Texas Standard For June 2, 2021

The walkout at the Capitol over voting restrictions sparks one kind of response from the governor, but a different tone from the GOP House speaker. As Gov. Abbott threatens to withhold legislative pay over the House’s failure to pass a restrictive voting bill, the GOP speaker of the House defends the Democratic walkout that scuttled the bill. And: In parts of Texas hardest hit by COVID-19, vaccination rates now surpass those of the rest of the state. We’ll hear why. Also: The real death toll from the winter freeze and power outages, a new report claims a massive undercount. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJune 2, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

The Aftermath of The Legislature

Texas’ 87th legislative session is over, but there’s still a lot of activity in Austin. Gov. Greg Abbott is signing bills that did get passed and talking about those that didn’t – particularly his priority items. And the talk of a special session is growing louder. For the latest, Texas Standard turns to John Moritz, who covers Texas government and politics for the USA Today Network.

Vaccine Rates Along the Border

Counties along the Texas-Mexico border were among the hardest-hit by COVID-19. They are now the same ones seeing some of the highest vaccination rates in the state. Of the 39 Texas counties currently above the state average, more than a third of them are border counties, according to the latest state data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Karen Brooks Harper has been covering the pandemic for The Texas Tribune and joins us today.

Abbott Disaster Declaration

Gov. Abbott has issued a disaster declaration along Texas’ southern border, citing the recent rise in migrants arriving at the border. Texas Public Radio’s Pablo De La Rosa reports its being met with criticism in the Rio Grande Valley, where officials don’t see a need for one.

Mexico Marijuana Legalization

Texas lawmakers made small steps towards expanding medical marijuana this session. Just across the border in Mexico, that country seemed poised to become the biggest in the world to fully legalize marijuana. But Antonio Cueto reports it hasn’t happened yet.

Real Texas Death Toll from the Winter Storm

The Texas Legislature approved proposals requiring power plants to weatherize, and those measures are on their way to the governor’s desk. For some, the memory of those winter days in February is not one easily forgotten. The official death toll of Texans who died during Winter Storm Uri is 151. But a new report from a team of journalists at Buzzfeed points to a much larger number: around 700 deaths. Peter Aldous is one of those reporters, and he joins the Texas Standard today.

Fort Hood’s New PR Strategy

Fort Hood is opening its gates to the community in hopes of building a better environment for soldiers and their families. Texas Public Radio’s Carson Frame stopped by last week as VIPs from around the state converged on the Central Texas Army post.

W.F. Strong: Watermelon Season

It’s June, which in Texas means it’s watermelon season. But Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong says that, throughout his life, watermelon season didn’t mean it’s the time of year to eat them.

PolitiFact: COVID Deaths

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert said that there hasn’t been a single COVID-19 death in Texas since Gov. Abbott lifted the mask mandate two months ago. Is that a fact? Brandon Mulder with PolitiFact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman digs into the claim.

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

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