Texas Standard For May 5, 2021

Supporters call it constitutional carry, some law enforcement officials call it dangerous policy. As the Texas Senate appears poised to pass a bill allowing Texans to carry handguns without a permit, Austin’s top police official weighs in on why he’s opposing such a change. And: If you’re a renter, should you be told you’re living in a flood zone? A proposed state law may make that mandatory. Also: The race to get more Texans vaccinated reaches a tipping point, and some wonder whether herd immunity is still doable. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMay 5, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Law Enforcement Objections to Permitless Carry

A measure that would allow Texans to openly carry a handgun without a license is set to be taken up by the full state Senate soon. The bill has caused concern among law enforcement officials in the state who worry it will make Texans less safe. Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon has been a vocal opponent against permitless or “constitutional” carry legislation. He along with several other representatives of law enforcement agencies across Texas recently publicly spoke out against the measure. He talks to the Standard about the bill.

Juarez Shelters Fill Up

The U.S.-Mexico border remains closed to most migrants and asylum seekers under a public health order issued at the start of the pandemic. Along the border in the Rio Grande Valley, Mexico has stopped taking back families with very young children. Some of those families are able to remain in the United States, to pursue asylum. But the federal government has also been flying others to different border cities, including El Paso, hundreds of miles away, before expelling people into Mexico. KERA’s Mallory Falk reports from Ciudad Juarez on the impact to local shelters.

Flood Risk Disclosure

Texas could become one of the states that does the most to warn renters about the risk of flooding. Currently, landlords don’t have to tell potential renters if a property flooded in the past, or if it’s in an area prone to flooding. But Houston Public Media’s Jen Rice tells us that could change this month with a bill making its way through the Texas Legislature.

RGV Levee Damage From Border Wall Construction

The Biden administration has stopped construction on the border wall. But what had been built so far has damaged levees across the South Texas border. And those levees prevent catastrophic flooding. Now that hurricane season is only weeks away, the condition of the levees is worrying Hidalgo County residents. Dave Hendricks, reporter for the Progress Times in the Rio Grande Valley, talks to the Standard.

Herd Immunity

For a few weeks in March and April, there seemed to be an enthusiastic rush to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Now that about half of eligible Texans have had at least one dose, we’ve hit a wall. And experts are now lowering expectations of ever reaching “herd immunity,” the point where enough of us will be protected from the coronavirus to squash a lot of community spread. Karen Brooks Harper, health and human services reporter for Texas Tribune, talks to the Standard about the vaccination plateau.

Attwaters Prairie Chickens and Whooping Cranes

The vistas of southeast Texas do not stay unbroken for long. There is usually something in the distance, a gas flare maybe, an exit ramp where you can stop at Stripes for gas and a couple tacos. But there was a time when the coastal plain was a vast, unbroken savannah teeming with animals that thrived on the prairies and wetlands. Some of the creatures that lived here then are still here now, despite the changes around them. The Texas Standard’s Michael Marks has more.

The Texan Hero at the Battle of Puebla

In Texas, the fifth of May is celebrated often with a feast of Mexican food and a couple margaritas – or so. But Cinco de Mayo isn’t actually celebrated much in Mexico. That’s the part you may already know. But what most Americans can’t tell you is this: what the significance of the date is to begin with.  Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong says the holiday’s original purpose is to honor an event called the Battle of Puebla and the Texan general who led Mexico to victory.

 PolitiFact Texas

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

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