Texas Standard For September 16, 2021

The walkout of Texas Democrats this summer couldn’t stop new voting restrictions from becoming law, but that’s not the final word on the matter.
We’ll have more on a federal bill taking aim at voting restrictions like those in Texas, including one that, if passed, could have big implications for redistricting, too. And: A Texas law to punish cities that cut funding for police – a new investigative report goes beyond the political spin, to get at what’s actually happening on the ground. We’ll hear about it. Also: Are Democrats losing Texas Latinos? A closer look at the reasons behind the claim. And the remarkable story of the Texas woman who saved New York City’s Central Park. Those stories and a whole lot more.

By Texas StandardSeptember 16, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, September 16, 2021.

Democrats’ National Voting Bill Woes

Measures targeting voting restrictions in Texas and across the country are now at the hands of U.S. senators. The Freedom to Vote Act, writes the Houston Chronicle, would make Election Day a holiday, create a right to vote by mail in federal elections and spell out that governments “may not diminish the ability to vote.” It would also prevent gerrymandering in the redistricting process – a process the state of Texas starts hashing out next week. Houston Chronicle Washington correspondent Benjamin Wermund joins us with the latest.

Austin Police Funding Debate

Texas can now financially punish large cities that cut their police budgets, by keeping them from raising new property tax revenue. The bill passed during this past legislative session was largely in response to Austin cutting and reallocating money from their police budget. Did reallocating funding from the Austin Police Department leave the department in better or worse shape? And what does that mean for the debate over police funding in the Capital City and statewide? A new series by the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE takes a deep dive into those questions. Reporter Tony Plohetski joins us now.

Afghans Hope for ‘A Miracle’

In the years before American troops left Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghans were admitted into the U.S. In many cases, their lives were in danger because they helped the U.S. military. But now that American troops have left the country, Afghans here are facing long odds to save their family members left behind. Texas Public Radio’s Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.

Apple’s Big Week

The world’s richest tech company – give or take a few billion – has been making even more news than usual: from legal decisions, to spyware to its annual fall pageant of new products. Our tech expert Omar Gallaga has been following all things Apple, and is here to break it all down.

Flooding App

Each hurricane season offers a reminder to Texans of just how deadly flooding can be. Still, emergency responders struggle to get accurate information about where floods have struck and who is at greatest risk. Now, as KUT Austin’s Mose Buchele reports, a team of researchers at UT Austin are developing a new tool to answer those questions.

Book on Dallas Segregation

After more than 30 years, a controversial book about Dallas’ history of segregation is being republished this month. But has anything changed? Its author, Jim Schutze, and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price reflected on that Tuesday. KERA’s Jerome Weeks has this report.

The Woman Who Saved Central Park

If you’ve been to New York City’s Central Park, you likely been amazed by its beauty and calm amid one of the continent’s most hectic cities. Texas Public Radio’s Jack Morgan has been there many times – and found a connection to San Antonio that few others know about.

Why Democrats are Losing Texas Latinos

After the 2020 presidential election, pundits say there was a political shift in South Texas. Long a Democratic stronghold, former President Donald Trump significantly improved his standing compared to 2016 in places like Hidalgo, Webb and Starr counties. In Zapata County – which doesn’t even have a local Republican party – Trump became the first Republican to win since Warren G. Harding. Jack Herrara has been writing about the shift for Texas Monthly. He joins us today.

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

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