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Posts under ‘The great state of Texas’

Yet another record year for Obamacare signups in Texas

It’s like a trend or something. A record 1.3 million Texans signed up for health coverage during the 2016 Affordable Care Act’s enrollment period, topping last year’s number by more than 100,000, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department final tally released Thursday. Houston enrolled 346,822 for 2016 during the three-month sign-up period […]

The easily predicted results of de-funding Planned Parenthood have resulted as predicted

Who’d a thunk it? A new study released Wednesday reports that after anti-abortion Texas lawmakers blocked Planned Parenthood from participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP) in 2013, fewer low-income women received the most effective kinds of contraception. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is also the first to analyze the […]

Fewer Texans having trouble paying medical bills than pre-Obamacare

What else can you say but “Thanks, Obama!” Fewer Texans say they have problems paying their medical bills in 2015 compared to 2013, according to a new report released by EHF and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. The report found that since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace (ACA), […]

Environmentalists petition EPA to strip Texas of some authorities

This unfortunately is not likely to go anywhere, but I relish the idea anyway. Alleging that Texas has dramatically eroded its safeguards against air and water pollution, two environmental groups are asking the federal government to step in. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Caddo Lake Institute are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to strip […]

Dealing with climate change whether you believe in it or not

Writer Taylor Hill visits West Texas to talk about drought, wind energy, and the topic that dare not speak its name, also known as climate change. Actions, though, do speak louder than words. AzTx Cattle and other ranching and farming operations across West Texas are changing a century-old way of life to adapt to the […]

Another kind of feral hog to worry about

Texas now has a warthog problem. Over its 46-year history, the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area has been the site of a long list of achievements that cemented its reputation as the premier state-owned wildlife and wildlife habitat research, education and public hunting complex in South Texas. This year, the “Chap” added a new feat to […]

Health insurance exchange open enrollment, Year 3

The challenge, in a nutshell. In rural Borden County, 12 people signed up for Obamacare this year. Livid over the government telling them they must buy something and loath to take anything that looks like a “handout,” the uninsured here are likely to stay that way. As Obamacare’s third open enrollment season began Sunday, this […]

Droughts will always be with us

Remember how wet and rainy it was earlier this year? It ain’t like that now, though we do have some rain coming later this week. After an uncharacteristically wet early-summer across Texas, the Lone Star state’s weather has turned dry since early August. An estimated 14 million Texans are now living in drought-affected areas, with […]

We’re still #1!

In uninsured people. For the first time in more than a decade, Texas’ uninsured rate dipped below 20 percent, analysts said [recently] following the release of U.S. Census data. Slightly more than 5 million Texans were uninsured in 2014 — a 700,000 decrease from the year before. That represented a 3-point dip in the percentage […]

The dark side of SpaceX

Be careful what you wish for. People who live in Boca Chica Village, all 26 of them, knew Elon Musk’s SpaceX company would put the South Texas town on the map after it was selected last year as the world’s first commercial rocket-launch site. Now, many want SpaceX gone and their obscurity back. The residents […]

Carrizo cane and French wasps

I love stories like this. They’ve burned it, bulldozed it, hacked it and poisoned it. Now they want to try wasps – imported from France, no less. The target is carrizo cane, a bamboo-like reed that’s a fearsome enemy of officers patrolling the Texas-Mexico border. Dense stands have camouflaged stash houses, half-ton steers and a […]

Hempstead landfill would indeed hurt the environment

Raise your hand if this surprises you. Pintail Landfill developers backpedaled from arguments that their proposed dump site outside Hempstead would not harm the environment, agreeing for the first time this summer that their review of groundwater under the property was flawed. Environmental testing by opponents in preparation for a November hearing found that groundwater […]

The demography of the uninsured in Texas

Another look at those who have been helped by Obamacare in Texas, and those who would be helped if the state wasn’t actively resisting. The states’s uninsured continue to be most likely Hispanic, middle-aged, with low incomes and without a college degree, according to a continuing study tracking the implementation of the health care law […]

It’s a little easier to run for a statewide judicial office now

From the Quorum Report: In a change that flew under the radar for most and was signed by Gov. Abbott, candidates for statewide judicial offices will no longer be required to gather petition signatures from around the state before they can file. One of the changes quietly made by the Texas Legislature this year will […]

Please don’t feed the gators

Should be obvious, but apparently not to everyone. In the time it took for something to hit the water and the unseen creature lying in wait to snap at it, the legend of the “killer gator” was born. It didn’t take much longer for the story to spread around the world, from the small Texas […]

Revisiting birth certificates

This is one of those next steps that needs to be taken. After the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, some gay and lesbian couples in Texas have raised questions about another legal document – birth certificates. They want Texas birth certificates to list two parents’ names, even if a child has two moms or […]

Whither the monarch butterfly

We should try to keep them from going extinct. That would be bad. The state’s chief financial officer has approved a $300,000 grant to investigate why the number of monarch butterflies is declining in Texas, and what can be done about it. The bottom line for Comptroller Glenn Hegar, however, is less about butterflies than […]

