Texas Standard For September 9, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court intervenes to stay a Texas execution over the role of spiritual advisors in the execution chamber. We’ll have details. And: Do laws restricting abortion access lead to cycles of poverty? A groundbreaking long term study says yes, amid a national conversation over Texas’ new abortion law. Also: Freedom calling? Or more like spam? The story behind a smartphone marketed to conservatives who want to make a break from big tech. Plus: Looking back 100 years after a Texas flood disaster that led to housing discrimination, environmental racism, and demands for change. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 9, 2021 10:04 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, September 9, 2021.

 SCOTUS Stays Ramirez Execution

Texas was set to put 37-year-old John Ramirez to death last night. He was convicted of capital murder in 2008 for killing and robbing a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk. Shortly before 9 p.m. last night, the Supreme Court issued an order staying the execution and also setting up Ramirez’ case for a full formal briefing and oral arguments. We’ll talk with Keri Blakinger from The Marshall Project.

Abortion Restrictions and Poverty

Does Texas’ new abortion law limiting abortion increase a woman’s risk of living in poverty? The nonprofit news organization The 19th is reporting a new study that says yes. The Standard spoke to Chabeli Carrazana is an economy reporter for The 19th.

Worker Heat Death Series, part 3

In Texas, about a quarter of workers who’ve died from excessive heat, succumbed to temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, according to an analysis by Columbia Journalism Investigations, NPR and The Texas Newsroom. It was 99 degrees when Pedro Martinez Jr. began to feel sick while working on an athletic field in Hondo, Texas. KERA’s Stella Chavez brings us part three of an investigative series looking into worker heat deaths in Texas.

Freedom Phone

You’ve probably heard about startup social networks and web sites designed to cater to the interests of right-leaning voters. But have you heard of the “Freedom Phone?” It’s a cell phone designed for conservatives who are looking for an alternative to devices made by big tech companies. And it was developed by a 22-year-old bitcoin millionaire. Our tech expert Omar Gallaga tells us all about the Freedom Phone and how it’s been received.

Zebra Mussel RNA Research

Last week, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced that yet another body of water in Texas had become infested with zebra mussels. The mussels have now spread to 34 different lakes across the state, and they don’t show any signs of slowing. When a lake becomes infested with zebra mussels, there’s no getting them out. But University of Wisconsin – River Falls biology professor Scott Ballantyne is working on a tool to remove them. He joins the Texas Standard to explain.

West Side Rising

One hundred years ago today, a tropical depression stalled just north of San Antonio — pouring rain into the city’s creeks and rivers. The city’s predominately Latino West Side was destroyed by flood waters. Eighty people were killed. The recovery process opened a decades-long saga of housing discrimination, environmental racism and classism. A new book out today tries to capture the repercussions. It’s called West Side Rising: How San Antonio’s 1921 Flood Devastated a City and Sparked a Latino Environmental Justice Movement. Author Char Miller talks to the Texas Standard.

 Homeless Youth Shelter

Texas’ statewide homeless camping ban is now in effect. It could charge anyone camping in public with a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500. Local non-profits across the state are working to connect the homeless with resources before facing criminal penalties. In Dallas, a vacant 1950s elementary school has been transformed into a center for students experiencing homelessness. KERA’s Christopher Connelly took a tour.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Michael Marks with the talk of Texas.

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