Texas Standard for July 26, 2023: Japanese snow monkeys thrive in South Texas scrub

Snow monkeys were moved from their cold mountain home in Japan to Texas after their population grew too much to be sustained locally.

By Texas StandardJuly 26, 2023 8:25 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, July 26, 2023:

What you need to know about the Texas property tax cut

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed an $18 billion tax cut for Texas property owners, pending approval from voters on the November ballot. With Texas facing some of the highest property taxes in the nation, the measure was a central component of Abbott’s reelection campaign and that of many state lawmakers.

But what exactly made it into this law after much deliberation? How much can the average Texan expect to save, assuming the proposal passes at the polls? To provide some insight, we’re joined by Texas Tribune reporter Karen Brooks Harper, and John Diamond, a professor at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Houston’s outdoor workers are vulnerable to heat, but there are no laws to protect them

Most of Texas has been dealing with extreme heat since mid-June; in Houston, the heat index has consistently surpassed 100 degrees. And as climate change continues to bring hotter temperatures, outdoor workers are among those most vulnerable to the extreme heat.

Houston Public Media’s Katie Watkins takes a look at one of the groups most vulnerable to extreme heat: outdoor workers.

Arlington’s Rougned Odor ‘punch’ mural created a brawl over city policies. Here’s what might change

After Juan Velazquez’s mural of “The Punch” made waves internationally – and with city code enforcement – local artists are waiting to see whether Arlington will become a friendlier place to paint.

The mural, painted on the side of Gilberto’s Taco Shop, captured international attention for its depiction of the punch former Texas Rangers infielder Rougned Odor threw at José Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Its second round of fame came when restaurant owner Jose Ruiz was told the mural violated city code, then that the mural would stay as the City Council considered changes to the ordinance.

KERA’s Kailey Broussard spoke to artists who want to see the city ease up on policies that make it harder to paint in most parts of town.

A Texas A&M professor allegedly criticized Dan Patrick. Just hours later she was suspended.

This spring, Texas A&M professor Joy Alonzo, who works for the university’s pharmacy department, was suspended and brought under investigation for comments she supposedly made about Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during a lecture. The investigation was apparently kicked off by a student with “ties to Texas A&M leadership,” according to the Texas Tribune.

She has since been cleared of any wrongdoing and re-instated, but ever since the story broke, people have begun to ask how Alonzo, an expert on opioid harm reduction, ended up on paid leave and investigated. James Barragán, political reporter at the Texas Tribune, joins us with an overview.

Japanese snow monkeys thrive in South Texas scrub

The South Texas scrub can be a tough place to scratch out a living. More than a century ago, wild Texas longhorns were revered for their ability to thrive amid the heat, thorns and sand. The cattle are gone now, but other animals have taken their place: snow monkeys. The primates were moved from their cold mountain home in Japan to Texas after their population grew too much to be sustained locally.

It’s a story that’s fascinated Texas writer Sarah Bird for decades. Recently, she looked into where the monkeys are now for a story in Texas Monthly, and she joins the Standard today.

For the first time in decades, military academy cadets will be allowed to become parents

Two years ago, Congress reversed a policy that blocked students with dependents from continuing their studies at the academies. The change – scheduled to take effect in the fall semester – brought together liberals and conservatives in Washington.

Desiree D’iorio reports for the American Homefront Project.

All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.

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