Texas Standard For May 20, 2021

The Legislature has the power, but does it have the will? Where’s the long-promised fix to prevent massive outages like the one last winter? What happened to a much anticipated overhaul aimed at preventing another deadly round of power failures. And: An update on prison and bail reform. Also: As cryptocurrencies crash, the transplanted Texan who seems to have unusual power in the markets. Plus: The best community college in the nation? A hint: it’s in the Lone Star State. And: A historian pushes back on a project aimed at teaching what are described as “Texas values. “Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMay 20, 2021 9:24 am

ERCOT Overhaul

With less than two weeks left in the Texas Legislature, only one measure from either chamber related to February’s winter blackouts have made it to the Governor’s desk. Meanwhile, the fate of a slew of other bills meant to address problems that came up during the winter storm remain uncertain. Mose Buchele covers energy and the environment at our home station, KUT Austin, and joins us with an overview of the legislature’s winter blackout response.

Texas Legislature Bail And Prison Reforms

From bail reform to air-conditioning sweltering Texas prisons, the Lege has worked to get a series of criminal justice measures over the finish line. But fights over funding and disagreements between the chambers have left some key criminal justice bills in the crosshairs. Jolie McCullough covers criminal justice issues and policy for The Texas Tribune and joins us today.

H-1B Visa Worker Update

After nearly 15 months in India, Dhaval Babu and his family are back in San Antonio. Like many H-1B visa holders – a designation reserved for workers with specific skills – he was stuck overseas because of a travel ban imposed during the pandemic. But as KERA’s Stella Chávez reports, the family’s return has been bittersweet.

Elon Musk And Fluctuating Cryptocurrencies

There was a time when world markets rose or fell with the tweets of our former president. Now, the crypto currency markets also appear to be at the mercy of one man – plunging by as much as 31% in one day, this week alone. Omar Gallaga joins with a look at the roller coaster that the cryptocurrency market is riding at the hands of Elon Musk.

San Antonio College National Recognition

Once every two years the Aspen Institute, a non-partisan think tank, hands out a prize to the country’s top community college. Judges look at criteria such as what a college’s students do after graduation, culture and instructional practice, and outcomes for students of color. This year, for the first time, the award has gone to a school in Texas: San Antonio College. Joining us now to tell us more is the school’s president, Robert Vela.

Lucy Farrow: Kid COVID Vaccine Trial

Thirteen-year-old Lucy Farrow was one of the first young Texans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She tells the Texas Standard about her role in the vaccine study trials – something she was excited to volunteer for.

Black Men’s Skin Condition And The Air Force

Texas is home to more military bases than any other state besides California. Some Air Force members say they’re being discriminated against because it’s hard for them to shave. Many have a skin condition that’s especially common among Black men – and they say it’s being used against them when it comes to promotions and awards. Texas Public Radio’s Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.

The 1836 Project Op-Ed

It’s called The 1836 Project: a campaign to promote patriotic education and increase awareness of Texas values (and a rebuke to The 1619 Project and its focus on slavery in America’s founding). Legislation promoting The 1836 Project already passed through the Texas House, but some historians have concerns about the idea. Raúl Ramos, associate professor of history at the University of Houston, shares his thoughts with us today.

All this plus the Texas News Roundup, and social media host Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.

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