Stories From Texas

Are unlicensed teachers affecting student performance in Texas?

After the worst-ever wildfire disaster for Texas agriculture, there’s now an effort to help ranchers who lost large numbers of pregnant cows.
A year after the mall shooting in Allen, what the data reveals about gun violence there more broadly.
A new report documents how unlicensed teachers are becoming fixtures in many Texas schools.
Organizers of the Texas Eclipse Festival in Burnet County are now offering partial refunds to attendees because the event ended a day early.
Also, just how smart is artificial intelligence getting? Commentator W.F. Strong tried a little experiment.

‘Texas, Being’ poetry collection takes reader on a Texas tour

Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued to block a guaranteed income program in Harris County, calling it “plainly unconstitutional.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz insists his podcast is a volunteer gig and not about the money. But a new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission says the arrangement violates campaign finance laws.
Houston’s mayor claims the city is broke. What’s the backstory, and just how bad is it?
A new book of poetry called “Texas, Being: A State of Poems” doesn’t attempt to sum up all things Texan, but it does take the reader on a journey. We’ll hear from Jenny Browne, who put the collection together.

What’s next for Ken Paxton?

After reaching a deal to dismiss securities fraud charges, Ken Paxton’s political fortunes appear on the rise. What’s next for the attorney general?
One day after a US abstention in a UN Gaza cease-fire vote, how some Arab Americans in North Texas are planning to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
The San Antonio Police Department is getting pushback over the its participation in an international competition alongside police forces the U.S. State Department says have violated human and civil rights.
And with a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse on the horizon, a UTSA astronomy professor talks us through what to watch for in the hours and minutes before and after the main event.

Will third time be the charm for SpaceX’s Starship launch from Boca Chica?

The University of Texas at Austin is among other colleges in the country that are bringing back a standardized test requirement for applicants.
A city report has exonerated the Uvalde Police Department for its response to the Robb Elementary School shooting. Despite the report, Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez announced his resignation.
SpaceX plans a new try at launching its Starship super heavy rocket on Thursday from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
And the discovery of an artifact that one SMU professor believes could be a link to Coronado’s fabled expedition.

Exploring SpaceX’s potential land swap with Texas

The Texas Supreme Court hears arguments in a case challenging a law banning puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans minors.

John Whitmire, Houston’s new mayor, campaigned to be “tough-but-smart on crime.” Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider takes a look at some of Whitmire’s plans for law enforcement.

SpaceX wants to give the state 477 acres of land near a national wildlife refuge in exchange for 43 acres from Boca Chica State Park, near its launch site – but the plan is drawing local pushback.

And: West Texas A&M University plans a new institute to advocate what the school’s president calls “Panhandle values.” Critics fear it’s a push to spread conservative values across the university.

Community colleges get a funding boost, but with some changes

Gov. Greg Abbott received a $6 million campaign contribution from an out-of-state mega donor and school voucher advocate. Investigative reporter Lauren McGaughy of the Texas Newsroom shares more.

The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán has the latest on what appear to be endorsement wars among top Texas Republicans.

There’s a new funding formula for community colleges. What could the change add up to?

And commentator W.F. Strong reflects on influencers – both intentional and accidental.

Exploring the Lone Star State with the evolving Texas Almanac

Charges have been dismissed against 17 Austin police officers accused of assault during racial justice protests of 2020. Andrew Weber of KUT has more.

A prison assault and what records suggest about a lack of transparency over security and safety in Texas lockups.

First published in 1857, the Texas Almanac has evolved and changed hands several times. We’ll hear about the 72nd edition of the journal from its managing editor, Rosie Hatch.

Worried about the power grid holding this winter? Why Houston Chronicle columnist Chris Tomlinson says, he, for one, isn’t.

And a tradition for football fans of the Cowboys, hundreds of miles from Big D.

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.

Dungeons & Dragons becomes lifeline for some Texas death row prisoners

When it comes the electric grid, every megawatt counts during peak demand. Industrial batteries have long been seen as a potential game-changer for energy storage. We’ll have details about how they’re coming online in the Lone Star State.

A new vaccine for COVID-19 will be in pharmacies soon. An epidemiologist lays out what you and your family needs to know.

Plus, Dungeons & Dragons on death row, the latest headlines, and a school finance revolt in North Texas.

What’s changed for migrants on the border after Title 42’s end?

Students get grades, but so do Texas schools – and with a change in evaluations, administrators are concerned.

Critics say a state lawsuit against Planned Parenthood is an attempt to completely wipe out what was once a prime provider of abortion services in Texas.

How people experiencing homelessness are trying to cope with life-threatening temperatures.

The end of pandemic restrictions against migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. prompted a lot of speculation about how the situation at border would be affected. We’ll take a look at what’s actually changed on the ground.

