling the surface estate, but not willing to sell the wind estate,” he says.

On a single night in January, 23,548 people experienced homelessness in Texas, a 1.8 percent increase over last year, according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


From Texas Standard.

The U.S. House has passed a bill allowing gun owners with licenses to carry firearms to carry those firearms weapons across state lines. It’s a bill the National Rifle Association has dubbed a “legislative priority.”

Following the deadly mass shootings in Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas, legislators in Washington are also looking for a consensus on improving the national background check system for gun purchases, as well as banning a device known as “bump stocks.”

From Houston Public Media:

Houston investor Andrew White declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor Thursday. The son of the late Gov. Mark White made the announcement a day after former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy.

From Texas Standard.

The Dallas Morning News conducted an investigation this summer about what happens to kids after a mother’s arrest. In the process, they stumbled on an interesting fact – more women are being jailed in Texas, even though arrests of women have dropped.

Investigative reporter Cary Aspinwall found that the number of women in county jails across Texas awaiting trial has increased about 50 percent since 2011.

As Congressional Republicans prepare to send a tax overhaul to President Trump's desk, health care advocates worry about a possible repeal of the individual mandate, the part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires everyone to have health insurance. 

A possible repeal of the mandate could affect a lot of people in Texas, which has the highest percentage of people paying a tax penalty for not having health insurance, according to a New York Times analysis of IRS data.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus stunned colleagues and political observers alike when he announced that he would not seek re-election to his place in the Texas House of Representatives a few weeks ago. The news also meant that Straus would not be returning to his position as Speaker. In light of his upcoming departure, Texas House Republicans are seeking to have a greater influence over the choice of his replacement.

Texas Tribune Political Reporter Patrick Svitek says that on Friday, the House Republican Caucus agreed to make changes to their process for selecting a speaker candidate.

From Texas Standard:

More than two weeks after the death of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, questions remain about how he and a fellow agent were seriously injured while on patrol around Van Horn in west Texas.

From Texas Standard.

Scouting has long been considered a path for young people to learn life skills, but a program along the United States-Mexico border goes a lot further than how to start a campfire or care for a park. It's run under the auspices of the U.S. Border Patrol, and it’s not so much camping in the wilderness but rather something much more intense, closer to bona fide basic military training.

From Texas Standard.

On April 16, 1960, a 25-year-old schoolteacher and former beauty queen named Irene Garza attended confession at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen. Five days later, she was found dead in a nearby canal. An investigation revealed she’d been sexually assaulted, beaten, and suffocated.

Cannabidiol oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant, will be available by prescription for the first time in Texas early next year.

The 2015 law that set up Texas’ medical marijuana program allowed the state to license three marijuana businesses. So far the state’s approved two. One dispensary near Schulenburg and another, named Compassionate Cultivation, near Manchaca, just south of Austin.


From Texas Standard.

At the highest levels of pro baseball, pitchers are usually the players with the lowest batting averages. There’s just not enough time to master both pitching and hitting. Finding a player who excels at both is akin to discovering a unicorn.

From Texas Standard.

There’s a whole lot of potential change right now on the Texas political landscape. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has a challenger for his office from fellow Republican Trey Blocker, a longtime lobbyist who will take on the colorful incumbent. It’s the most serious intra-party challenge to a sitting statewide official – at least so far.

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