Texas Standard For September 7, 2021

The U.S. Justice Department pledging to explore ways to challenge Texas’ abortion law. But many questions remain as to how. We’ll take a closer look. And: More than 57.000 Texans killed by COVID-19 so far. With new variants popping up, is this a pandemic or an endemic health crisis? A Texas virus expert on whether and how the fight against COVID-19 should change. Also: Engineering expertise and hard work. Once the recipe for success in the energy industry, now Texas energy companies say there’s a skills gap with more high tech hires needed for cleaner energy jobs. Plus: How new voting laws could backfire against the GOP. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 7, 2021 9:51 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

DOJ on Abortions

U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department will protect people trying to obtain or provide abortions in Texas, in the wake of the state’s near total ban. Texas Public Radio’s Jerry Clayton has more.

Pandemic vs. Endemic

Merriam-Webster defines “endemic” as restricted or peculiar to a locality or region. As swaths of the country are more resistant to COVID vaccination and mitigation measures – Texas included – is the pandemic morphing into an endemic outbreak? We’re poaching that question to Dr. Ben Neuman, chief virologist at Texas A&M’s Global Health Research Complex.

 Energy Workforce Changes

Houston energy companies say there is a major skill gap between their current workforce and the type of skillset needed to work in a low-carbon future. The biggest thing lacking: advanced digital and technical expertise, according to a recent industry survey. Houston Public Media’s Kyra Buckley tells us the Bayou City has the resources to train workers – but company culture could get in the way.

Worker Heat Death Series, part 1

Each Texas summer comes with a broiling sun – and as a result, workers across the state are exposed to extreme heat, some of them dying. Columbia Journalism Investigations, NPR and The Texas Newsroom obtained and analyzed thousands of pages of public and court records, and found that dozens of workers have died in Texas over the past decade, and many of those deaths were preventable. In the first of this seven-part series, KERA’s Stella Chavez introduces us to a North Texas construction worker. Warning: this story contains sensitive audio that may be upsetting for some listeners.

Legal Strategist and Abortion Bill

Texas’ near total ban on abortion relies on a new kind of enforcement: lawsuits from private citizens, not the state, levied against anyone involved in the procedure – from the patient, to the doctor, on down to the person that drove to the clinic. The Supreme Court, in opting not to halt the new law, cited what it called the “complex and novel” procedural questions it posed. All of this is by design, Mimi Swartz writes for Texas Monthly. She’ll introduce us to the legal strategist behind the bill today.

Bug Bites: False Katydids

Wizzie Brown is a program specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She’s also our go-to insect expert. Something bugging you? Let us know and we’ll pass it along.

Fortis MMA

When it comes to sports in Texas, football is king,  but the state is also home to athletes who participate in an increasingly popular contact sport: mixed martial arts. KERA’s Galilee Abdullah has more on a coach of MMA fighters in Dallas.

How Voting Measure Could Backfire on Republicans

24-hour voting. Drive-through voting. Mailouts of unsolicited absentee ballots. All of those measures were methods Harris County used in last year’s election. All three are now banned under the new voting bill set to be signed into law by the Governor today. But did Republicans overplay their hand against the Houston region, and might this backfire against the Texas GOP? Jeremy Wallace has been writing about this for the Houston Chronicle, where he covers Texas politics.

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

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