The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
If you won’t be getting a bouquet of red roses or a doling out heart-shaped chocolates today, don’t worry. There’s good news for singles this Valentine’s Day – Texas is the 6th best state for single people in the country, according to Wallethub.
Jill Gonzalez says they looked at 23 factors including things like share of single adults and the cost of going out.
“There’s a pretty good number of single adults at about 45 percent of the total adult population , so certainly big cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, all help with that, all contribute to young single people moving on in,” Gonzales says. “There’s also very prevalent online dating engagement. We looked at this monthly there’s about 12,000 searches for new app downloads or some type of online dating situation. So people are definitely looking for love – both in person and online.”
The best state for single people was Washington – and Mississippi was the worst.
The Texas Senate has held its first hearing on its so-called “sermon safeguard” bill. The measure, SB 24, stems in large part from the fight over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance or HERO. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider has more:
The bill would make it illegal for Texas or local governments to subpoena a sermon from a religious leader, or to compel testimony about a sermon’s contents. Supporters argue the bill is necessary, in light of former Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s 2014 attempt to subpoena the sermons of five pastors seeking HERO’s repeal.
Jonathan Saenz, president of the religious advocacy group Texas Values, testified in favor of the bill.
“Most people of faith are not going to know what to do in these situations,” he said. “And as I’ve seen in my work for close to two decades in law and public policy, that if you don’t have something specific in law, some people are going to use that, to intimidate and make people believe that they have to follow their view on this issue.”
Legal scholars argue the bill would do little to protect religious liberty beyond what is already guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The now-defunct HERO aimed to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals in public accommodations. The Texas Senate is now considering SB 6, often referred to as the “bathroom bill,” to prevent local governments from adopting such ordinances.
Texas had more traffic deaths than any other state in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic deaths had been on the decline in the state up until 2011 when the numbers started to rise again.