Texas Standard For August 31, 2021

The end draws near for the second special legislative session. What’s left to be done? Quite a bit, actually. From a 13th check for school retirees to funding for a border wall and more, we’ll look at what’s left on the agenda as lawmakers try to wrap up a contentious second session. And: New laws set to take effect Sept. 1 include what some see as a surprise: new protections for Texas employees claiming sexual harassment in the workplace. Also: As the last plane carrying Americans departs from Afghanistan, Afghans in Texas struggle to get their families to the United States. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardAugust 31, 2021 9:51 am

Good morning! Here’s the Texas Standard rundown for Tuesday, Aug. 31.

The Latest On The Lege

With quorum restored and the clock ticking, Texas’ second special legislative session is winding down. Where do we stand on the controversial issues Gov. Greg Abbott insisted the legislature take up: new voting laws, restrictions on transgender students, the border, the pandemic and more? For answers, we turn to James Riddlesperger, political science professor at Texas Christian University.

New Changes To Sexual Harassment Laws 

Texas has more than 650 new state laws going into effect September 1. As part of our ongoing look at new laws, today we’re highlighting how state workplace laws are changing. Texas employees filing sexual harassment claims will have more protections, and state sexual harassment rules now apply to many more businesses than they did before. KERA’s Bret Jaspers has more.

Hurricane Ida’s Impact Felt On Oil And Refineries …

Oil producers and refiners are appraising damage to facilities on the Gulf coast Monday. Powerful storms battered the region responsible for nearly 18% of the country’s crude. Texas Public Radio’s Paul Flahive has more.

… And Among Evacuees Amid The Delta Surge

Residents in Louisiana, those hit hardest by Hurricane Ida, are continuing to assess the damage. East Texans were lucky enough to avoid severe damage, but have been assisting evacuees from our Bayou State neighbor. it was announced Monday that FEMA opened two shelters in Orange, Texas. Here to tell us more about the situation on the ground is Joel Ardoin, Emergency Management Coordinator in Orange County.

A ’13th Check’ For Retired Teachers

Both the Texas House and Senate chambers have unanimously approved a measure giving retired Texas public school teachers and staff a “13th paycheck:” a one-time check of up to $2,400. It’s a welcome gesture for retired teachers whose annuities have stagnated – but is it ultimately a drop in the bucket? Zeph Capo, president of the Texas American Federation of Teachers, joins us with his perspective today.

Heel To Toe: The Tiny Cowboy

Four-year-old Edmund always wears cowboy boots. Could it be because his dad is a motorcycle police officer? Because his grandma resells boots? Or could it simply be because he is a Texan? We’re bringing you his story as part of our “Heel to Toe” series on Texans and their boots.

Frisco’s 20-Year Path to an Arts Center

The city of Frisco is planning a beautiful new arts center in Hall Park. That may sound odd to long-time residents of Collin County. A decade ago, Frisco was the Collin County city that pulled out of the project, effectively keeping it from moving forward. So what changed? KERA’s Elizabeth Kauma got the backstory.

Afghan Refugees in San Antonio

The Center for Refugee Services in San Antonio has been overwhelmed by local Afghans in recent weeks who are looking for help getting their families out of Kabul. The agency says it’s ferrying the names of those at risk to U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and up through the State Department. But now that the last American military plane has left Afghanistan, it’s unclear what the path forward for them looks like. TPR’s Carson Frame reports.

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