News Roundup: Child Welfare Advocates Ask Budget Board For More Funding

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 20, 2018 4:07 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Child welfare and mental health advocates gave feedback on the proposed budget from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission at a Wednesday hearing. The state agency is one of many presenting funding requests to members of the Legislative Budget Board for the years 2020 and 2021 ahead of next year’s Legislative Session. 

HHSC administers more than 200 programs throughout the state and it’s two-year operating budget is more than 70 billion dollars. 

Josette Saxton, with the advocacy group, Texans Care for Children, said she wants to see more resources dedicated to youth suicide prevention. 

She says in Texas about 1 in 8 high school students have attempted suicide. 

“So I think if we have more of a focus on how can we better address youth suicide in schools, we’ll help not only with mental health but also some school safety issues,” Saxton said.

According to figures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released earlier this year, seven percent of high school students nationwide attempted suicide in 2017. In Texas, it was 12 percent. 

Officials in Taiwan say they are looking for the head of a Texas company who’s attracted attention for making blueprints for 3D printable guns available to the public.  Cody Wilson has been charged with sexual assault. Austin police say the victim is a 16-year-old girl whose initial contact with Wilson was through the website

Wilson’s last known location was Taipei, Taiwan. Austin Police Commander Troy Officer said Wednesday Wilson did not take his scheduled flight back to the U.S.

“The statute says that the victim under the age of 17 is considered a child,” Officer said. “My detectives have interviewed and spoke with this victim and in their opinion if someone mistakes her age, it would be because they think she’s younger, not older than the 16 that she is.” 

If convicted, Wilson faces a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and a 10-thousand-dollar fine.

Ivanka Trump will be in Houston Thursday, touring NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Houston Public Media’s Allison Lee has the details.

Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump will be touring the center with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Sen. Ted Cruz. The First Daughter will reportedly talk to crewmembers on the International Space Station, and speak with high school students who are working with NASA engineers to build a robot, for a competition. Vice President Mike Pence was at the Johnson Space center last month.

The number of people staying at Airbnbs in rural Texas has jumped more than 90 percent over the last year. That’s according to a new report from the short-term rental company.  In far west Texas, Presidio and Brewster Counties saw nearly 30,000 guests from August 2017 to August 2018. Ben Breit is with Airbnb and spoke to Marfa Public Radio.

We’re talking about two counties that aren’t just the top performers for the technically rural counties. They’re two of the most popular counties for airbnb guests throughout Texas period.

Together, the two counties brought in more than $3 million in the last year. Some critics have said the high number of short-term rentals in towns like Marfa have contributed to the lack of available housing.