Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, Jan. 20, 2023:
Who gets to decide policy when it comes to policing, public health or housing? State versus local control has long been a hot–button issue in Texas. This legislative session, a bipartisan group of mayors representing the state’s largest cities is pushing for more local government autonomy. The coalition includes 18 mayors representing over 8.5 million Texans from every corner of the state, including Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, who spoke with the Standard.
This year in Texas the Legislature is looking at dozens of bills that target gender-affirming care, trans kids and their parents. The proposals are carried by Republican lawmakers, who make up the majority in the chamber. But LGBTQ activists say they will seek to defeat the measures. The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán reports.
In East Texas, there’s a public body of water known as the Cutoff that continues to create controversy. It’s a beloved fishing spot along the border of Henderson and Navarro Counties – but last year, a new landowner put up a fence around the Cutoff’s entrance. Since then, locals have fought to regain access. The Texas Standard’s Michael Marks has an update.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, families around the nation have received emergency allotments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The benefits provided are relatively modest, mostly ensuring that recipients of SNAP get at least $95 a month to purchase food. According to Department of Agriculture documents, more than 1 million Texans currently receive emergency benefits. But that comes to an end next month. Libby Campbell, chief executive officer of the West Texas Food Bank, joins us to put the benefit losses into perspective.
The Pentagon is constructing a $1.75 billion building in St. Louis for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, a little-known part of the government that deals with an increasingly important aspect of modern warfare: analyzing maps and satellite images. Eric Schmid of the American Homefront Project visited the building site.
We hear a lot about asylum seekers who wait a long time for a hearing that will determine whether they can stay in the United States. Those who are lucky enough to have a lawyer to guide them through the overwhelming U.S. immigration system must repeatedly relive the emotion and trauma that led them to seek asylum in the first place. This often leads weary asylum seekers to consider giving up. If that chain of events seems to be by design, Rhoda Kanaaneh would agree. She is a former Arabic interpreter, volunteering her services to asylum seekers for over a decade. She’s also an anthropologist and author of the new book, “The Right Kind of Suffering: Gender, Sexuality, and Arab Asylum Seekers in America.” She joins the Standard to share more.
The gang delivers another custom poem. Get in touch with your own topic suggestions!
The governor’s new term begins, state leaders issue their budget proposals, and what’s happened in the year since FBI agents raided Laredo Congressman Henry Cuellar’s home? The Tribune’s James Barragán joins us.
All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Shelly Brisbin with the Talk of Texas.