Texas Standard For March 29, 2021

As the trial for the murder of George Floyd gets underway, debate heats up on a Texas bill to punish cities that cut police funding. We’ll have the latest. Other stories we’re covering: a bill to prohibit public school athletes in Texas from participating on sports teams that don’t allign with an athlete’s biological birth sex. And: New numbers from the winter storm and subsequent power outages in Texas suggest the event was deadlier than Hurricane Harvey. Also: Supermarket wars coming to North Texas? Plus: Remembering a literary giant. How Larry McMurtry challenged Texas mythology, and changed the way many view the Lone Star State. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMarch 29, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, March 29, 2021.

APD Chief and Police Bills

After last year’s killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed, cities nationwide began grappling with how to address brutality within their police forces. Some places, like Austin, chose to reduce funding for police departments. This year, Texas lawmakers have introduced a bill that would penalize cities that take such action. But at least one police chief is speaking out against that bill. Philip Jankowski, who is following the story for the Austin American- Statesman, talks to the Standard.

Republican Push Against Trans Athletes

State lawmakers are considering a measure that would prohibit public school athletes in Texas from participating on sports teams that don’t align with their biological birth sex. The bill is similar to several ones being introduced nationwide that LGBTQ rights activists say discriminate against transgender people. Katelyn Burns, who has been writing about the measure in Texas and others as a political reporter for Vox, talks to the Standard.

Winter Death Toll

New numbers from the state show that more Texans died from last month’s winter freeze than during Hurricane Harvey. An estimated 111 people died from hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires. And that number could still rise as more deaths are verified. Houston Public Media’s Katie Watkins looks at who was most vulnerable when the state’s power grid partially collapsed and millions lost power for days.

Border Mixed Messages

The Biden administration is grappling with a huge challenge on the Southwest border as migrants – under the mistaken belief the border is now open – continue to cross. That’s where officials are allowing in some migrants and sending others back to Mexico. Now there’s a new wrinkle: Some places in Mexico are refusing to take the migrants back. So U.S. authorities are flying them to other parts of the border, in search of places that will accept them. From KTEP in El Paso, Angela Kocherga reports.

Texan Translation: Pandemic Words

Remembering Larry McMurtry

In his many novels and screenplays, Larry McCMurphy provided unromantic depictions of life on the 19th century frontier and in contemporary small-town Texas. McMurtry was 84 when he died last week. The Standard’s Wells Dunbar has a look at the life and career of this Texas literature titan.

H-E-B in DFW

Typically, a story about the opening of a new grocery store isn’t quite newsy enough to make the Texas Standard rundown. In this case, however, we’re making an exception. Because last week, Texas grocery giant H-E-B announced that at long last, it would open its first two stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Maria Halkias, retail reporter for The Dallas Morning News, 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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