State News

Texas Politics
3:22 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Campaigns test conventional wisdom with summer ads

Credit NPR

Texans heading to the movies to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes might be surprised to see Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, pop up on the screen. Seated in his own crowded theater, a smiling Abbott speaks directly to a camera to his left, while those around him stare straight ahead as if watching a film and oblivious to Abbott’s pitch.

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Texas Government
4:28 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Denton fracking ban could spur wider legal clash

Credit NPR

Debbie Ingram understands the importance of Texas’ oil and gas industry, and she enjoys the look of a lit-up drilling rig rising in the nighttime sky.

But a few months of living about 400 feet from a natural gas well — the source of a cacophony of noises and nauseating fumes that, at times, have overtaken her brick house — prompted her to join hundreds of others pushing back against the industry in this North Texas city.

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Texas Government
4:08 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Cuellar: Failure 'not an option' on border crisis

Congressman Henry Cuellar

The U.S. government must take decisive steps to address the humanitarian crisis on Texas’ southern border or risk sending a message to smugglers that it isn’t taking the crisis seriously, says a Texas congressman who recently filed legislation addressing the issue.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said this week that the coming days will be critical if Congress is serious about addressing the tens of thousands of Central Americans coming into Texas illegally. Federal lawmakers are a week away from adjourning for the month of August.

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Texas Environment
3:44 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Drinking water systems draw federal concerns

Credit StateImpact Texas

More than 310 public drinking water systems in Texas — nearly 4.5 percent of the state's regulated public water systems — have quality issues that haven’t been adequately addressed, federal officials told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this year. That is the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Texas Politics
3:05 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Candidate for railroad commissioner revives overhaul talk

Steve Brown
Credit provided image

The race for Texas railroad commissioner has revived — at least in the short term — debate around a series of thwarted legislative proposals to overhaul the state's curiously named oil and gas agency.

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Texas Government
4:15 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Perry will activate up to 1,000 National Guard troops


Gov. Rick Perry will announce Monday that he is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help beef up security along the Texas-Mexico border, two people with knowledge of the decision have confirmed.

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Texas Government
4:27 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Lost in a pressing crisis: Perpetual immigration issues

Border Patrol Agent
Credit NPR

After reports in March of three undocumented Honduran migrants being assaulted by a Border Patrol agent, who was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, immigration activists decided to form a group to determine whether migrants were being routinely abused.

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Texas Government
3:55 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

State contracting with troubled payday lender

Credit KUT

The state is steering people who want to make cash payments on traffic violation surcharges to a payday lender that last week settled with a federal agency over illegal debt collection tactics.

“You may make cash payments at any ACE Cash Express location nationwide,” says a prominent note at the top of the Driver Responsibility Program's Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Texas Water
5:00 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

What's the magic number on Texas' water needs?

Texas is estimated to have a shortage of about 2.7 trillion gallons of water by 2060.

How much more water will Texas really need by 2060?

The 2012 state water plan — the state’s strategy for meeting water needs — estimated that Texas would face a shortfall of 2.7 trillion gallons of water a year by 2060, and that filling the gap would take an estimated $53 billion in new infrastructure.

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Texas Justice
2:14 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Lawmakers urged to reform parole with technology

With Georgia's recent success, Texas lawmakers are trying to save money on the state prison system by using more technology to keep in contact with prisoners on parole.

*Clarification appended

The solution to saving money on the state prison system may be more spending on technology, experts and lawmakers mused at a Tuesday panel on criminal justice policy. 

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Texas Agriculture
4:33 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Ongoing drought pushes beef prices to record levels

Drought conditions in Texas continue to make the cost of beef raise.

As Texas, the nation's biggest beef-producing state, enters its fourth year of drought, beef prices have reached their highest level in almost three decades, according to the Texas Beef Council.

Economic and agriculture experts are concerned that as drought conditions continue nationally and in Texas, increasing food prices could take a toll on ranchers, grocers and consumers. While some ranchers are enjoying the bigger bottom lines of the increased prices, others worry the increased prices could mean a drop in sales.  

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Texas Education
2:54 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Schools on their own to avoid double-testing math

Texas' eight-graders may have to take two math tests at the end of each year. One math test for their regular math assessment and another to fit Texas' new algebra I comprehension requirements.

After some eighth-grade students in Texas public schools finish their state math exams in May, they could have to sit back down soon after and take another one.

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Texas Health
2:45 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Texas telemedicine taking off

To better serve the growing number of insured patients, some hospitals are turning to the telemedicine.
Lauren Silverman / KERA

A shortage of medical specialists, combined with a glut of newly insured patients has put some rural Texas hospitals in a bind, according to Breakthrough.

One solution is telemedicine. Think of it as a kind of video conferencing on steroids that links doctors to patients hundreds of miles away.

Dr. Pritam Ghosh is in Dallas, listening with a stethoscope to a patient’s lungs, in the east Texas town of Sulphur Springs. And no, this isn’t a story about a 100 mile long stethoscope…it’s about a Dallas company bringing high tech telemedicine to the masses.

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Texas Water
2:40 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Next 3 months ‘huge’ in preventing brutal Texas summer

As springtime rolls around, preparations are already being made to help insure that this summer is a safe one.

Texans looking for relief from the drought are eagerly anticipating the chances of an El Niño event starting this summer, which could bring much wetter conditions. But the focus should actually be on the near-term, according to Victor Murphy, climate service program manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Fort Worth. Murphy says that the next three months, April, May and June, will be crucial to staving off another critically dry—and hot—summer, according to State Impact.

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Women's Health
1:00 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

Abortion provider shutters McAllen and Beaumont clinics


Editor's note: This story was updated twice, first to include a response from Texas Right to Life and Amy Hagstrom Miller, and then to provide details from a Thursday conference call with Whole Woman’s Health.

Whole Woman's Health announced late Wednesday that it is closing two abortion clinics — one in the already underserved Rio Grande Valley and another in Beaumont — as a result of strict abortion regulations passed by the Legislature last year.

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