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7 Apr
1/ Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott called Facebook’s actions "un-American" and accused it and other social media giants of silencing conservative voices.

At the same time, his office was quietly working with Facebook to build a second data center in Texas.
bit.ly/3rXAxZ5
2/ That contrast in public and private messaging highlights the dissonance some Texas GOP leaders approach the tech industry with. bit.ly/3rXAxZ5
3/ Earlier this year, the Tech Transparency Project, a technology research arm of the nonprofit group Campaign for Accountability, filed an open records request for communications between Abbott’s office and employees of certain technology companies, including Facebook.
Read 12 tweets
29 Mar
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's trial begins today.

Chauvin faces three charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of George Floyd. Watch here via @nbcnews: nbcnews.to/3u2y8xF
.@houstonchron spoke to Floyd's family and friends in Houston: "I want a conviction. That’s what the family wants; that’s what the world wants.” bit.ly/3dgOxaX
Texas House Bill 88, named for Floyd, would ban chokeholds, require officers to intervene if their partner is using excessive force, and remove qualified immunity, among other reforms intended to end violent police behavior. bit.ly/3sA81h4 #TXlege
Read 4 tweets
25 Mar
1/ News outlets requested copies of Texas AG Ken Paxton's work-related communications while he was in D.C. for a pro-Trump rally that devolved into the Capitol riot.

His office refused.

w/ @dallasnews @propublica @statesman @HoustonChron @ExpressNews: bit.ly/3claLt0
2/ The Republican attorney general led a failed attempt to overturn the presidential election, joining with other GOP attorneys general in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate swing state victories by Democrat Joe Biden. bit.ly/3rnPbs6
3/ On Jan. 6, Paxton spoke at the pro-Trump rally in Washington.

“What we have in President Trump is a fighter," he told the crowd. "And I think that’s why we’re all here. We will not quit fighting. We’re Texans, we’re Americans, and the fight will go on.”
Read 10 tweets
23 Mar
BREAKING: Texas will open COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults starting March 29.
bit.ly/31dcJFw
The news means everyone ages 16 and up will be eligible for the vaccines in Texas regardless of occupation or health status starting on March 29.

The vaccine is still in short supply, as the announcement makes about 22 million people eligible on Monday. bit.ly/31dcJFw
Many in Texas have struggled to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting a vaccine appointment in Texas is a time-consuming process that inherently favors people who have easy access to internet and transportation.

bit.ly/3ce7lZ5
Read 7 tweets
23 Mar
1/ The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the importance of high-speed internet access, but more than 9 million Texans don’t have a broadband internet connection.

The state is one of six that don’t have a broadband plan to expand internet access to everyone. bit.ly/3soy2QJ
2/ Texans who are less likely to have internet connectivity are:
+ Poor
+ Elderly
+ Speak English as a second language
+ Have less education bit.ly/3lJbuHB
3/ Gov. Greg Abbott included expanding broadband access in his priorities for this legislative session.

But while much of the focus has been on rural areas of the state, many poor Texans in urban areas also lack access. bit.ly/31kvZRP
Read 14 tweets
17 Mar
1/ Fights over electricity prices during last month’s winter storm in Texas have been brewing at the state Capitol for weeks.

Here’s the latest. #TXlege bit.ly/30S1nqr
2/ A firm found ERCOT artificially inflated prices and overbilled energy companies by $16 billion last month.

The chair of the PUC — who is now resigning — has said he doesn’t have the authority to retroactively adjust those prices.

But not everyone agrees.
3/ Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called those charges a “mistake.” He wants them undone.

The Texas Senate rushed through legislation this week that would force the PUC to do exactly that. bit.ly/30S1nqr
Read 7 tweets
15 Mar
They were not statistics. They were fathers, mothers, siblings, neighbors and friends.

In most cases, their loved ones couldn't gather and mourn together.

One year ago, the first Texan was killed by COVID-19. 45,000 deaths followed — and it’s not over. bit.ly/3rVxTE8
2/ The weight of those deaths fell unevenly across the state.

The people who died were disproportionately Hispanic, and border towns with heavily Hispanic populations were among the hardest hit in the nation over the course of the year. bit.ly/3bPjXWt
3/ One out of five were nursing home residents.

And the virus mostly killed people 60 years or older in a state where the median age is 35. bit.ly/3cAt2Bt
Read 11 tweets
14 Mar
Some recommendations for your Sunday listening ⬇️

For the weekend edition of The Brief podcast, @viaAlana spoke to Houston resident Deqing Yang, who is working to support his community as racist attacks on Asian Americans rise across the country. bit.ly/30HjgIr
.@TexasStandard marked the year anniversary of the pandemic by exploring the effect of the coronavirus on the state through the voices of those who have lived it, and those we have lost.
.@nytimes has an audio documentary series about Odessa High School reopening during the pandemic — and the teachers, students and nurses affected in the process. nyti.ms/3sxWs9S
Read 4 tweets
13 Mar
1/ Gov. Greg Abbott lifted Texas' mask mandate, but health experts say you should still wear masks for protection as more contagious variants of the coronavirus circulate in the U.S.

