Texas Standard For July 13, 2021

Texas Democratic lawmakers board planes and leave the Lone Star State, putting the brakes on the special session. Now what? In a dramatic turn to break the Texas Legislature’s quorum, more than 50 House members leave Texas for Washington D.C., hoping to stop Republican-led proposals to tighten the state’s voting laws. As Republicans mull a procedural move that could allow law enforcement to track down the absent lawmakers, Democrats say they’ll be asking their federal colleagues to pass legislation to preempt the proposed changes to Texas voting laws. The latest on this fast developing story and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJuly 13, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Democrats’ Quorum Break

More than 50 Texas House Democrats boarded private planes to D.C. yesterday to break quorum – the move Democrats used at the very end of the regular legislative session that ended in May. They’re walking out again just a few days into the special session to block the same legislation they broke quorum for in May: new election laws. Dems say breaking quorum is part of their fight over what they say are attacks on voting access in Texas. Republican leadership disagrees on all points. Scott Braddock has been covering this for the aptly named Quorum Report, and joins us today.

A Texas House Member on the Quorum Break

Texas House Democratic Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos of Richardson, a suburb of Dallas, is one of the more than 50 House Democrats who left the state to prevent any quorums in the near future. She joins the Standard from Washington, D.C.

North Texas Immigrants

A new report by the New American Economy, a bipartisan think tank, finds North Texas is the fastest-growing metro area for immigrants. As KERA’s Stella Chavez reports, more than 48,000 new immigrants moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in just one year.

San Antonio Flood Tunnel

One of San Antonio’s biggest and most important creations is something those who live here have never seen. That’s because It runs under the city, and it was created to keep us safe. Texas Public Radio’s Jack Morgan has long been fascinated by this hidden mega-structure. So he set out to learn the hows and whys of the San Antonio River Tunnel.

After COVID, Part 1: Wills and Paperwork

A pandemic does not have a predetermined end date, of course. But one sign Texas could be near the beginning-of-the-end is that mortality rates due to COVID-19 in Texas have slowed down significantly. Still, the virus has killed more than 51,000 Texans. And as the Standard’s Joy Diaz reports, many died without wills.

Sounds of Texas: Hector Gonzalez Rodriguez III, on ‘El Peso Hero’

New Arts Center

Reconnecting after a year of separation and loss is a work-in-progress. KERA and The Dallas Morning News are collaborating to document how the pandemic has changed the arts and culture scene. In Coppell (cah-PELL), in the northwest corner of Dallas County, KERA’s Jerome Weeks found COVID delayed, but also helped, a new arts center.

Impact of 2003 Democratic Walkout

Today’s Texas legislators who left town to avoid consideration of a Republican voting bill aren’t the first to break quorum. In 2003, Texas Democrats did the same thing, fleeing to Oklahoma to prevent a redistricting bill from passing. For more on how it all unfolded we turn to Sherri Greenberg, a former Democratic representative in the Texas House, turned professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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