State News

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.
NPR

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

NPR

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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Texas Water
7:00 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Water planners to set bar for conservation funding

NPR

When voters approved using $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for water financing last November, they were also supporting a measure that reserves 20 percent of that money for “water conservation and reuse projects.”

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Texas Agriculture
4:29 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Fewer women farmers in U.S., but more in Texas

NPR

The number of women farmers in Texas is increasing, bucking the national trend, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture. 

The number of female principal farm operators in Texas increased 10 percent between 2007 and 2012, while the number of female principal operators across the country declined, according to the data released last week. 

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Texas Government
2:58 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Same-sex marriage advocates battle in court

NPR

A federal court in San Antonio will hear arguments Wednesday in a case challenging the legitimacy of Texas’ constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. It is one of several cases pending in courts statewide, a venue in which gay rights activists say their odds of winning legal protections are far better than in the conservative state Legislature.

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Texas Education
12:40 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

A&M-Commerce, South Texas College announce $10K degrees

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Since Gov. Rick Perry issued his famous — some skeptics might say infamous — call in 2011 for Texas universities to develop $10,000 bachelor’s degrees with textbooks included, he has proudly noted the announcements of more than a dozen degrees purporting to meet that challenge. 

But only one degree on that list takes into account the cost of textbooks and, rather than simply tweaking the price tag on existing offerings, derives its savings from a fundamental reconsideration of the way students experience higher education — and it only just launched. 

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Texas Politics
8:00 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Women underrepresented in Texas Legislature

State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (pictured with Greg Abbott), whose district includes southern Collin County, is the only woman representing a portion of the KETR service area in the Texas Legislature.
KERA / keranews.org

State Sen. Wendy Davis has used her 11-hour filibuster against abortion-restricting legislation to propel a run for governor, and Texas’ hottest political race centers on whether her supporters can usher a Democratic woman into a governor’s mansion occupied by Republican men for the last two decades.

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Texas Education
7:41 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Concern about tuition increases as A&M board prepares to meet

provided image

As the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents gathers for a meeting in Galveston on Thursday, some students in College Station are concerned that the regents will increase tuition at Texas A&M University while they are miles away. 

The board's agenda calls for a consideration of — and public testimony on — proposed tuition and fee increases at the flagship university, which includes the Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas A&M Health Science Center. 

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Texas Health
4:37 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Local governments pursue 'Obamacare' enrollment

provided photo

To coordinate education and outreach efforts associated with the Affordable Care Act, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services is taking an approach that mirrors how the Federal Emergency Management Agency might react to a catastrophe.

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Texas Education
9:44 am
Fri January 24, 2014

In Texas, school finance battle is a perennial one

NPR

Running the public schools has been a policy issue — and a legal one too — for the better part of a century in Texas.

State officials have never found a lasting way to pay for or to provide the promised level of public education in all classrooms, and they repeatedly find themselves “solving” the problem, often under court order.

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2014 Election
3:53 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Davis' campaign manager answers new questions

Wendy Davis' campaign is on the defensive following a report in the Jan. 19 Dallas Morning News.
NPR

When state Sen. Wendy Davis announced her campaign for governor in early October, she had not settled on a campaign manager.  

Because Democrats haven’t won statewide office in Texas in two decades, the Fort Worth lawyer — who gained national attention after filibustering a bill on abortion regulations — wanted to get it right. So the campaign conducted a national search. About three weeks after getting into the ring, Davis announced she had selected Karin Johanson, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant known for winning uphill battles. 

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2014 Elections
3:26 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Contested races within GOP reflect broader rift

Republican Gary VanDeaver is running against incumbent George Lavender to represent Texas House District 1, which includes Franklin and Lamar Counties..
provided photo

In 2012, Steve Toth of The Woodlands won election in House District 15 after a so-called RINO hunt. He beat state Rep. Rob Eissler in the Republican primary, campaigning in part on the idea that Eissler was insufficiently conservative for HD-15’s suburban voters. Two years earlier, and several counties to the north, David Simpson of Longview beat Rep.

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Texas Health
8:34 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Texas third nationally in ACA enrollment

Enroll America outreach worker Rosy Mota (right) talks about the federal health care law with a CVS customer in Houston.
NPR

Texas enrollments in the online insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act rose nearly eightfold in December, according to 2013 figures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Monday. 

Texas ranks third in the number of 2013 enrollments following the troubled launch of healthcare.gov on Oct. 1. As of Dec. 28, nearly 120,000 Texans had purchased coverage in the federal marketplace, up from 14,000 one month before.  

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Texas Health
8:21 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Pregnant woman on life support stirs political debate

Erick Munoz stands by a photo of his wife, Marlise Munoz, at home in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 3. She is being kept on life support in a local hospital against the family's wishes.
NPR

A pregnant North Texas woman being kept on life support against her family's wishes is stirring political debate in a state immersed in competitive primary races, and fresh off a legislative session in which lawmakers had tense debates over when life begins and how it can end. 

“We recognize the tragic and painful situation the family faces,” Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said in an email. “We must also remember a young life is at stake here and that state laws protecting that life must be followed.” 

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