Legislation

Supreme Court puts Texas’ immigration enforcement bill on hold

Senate Bill 4, which would allow Texas police to arrest people suspected of crossing the Texas-Mexico border illegally, is currently on hold after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas Newsroom’s Julián Aguilar has the latest.
Why researchers and teachers are raising red flags over the state’s fully online STAAR tests for public school students.
A one-of-its kind 10K – with half its course in the U.S. and the other half in Mexico – drew hundreds of runners to El Paso.
And: The best U.S. coin design of 2023 features Jovita Idar, a journalist and activist from Laredo.

YouTube chef blends her Texan and Indian roots in new show

State Sen. John Whitmire defeated U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in the runoff election to serve as Houston’s 63rd mayor. We’ll take a look at what his win may mean for the state’s biggest city.

The borderlines of two South American countries have long been in dispute. How a recent re-ignition of the argument may have just as much to do with politics as it does with oil.

School districts across Texas have been hoping for an increase in funding. Why even some with large tax bases are struggling to make ends meet.

When you think of climate activists, who comes to mind? It may surprise you which age group says it’s become a top issue for them.

And we’re talking food unique to Texas – not BBQ or Tex-Mex, but South Indian-Texan cuisine. Chef Deepa Shridhar joins with more on her YouTube series “KanDeepa Texan.”

Is this the end of efforts to keep Fairfield Lake State Park public?

For the first time in modern memory, the Texas House is set to take up a school voucher-like plan.

How do you put a price tag on a state park? We’ll hear more about the challenges facing Texas Parks and Wildlife as it tries to reclaim parkland purchased by developers.

In a dramatic U-turn this week, China’s president appears to be trying to warm up to the U.S. Some clues as to why might be found in a new report from the Dallas Federal Reserve.

Also: What some forecasters are calling a “super El Niño” is coming soon to Texas.

The long push for using public dollars to pay for private schools

What the battle over charter schools in Texas 30 years ago reveals about the fight that’s currently underway at the state Capitol over changes in education policy.

Serious questions abound about the reliability of a highly in-demand fighter jet built in Fort Worth.

The legend of La Llorona – the crying woman – no doubt arrived in Texas with the earliest Mexican settlers and has haunted our rivers, lakes and streams ever since. Commentator W.F. Strong shares one version of the story.

Plus, a political crisis in Guatemala and the implications for migration.

A budding pipeline fight highlights activists’ changing tactics

What does the first day of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s historic impeachment trial tell us about what remains ahead? The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán joins us from the Capitol with a recap.

We’ll hear the latest on a new fight over a natural gas pipeline in West Texas – and how new strategies by opponents of such development are getting traction.

Among the new laws now in effect in Texas is a requirement for those who want to run for county sheriff.

The sister of Botham Jean, who was killed in Dallas five years ago, has written a new memoir, “After Botham: Healing from my Brother’s Murder by a Police Officer.”

Plus an update on wildfire dangers statewide.

KUT Morning Newscast for August 30, 2023

Central Texas top stories for August 30, 2023. Critical fire conditions for central Texas. “Death Star” bill and what it means for Texas cities. Dripping Springs school safety work.

Japanese snow monkeys thrive in South Texas scrub

Voters will ultimately get the final say on the new property tax cuts passed by the Texas Legislature. What’s in it for them, and what’s missing?

The investigation of a Texas A&M professor raises new questions about political pressure on campus coming from very high places.

U.S. military academies make way for a big change: allowing cadets to be parents.

Japanese snow monkeys were brought to Texas for research 50 years ago – and a journalist was driven to find out whatever happened to them.

Is Paycheck Protection Program fraud partly behind the home price spike?

A planned buoy barrier along the Rio Grande designed to prevent migrant crossings faces legal obstacles of its own.

What’s known and what isn’t about the man who had been reported missing in the Houston area for eight years – who had only really been missing for about a day.

Could pandemic-era abuses be partly to blame for rising home prices?

And, how to lose friends and alienate the Legislature: Austin journalist Christopher Hooks on Gov. Greg Abbott’s legislative strategy and why he’s had so much trouble passing some key items on his agenda despite Republican majorities.

How the Legislature’s property tax cut proposals differ

A regular session and now two specials – what will it take to get lawmakers to agree on a property tax cut plan? A closer look at why the two approaches are at the center of a political battle.

Sentencing begins in a federal courtroom this week for the gunman who killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019.

How some Houstonians without adequate air conditioning are trying to beat the heat as the thermometer rises.

Plus, what science is revealing about a common bird of prey and frequent defender of many a Texas garden.

New law will allow chaplains in Texas public schools

The Supreme Court just struck down two race-based university admissions programs. What does it mean for Texas?

Even though Texas lawmakers knew federal money was on the way for expanding high-speed Internet access across the state, they decided to also implement their own program. A look at why.

A new podcast takes a deep dive into the decisions that have made Austin such an expensive place to live – and one where people of color were systematically pushed out.

And a new Texas law set to go into effect will allow public schools to have volunteer chaplains or even to hire them as part of the staff. We’ll hear the argument against the law.

As one special session ends, the next one begins

Has the Texas border become like the Iowa State Fair, a mandatory stop for Republican presidential candidates?

It’s a long, hot summer for Texas lawmakers as the governor calls another special session, focusing solely on property taxes.

