Texas Standard For September 1, 2021

A new abortion law takes effect today in Texas. Not only does it effectively prohibit abortions after five or six weeks, it deputizes private citizens to enforce it – we’ll hear about the implications. And: A look at some of the less well-known provisions taking effect as Texas law today, ranging from homelessness to the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Also: Boca Chica we have a problem: friction between SpaceX and the folks who live near the South Texas launch site. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 1, 2021 1:44 pm

Texas Abortion Ban Takes Effect

One of the most extreme abortion bans in the country is now law in Texas. Starting today, Texans cannot get an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected, which happens as early as five or six weeks into a pregnancy. Most states with similar bans have been stopped by the courts from enforcing them. But KUT Austin’s Ashley Lopez reports Texas’ law has so far evaded a court block, because it was written to be enforced by private citizens.

Medical Preauthorization Law Takes Hold …

Among the hundreds of new laws taking effect today, one will have a sizable impact on doctors and patients across the state. For some time, doctors have complained about the massive amounts of paperwork insurance companies require of them, saying it has even delayed care and hurt patients. Houston Public Media’s Sara Willa Ernst says that will now change – although critics say the new law may create a new set of problems.

… While Statewide Camping Ban Impacts Homelessness …

Also today, a new Texas law takes effect that bans camping in public spaces. As KUT’s Andrew Weber reports, it largely targets Austin’s efforts to remove criminal penalties for homeless encampments.

… And Hundreds Of Other Laws Come Online

The Texas Newsroom has been busy reporting on several new state laws that go into effect today. We won’t get to all 666 of them, but there are a handful more we think are worth highlighting. Here to help us do that is Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston.

SpaceX And The Battle Of Boca Chica Beach

Boca Chica Beach in the Rio Grande Valley is near the launch site for SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private space exploration company. But when community outcries and environmental regulations get in the way of this plan, what’s the real cost of private space exploration, and who’s paying it? We’re turning to Gus Bova, whose recent piece for Texas Observer explores the issue.

Tech Truck Helps Students Accelerate STEM Learning

After 18 months of pandemic-disrupted learning, most Texas schools have welcomed students back to class. And at one science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) campus in Grand Prairie, a local museum’s “Tech Truck” is making a visit. The hope? To pump up enthusiasm for a much smoother year at school. KERA’s Bill Zeeble was there.

Brawl Over Back to School Mask Mandates

The new school year for Texas students is underway, bringing together the largest unvaccinated population: children under 12 who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine. The ongoing political battle over the right to require face masks in schools has added to the confusion and the risk for kids. Texas Public Radio’s Camille Phillips reports mask mandates have become a flashpoint for school districts across the state.

Fact Checking Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently went on Fox News and blamed African Americans for low vaccination rates, saying they are the largest unvaccinated group in most states. Is that a fact? Here to look into it is Brandon Mulder with Politifact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman.

All that, plus the Texas news roundup, social media editor Wells Dunbar with reactions from the Standard’s friends and listeners and more, are coming up on today’s broadcast.

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