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Posts under ‘The great state of Texas’

Plano ERO repeal petitions ruled invalid

Wow. The City of Plano has determined that a recently circulated Equal Rights petition is invalid and will not move forward. Plano’s City Secretary was unable to certify the petition because it failed to meet State and local requirements for validation. On Dec. 8, 2014, the Plano City Council approved an Equal Rights Ordinance, expanding […]

Plastic bag bans work

Someone tell Greg Abbott. Shortly before being sworn in as governor, Greg Abbott called for doing away with local bans on plastic bags, fracking and tree-cutting that he says amount to a “patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model.” Austin has bans on plastic bags and one of […]

One point two million Obamacare signups in Texas

Not too shabby. McCarter was one of nearly 1.2 million Texans who signed up or were re-enrolled in health coverage before open enrollment ended Sunday. The newly released numbers show Texas ranking behind only Florida in the number of people it signed up or re-enrolled in coverage among the 37 states that rely on the […]

Approaching a million Obamacare signups in Texas

We are well ahead of last year’s pace. More than 256,000 Houston-area residents have selected plans or been re-enrolled in coverage through the health insurance marketplace mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and federal and local health officials and experts believe a last-minute surge could significantly increase the numbers before the 2015 open-enrollment period ends […]

918K and counting

Obamacare enrollment numbers in Texas keep going up. More than 7 million people, including 918,890 Texans, have selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in coverage in the federal health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, according to government data released Wednesday. […] But the figures released Wednesday aren’t separated between new enrollments and […]

Reusing wastewater

Get used to it. Reclaimed wastewater soon will irrigate the trim lawns and wooded parks of some Houston suburbs. Instead of being dumped into the bayous, some of it might even undergo more extensive treatment in order to flow from kitchen taps. Economics is starting to trump the yuck factor of reusing water flushed down […]

Texas Obamacare enrollments top 850K

And counting. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday announced nearly 860,000 Texans so far have enrolled in health insurance marketplace coverage with a month left still left to go until the 2015 open enrollment period ends. It’s unclear how many of those signups are new marketplace customers. Last year, nearly 734,000 […]

It’s skunk vaccination time

Again. Fresh from victories over rabies strains in the coyote and gray fox, Texas [launched] its annual aerial assault on one of the state’s top remaining carriers: skunks. The state health department Wednesday [began] dropping 1.4 million doses of edible rabies vaccines over a 17-county area between Houston and Austin, where laboratories have consistently confirmed […]

Yes, we can cut back on coal

It won’t be that hard, and it will come with a lot of benefits. Texas burns more coal than any other state in part because of its large and growing population and industrial base. But the carbon-intensive fuel accounted for less than 40 percent of the state’s power use last year. The federal proposal calls […]

Bringing health insurance to the customers

It’s learning from experience. The federal government and insurers learned from the last year’s inaugural open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act that it takes more than low premiums to persuade the uninsured to buy federally mandated health coverage, especially in a state like Texas, where leaders oppose the health care law. These consumers, […]

Texas Progressive Alliance taps Denton’s “fracktivists” Texans of the Year

From the Inbox: In one of the organization’s more closely contested votes, the Texas Progressive Alliance — the state’s consortium of liberal blogs and bloggers — named Frack Free Denton and its diverse group of activists 2014’s Texan of the Year. “The biggest win for progressives in the Lone Star State on Election Night happened […]

ERCOT acknowledges that meeting EPA clean air requirements won’t be that big a deal

From Texas Clean Air Matters: Well, it didn’t take long before the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) released, at the request of Texas’ very political Public Utilities Commission, another report about the impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) rules designed to protect public health. This time ERCOT, which manages 90 percent of Texas’ […]

Plastic bag makers fight back

I expect they will be busy during the legislative session working to block municipal laws that tax, limit, or ban single-use plastic bags. For years, Superbag in northwest Houston quietly manufactured the sacks that grocers and retail chains hand out to customers in the checkout line. The business garnered little attention. Now, however, the industry […]

Houston pastors to fight against the Plano equal rights ordinance

Of course they will. When Houston passed its Equal Rights Ordinance earlier this year, the Texas Pastor Council came out strongly in opposition of the law. Now the Houston-based group is challenging the nondiscrimination ordinance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of Plano. Director Dave Welch says the group will work with pastors in […]

Plano passes equal rights ordinance

How about that? In a split vote Monday, the Plano City Council passed the controversial Equal Rights Policy over the objections of many residents in the standing-room-only crowd. The amendment to the city’s 1989 anti-discrimination policy extends protections from housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories. “Providing […]

Making room for quail

Preservation isn’t just for urban elites. Jim Willis knows it isn’t easy to love a prairie. The quilt of burnt orange and brown that covers his Colorado County land can’t awe or inspire the way a canyon or mountain range does. But he can step onto his porch on a crisp morning, take a sip […]

Other towns consider fracking bans

If Denton can do it… A Texas hamlet shaken by its first recorded earthquake last year and hundreds since then is among communities now taking steps to challenge the oil and gas industry’s traditional supremacy over the right to frack. Reno Mayor Lyndamyrth Stokes said spooked residents started calling last November: “I heard a boom, […]

