State News

Texas Environment
3:38 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Ohio water crisis a warning for Texas, other states

Satellite view of Lake Erie.
Credit NPR

The harmful toxin found in Lake Erie that caused a water crisis in Ohio's fourth-largest city this weekend has raised concerns nationally. That's because no states — including Texas — require testing for such toxins, which are caused by algal blooms. And there are no federal or state standards for acceptable levels of the toxins, even though they can be lethal.

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Texas Family and Protective Services
4:30 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

State contractor pulls out of foster care redesign

Credit Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services

The private contractor leading the state’s foster care redesign initiative has voluntarily terminated its contract with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

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Texas Environment
3:55 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Four guys and a boat tackle a Texas-sized water problem

Credit NPR

WICHITA FALLS — As the sun rose on Lake Arrowhead late last week, four guys on a motorboat armed with 5,739 pounds of white powder set out to tackle one of Texas' most vexing water problems — evaporation from surface reservoirs. Last year, evaporation

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Texas Education
4:11 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Technical college system looks to break mold on workforce development

Used with permission.
Credit Senorelroboto at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

With the launch of a new initiative Monday, the Texas State Technical College System could help revolutionize how colleges align their curriculum with workforce demands and help their students match up better with employers’ needs.

The new Center for Employability Outcomes at TSTC, whose website went live this week, will operate in close coordination with the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency.

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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
Credit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Cuellar#mediaviewer/File:Henry_Cuellar,_official_color_photo_portrait.jpg

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

Credit wbur.org

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.
NPR

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.
NPR

*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.
NPR

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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