Fronteras: Judges Say TX Voter ID Law Discriminates; Climate Change Threatens Texas

Aug 7, 2015

This week on Fronteras: 

--Federal judges have ruled that Texas’ controversial Voter I-D law violates the Voting Rights Act.

--New research says global warming threatens Texas’ economy.  A group of business leaders say the data makes a financial case for the reduction of greenhouse gases now.  

--A new digital app developed in Houston helps disaster victims file for assistance.

-- Two Dallas non-profits are working together to provide housing for homeless veterans.

--Navajo youth are walking across their reservation, which stretches into three states. During their Journey for Existence they’re offering prayers for the land.

--At a summer camp Mexican-American students learn about the history of their Dallas neighborhood, known as Little Mexico.

Texas' Voter ID Law Violates US Voting Rights Act

A panel of federal judges has ruled that Texas’ controversial Voter ID law violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act.  The judges said the law makes it harder for Texans, especially minorities, to acquire a valid photo ID required to vote.  Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe reports that while the judges said the requirement discriminates against minority voters, it will remain in place as law undergoes another review. 

The story

Research Shows Climate Change Threatens Texas Industry

Some energy companies and Texas officials have had a predictable reaction to President Obama’s call for deeper cuts in carbon dioxide emissions at power plants. They’re threatening court action to block the plan. They say the cuts will hurt industry.  The policy clash comes as San Antonio’s Henry Cisneros and other national business leaders are highlighting research that warns of deeper economic costs if the current greenhouse emissions continue.  Texas Public Radio's Shelley Kofler talked with Cisneros about the economic reasons for limiting greenhouse gases now, and what may be in store for the Lone Star State.

The story

Houston Developers Create Disaster Relief App

Texas experienced a disastrous twist in its climate this spring when severe flooding caused deaths and more than 27-million dollars in property destruction.  No some Houston programmers have developed a digital app that will help victims of natural disasters find help. Houston Public Media’s Health and Science reporter Carrie Feibel has the story.

The story

Same Sex Marriage Law Does Not Cover Native Americans

You may not know that the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage does not apply to Native Americans.  Only a dozen of the 566 Indian tribes in the U.S. recognize same sex unions.  And, the two largest - the Cherokee and the Navajo - have specific laws that forbid marriages between people of the same sex.  Lindsay Robertson, director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy at the University of Oklahoma, says the new law can't be enforced on Native American tribes because they are not parties to the U.S. Constitution. A Navajo same sex couple is considering challenging the tribe's marriage act, which focuses on fertility and procreation, it tribal court. And, a Navajo lawyer may sponsor a bill to repeal it. 

The story

Navajo Youth Walk Reservation Offering Prayers

The Navajo Nation territory extends into three states—New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. It covers more than 27,000 miles.  This summer, Navajo youth are walking across hundreds of those miles on what they call a, “Journey for Existence.”  They began on the summer solstice and are visiting sacred places to offer prayers for the planet.  KUNM’s Rita Daniels recently caught up with the youth in Shiprock, New Mexico.

The story

Mexican-American Elders Teach Neighborhood History to Kids                                                                   Some kids in Dallas are paying homage to the place where their summer camp is located –Pike Park.  There, they get to do the usual summer camp stuff—play games, dance, draw and eat.  But, as KERA’s Stella Chavez reports, the kids are also learning about the heritage of where they're going to camp—the once-thriving uptown neighborhood known as known as Little Mexico.                                                                        

The story