Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
The House Democratic walkout has upended the table on the legislative special session. The focus of the walkout is on blocking controversial Republican voting legislation. But as Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider notes, that’s far from the only major bill that would die if Democrats stay away until the special session ends on August 7.
House Republican Response to Dem Walkout
As legislative proceedings for the rest of this special session remain in limbo, Republican House lawmakers are scrambling to figure out if there is any possible way to preserve the quorum and move forward with the special session. Joining us today is state Rep. Jacey Jett, a Republican representing Sugar Land, Texas.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, better known as ERCOT, has released what it calls a “roadmap to improving grid reliability.” As KUT Austin’s Jimmy Maas reports, the plan comes amid angst over whether the Governor and lawmakers did enough to improve the statewide electric grid during the legislative session.
After COVID Part 2: Probate Courts
COVID-19 has killed more than 51,000 Texans. And probate courts – where judges unravel the legal affairs of those who have died – are extremely busy. While probate cases can be heard by judges in any of the state’s 254 counties, Texas’ 10 largest counties contain 18 courts exclusively for probate. And, as the Texas Standard’s Joy Diaz reports, those courts are among the places where COVID’s death toll is being acutely felt. See Part 1 here.
Executive Order for Farm Competitiveness
It’s tough for farmers and ranchers to compete with industrial agriculture. Now, the Biden Administration is hoping to do something about that. Last week the administration released an executive order designed to loosen Big Ag’s grip on the industry and give small farmers and ranchers better opportunities. Joining us to tell us more is Jacqui Fatka, the policy editor of Farm Futures magazine.
During the recently-concluded regular legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law some of the most restrictive abortion access rules in the country. One measure banning abortions after six weeks allows individuals to sue anyone who assisted a woman in getting one. The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project has been looking into the impact this could have. Kari White is an associate professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and a faculty research associate at UT’s Population Research Center. She joins us today.
If the summer road trip took a bit of a break last year, it’s back with a vengeance. Should you be hitting the road – or just wishing you could –Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong would like to offer a highly portable suggestion for your summer reading list.
PolitiFact: Carlson on Smart Thermostats
Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that power companies were adjusting Texans’ home thermostats without their permission. Is that a fact? Here to look into it is Brandon Mulder, fact checker for Politifact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman.
All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.