Texas Standard For January 4, 2021

A Texas senator joins almost 11 colleagues in a pledge not to certify the electoral college results. Political theatre or something more? We’ll explore. An: Demand at food banks has doubled since the pandemic began. What happens now with cuts to a critical fresh food program? How the pandemic has accelerated the widening of the gap between rich and poor. Also: A federal crackdown on the marketing of CBD and what it might mean for Texas. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJanuary 4, 2021 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Monday, January 4, 2021. 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.

Election Disputes

Sen. Ted Cruz is leading a senatorial push to disregard swing-state election results, unless Congress delves into baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud. Todd Gillman, the Washington bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News talks to the Standard about the GOP-led effort in the Senate to force a 10-day delay in the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

Texas Coal Ash Disposal Regulation 

Coal ash waste from coal-fired power plants contains toxic chemicals such as arsenic, lead and mercury. Some data indicate all of Texas’ coal-fired power plants have coal-ash disposal sites leaking these toxic chemicals into groundwater. The incoming Biden-administration is expected to introduce tougher waste disposal rules for these companies. But those rules might not apply to Texas. Texas Tribune reporter Erin Douglas talks to the Standard.

Cuts in Texas Food Program

Demand at food banks in Texas has nearly doubled because of COVID-19. But at a time of unprecedented need, a Texas Department of Agriculture program that provides farm surplus to food banks has received a massive cut. Now Texas food banks are worried they’ll have to turn people away in 2021. Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall has more

FTC Crackdown on CBD

In recent years, the cannabidiol (CBD) business has exploded in Texas and across the United States. One of the chemical compounds in marijuana, CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive properties of the plant’s better-known active ingredient, THC. But its “other” uses have caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. With so many claiming CBD products can do everything from soothe minor aches to preventing cancer and diabetes, the FTC recently penalized several companies for false or deceptive claims they made about the benefits of their products. Kristi Wolff, who heads the cannabis law practice for the Kelly Drye and Warren law firm talks to the Standard.

Rich versus Poor During COVID

Stock indexes have reached new record highs as 14 million people relied on unemployment assistance last year and 8 million people fell below the poverty line. In a nutshell, the pandemic has made the rich, richer and the poor, poorer at a phenomenal rate. Houston Chronicle business columnist Chris Tomlinson talks to the Standard about what happened and what  a Biden Administration can do to close that gap.

The Sounds of Texas:  Connie Jo Kirk New Year’s Day Dinner

Female Eagle Scouts

A group of Dallas girls is making history. They’ll be among the first in the country to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. But the pandemic has thrown a wrench in all things scouting. KERA’s Bekah Morr has been following some of these girls and tells us how one young woman finished her Eagle Scout project despite the obstacles.

Promotoras de Salud and COVID Outreach

In El Paso, there’s a group of community health workers known as promotores de salud. They’re laypeople trained to help spread public health information in low income, border communities. As KERA’s Mallory Falk reports, COVID-19 has made their outreach more challenging and more important than ever.

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

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.