Texas Standard For September 13, 2021

Making good on a threat: Texas is suing over school mask mandates. We’ll take a look at what we know about a lawsuit against six Texas school districts. And: Tropical Storm Nicholas is headed towards the Texas Gulf Coast. We’ll discuss what the state and coastal cities are doing now and the implications as oil production is still offline from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana. Also: Twenty years ago today… a disaster along the South Texas coast. Remembering the Queen Isabella Causeway Collapse. Plus: The Republican Party and Texas are practically synonymous in current politics but things have changed over the decades. A look back today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 13, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, September 13, 2021.

Teacher Shortage

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, some school districts have mandated masks for weeks – despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s order against such requirements. Now, Gov. Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are making good on a threat to sue some school districts that implemented a mandate. The lawsuit announced Friday targets only six ISDs and omits some of the biggest districts to defy the order. What’s happening here? Texas Tribune public education reporter Brian Lopez joins us today with more.

How 9/11 Changed the Border

A lot has changed along the U.S.-Mexico border in the 20 years since 9/11. The terrorist attack led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and an estimated $330 billion has been spent increasing border security. But 20 years and billions of dollars later, are we any safer? KTEP’s Angela Kocherga has this report from El Paso.

Worker Heat Death Series, part 5

We’ve been looking into how rising heat due to climate change is impacting workers across Texas, many in construction. Now we turn to Houston to investigate another industry where workers are getting sick from heat. Houston Public Media’s Sara Willa Ernst has part 5 of this series where she tells the story of how a 31-year-old trash loader died on the job.

Hurricane Ida and Oil

It’s been weeks since Hurricane Ida hit the Louisiana coast as a powerful Category 4 storm. Damage was extensive along the Gulf coast, and some people in Louisiana are still experiencing power outages. Cleanup and recovery is ongoing – and that includes oil and gas industry along the coast. Here to talk about the lingering effects of the storm on the energy industry is Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at the analytics firm Kpler.

Anniversary of Causeway Collapse

Early one morning, just days after 9/11, another tragedy occurred along the south Texas coast. A towing barge crashed into the columns supporting the Queen Isabella Causeway, the nearly two-and-a-half-mile-long bridge connecting South Padre Island with Port Isabel. Part of the bridge collapsed, leaving a gaping hole awaiting unwitting drivers. Eleven people went down in their vehicles, plummeting into the water. Eight died before the sun rose that day. As Danielle Lopez writes for The Texas Observer and tells us, the tragedy cemented itself in the minds of almost everyone in the Rio Grande Valley.

Book: History of Republicans in Texas

The Republican Party of Texas has had a solid grasp on politics in the state for decades. And in those years, the party has grown and changed, as parties do. Arriving In Texas more than a decade after the Civil War, how has a group of Unionists morphed into the GOP of today? That’s what Wayne Thorburn has written about in his book “The Republican Party of Texas: A Political History.” He joins us today.

Tropical Storm Nicholas

We are keeping a close eye on the path of Tropical Storm Nicholas. The 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is coming toward the Texas coast. For the latest, we turn to Eric Berger, meteorologist and editor of the Houston weather site Space City Weather.

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

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