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Texas Station Collaborative

Texas phased out the use of solitary confinement as punishment for prisoners this month, but it still plans to keep thousands alone in cells.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Jason Clark said the department has been moving in this direction for some time.

From Texas Standard:

Following this year's contentious regular and special sessions at the Capitol, the divide between the Legislature's upper and lower chambers couldn’t be more apparent. Many of the priorities of Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, like the hotly debated transgender bathroom bill and sanctuary cities law, didn't fly in the House.

From Texas Standard:

Certain events in history have changed the lives of Texans forever. The Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston is still the deadliest hurricane on record. On a day in Dallas, in 1963, a nation lost a president. In 1966, a shooter atop the UT Tower terrorized a city by committing the first mass murder on a college campus. And now Harvey. These defining moments are embedded in the memories of those who lived them, but for everyone else, we rely on the written record.

A federal program that provides health insurance for about 390,000 Texas children must be reauthorized by Congress by the end of the month.

From Texas Standard:

The middle class is making gains, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The latest numbers show the median household income for a family of four is now $59,030, the highest median income on record, topping the previous high set during the dot-com days of the late 1990s.

The start of the 2018 election cycle is just around the corner and Democrats remain silent on who will be at the top of their ticket.  Political experts believe the party may now be frantic to find a candidate for the job.


From Texas Standard:

After weeks of legal and logistical wrangling, a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee that had been in Dallas' Oak Lawn neighborhood for 81 years, was removed Thursday night. Meanwhile, State Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott to discuss removing or altering Confederate monuments and plaques on the Capitol grounds.

Austin is one step closer to being at the center of the world's first Hyperloop transportation system.

The technology — the brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk — is envisioned as passenger pods traveling at speeds up to 700 miles per hour through a low-pressure tube. So far, only a short test track has been constructed.

Texas hasn’t been enforcing compliance with a 30-year-old law requiring public and private high schools to hand out voter registration applications to eligible students at least twice a school year, civil rights groups say.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

Texas has the highest population of uninsured people in the nation. 

Roughly 4.5 million people in Texas didn’t have health insurance in 2016, leading the nation in both the number and percentage of residents who are uninsured, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today.

Medical professionals are keeping an eye out for people having difficulty dealing with the trauma of losing their homes during Hurricane Harvey.

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University has announced a new archival project to gather materials from Texas musical history.

David Coleman, director of the Wittliff, says the plan is to build on an assortment of artifacts already on hand, like a songbook written by an 11-year old Willie Nelson.

“It’s got some great lyrics in it, just from an 11-year-old boy,” he says, including a song about the "hangover blues."

“I think he knew pretty darn early what his path was."

From Texas Standard:

Up to 500,000 cars took on water during Hurricane Harvey. Not having a vehicle in car-dependent Texas could be a significant hardship. And those looking for a used car to replace a flooded one should be wary of buying storm-damaged rides.

Texas will be cleaning up and rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey for a long time, and Hurricane Irma is getting ready to hit Florida hard. When a natural disaster strikes, many people have an immediate urge to help. But as the waters – and news coverage – subside, so can attention. 

The U.S. Supreme Court did something out of the ordinary last week: It responded to an appeal when there was technically nothing to appeal.  

From Texas Standard:

Texas Standard spoke with Kaysie Taccetta of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services about the new "community-based model" for foster care in the state. One service provider in North Texas is already working within the model. The Standard paid the group a visit. Listen to that part of the story below.

On Sept. 1, hundreds of new laws took effect in Texas. A number were aimed at improving the state's child welfare system. Failure to do so was not an option.

The 2020 Census will be the first time Americans can submit questionnaire responses entirely online, but while some are touting the high-tech change, the new approach concerns some advocates.

From Texas Standard:

Thousands of people are finding their way to dry blankets and warm socks in shelters all across Texas. Dallas expects to host as many as 10,000 people fleeing Harvey; in Austin, as many as 7,000. Donations keep trickling in.

A federal court in Austin has blocked a Texas law scheduled to take effect tomorrow that outlaws one of the most common types of second-trimester abortions.

A federal court in San Antonio has blocked much of Senate Bill 4, Texas' so-called "sanctuary cities" law.

"The best interests of the public will be served by preserving the status quo and enjoining, prior to September 1, the implementation and enforcement of those portions of SB 4 that, on their face, are preempted by federal law and violate the United States Constitution," U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said.

As flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey continues in Southeast Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said the number of counties on the federal government’s disaster declaration has been expanded to 33. That expansion includes counties outside of Harvey's path that are helping evacuees in shelters – including Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis.

On Sunday morning Jessica Hulsey woke up in her home in Houston’s East End. She went to her front door to see how high the water had risen – but it wasn’t the water that surprised her.  

Tropical Storm Harvey has brought the mighty Texas oil refining industry to its knees, at least temporarily, and Texas drivers are just starting to feel the pain.

Updated at 5:07 p.m.

As historic flooding continues in Houston, President Trump said federal money for areas affected by Tropical Storm Harvey would arrive quickly.

"You're going to have what you need and it's going to go fast," he said at a joint news conference Monday afternoon with the president of Finland.

The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the way for Amazon to buy Whole Foods. The decision came just hours after shareholders of the Austin-based grocery chain approved the sale.

From Texas Standard:

Grape-growing experts say Texas vineyards could see another banner year this season. But vineyard owners in the High Plains, where more than 80 percent of the state's wine grapes are produced, are concerned about damage to their crops from herbicides used on nearby cotton fields. They say the chemicals are drifting into their vineyards. And that’s causing some tension among neighboring farmers.

A 25-year-old man was taken into custody Monday for attempting to destroy the General Dowling Monument located in Hermann Park, according to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.

A complaint was filed in Houston federal court today charging Andrew Schneck. 

From Texas Standard:

Texas is at the epicenter of an aging boom. Texans are getting older, but older folks from other parts of the country are also moving here. With age comes failing health, and an increased need for assistance with performing daily living tasks at home. Many people with physical disabilities also need this kind of assistance. And the people who provide attendant care in Texas are among the lowest-paid in the nationOnly Mississippi pays less.

Did we mention Texas also has some of the most expensive cities to live in?

 

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