Austin

Affordable Care Act
11:21 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Effect on Texas Consumers Unclear as Obama Delays Health Insurance Plan Cancellations

President Barack Obama’s decision to allow insurance companies to continue offering policies that would be canceled under the Affordable Care Act has an unclear affect on Texans.
Filipa Rodrigues

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:17 pm

President Barack Obama’s decision to allow insurance companies to continue offering policies that would be canceled under the Affordable Care Act has an unclear effect on Texans.

In an announcement today, the President said he is leaving it up to states and state insurance commissioners to decide if consumers can keep these plans through 2014.

In a written statement, Texas Governor Rick Perry said the decision makes a bad situation worse, by creating more confusion for consumers. John Davidson with the Texas Public Policy Foundation agrees.

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Texas Politics
12:54 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Texas Voters Approve All 9 State Constitutional Amendments

Proposition 6 creating a bank for state water infrastructure projects, attracted the most attention among constitutional amendments.

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 8:37 am

Texas voters approved all nine state constitutional amendments on the November ballot.

The issue that received the most attention was Proposition 6. It creates a new water fund with two billion dollars from the state’s Rainy Day fund.

Propositions 1 and 4 cut property taxes for disabled veterans or their surviving spouse.

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Texas Education
12:23 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Minority Students at UT Await Affirmative Action Ruling

UT-Austin continues to defend its use of race in admissions. Some beneficiaries of affirmative action fear what a strike to those policies could mean.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 11:06 am

Since 2008, the University of Texas has been ensnared in a legal battle  – Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin – over its use of race in admissions.

The university says when it comes to deciding whether to accept or reject a student, race is considered as a factor within a factor. But once a student is accepted, what impact does diversity have on the students' learning on campus and in the classroom?

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Texas Television & Film
3:35 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Robert Rodriguez Moves to the Small Screen With El Rey Network

Austin auteur Robert Rodriguez will launch his own network, El Rey, in December.
Photo by KUT News

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 10:25 am

Director Robert Rodriguez is probably best known for movies like “El Mariachi,” the “Spy Kids” franchise and, most recently "Machete Kills." But later this year, the successful filmmaker is making a big move to the small screen, launching his very own television channel called the El Rey Network with the intent of attracting a modern, English-speaking Latino audience.

It’s a growing community that Rodriguez believes has been underserved by Hollywood and the broadcast networks.

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Texas
9:35 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Want to Learn About a Nearby Dam? In Texas, Some Questions Are Off Limits

Texas has more dams than any other state in the country. This is a map of Texas dams from the USACE. Texas has more dams than any other state in the country. This is a map of Texas dams from the USACE.
USACE

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 3:46 pm

This is part three of a series looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it. You can find part one here, and part two here.

In 1978 a massive storm hit the West Texas town of Albany. It dumped 23 inches of rain in just eight hours. Waters caused 9 deaths, flooded hundreds of homes, and broke through a local dam. Troy Henderson, who now works on the Brownwood Texas Lake Patrol, says since then he’s followed a simple rule.

“If I were to build a home somewhere, I’d make sure that if it was downstream from a lake that their dam is property maintained,” he told StateImpact Texas, “and the reason I say that is, I lived in Albany in 1978.”

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Texas Politics
2:54 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Texans Could Vote to Help Cut Veterans' Property Taxes

Voters could give property tax breaks to soldiers and their families on November 5th.
Photo by KUT News

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 10:43 am

When Texans go to the polls beginning Monday, they’ll have the chance to vote on nine constitutional propositions. Two of them would cut property taxes for disabled veterans or their surviving spouse. 

Both propositions have their origins in an oversight and look to tweak current laws to give returning Texas veterans and their families property tax breaks.

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Texas Water
10:11 am
Mon October 14, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Vegetable Oil Could Save Texas Billions of Gallons of Water

Right now, the Highland Lakes are only 34 percent full. In an average year, they lose about as much water to evaporation as the whole city of Austin consumes.
Lower Colorado River Authority

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 3:58 pm

Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes  rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full. 

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Texas
10:02 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Expanding Reverse Mortgages on November Ballot

Proposition 5 would let Sr's purchase homes with a reverse mortgage.
Ben Philpott

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 8:01 am

Texans head to the polls later this month to vote on constitutional amendment propositions. Though water funding is receiving the most attention, there are 8 others to consider, including one that expands the use of what’s called a reverse mortgage in Texas.

A reverse mortgage is a financial tool that allows senior citizens to receive equity payments each month while staying in their home. The reverse mortgage is paid back, with interest, only after the house is sold when the owner either moves out or dies.

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2014 Governor's Race
4:44 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Could A Democrat Become Governor In Texas?

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a rally in Haltom City on Oct. 3.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 7:44 pm

In 2014, Texas voters might just see something they haven't experienced in two decades — a competitive race for governor.

Current Republican Gov. Rick Perry isn't running for re-election, so it's an open race, with new faces and new optimism for Texas Democrats.

Earlier this year, the Democrats were once again facing the prospect of scrambling to find someone to run as their candidate. Then, on June 25, state Sen. Wendy Davis came to the Capitol in Austin wearing running shoes and ready to block a restrictive abortion bill.

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2014 Election
8:13 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Wendy Davis Announces Run For Governor

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 5:46 pm

Update: Our reporting partners at the Texas Tribune have a recap of Davis' announcement:  

Davis promised to be an advocate for those who feel they no longer have a voice in the halls of the Texas Capitol, to fight for more education dollars and to take on Republicans leaders who she said are listening to their campaign contributors instead of average Texans.
 
"In Austin today, our current leadership thinks promises are just something you make to the people who write big checks," she said, according to remarks distributed before she delivered them. "But the promise I’m talking about is bigger than that. It’s the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone. Texas deserves a leader who will protect this promise. Texas deserves a leader who will keep it."

It’s a long campaign ahead. Republican opponent Greg Abbott has a head-start in fundraising; the Davis campaign is said to need to raise about $40 million to be competitive.

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