Texas Standard for December 17, 2021

A historic change coming to the U.S. military in the wake of the 2020 killing of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia on the changes coming with the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act, now on the president’s desk. We’ll have the latest. And: A battle in the Texas Hill Country over efforts to go solar – the pushback coming from a local power provider. Also: A new space telescope that can see deep into the universe and into the past. We’ll talk with the Texas professor co-leading an important project. Plus: The week in Texas politics and much more.

By Texas StandardDecember 17, 2021 9:30 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, December 17, 2021.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia on Vanessa Guillén Act

Legislation named for slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature. In a recent op-ed, Rep. Sylvia Garcia says the changes related to prosecuting sexual assault charges in the armed forces are the most significant reforms to military justice in over 50 years. Congresswoman Garcia, who represents the 29th District, including parts of Houston in the U.S. House of Representatives, joins us with more.

What’s being done about fake license plates

Bootleg paper license plates are seemingly everywhere on Texas roads. Fraudsters can register a fake car dealership with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, print and then sell an unlimited number of temporary tags. The DMV is working on a solution though. Here to tell us more is the department’s executive director, Whitney Brewster.

The Sounds of Texas: How to plan accessible holidays

Whether you’re gathering online or in-person, this holiday season, there are simple things you can do to make your event more welcoming and inclusive for people with disabilities. The Austin nonprofit, Knowbility, works to create accessible experiences for all, and their team offers tips for making sure everyone can participate in your holiday celebrations.

James Webb Telescope set to launch

The James Webb Space Telescope – a powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope – is scheduled to launch next week. The telescope’s largest program is called COSMOS-Webb, and will study some of the earliest structures in the universe. At the project’s helm is University of Texas at Austin associate professor Caitlin Casey, who joins us today.

Advocates: Electric co-ops are adopting ‘unfriendly’ solar policies

A battle over solar power is heating up in parts of the Texas Hill Country. Solar panel owners that are part of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative say the utility is discouraging solar use through related fees. As the Texas Standard’s Jill Ament reports, the debate comes as more customers opt for solar panels to decrease their electricity bills.

When adoption doesn’t work out

More than 850 children were adopted from foster care in Houston last year, according to data from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. But not all adoptions have happy endings: as many as 5% of adoptions are legally dissolved. according to federal data. Houston Public Media’s Caroline Love says even more adoptions fall apart without any legal record.

The pandemic’s worsening loneliness among kids

It’s easy to assume that loneliness largely preys on single people and the elderly, but new research shows children and adolescents are even more vulnerable to feeling alone. In the fourth chapter of our mental health series “The Invisible Wall,” KERA contributor Sujata Dand explains why experts are concerned that the pandemic will have long-term mental health implications for children. Programming note: this story discusses suicide.

Typewriter Rodeo

We always end the week with a poem from the Typewriter Rodeo. Listeners can submit requests anytime by reaching out!

The week in Texas politics

Joining us for a look back at the week in Texas politics, our Friday regular: James Barragán, political reporter for the Texas Tribune.

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

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.