Rusk County Clerk sets an example

I respect this. The Rusk County Commissioners Court on Monday formally accepted the resignation of County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle, apparently the first Texas elected official to quit office rather than abide by the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. “Before taking office, I was required to take an oath to uphold the laws of […]

Hempstead landfill update

From the inbox: After several postponements, the Contested Case Hearing on the proposed Pintail Landfill permit has been set for November 2, 2015, in Austin. Assuming no further delays, the case will be heard by two Administrative Law Judges with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The trial is expected to take about two […]

Legislators ask for a task force to review Capitol monuments to the Confederacy

Fine by me. On the same day that the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds, five Democratic lawmakers asked Gov. Greg Abbott to consider the appropriateness of the Confederate monuments at their own Capitol. In a letter sent Monday to Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker […]

Encroaching on Sam Houston National Forest

The march of development continues apace. All over the Texas Piney Woods, along farm-to-market roads and state highways, multicolored signs hawk real estate – small plots of paradise among the tall trees. The billboards offer “gated acreage” and “room to breathe,” promoting rural charm not far from urban amenities. But in the process of subdividing […]

Georgetown goes all in on renewable energy

From ThinkProgress. Located about 30 miles north of the Texas capital in a deeply conservative county, the city of Georgetown will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy within the next couple years. Georgetown’s residents and elected officials made the decision to invest in two large renewable energy projects, one solar and one wind, not […]

We still face water shortages

Yes, we’ve had a lot of rain lately. No, that hasn’t solved all our water problems. The recent rainfall that drenched much of Houston and the state was thought to put the drought and the state’s water supply concerns at ease as summer approaches. Texas, known for multiyear droughts, now has many lakes and reservoirs […]

Good news for Texas lakes

All that rain has had a positive effect. Statewide, estimates from the National Weather Service indicate the first four months of this year have been the fifth wettest since 1895 and the wettest since 1997. So far this year, estimates show the state has gotten 11.5 inches of precipitation, or about 160 percent of the […]

House passes stricter judicial bypass bill

Unfortunate but expected. After about four hours of debate and a barrage of failed amendments by Democrats, the House passed House Bill 3994 by Republican state Rep. Geanie Morrison of Victoria on a 98-47 vote. The measure would enact several restrictions on “judicial bypass,” the legal process that allows some minors to obtain abortions without […]

Texans oppose LGBT discrimination

From Texas Wins: Nearly two-thirds of likely voters in Texas support protecting gay and transgender Texans from discrimination, according to a new poll released today. The statewide survey also found that a strong majority of voters believe that discrimination against gay and transgender Texans is a problem. View the findings of the poll here: http://TXWins.org/PollingMemo […]

Texas’ uninsured rate drops dramatically

Amazing what can happen when a government actually tries to solve a problem, isn’t it? The rate of Texans without health insurance has fallen 8 percentage points since enrollment in the federal Affordable Care Act began, according to a new study. Texas’ sky-high rate of adults without health coverage — previously about 25 percent, the […]

Texans like having health insurance

Who knew? A first-of-its-kind survey asking Texans if health insurance is necessary found an overwhelming majority believe having coverage is critical for them and their families, with 50 percent calling it “absolutely essential.” The Texas Medical Center commissioned Nielsen to survey attitudes surrounding health insurance ranging from its importance, what you would give up to […]

AirBnB in Texas

The Rivard Report offers a useful overview of this growing service. With success comes regulation and Airbnb, the wildly popular “sharing economy” website that allows users to rent out portions of their home to adventuresome travelers, has had more than its share of success. Recently valued at $13 billion, the company has more than 340 […]

Just a reminder, we still need to use less water

In particular, we need to water our lawns less. Even Texans with the greenest of lawns water them too much, many landscape experts say. And if everyone would turn on the sprinklers only twice a week — still probably more than necessary — the water savings would be significant, according to a report from the […]

Rural hospitals

If this story was meant to evoke my sympathy, I’m afraid it failed. Since the hospital closed in Paducah, a town 30 miles to the north, patients in Guthrie have 60 long miles to travel to Childress for care. It’s a feeling of isolation that has crept up on other rural corners of the state […]

We’re not #1 any more!

Looks like we’re going to need some new applause lines for our elected officials. When it comes to job growth, some Rust Belt states are gaining an edge on Texas amid the fallout from plunging oil prices. In January, Texas lost its spot as the nation’s top job creator. The state ranked No. 4 with […]

Lots of newly insured folks in Texas

Thanks, Obamacare! More than half of 1.2 million Texans who enrolled in private health insurance plans through the federally operated marketplace this year were new customers, according to a government report released Tuesday. The analysis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said 57 percent of Texans who enrolled in 2015 – about […]

Economic segregation in cities

From Wonkblog: Concentrated poverty is one of the biggest problems facing cities today, as more of the urban poor become isolated in neighborhoods where the people around them are poor, too. Growing economic segregation across cities, though, is also shaped by a parallel, even stronger force: concentrated wealth. A new analysis from Richard Florida and […]