Texas Standard for February 14, 2022

Romancing the voters on this Valentines Day: Texas politicians in local and statewide races try to win over early voters in the nation’s first primaries. We’ll hear from the top election official of the state’s most populous county about a recent court decision in a fight against new voting regulations. And: A Texas-based expert weighs in with the latest on what the U.S. says is a rapidly advancing danger of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardFebruary 14, 2022 9:35 am,

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Monday, February 14, 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.

Judge rules Texas’ ban on promoting vote-by-mail is unconstitutional. What’s next? 

A federal judge has ruled a portion of Texas’ sweeping changes to election laws – prohibiting county clerks from urging voters to request mail-in ballots – is unconstitutional. We’ll hear from one of the plaintiffs in the suit, Harris County election administrator Isabel Longoria, today.

The threat of another winter blackout looms over low-income Texans

It’s been one year since the a disastrous winter storm hobbled electric infrastructure and led to the deaths of hundreds. Experts say disasters like the one last February disproportionately harm low-income residents, and many are still recovering a year later. Houston Public Media’s Kyra Buckley reports those Texans have no real assurance things would be better if another intense freeze hit tomorrow.

It wasn’t just people. Last winter’s freeze hurt wildlife too. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has shared a final overview of the impact of last year’s winter storm on wildlife in Texas. Texas Public Radio’s Jerry Clayton has more.

What’s the latest on the situation between Russia and Ukraine?

A Russian military invasion of Ukraine could be imminent, the Biden administration is warning. Reporting in The New York Times states U.S. intelligence indicates a large military buildup around Ukraine. Here to discuss these latest developments with us is William Inboden with the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas in Austin.

Could Playstations pave the way for new self-driving tech in cars? 

In the 1990s, it was chess. Now artificial intelligence is besting human opponents when it comes to racing simulator Gran Turismo – but it may be more than just fun and games. A team of researchers at UT Austin and Sony AI says that what they’ve learned could translate into better autonomous driving technology. Peter Stone, executive director of Sony AI America and UT-Austin computer science professor, joins us with more.

An in-depth look at Greg Abbott’s stationing of guard troops at the border 

Over the past year, Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered thousands of National Guard troops to the border as part of Operation Lone Star. The program enlists the guard along with the Department of Public Safety to arrest migrants on state trespassing charges. As early voting gets underway, Gov, Abbott is now facing criticism from both the left and the right. Texas Public Radio’s Carolina Cuellar reports.

A sheriff’s deputy tazed a migrant teen for 35 seconds – but he won’t be disciplined

Last year we brought you a story from a San Antonio-based refugee shelter where a 16-year-old migrant child was tased for 35 seconds by a Bexar county sheriff deputy. The incident raised concerns about how these government-run shelters for children rely on local law enforcement. For the latest on that case, we’re joined by Laura Morel, investigative reporter for Reveal.

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

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