byKatrina L. Spencer
Latinos in Texas have the power to change the state’s political landscape if they vote in greater numbers, Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta Mejía told a group of about 200 Central Texas residents Monday.
“Somos un chingo,” Huerta Mejía said, referencing the fact that Latinos are a large part of the Texas electorate.
Huerta Mejía, who starred in the movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” was invited to speak on the University of Texas at Austin campus by NextGen America, an organization working to promote progressive public policy and increase voter turnout.
byAbby L. Johnson
Texas Alliance for Life and thousands of supporters marched Saturday to the Texas Capitol, calling for more measures to protect Texas’ nearly all-encompassing ban on abortions.
Texans from across the state began to march from the corner of 14th and Brazos street toward the Capitol amid honking horns and drivers leaning out their windows to hold up a middle finger.
“We want to see abortion completely and totally abolished. Like now, not taking steps,” said one marcher.
A delegation of Ukrainian politicians visited Austin last week to urge Texas officials to support increased U.S. aid for Ukraine.
byAbby L. Johnson
Dozens of people calling for legislators to protect American children from sex trafficking, ideological indoctrination and drag queen storytime competed with counter-protesters advocating for transgender rights at the Texas Capitol on Saturday.
byAbby L. Johnson
Thousands of people rallied with signs of protest and boots in hand at the Texas State Capitol on Saturday to protest a proposed voucher-like program they fear will take away significant funding from public schools.
The rally took place just days before the third special session of the 88th Legislature was to begin Monday. Gov. Greg Abbott called for the special session after House Bill 100 failed to pass in this year’s regular session.
Crystal Chen’s soft voice echoed through the Senate chamber as she recounted nightmares of persecution by her own government for her religious beliefs. In the prime of her 20s, Chen was sentenced to four and a half years of forced labor and torture in China. “I was pinned to the concrete floor and force-fed an all-salt mixture which nearly killed me,” Chen said. The room filled with lawmakers was silent. “Some guards handcuffed me to a radiator pipe,” she continued. “I was left there for three days while a police chief groped my body.” Chen was among a group of victims of political and religious persecution who testified before the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services of the Texas legislature in support of Senate Bill 1040 that would prohibit health insurance companies and other benefit plans from covering organ transplant procedures in which the organs come from a country known to engage in forced organ harvesting — namely China.
Rep. John Bucy, D-Austin, has filed House Bill 1346, which would give counties the ability to allow sales of liquor for off-premise use on Sundays. HB 1346 would empower counties to hold an election and allow voters to decide the matter. Bucy filed a similar bill in 2021, but it never made it to a vote.
Since distilleries cannot sell their bottled product on Sunday, they are at a competitive disadvantage with wineries and breweries, which can sell their bottled products to consumers every day of the week, Bucy said. The measure would allow distilleries to better compete with wineries and breweries, he added.
Under proposed legislation, the Texas Grid Security Commission would develop standards “to ensure that energy, electric power, and fuel supplies are protected and readily available for recovery in the event of a severe outage,” said a spokesperson for Senator Sarah Eckhardt, D-Austin, who is a sponsor of the bill.
The Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup, first held in 1958, began as a rattlesnake hunt with the goal of controlling the snake population in this small northwest Texas town. The event is now billed as the largest rattlesnake roundup in the world.
Texas Republicans — who passed a law in 2021 banning transgender athletes from competing on K-12 sports teams that match their gender identity — are working to extend restrictions on transgender athletes to college sports.
House Bill 23, by Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, would prohibit transgender public college students from joining college sports teams that align with their gender identity. The bill stipulates that athletes participate on teams based on the “biological sex” listed on their birth certificate. The measure would allow women to compete on men’s teams if there is no corresponding women’s team available.
Families of victims of the Uvalde shooting joined hundreds of protestors to advocate for laws aimed at preventing violence the Capitol on Tuesday.
Dozens of family members of incarcerated Texans descended on the state Capitol for a rally for criminal justice reform sponsored by Texas Inmate Families Association, a nonprofit group that provides support.
Texas imprisons more people than any state in the country, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. In 2022 more than 180,000 residents were incarcerated in state prisons and local jails.
byAna Paola Davila Chalita
Chanting “stop trafficking now” and holding signs, dozens of people gathered inside the state Capitol on Jan. 24 for an anti-human trafficking advocacy day
Texas only trails California in the number of people trafficked, according to a 2021 report from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Texas, increasing by 68% to 1.6 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census. But Asians remain underrepresented in the Texas Legislature and other state offices.
byAna Paola Davila Chalita
For Juan Martinez and his truck, a trip usually lasts from Monday to Saturday, starting in Mexico and going north into the United States before returning home. He is one of thousands of truck drivers from Mexico, taking jobs to haul freight across the border under a 1991 commercial trucking agreement between the United States and Mexico.
The opportunity of a higher salary is driving more Mexicans with a B1 visitor visa to a profession that is constantly struggling with a worker shortage.
But the industry still needs 78,000 drivers, “The price of everything we buy is going to go up,” said a manager for trucking company, “because it’s going to cost more to move it, because we have less drivers that want to move it.”
Planning a long-distance trip in an electric vehicle can be tricky, especially in rural parts of Texas where electric vehicle charging stations can be sparse. Texas is working to improve rural access to charging stations. The Federal Highway Administration in September approved $408 million to help the state government to install EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors.