The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
One year from today – April 1, 2020 – will be Census Day. That’s when the national survey that takes place every 10 years will be in full swing. Monday morning, several Texas groups marked the occasion by calling on the state legislature to invest resources in the crucial count.
The U.S. Constitution clearly states that all people need to be counted, which means all Texas residents, including immigrants. #2020Census #TXCounts #CountMeIn #HazteContar pic.twitter.com/8sXK0NIl48
— CPPP (@CPPP_TX) April 1, 2019
State Rep. Cesar Blanco has authored a bill to do just that. House Bill 255 would create a Complete Count Commission. The El Paso Democrat says other states, including California, have already spent millions to prepare.
“If we don’t step up, the reality is California’s going to eat our lunch – our Texas dollars will be going to California and other states,” Blanco said in a press conference Monday.
Census data is used to determine how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed. Ann Beeson heads the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank based in Austin. She says an inaccurate count could result in significant funding losses for Texas.
“There is a George Washington University report that estimates that even a 1% undercount could result in $300 million of federal funding lost for Texas every year for the next 10 years, and that’s a very conservative estimate,” Beeson says.
Beeson says 25% of Texans live in hard-to-count communities.
One of those bills in the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee wants to ban the use of certain pesticides along public roads and highways. Advocates for the ban say those pesticides are responsible for harming pollinators like bees, and when bees are affected, so are the plants they pollinate – that includes food crops. Bay Scoggin is director of TexPIRG, a consumer advocacy group. He says even with careful application of these pesticides, the bees are still affected.
“Whether they’re treated on the ground level, on the plant, or even, you know, in the seed itself, they’re being transmitted to the bees’ interaction with the plants. Bees are, as most people would say, quite intimate with the plants that they pollinate, and that transmission is causing them to be infected by this pesticide at any level.”
Scoggin says a move to organic solutions will help protect pollinator health and our food supply.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are headed to the Final Four of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament for the first time in its program’s history.
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) March 31, 2019
“Defense is our DNA; it’s not a secret, it’s our identity. We work on it in practice every day for about two thirds of our practice time. This year’s team’s really embraced it, and that’s why we’re on the ride of our lives,” Beard said.
Texas Tech faces Michigan State Saturday.