Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, November 12, 2021.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
President Biden is expected to sign his $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law on Monday. Under the plan, Texas is slated to receive more than $30 billion to fund water and transportation projects, as well as broadband expansion across the state. Among the folks celebrating the bill’s passage is San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. For months, Mayor Nirenberg has advocated for this bill alongside a bipartisan coalition of Texas mayors. He joins us today to explain what this bill will mean for San Antonio.
Schools Performance and COVID
Nonprofit children’s advocacy group Children at Risk has released its annual rankings of public schools in Texas. Schools are usually rated on academic performance, but the analysis looks very different this year due to the pandemic. The new study divided schools into two categories: pandemic resilient schools, which saw improved academic performance since COVID-19 hit; and “red flag” schools that experienced decreased academic performance. Here to talk about the study’s findings is Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk.
MPP Tent Courts Back at Brownsville
Immigration court tents reappeared in Brownsville over the weekend. Their appearance comes after a federal court ruled in August that the Biden administration’s plan to end the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols program violated federal law. Texas Public Radio’s Gaige Davila has more.
Overdose Bystander Law
Drug overdose deaths rose sharply during the pandemic. But in Texas, witnessing or even experiencing an overdose can expose you to potential legal trouble, should you call for help. A good Samaritan law passed this year is meant to ease some of those restrictions, and encourage people in distress to call 911. David Johnson with progressive advocacy group Grassroots Leadership says the law is only a very small step toward solving the much bigger problem.
Threatened Texas Snapping Turtles
You can still find alligator snapping turtles in the wetlands of east Texas, but there are fewer of them than there used to be. That’s why this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the alligator snapper as a threatened species, which would provide better legal protection for the turtle and its habitat. Joining us now to tell us more is Christopher Schalk, assistant professor of forest wildlife management at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Wildfires in Texas
Ten years ago, it was the worst wildfire disaster in Texas history. Over 31,000 fires burned more than 4 million acres of land in the state. This unprecedented fire season included the most destructive fire ever in Texas. Some say history will likely repeat itself. Texas Public Radio’s Jerry Clayton has more.
A Vet Service Dogs
Congress this summer created a pilot program that will help some veterans with PTSD get service dogs. For years, advocacy groups have said veterans could benefit from the specially-trained animals. But until recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs said there wasn’t enough evidence to justify paying for the expensive training. Chris Haxel reports for the American Homefront Project.
We always end the week with a poem from the Typewriter Rodeo. Request a topic for a poem anytime by reaching out!
Week in Politics
Joining us for a look back at the week in Texas politics, our Friday regular: James Barragán, political reporter for the Texas Tribune.
All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.