Texas Standard for January 3, 2022

With schools statewide returning to classes and omicron cases rising, many Texans are asking: now what? Some answers from a doctor today on the Texas Standard. And: The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this week over Biden Administration vaccination mandates. We’ll have the latest. Also: The 5th Circuit is set to hear arguments in another challenge to SB 8 – the state’s new abortion restrictions. Plus: Earthquakes spark an order from state officials affecting fracking in the Midland area.

By Texas StandardJanuary 3, 2022 9:30 am,

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Monday, January 3, 2022. Listen on your Texas public radio station, or ask your smart speaker to play Texas Standard. We’ll have full posts for each story, including audio, a little later today.

Answering questions about the omicron variant 

The nation is in the middle of another surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations due to the omicron variant. With each new variant, new questions arise about how best to go about day-to-day life. For answers, we turn once again to Dr. Fred Campbell, associate professor of medicine at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.

Federal vaccine mandate fight goes to SCOTUS 

A legal battle from Republican-led states over the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates will soon be taken up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Some requirements were due to take effect nationally on January 4.  With more on how these debates have played out in the courts is Rocky Rhodes, professor of state and federal constitutional law at South Texas College of Law in Houston.

 What new laws mean for voting in 2022

There have been some changes in Texas as to how people can register to vote and apply to vote by mail. That’s thanks to a voting bill that went into effect in early December. KUT’s Ashley Lopez reports on some of the differences ahead of primary elections in this new year.

Is the writing on the wall for Brownsville?

Art can stir up emotions, but the broader context of that art matters too. Take a new mural in Brownsville, Texas. Its three letters – BTX – wouldn’t seem to court much controversy. But the mural has set off a debate over gentrification, representation, equity and more. Dan Solomon explored the conflict for Texas Monthly and brings us more.

 Bigger quake raises stakes over fracking fluid injection

Since the fracking boom started, small, usually imperceptible tremors have become the norm. But last week, folks outside of Midland endured a quake far bigger than most, coming in at 4.5-magnitude. The quake happened shortly after Texas’ oil and gas regulators suspended, in the Midland area, deep well injection – a method of disposing water that drillers use in the fracking process which has been linked to seismic activity. Joining us now to tell us more is Liz Hampton, an energy reporter for Reuters.

The Sounds of Texas: John Magic

California opens a dedicated prison yard for veterans

On any given day, 7% of the people in jails and prisons across the country are military veterans, according to the National Institute of Corrections. In most states, including Texas, those incarcerated veterans are spread out across different institutions. Now California is trying to house them together. Lucy Copp reports for the American Homefront Project.

Abortion ban arguments head to the Fifth Circuit 

Texas’ law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and allowing private citizens to enforce that ban, is returning to court at the end of the week. Texas abortion providers are looking for other avenues to block the law, after the Supreme Court allowed legal challenges against it to proceed through the lower courts. Joanna Grossman, professor of law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, joins us with more.

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

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