Also, what put a once-sleepy town in the shadow of Dallas on the fast track to becoming one of Texas’ biggest cities.

As Texas leads the nation in ‘family annihilation’ cases, what can be done?

Ken Paxton, the impeached attorney general, is headed for a Houston courtroom today on his 2015 securities fraud charges.

An update on wildfires across the state as firefighters brace for another tough day of heat and wind. We’ll hear where the fire threat is greatest and what to do to prepare.

Since 2020, Texas has emerged as the epicenter of “family annihilation” cases, in which someone kills at least two kinds of family members.

A new documentary traces the careers of two of Texas’ most famous musical siblings: Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

And commentator WF Strong on what “Lonesome Dove “got right and wrong.

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.

The dire situation facing underfunded Texas schools

“It’s a fantasy,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said of Gov. Greg Abbott’s objectives to lower property taxes. Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune joins with more on a growing divide between the state’s two top Republican leaders.

One top political observer says there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to school funding for rural districts.

Hurricane season is back. We’ll have the seasonal forecast from Space City Weather, plus how to prepare.

Plus, Cine Las Americas kicks off its 25th International Film Festival in Austin.

What to watch for as the Texas Legislature sprints to Sine Die

With just 19 days to go before the end of the 88th Texas legislative session, where do we stand?

A bill to raise the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle made it out of a House committee – but as the Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán reports, it may not get much further.

Hundreds of migrants line up in El Paso for processing in advance of a major change to immigration policy tomorrow.

What some believe is a banking crisis: Should Texans be worried, and should there be a different approach to regulation?

Also, the story of a teacher fired in 1975, and why it resonates with the politics of Texas today.

The questions on local ballots across Texas this May election

Early voting is underway statewide for the May 6 elections. What’s at stake? A roundtable of reporters survey the landscape.

New emissions rules from the EPA could mean some big changes coming to Texas coal plants.

Changes to a bill restricting purchases of property by citizens of China, North Korea, Russia and Iran aren’t good enough, says Texas State Rep. Gene Wu. He says it’s discrimination.

And an axe murder in a North Texas suburb in the 1980s is now the focus of a new HBO Max series. We’ll talk to the director of “Love & Death”.

What more electric vehicles mean for the Texas electric grid

Momentum is growing among Republicans to use the U.S. military to take on drug cartels in Mexico in the fight against fentanyl. How serious is such talk?

More ripple effects following a ruling by a federal judge in Amarillo that would effectively ban the abortion drug mifepristone.

The Dallas Federal Reserve finds young adults feel increasingly disconnected from work and school – but there may be more to the story.

And with more electric vehicles hitting the road in Texas, how will the need for pluggable power affect the state’s electric grid?

The ‘forever chemicals’ used in fracking in Texas

Calls for justice in Ciudad Juárez after dozen of migrants die in a fire at a detention facility. New details emerge about what happened just across the border from El Paso on Monday night.

Texas school districts banned hundreds of books last year. Now, the Legislature is looking to create standards that could pull even more books off the shelves.

Research increasingly shows that “forever chemicals” are making their way into our environment – especially in Texas, where they’re used in oil and gas extraction.

Plus an update from commentator W.F. Strong and a climate referendum in El Paso.

Why Fort Worth ISD is canceling sex ed this year

Fallen trees and branches, downed power lines and more as Texas weathers the first statewide winter storm of 2023. The worst of the weather stretches along a line west of I-35, but most Texans are feeling the impact one way or another, with driving extremely hazardous and scattered outages leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

There’s been lots of talk about property taxes in this legislative session. How’d they get so high in the first place?

Fort Worth ISD scraps its plans for a sex education course after spending millions in the ramp-up. So why the reversal?

Also a PolitiFact check of gun violence claims.

What is a ‘constitutional sheriff’?

Inauguration ceremonies at the capitol lift the curtain and set the stage as the 88th legislature gets underway in earnest. We’ll have more on the inauguration of the Governor and the Lt. Governor. Also a prison hunger strike and allegations of retaliation. And the constitutional sheriffs movement and why advocates of police reform are concerned a vow to uphold the law is being twisted into something that subverts the law. Also 50 years of BBQ. The barbecue editor of Texas monthly on what’s changed in those decades, and it might be a lot more than you think. Plus, commentator W.F. Strong in celebration of Texas grammar, a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:

Why Texas and the U.S. need larger apartments

Is there a Speaker in the House? Texas’ role in the drama over who will lead the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. No state sends more republicans to Congress than Texas, but those republicans are at loggerheads over who to pick as House speaker, and it’s brought Congress to a standstill before the next session’s even underway. Sean Theriault of UT Austin explains what’s happening and why. Also new travel restrictions as a Covid outbreak spreads in China. How concerned should Texans be, and will the restrictions really help? And W.F. Strong looks back on an historic sunken treasure discovery and more today on the Texas Standard: