Texas Standard For March 16, 2021

As federal officials warn of plans to use a Dallas convention center as an immigration holding facility, concerns grow at the border. Republicans are using the rising numbers of border apprehensions to point to a crisis there. Meanwhile the Biden administration is having difficulty finding shelter for thousands of young migrants in the U.S. without legal status. We’ll have the latest. And: A rift at the top of Texas politics? Also: Changes to voting laws in the crosshairs at the capitol? Plus: An idea comes of age: home power storage for a crisis like last month’s winter storm. All those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMarch 16, 2021 9:35 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

Migrants at the Border 

The number of migrants crossing into the United States is on the rise. Angela Kocherga, news director for KTEP in El Paso talks to the Standard about the immigration increase, President Biden’s approach to the border, and what happened at a visit to the El Paso region by Republicans this week.

Voting Laws at the Lege

Gov. Greg Abbott named “election integrity” as an emergency item this session, in response to Texas cities like Houston that made voting easier during the coronavirus pandemic. Now Texas Republican lawmakers have introduced a handful of legislative measures to halt the expansion of voting access. Renée Cross is senior director of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs and joins us today.

Special Education Testing Lag

Hundreds of students in the Austin Independent School District are being denied their legal right to a special education evaluation. These evaluations are the first step in the process to get a student special education services. KUT’s Claire McInerny reports on one family dealing with a yearlong wait

Home Battery Storage

During last month’s deep freeze, Texans who fared best could produce their own power via a generator or solar panels. But what if you were able to combine those technologies – something that you could use on-demand like a generator, but ran on renewable energy like solar? It’s a solution that’s becoming more and more common in the form of single-home energy storage batteries. Marriele Mango, project director for the Clean Energy Group, a nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization, tells the Standard more about them.

SXSW Film 2021

The cancellation of the South by Southwest festival in Austin last year was a key indicator that the coronavirus was going to have a big impact on our lives. This year, South by Southwest is impacted again: it’s completely online. The Standard’s Laura Rice has a preview.

“Through the Plexiglass”

If you’ve been to Austin you’ve likely strolled along South Congress Avenue. It’s a prime tourist destination with plenty of top-notch restaurants and trendy shops. But some 20 years ago it looked a lot different – more pawn shops and police cruisers. A documentary premiering at SXSW says the change began when Liz Lambert bought the San Jose Motel and turned it into a boutique hotel, setting off a gentrifying change to the entire strip. She joins us today to talk about her new film, “Through The Plexi-Glass: The Last Days of the San Jose.”

Patrick and Abbott Rift 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is becoming more vocal about Gov. Greg Abbott’s handling of last month’s Texas freeze, signaling a rift – and perhaps gubernatorial ambitions for Patrick. Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey talks to the Standard .

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

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