Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
Over the weekend, the Austin American-Statesman reported that a Texas Capitol staffer was given a date rape drug by a lobbyist. The incident has once again propelled the state Legislature into a sexual harassment reckoning. In response to the allegations, House Speaker Dade Phelan on Monday announced that immediate steps were being taken to make it easier to report sexual misconduct incidents. State Rep. Donna Howard of Austin also wrote a letter signed by more than 30 female state representatives offering support to the person who came forward with the allegation and highlighted the changes made at the state capitol to address sexual harassment in past years.
As we move through the second spring of the pandemic, there are signs of a return to life before COVID. Face masks are becoming just a bit more scarce. Events that were cancelled last year are making a comeback. Folks are making summer plans. But there are new questions that arise with each new phase of the pandemic. For some answers, we turn now once again to Dr. Fred Campbell. He’s a doctor of internal medicine and associate professor of medicine at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.
One thing is certain. Stress and isolation of the pandemic is having an effect on mental health. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic. That’s up from one in ten the previous year. One segment of the population that is feeling the biggest impact are moms, especially mothers-to-be and those who have just had a child. The postpartum period is a risky time for pandemic-related mental health issues – and those complications are costly to society as a whole. The Texas Standard’s Alexandra Hart has more.
The Texas State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would ban critical health care for transgender kids and teens. It’s another “culture war” issue taking place in statehouses across the country, but it goes much further than what was called the “bathroom bill” in previous years. As Houston Public Media’s Sara Willa Ernst found out, this new type of bill seeks to criminalize transgender health care for young people. Note: This story mentions suicide and contains descriptive language about sexual anatomy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored health disparities in the United States. People of color have been disproportionately sickened, hospitalized and killed by the disease. Health experts say there are a lot of factors at play in why that’s the case. But a new report by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers finds these same disparities also exist for younger Texans fighting cancer. Sandi Pruitt, the study’s senior author and an associate professor of population and data sciences, talks to the Standard.
If you have ever driven out west, perhaps en route to the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, or Marfa, you may have breezed through Balmorhea, home to the famous spring-fed pool. It’s a small place, home to fewer than 500 people. It is also the name of a Texas musical duo that has, over the past 15 years or so, won over fans and critics with their soundscapes that defy easy categories. The group is Balmorhea, and after traveling the world performing, their new album “The Wind,” is both a homecoming of sorts and a musical meditation on the natural world at large.
All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.