Texas Standard For March 9, 2021

The Speaker of the Texas House intends to fix everything that went wrong during last month’s winter storm. Dade Phelan has a list of priority bills and will tell us how the state could pay for these reforms. And: In the aftermath of the storm, experts are carefully counting those who perished, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. Also: We are keenly aware of the need to improve our mental health, we’ll tell you how some Texans are doing it. Also: One thing that will raise your spirits high is the sound of some Texas birds in song. All of that and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMarch 9, 2021 9:50 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Interview with Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan 

Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives released proposed reforms to energy generations and distribution following February’s deadly winter storm and blackouts. Discussing the legislation, its costs, and accountability going forward is Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Troops with Service-Related Mental Health Injuries

The Marine Corps established Wounded Warrior Battalions to aid troops with mental and physical injuries. But some Marines who are suicidal or suffer from PTSD can still be discharged for misconduct. Steve Walsh of the American Homefront Project has more

 Teachers & Mental Health

Mental health experts say teaching during a pandemic has left many educators stressed out and anxious. And last month’s unprecedented storm and school closings didn’t help. KERA contributor Sujata Dand tells us about one North Texas school district’s program to help teachers get mental health support when they need it.

Accessibility and Voting

The 2020 election was unusual. COVID-19 made many voters reluctant to participate in person,  but turnout in many states was at a record high. For many people with disabilities, 2020 marked a move in a positive direction. In a survey for the federal Election Assistance Commission, researchers found that fewer voters reported barriers to casting a ballot accessibly. Lisa Schur and Doug Kruse, with the Program for Disability Research in the Management and Labor Relations School at Rutgers University, join us with more.

Christina Lokey on Birding

25th Annual Birding Classic

Texas is home – or a temporary home – to a huge variety of birds. One opportunity birders have to tally them is the upcoming 25th Annual Great Texas Birding Classic. The competition is sponsored in part by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Shelly Plante manages the Texas Parks and Wildlife department of Nature-Tourism, and shares more with us today.

Counting the Dead After the Storm

One of the toughest tasks after the winter storm that pummeled Texas last month is to figure out exactly how many people perished because of it. There is a process in place. Dr. Pramod Gumpeni is a pathologist and assistant deputy chief medical examiner at Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. He leads us through that process.

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

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