Obamacare 2.0

The open enrollment period for the Obamacare insurance exchanges is going on right now. This year, the feds are taking a more direct approach to getting people to enroll. Secretary for Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, whose appearance at Monday’s news conference [in San Antonio] is part of a national tour to talk up […]

EPA climate change plan would save water

Well, what do you know? As state regulators fret about how President Obama’s effort to combat climate change would affect the Texas power grid, a new study says the rules would be simpler to adopt than those regulators suggest – and that it would save the state billions of gallons of water annually. In an […]

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in trouble

Dammit. Texas’ official sea turtle is on a slide that could eventually lead to extinction after a spectacular comeback and years of effort to save it, according to figures released Tuesday at a gathering of scientists and environmentalists. “It was on a rapid road to recovery and the recovery came to an abrupt halt in […]

Texas For Marriage

This. Law enforcement officials, state legislators, faith leaders and a great-grandmother are among those lending their voices to a new campaign to bring marriage equality to Texas. The national group Freedom to Marry plans to spend $200,000 on the campaign launched Tuesday, in advance of oral arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals […]

The wildlife was here first

Not that it does them any good. For years, caretakers have tended to injured wildlife displaced by development, which has replaced lush treetops with sprawling rooftops. Now, local suburban wildlife centers face a secondary complication of having a shortage of secluded acreage in which to release rehabilitated animals as islands of shrinking forests in the […]

Where Texans got their Obamacare information

The Baker Institute tells us. While most Texans used healthcare.gov earlier this year to get information or to enroll in a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), larger percentages of Texans found talking to the call center or a navigator was the most helpful. Those are just some of the lessons learned […]

Mayor Parker for pot reform

The list of people who think it’s time to talk about reforming our drug laws keeps growing. Add Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the growing list of officials calling for a new approach to the nation’s drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana. She said as much during an interview this week with community […]

UTMB continues to do well post-Ike

Good to see. The morning after Hurricane Ike crashed into Galveston Island six years ago, David Callender surveyed the sea of mud coating the 84-acre University of Texas Medical Branch campus. The UTMB president saw oak tree limbs blocking the doors to John Sealy Hospital, which would be knocked out of service for the rest […]

A home where the Texas State Bison Herd can roam

Very cool. It was a little confusing at first, but the bison at Caprock Canyons State Park are settling into a pasture that’s 10 times what they were used to — basically the entire park. Park staff opened up 10,000 acres to the approximately 100 members of the Official Texas State Bison Herd on Tuesday, […]

Two environmental stories

Some good news, and some bad news. The bad news: We have an oyster shortage. Add an oyster shortage in Texas Gulf Coast to the problems exacerbated by the state’s years-long drought. But Texas’ dry spell isn’t the only reason the slimy delicacies are harder to come by lately. What was once an abundant supply […]

San Antonio has begun curbside recycling of plastic bags

As of August 1, to be exact. “We are starting with a new recycling processor that can accept the bags so that allows us to add it to the list of items we can accept,” [Solid Waste Management Department Public Relations Manager Tiffany] Edwards said, adding that the move gives San Antonians another option to […]

Ivy Taylor named interim SA Mayor

Congratulations, Madam Mayor. The City Council appointed Councilwoman Ivy Taylor to become San Antonio’s next mayor. She did not win a majority of the council vote, as her colleagues split 5-3 over her and Councilman Ray Lopez. Lopez then withdrew from consideration, saying that it was important for the city to move forward. Mayor Julián […]

Wonkblog on Texas cities’ efforts to combat payday lenders

It’s always nice when the national media notices something positive happening in Texas instead of the usual. Four years ago, ACE Cash Express was the company that turned Dallas Council member Jerry Allen into the payday loan industry’s worst enemy. The day before he was about to celebrate the launch of the Bank On Dallas […]

San Antonio’s “Little India”

I love stories like this. On a recent Saturday morning, about two dozen men in team jerseys gathered on grounds in the far North Side with their kits of helmets, bats and protective gear, pumped to play cricket. The scoreboard went up. Stumps were placed 66 feet apart, defining the wicket. Morning drizzle gave way […]

Going where the payday lenders are

The most frequent defense I hear of payday lenders it that there’s a demand for the kind of short-term low-dollar loans that they provide that aren’t provided by other financial institutions, and even if they were those institutions don’t exist in the neighborhoods that generate the demand for these loans. That doesn’t come close to […]

We don’t need no (sex) education

Here’s the state of Texas leading the nation in yet another unflattering category. In Texas and across the country, the rate of teenage births has declined significantly since its peak in 1991. Birth rates among teenagers in Texas dropped 43 percent between 1991 and 2012. In states like California and Connecticut, the drop was even […]

White return flight

Some interesting demographic trends going on. Between 2000 and 2010, [Harris] county, like much of the U.S., saw a sharp decline of its white population, losing about 12 percent of Anglos or about 83,000 people. The drop mirrors demographic shifts across the nation as white birthrates have slowed. But in the past three years, Harris […]