Texas Standard For March 30, 2021

As the Texas Senate votes to force power generators to better prepare for weather extremes, new insights on what Texans actually want. A new University of Houston Hobby School survey on the impact of the February freeze and power outages, and how Texans want the system to change. And: More on an $8 billion plan being pitched to Texas lawmakers that promises a 7-day power backup in the event of future emergencies. Also: As vaccines are rolled out in Texas prisons, a new report card on how well lockups and juvenile facilities in Texas have tracked the spread of COVID-19. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMarch 30, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Winter Storm Survey

So how bad was it for most Texans during Winter Storm Uri last month? Results from a new survey from the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs show it was pretty bad. Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University and a member of the research team that conducted the survey, talks to the Standard

Border Travel Policies

Normally, Texas border cities bustle with movement, and people regularly cross for work, school, family or shopping. But since the coronavirus pandemic began, two policies adopted under President Trump and continued under President Biden have dramatically changed life along the border. Texas Public Radio’s Maria Mendez reports on how the two policies now clash as border communities try to return to normalcy.

Farmers and West Texas Weather

West Texas has seen practically every type of weather this month. With planting season right around the corner, that’s having a big effect on farmers in the region. Texas Tech Public Media’s Jayme Lozano reports cotton producers in Crosby County, just east of Lubbock, are scrambling to prepare as quickly as they can.

Hate Crimes Against Asians

Since the pandemic began last year, hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked 150% in major U.S. cities. The two weeks ago, a mass shooting in Atlanta, which resulted in the murders of six Asian women, sparked nationwide outrage. But there have been relatively few reports of these types of high-profile incidents in Texas. Which led Houston Public Media’s Sara Willa Ernst to ask more about how Asian Texans are experiencing the spike in hate crimes against Asians.

Berkshire Hathaway Plan for the Texas Grid

The million dollar question right now among Texas policymakers is how to prevent last month’s blackouts from ever happening again. One investment group thinks that’s really more like an $8 billion question. The energy arm of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire-Hathaway company recently sent a proposal to Texas legislators on how to fix the state’s grid. It’s an ambitious plan with a big price tag. Mitchell Schnurman, business columnist for the Dallas Morning News, talks to the Standard.

Bug Bites: Attracting Pollinators

Immune-Compromised Kids

Many school districts have chosen to stick with the requirement that teachers and students wear masks. That’s despite Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency ending the state-imposed mask mandate. But some districts are taking their cues from the state and making masks optional for some children. As KERA’s Bret Jaspers reports, that affects students from medically fragile families.

U.S. Prisons Tracking COVID-19 Report Cards

If state prisons, jails and juvenile facilities in Texas and across the country were given a report card for how they’ve tracked COVID-19 cases, how well do you think they would do? According to a new report out of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, grades would not be good. Michele Deitch, the lead author of the report and a criminal justice policy expert at the LBJ School, 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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