Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, April 2, 2021.
Voting Access in the Legislature
A Republican-led Texas Senate bill that bans drive-thru voting, limits early voting hours and prohibits local election officials from sending mail-in ballots to people who don’t request them has passed the body. The Texas House. is working up a similar measure of its own. GOP lawmakers say these bills are an effort to crack down on voter fraud – even though state investigations after the 2020 election show little evidence that happened. Juan Carlos Huerta is a political science professor at the University of Texas A&M Corpus Christi, He joins us on the Standard today.
Electric Grid Reforms under Consideration
State lawmakers are looking at solutions to prevent the Texas electric grid from failing as it did during February’s winter storm. But the Texas House and Senate seem to be on different pages when it comes to choosing what changes to make going forward – and some predict that if energy industry lobbyists get the last word, any reform will be less than meaningful. Chris Tomlinson, who’s been writing about all of this for the Houston Chronicle, joins us today.
The Texas Supreme Court’s Eviction Emergency Order is Expiring
The Texas Supreme Court has decided to let statewide protections for renters expire. At the same time, the Biden administration has renewed the federal eviction moratorium through June. Houston Public Media’s Jen Rice helps sort out what that means for Texans.
There were more than 83,000 unemployment claims filed in Texas last week – the highest number in one week since July. One reason for the uptick might be federal relief packages in the news. Another might be the continued effects of February’s deadly freeze and power failure. But could fraudulent claims also be contributing to the numbers? James Bernsen, deputy director of communications with the Texas Workforce Commission, talks to us about it today.
Public libraries aren’t built for pandemics. They’re spaces for people to come together and locate the resources they need. Still, some public libraries have found a way to thrive during the past year. In West Texas, the Marathon Public Library was just nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in the industry: the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Marathon Public Library executive director Katie Hector, and library board of directors president Erin Stovall tell us more.
The Sounds of Texas: Matt Kreutz
So how’s the process of vaccinating Texas going? It’s a question we’ve been asking for several weeks now. We know that more than 25% of Texans now have had at least one shot. About 14% are fully vaccinated. It’s a slow and steady tick in the right direction but Texas is still lagging at the bottom in these numbers compared to other states. Laura Rice has been profiling several Texans as they seek out their vaccinations. She brings us her latest installment today.
The Week in Texas Politics with The Texas Tribune
All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.