Rethink35, the organization questioning another expansion of the interstate highway that cuts through Austin, has given up its legal battle – at least for now. Why other cities in Texas
are watching closely.

Also, how Muslims in Texas are celebrating a holiday often referred to as Big Eid.

What’s next after Abbott vetoes more than 70 bills?

The power of the pen: Gov. Greg Abbott has used his veto more this summer than he ever has before. What’s at stake?

Advocates for people with disabilities demanded some changes at the state Capitol this legislative session. We’ll hear more about how the issues fared from the Standard’s Shelly Brisbin.

Systems are pretty much back up and running in Dallas after a ransomware attack. A look at why these keep happening and how to prevent them.

Fentanyl in Mexico and the newer risks tainted drugs pose to those who travel there.

And it’s Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day. We’ll visit a celebration in East Austin and talk to an author about enriching our understanding of the experiences of enslaved people.

Summer heat is here – and so is the strain on Texas’ electric grid

Although Ken Paxton’s already impeached, Texas House investigators continue gathering evidence against the now-suspended attorney general. More scrutiny over the finances of Paxton and his wife, a Texas senator.

Temperatures are hitting triple digits across much of Texas. Can the power grid take the heat?

Tech expert Omar Gallaga on why the release of Diablo IV is more than a game for the video game industry.

And a new podcast, “Sugar Land” premieres this week, exploring a grim discovery that’s reshaping history in a city once called the sweetest place in Texas.

How UT scientists are using AI to read thoughts

What happens to a Republican-led plan to provide taxpayer money for private education if the Texas Senate and House can’t reach agreement in less than two weeks? The governor’s promising he’ll keep the Legislature in session.

The latest on bills aimed at banning access to gender-affirming care for young people.

Mind-reading technology? We’ll talk with a UT researcher at the forefront of the tech using artificial intelligence to interpret brain activity.

Also: Finding the best burgers in Texas.

Lawmaker Gene Wu using Reddit to explain Texas Legislature

The clash between city leaders and state lawmakers is set to reach a new level at the Capitol. How state lawmakers are trying to crack down on policies by local prosecutors not to pursue certain cases.

A Texas researcher is pursuing a key to fight aging with the help of small monkeys.

We talk with Rep. Gene Wu, whose videos about how Texas politics actually works have blown up on social media.

In West Texas, concerns about growing tourism and the environmental impact spawn a plan to expand Big Bend National Park by purchasing adjacent land and giving it to the park.

Plus the legacy of San Antonio businessman B.J “Red” McCombs.

How Ro-Tel became a staple of Texas cooking

Lawmakers at the Capitol are considering changes to how Texas handles bail. The push would give judges more leeway to deny bail for violent offenses – and Democrats may have a considerable say in what happens.

More fallout from this month’s ice storm: why the Texas capital city may be looking for a new city manager soon.

Amid concerns about rising prices, layoffs and more, the Dallas Fed weighs in with a forecast on the Texas economy.

And why a can of diced tomatoes – you know the one – has such a rabid Texas following.

What happened during the Southwest Airlines meltdown?

What are the top priorities of Texas’ top officials? Gov. Greg Abbott delivers his State of the State address this week, and in the next few days we’re likely to hear which bills are set to take up priority slots for the Senate and possibly House. Sergio Martínez-Beltrán of the Texas Newsroom shares details.

A projected decline in Texas public school enrollment, and what that means for funding existing schools.

U.S.-China tensions are sky-high. How could it hit the home front for Texas?

And remembering Jeff Blackburn, a champion for the wrongfully convicted in Texas.

Soy de Tejas art exhibit highlights Latino artists in the Lone Star State

Black lawmakers in the Texas Legislature are pushing colleagues for changes to key Texas laws. Texas State Representative Ron Reynolds, chair of the Black Caucus, joins us to discuss top priorities in the 88th session on issues ranging from criminal justice reform and environmental justice to voting rights.

The Standard’s Kristen Cabrera on an effort in San Antonio to bridge the gap between public art exhibitions and marginalized communities.

And no Texas teams in the Super Bowl, but there are some big reasons for Texas football fans to get excited for Sunday’s big game.

What zoos are doing to stay safe

Funding for public education is set to take center stage at the Capitol. Sergio Martínez-Beltrán of the Texas Newsroom joins us with what to expect this week as the Senate finance committee takes up education funding.

Some Texas lawmakers say student mental health is a top priority this legislative session. We’ll take a closer look at what’s being proposed.

Nearly two years after a major winter storm that knocked out power statewide, the city of San Antonio is facing a federal lawsuit that says its emergency preparedness plan is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Plus: After a series of animal disappearances at the Dallas Zoo, how are zoos and aquariums rethinking security?

What would property tax relief from the Legislature mean for Texas renters?

Winter storm and travel advisories across much of Texas with some forecast models indicating things could get worse. Victor Murphy of the National Weather Service with more on the icy situation that’s already led to many school closures and stranded motorists overnight.

Our closeup on property taxes continues as the Legislature sets its sights on cuts. The Texas Standard’s Sean Saldana has more on what this means for renters.

The Standard’s Shelly Brisbin on how advocates for Texans with disabilities are turning up the heat on lawmakers at the Capitol.

And 30 years after the Branch Davidian siege, we’re talking to Kevin Cook, author of the new book “Waco Rising.”