Texas Standard for April 29, 2022

As Willie celebrates birthday number 89, Texas cities contemplate decriminalization of something the singer’s known to be especially fond of. We’ll have the latest. And: The military’s hard line on COVID-19 vaccinations, and why some soldiers say it could make it harder for other religious accommodations. Also: With war in Ukraine and a push for alternatives to Russian oil, why are Texas pump jacks so silent? Texas Monthly’s Russell Gold reports they won’t be much longer. Plus: The push for big change at Big Bend to help deal with rising crowds. And the week that was in Texas Politics with the Texas Tribune and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardApril 29, 2022 9:31 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, April 29, 2022.

The Texas cities looking to decriminalize pot 

At least one Texas city has a proposition to decriminalize marijuana on their May 7 ballot. Austin wants to become the first municipality in the state to get rid of low-level marijuana charges, and other cities want to follow suit. Cayla Harris, political reporter for the Houston Chronicle’s Austin bureau, smokes out the story for us.

Advocates worry military vaccine challenges could jeopardize other religious freedom cases

The military is taking a hard line on troops seeking religious exemptions to the COVID vaccine mandate, granting few exemptions and defending the discharge of troops who refuse. But advocates say the Pentagon’s position on COVID vaccines could make it harder for troops who seek different kinds of religious accommodations. Steve Walsh reports for the American Homefront Project.

Melissa Lucio was granted a stay of execution. What happens now?

Melissa Lucio’s family held a rally for her release on Wednesday – the same day she was  scheduled for execution. The Harlingen woman was granted a stay by the state’s appellate court on Monday. Organizers, friends and family members celebrated her life, knowing how close she came to losing it. Texas Public Radio’s Gaige Davila reports.

Is a Texas oil boom on the horizon?

In the two months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has asked U.S. oil producers to step up production to ease global supply. So far, that hasn’t been happening.  But as Russell Gold reports for Texas Monthly, a new Texas oil boom is finally coming – and it could be a real gusher.

In far West Texas, conservationists revive a decades-old push for a Big Bend ‘wilderness’ designation

Conservationists are pushing to expand federal land protections at Big Bend National Park, calling to formally declare most of the park a wilderness area. Supporters, citing a skyrocketing number of visitors, say the designation would protect the park’s natural areas for generations to come. But there are already signs that some in the region’s tourism-dependent economy might be wary, similarly to what happened the first time the idea was touted. Marfa Public Radio’s Travis Bubenik has the story.

‘A job is a job:’ Trafficking laws increase stigma for consensual sex workers

Attitudes toward sex work have started to shift in parts of the U.S. A few cities have removed penalties for sellers of consensual sex. That’s still a misdemeanor in most of the country. But Texas recently became the first state to apply harsher penalties for those who buy sex, making it a felony. As part of their “Running Red Lights” podcast, Texas Public Radio reporters found that no matter the changing laws, many sex workers still struggle to stay safe.

Typewriter Rodeo

The gang delivers another poem inspired by events both current and timeless. Submit your own suggestions online!

The week in Texas politics

Texas Tribune political reporter James Barragán stops by with a recap of the week that was, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s pressure on the Texas Supreme Court to consider Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal push to have a whistleblower lawsuit against him tossed.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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