Texas Standard For June 10, 2021

The Democrats have voter engagement strategies lined up ahead of the 2022 elections. But do they have a candidate for the top of the ticket? We’ll take a look. And: Gov. Greg Abbott has banned private businesses from requiring so-called “vaccine passports”. But can he do that? And what can businesses do? We’ll explore. Also: Texans rely heavily on groundwater resources. Would President Biden’s infrastructure plan really address concerns about their sustainability? Plus: You may by now have heard about Amazon Sidewalk. But what do you do about it? We ask our go-to tech expert. And prices are up on a whole lot of things. What’s behind the increase and is it permanent? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJune 10, 2021 9:23 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, June 10, 2021.

Texas Dems Launch 2022 Campaign Projects

With many of Texas’ top statewide seats up for grabs in the 2022 election, Texas Democrats are getting to work. Two former Central Texas Dems who lost in 2018 and 2020 – Julie Oliver and Mike Siegel – recently announced a year-round Democratic organizing effort called Ground Game Texas. And El Paso Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar has announced she will be leading a statewide get out the vote effort. But will it all be in vain if Democrats haven’t even mustered a challenger to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott? Richard D. Pineda, director of the University of El Paso’s Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies, joins with more.

Barring Vaccination Passports

Earlier this week, Gov. Abbott signed into law a measure that would punish private businesses from requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Businesses could be disqualified from state contracts or lose their state licenses or operating permits. But what legal authority does the governor have to control a private business’ concerns about the health and safety of its guests? Dietrich von Biedenfeld is an assistant professor of business law at the Marilyn Davies College of Business at the University of Houston – Downtown. We’ll hear from him today.

Groundwater Resources

More than 13 million households in the U.S. rely on groundwater wells, and there are more than a million wells in Texas. They’re used to supply water to households outside of major cities and to irrigate farms. Groundwater resources are threatened by rapid development and increasingly severe droughts, but President Biden’s infrastructure plan includes billions of dollars for rural water systems. Texas Public Radio’s Dominic Anthony Walsh reports.

Amazon Sidewalk

This week, Amazon switched on a new service called Sidewalk. If you have a wi-fi-powered Amazon product, like an Echo smart speaker or a Ring doorbell, you’re about to become a user – and a contributor. As the Washington Post put it, “Sidewalk will blanket urban and suburban America with a low-bandwidth wireless network.” Our tech expert Omar Gallaga is here to tell us more about Sidewalk, and what you need to know when deciding whether to leave it on or turn it off.

The Sounds of Texas: Sofian Merabet

Smuggling Victims

Five weeks ago Houston made national headlines after a high-profile smuggling bust. Nearly 100 migrants were rescued from captivity. Now, most of them have been deported or held in detention. Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall tells us that many could be eligible for a special visa – and that the response further eroded trust between immigrants and law enforcement.

Looming Inflation Fears

Do things seem a bit more expensive these days? It’s not your imagination. The Consumer Price Index jumped 5% in May over the previous year, according to a report from the Labor Department out today. Are higher prices a blip as the economy regains its footing after the pandemic – or will it last? Here to explain is Ray Perryman, president and CEO of the Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic research firm.

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

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