Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, May 28, 2021.
Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 1 – a two-year state budget totaling some $248 billion. While the budget is the only legislation that’s required to pass each session, it’s far from the only thing happening during the last few days of the 87th Texas Legislature. So what’s the status of the Lege ahead of Sine Die on Monday? For that, we’re joined by James Barragán, political reporter for The Texas Tribune, and Scott Braddock, editor of The Quorum Report.
Tensions between state and local governments in Texas are no secret. But that tense relationship was put to the test during the pandemic. Many times over the last year, it seemed unclear who was in charge over decisions on masks and stay-at-home orders – the state? Cities? Counties? Texas Standard digital producer & reporter Caroline Covington kept track of it all, in a new digital project: Critical Decisions: Which Texas Leaders Call The Shots On COVID-19, Part 2.
We’ve reached the point in the pandemic where vaccines are widely available. If you want one, you can get one. So far, about 35% of Texans have done so. Demand for the shot, however, has waned over the past month or so. To tell us more about what this means for vaccine efforts going forward is Imelda Garcia, the chair of Texas’ COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel.
Energy is on the minds of many Texans, in part because memories of February’s deadly blackouts are still fresh. But in a state where oil and gas play such a large role, many Texans also wonder about what energy policy from a new federal administration could mean for the state. Those thoughts are also on the mind of U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. She’s in Houston meeting with industry leaders, and speaks with the Standard today.
For years, it’s been unusual to hear an honest, detailed discussion of U.S./Israel policy, particularly as it pertains to the Palestinian territory of Gaza. But with the advent of social media and online organizing, seemingly more people are becoming vocal about their support for Palestinians – particularly as the world waits to see if the ceasefire between Palestine and Israel will hold. Palestinian supporters are labeled by some as antisemitic – a charge they rebut by saying Palestenian support is not a religious issue but a political one. The conversation is also occurring within Texas Jewish communities. Judith Norman is with the San Antonio chapter of Jewish Voice For Peace and teaches philosophy at Trinity University, and joins us today.
All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.