State News

Texas Transportation
3:00 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

In Texas, a new kind of space race emerges

Credit KUT

Someday capsules sent aloft from a New Mexico desert will whisk celebrity passengers on flights into suborbital space.

And someday rockets taking off from a sandy beach in Texas will carry colonists to Mars.

What is the point of space, after all, if it cannot be filled with grandiose dreams?

At least that is what city, county and Texas officials were betting on when they offered millions of dollars in incentives to lure SpaceX to Brownsville.

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Texas Government
9:15 am
Fri November 28, 2014

GOP leaders divided on immigration crackdown in Texas

Credit Republican Party of Texas

Though they appear to be universally outraged by President Obama’s executive order affecting millions of undocumented immigrants, Texas Republican leaders are far from united on how to use their own power to police unauthorized workers and the employers who hire them.

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Texas Environment
7:10 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

EPA proposed ozone crackdown, rankling Texas officials

Credit Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Over the objections of Texas officials, the Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a long-delayed rule to slash levels of ozone – a smog-forming pollutant known to worsen asthma, lung disease and heart conditions.

The regulation is the latest example of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's use of the Clean Air Act to crack down on the pollution wafting from factories, power plants and tailpipes.

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Texas Environment
8:37 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Northern leg or not, KXL already active in Texas

The Keystone XL pipeline is already rolling Canadian tar sands crude through Texas.
Credit StateImpact Texas

Congress’ attempts to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline have re-ignited debate over the project, which would allow more crude oil to flow from the tar sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.  It’s also re-ignited debate over what could happen to that oil once it gets to Texas.

President Obama and opponents of the pipeline say it will be used as a funnel to export Canadian crude to international markets. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, has been unequivocal when asked about that.

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Texas Government
8:31 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Audit: Texas school districts indiscriminate with tax breaks

“Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers,” said Greg Abbott in response to the audit.
Credit Shelley Kofler / KERA

Texas school districts have given out nearly $1 billion in property tax breaks to businesses without verifying those firms' claims about jobs they created, according to a harsh state audit released Friday. 

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Texas Government
4:48 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Abbott: Texas will sue feds over immigration policy

Greg Abbott
Credit NPR

Minutes after President Obama doubled down on his promise to change the country’s immigration system through executive action, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott made a vow of his own: Expect a lawsuit from Texas. 

But some legal experts doubt that Abbott, the governor-elect, could successfully challenge the president's order, which he says he plans to do in federal court. 

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Texas Transportation
4:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Reaction to train plan less rosy in rural Texas

These are the two track options the Texas Central Railway will study for its high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston.
Credit KERA

Steve Drake regularly makes the nearly four-hour drive from this city to Houston to visit his fiancée’s family. So he was excited about the news that a private company intended to build a bullet train that would cut that trip to 90 minutes.

“I’m passionate about this. I hope it happens,” Drake said at a recent public meeting. “I don’t want to be driving to Houston for the next 30 years.”

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Texas Politics
3:43 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Van de Putte resigning to run for San Antonio mayor

Credit TPR

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Two weeks after losing her bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte on Wednesday night announced that she was running for mayor of San Antonio and would not finish her term at the Texas Capitol.

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Texas Energy
4:14 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Report: EPA power plan would save Texas water

Credit StateImpact Texas

As state regulators fret about how President Obama’s effort to combat climate change would affect the Texas power grid, a new study says the rules would be simpler to adopt than those regulators suggest – and that it would save the state billions of gallons of water annually.

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Texas Education
7:35 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Social studies textbooks not approved; final vote Friday

"We’re getting stuff still coming in and being asked to vote on it,” said Mount Pleasant Republican Thomas Ratliff, a State Board of Education member.
State of Texas

After an afternoon spent wrangling over the proper definition of jihad and the influence of Moses on the Founding Fathers, it was Common Core that ultimately derailed the State Board of Education’s initial vote on giving a stamp of approval to new social studies textbooks Tuesday.  

An initiative spawned by the National Governors Association to set uniform academic standards across U.S. public schools, Common Core has become a frequent punching bag for conservative activists who believe it injects liberal bias into the classroom. 

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Texas Government
4:06 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

AG-Elect Paxton names Roy as first assistant

Credit KERA-North Texas Media

Chip Roy, a longtime GOP adviser who most recently worked for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, will serve as first assistant to Attorney General-elect Ken Paxton, his campaign announced Tuesday.

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Texas Environment
7:58 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Plant where workers died reported recent violations

A plant where four workers died early Saturday after a chemical leak has a record of safety violations that dates back several years.
Credit KUT

A plant where four workers died early Saturday after a chemical leak has a record of safety violations that dates back several years, a Texas Tribune review of state records shows.  

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Texas Education
7:44 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Textbook battles heat up as deadline nears

A conservative grassroots group formed by a San Antonio man with ties to a national anti-Muslim organization has made a late entry into debate over new social studies textbooks for Texas schools, which are set to gain final approval from the state Board of Education this week.
Credit KUT

A conservative grassroots group formed by a San Antonio man with ties to a national anti-Muslim organization has made a late entry into debate over new social studies textbooks for Texas schools, which are set to gain final approval from the state Board of Education this week.  

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Texas Education
11:06 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Despite state order, charter schools stay open

In June, the state education agency revoked the charter of the Honors Academy Charter School District, which runs Branch Park Academy and six other schools.
Credit NPR

On a recent Wednesday morning, Branch Park Academy looked like any other bustling suburban middle school. 

Beyond a packed parking lot, a banner hanging near the entrance boasted that the school had earned the “highest academic distinction” from the Texas Education Agency. Inside, students’ voices drifted from their classrooms. 

By law, those students were not supposed to be there at all. 

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Texas Politics
4:20 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Hegar resigns Senate seat, special election expected

Credit State Impact Texas

State Sen. Glenn Hegar, the Katy Republican who will become state comptroller in January, notified Gov. Rick Perry on Friday that he will resign his Senate Seat as of Dec. 5, paving the way for the governor to call a special election.

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