Texas Standard For September 23, 2020

Less than three weeks until early voting in Texas and already some numbers are in: registration shatters records. Jeremy Wallace of the Houston Chronicle with more on voter registration records being set, what it tells us and what it doesn’t when it comes to the election outcomes. And: Decriminalizing homelessness: one year on after a change in laws in the Texas capitol city. How much of a difference is it making, and are other Texas cities following suit? Also: Far fewer cars on Texas roadways, why aren’t traffic fatalities far fewer as well? Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 23, 2020 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Wednesday, September 23, 2020. 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.

Record Voter Registration in Texas

Texas has shattered voter registration records. More than 1.5 million voters have been added since 2016 for a total that now surpasses 16.6 million voters. Houston Chronicle reporter Jeremy Wallace joins the Standard to talk about potential impact.

Eviction Order

You may have thought evictions were on hold in Texas since the Centers For Disease Control issued a national moratorium. But in the Houston area alone this week, there are 600 eviction cases on court dockets. One Houston city council member has tried to draft an ordinance to slow it down. As Houston Public Media’s Jen Rice reports, the Texas Supreme Court has stepped in to offer more rules but it’s still unclear what that means for many people who could lose their homes.

Austin Homeless Followup

Austin’s homeless ordinances consistently make headlines. More than a year ago, the city had rolled back measures that punish people for camping in public places. Gov. Greg Abbott opposed the move as did some community members. The coronavirus has taken the spotlight off of Austin’s laws surrounding homelessness but the issue hasn’t gone away. Texas Observer reporter Gus Bova recently wrote about the decades of history behind Austin’s inability to house the unsheltered and talks to the Standard. 

Dallas Homeless Budget

In addition to Austin’s efforts regulating homeless individuals, the Dallas City Council will vote Wednesday on a budget that will put about $12 million of its general funds into homeless services. KERA’s Christopher Connelly reports on what that means for the city’s homeless population.

Traffic Fatalities During COVID-19

You may have noticed those TXDOT billboards that count the number of people who have died on Texas’ roads and highways during the year. In 2019, it was 3,610. But 2020 has been a different year with fewer cars and trucks on the road because of the pandemic. So why has the state reported more than 2,000 traffic fatalities so far? Robert Wunderlich, director of the Center for Transportation Safety at Texas A&M Transportation Institute talks to the Standard about those rising numbers

Fort Worth Police Oversight 

Kim Neal started her job as Fort Worth’s police monitor right before the pandemic began and the killing of George Floyd sparked massive protests. KERA’s Miranda Suarez has more on what Neal’s goals are and what her limitations might be in a city that has been grappling with the relationship between the community and police for years.

W. F. Strong: Texans Love Their Flag


Attorney General William Barr said someone was indicted after 1,700 fake ballots were cast in Texas. Is that true?

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

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