News Roundup: Texas GOP Representatives Support Citizenship Census Question

Our daily look at headlines from around the state.

By Becky FogelMarch 15, 2019 1:32 pm

Lawmakers spent hours questioning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over why he approved the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

Several lawsuits have challenged the controversial question, saying it will discourage minority participation and lead to inaccurate counts. Two federal judges have already said the Trump Administration can’t use it.

Ross appeared before the House Oversight and Reform Committee Thursday. Two Texans sit on that committee, both of them Republicans.

Rep. Chip Roy represents the Austin area. During the hearing, he made impassioned remarks in support of asking people their citizenship status.

“I want the question to be asked,” he said. “I just want to know as a member of Congress, I’d like to know how many citizens we have in the United States of America and I’d like to know who’s here who is not a citizen.”

Rep. Michael Cloud of Victoria, Texas also expressed support for a citizenship question on the Census. Cloud challenged the idea that including this question is unlawful, noting it’s been asked numerous times as part of the American Community Survey.

That survey is conducted each year and sent to about 3.5 million households, but the Census Bureau has not asked all households in the country about U.S. citizenship since 1950.

The Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the question next month.

The future of grocery delivery is now … or at least very soon.

In the coming weeks, driverless cars are expected to start making grocery deliveries in the Houston area.

Jen Rice with Houston Public Media has more on grocery giant Kroger’s new plans, noting the company first launched its driverless delivery vehicles last summer in Scottsdale, Arizona.

California robotics company Nuro is developing the vehicles, which travel at a top speed of 25 miles an hour.

Kroger’s regional corporate affairs director Marsha Gilford says the Houston area stood out.

“They have a great vision of the future of transportation for the city and the state,” she says. “It’s an energetic market. They recognize that. And they do see autonomous vehicles as playing an important part.”

To start, customers near two Kroger locations in Meyerland and West University can use the driverless service.

Texas is lacking in low-income housing, according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Andrew Aurand is a researcher who led the survey of Census data.

“Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio – all the large metro areas of Texas – had a significant shortage,” Aurand tells KUT News. “And their shortage, if you think about it relatively, was worse than the country as a whole.”

Texas’ per-capita rate of rental availability for affordable housing was 29 homes for every 100 low-income households, amounting to a  shortage of 600,000 homes statewide.