Texas Standard For July 5, 2021

We know a special legislative session starts this week. What we don’t know is what’s on the agenda. This week we’ll talk to Republican and Democratic strategists about the special session. Up first: the Democrats. And: One in every four COVID-19 infections are from the aggressive delta variant. We asked health experts for their recommendations. Also: Texas based ExxonMobil is in the hot seat after revelations from a secret recording, we’ll tell you more. Plus: How the student athletes of today will be able to do what students athletes of the past could never do – profit from their name and likeness. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJuly 5, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, July 5, 2021.

What We Can Expect With Voting Bill during the Special Session

Texas state lawmakers kick off a special session this Thursday. And it’s safe to say a hotly debated voting bill that failed to pass during the regular session is high on Gov. Greg Abbott’s priority list. Here to tell us more about how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle could approach this fight is Patrick Svitek, primary political reporter for the Texas Tribune.

Delta Variant Questions

The delta variant of COVID-19 is now responsible for over a quarter of all coronavirus cases in the United States. Epidemiologists are still studying the variant, but it’s believed to be easier to transmit than its predecessors. For more on what you need to know, we turn to Dr. Fred Campbell, associate professor of medicine at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.

NCAA and Texas Image and Likeness Rule

This month, a state law went into effect that allows college athletes to be compensated for their name and likeness. Texas joins many other states who have passed similar laws. Now, the NCAA has announced it will follow suit, reversing its own previous policy. For more we’re talking with Daron Roberts, founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin.

Exxon Controversy

ExxonMobil is facing scrutiny again. Last week a lobbyist for the Texas-based oil giant was secretly recorded by a reporter for the environmental group Greenpeace. In the tape, lobbyist Keith McCoy spoke about efforts by the company to dampen climate policies from the Biden administration. The company has since apologized for McCoy’s comments but the fallout is ongoing. Kevin Crowley has been following the story for Bloomberg News, where he reports on the oil industry.

AISD Enrollment Plans

Over the last five years, fast-growing Austin has added close to 300,000 residents. But over that same period, its school district has seen student enrollment fall. Charter schools, private schools, and districts in more affordable suburbs have all contributed.  But like school districts across the state, AISD’s problem worsened due to COVID-19. Enrollment fell by about 5,000 students during the pandemic. KUT Austin’s Claire McInerny looks into why so many families left and follows the district on its journey to get these students back.

Democratic Strategy for the Special Session

Texas Republicans, emboldened by unfounded claims the 2020 election was “stolen” from Donald Trump, say this special session’s voting legislation strengthens election security. Democrats say it’s there to perpetuate Republican rule by keeping voters of color from the polls. But what is their plan to fight it? Glenn Smith, senior strategist for Progress Texas and a longtime Democratic political consultant, clues us in.

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

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