Texas Standard For July 8, 2021

We’ve gathered reporters from around the state and have their expertise on how a special legislative session works and what can be accomplished. And: What is critical race theory and who is teaching it in Texas? Also: How the city of Abilene hopes never to lose access to water again. Plus: A theater play called “Family Dollar”, how a community’s true stories of gentrification gave birth to this play. And the philosophy and goals of QAnon in Texas’ politics, from local to statewide. And: To unwind and relax, how about an outdoor movie with you as the host? Everything you need to know to put together your home-made theater is next. That and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJuly 8, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, July 8, 2021.

Special Session Roundtable 

A special session of the Texas Legislature kicks off today – and you may have some questions. How long will it last? Do lawmakers need to get everything on this agenda done? Here with answers to these questions and more are Corrie MacLaggan, statewide managing editor of public radio’s Texas Newsroom, Houston Public Media reporter Andrew Schneider, and Texas Public Radio host David Martin Davies.

Family Dollar

In West Dallas, nestled between upscale shops sits a street that used to define the community. Now, West Main Street is the setting of a new play tackling the very gentrification that threatens the block. From KERA North Texas, Elizabeth Kauma (COMMA) reports that an experimental performance group took the stories of real residents to create “Family Dollar.”

Back Yard Movie Night

Whether you’re just spending more time outside during the summer, or still steering clear of movie theaters for now, it’s a great time to enjoy outdoor spaces where family and friends can gather. One way to amp up that shared experience is by hosting your very own back yard movie night. Our tech expert Omar Gallaga has written about how to get set up. He’s here to tell us how to do it and what it costs.

Critical Race Theory

In Texas and across the country, Critical Race Theory has become a political lightning rod. Red state Republicans want it banned in classrooms (even though teachers say it’s not even there). Angry parents say it’s a racist curriculum that’s indoctrinating their kids. This spring, Texas passed two laws taking aim at CRT, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t think they went far enough. That’s one reason he added it to a special session that starts Thursday. KERA’s Bill Zeeble went looking for CRT in Texas schools.

QAnon in Texas

Allen West is a former congressman, current Texas Republican Party chairman and primary candidate for governor. He also spoke at May’s “For God and Country Patriot Roundup” in Dallas – a political conference with ties to QAnon, the conspiracy theory-driven movement whose followers believe that a global cabal of sex traffickers and pedophiles actually runs the country. West is only one of a growing number of Texas politicians who have dabbled in the QAnon community. Steven Monacelli is an independent journalist based in Dallas who reported from the “God and Country” conference, and he’s also the publisher of Protean Magazine. He joins us to talk about the reach of QAnon in Texas.

Abilene Water Backup Power

February’s record-breaking winter storm knocked out power to millions of Texas residents, and hit other utilities hard. Officials in Abilene had to cut off the flow of water to city taps when Abilene’s three plants lost power. It was the first time in memory that backup power to the plants failed. It prompted some residents to demand better protections. As KACU’s Heather Claborn reports, city officials will look at the possibilities during this month’s budget process.

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

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