A thread of some reminders on how to best protect yourself and others: bit.ly/3ldL5Bu
2/ Last month, @CDCgov released new research that found the effectiveness of cloth and medical masks can be improved by making sure they are well fitted to the contours of the face. This prevents air from leaking around the edges. wired.com/story/how-to-d…
3/ The CDC says this can be done several different ways, including double masking. Wear a cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric or wear a disposable medical mask underneath a cloth mask:
cdc.gov/coronavirus/20…
Read 10 tweets
12 Mar
1/ The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package extends unemployment benefits for Texans through Sept. 6.

Everyone eligible for unemployment benefits will also receive an extra $300 per week. texastribune.org/2020/12/04/tex…
2/ People earning more than $5,000 a year from self-employment and working on the side for an employer may receive lower state unemployment benefits.

Those workers may receive an additional $100 per week if Texas participates in this program. texastribune.org/2020/12/04/tex…
3/ Texans who received $10,000 in unemployment benefits during the pandemic should receive a tax break.

But it's unclear if people who have or have not filed their taxes will benefit from the tax break if they qualify for it. texastribune.org/2020/12/04/tex…
Read 4 tweets
10 Mar
The U.S. House passed a massive spending bill that will send direct payments to millions of Texans and billions of dollars in aid for state and local governments and schools.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure on Friday. bit.ly/2OdhDjc
The bill's scope is sweeping.

Broadly speaking, it will distribute stimulus checks as large $1,400 to millions of Americans, another $350 billion to cities and states that experienced a decline in tax revenue and increase in expenses and $130 billion toward education.
The bill also funds an additional $300 in unemployment payments per week until early September. bit.ly/2OdhDjc
Read 4 tweets
9 Mar
A report released Tuesday by a University of Texas at Austin committee found that the controversial alma mater, “The Eyes of Texas” debuted at a minstrel show where students likely wore blackface. bit.ly/30uHHZz
The report said that William Prather, the university president who coined the phrase at the turn of the 20th century, said he took it from stories he heard and read about Confederate leaders who used a similar phrase to urge troops on during the Civil War. bit.ly/3cdQUuO
But the 24-member committee could not find primary documents that specifically tied the phrase to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, despite it long being believed that Lee was part of the song’s origin story. bit.ly/30uHHZz
Read 6 tweets
9 Mar
.@utaustin released the findings of a report — months in the making — exploring the history of its alma mater song, "The Eyes of Texas."

Read it here: bit.ly/3cdQUuO
The song — played to the tune of "I’ve been working on the railroad" — was historically performed at campus minstrel shows, and the title is linked to a saying from Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee.
Emails we obtained show that hundreds of alumni and donors demanded that the school stand up to "cancel culture" and firmly get behind the song as students protested against it— or else donors were going to walk away. bit.ly/3bskLjM
Read 4 tweets
27 Feb
The U.S. House passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, but the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour isn't likely to make it through the Senate. bit.ly/3uLsnWv
The Texas delegation voted along party lines: all Democrats supported the bill, while all Republicans voted against it.

In the larger House, passage nearly fell along party lines, with the exception of two Democrats who opposed it.
The bill will now head to the U.S. Senate where it is likely to face some changes — particularly on the minimum wage issue — and is expected to pass mostly along partisan lines before it heads back to the House.
Read 4 tweets
22 Feb
Thread: @FEMA has warned that scam artists tend to head to disaster areas to prey on people who have already endured hardships.

Here are some things for Texans to watch out for ⬇️
2/ According to @FEMA, people can pose as housing inspectors or building contractors, charge for free services, and make bogus donation pleas and fake offers of municipal or federal aid.

Read their list of tips for detecting scams here: fema.gov/news-release/2…
3/ Some of those tips include:

—Never pay in advance
—Do your research
—Get agreements in writing
—Verify insurance
—Don’t wire money or pay with reloadable debit cards or gift cards
—Report your concerns
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb
1/ Nearly half the state of Texas is facing water disruptions, ranging from having no running water at all to being forced to boil it.

Here’s what boiled and unboiled water can be used for: bit.ly/3pG5e3M
2/ Water needs to be boiled or come from bottles if used for:
• Brushing teeth
• Preparing and cooking food
• Feeding babies with formula
• Giving water to pets
bit.ly/3pG5e3M
3/ Unboiled water is safe for:
• Showering and bathing if it doesn’t go in the mouth
• Laundry

For children, it may be safer to do a sponge bath with boiled water to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow untreated water. bit.ly/3pG5e3M
Read 5 tweets
19 Feb
As snow blanketed much of Texas on Sunday, an 11-year-old gleefully played outside. It was his first time seeing snow.

Less than 24 hours later, as temperatures plunged to near single digits and homes lost power, the boy died. bit.ly/3sbFHkF
Many Texans have died because of the winter storm. Just how many won’t be known for weeks or months. bit.ly/3sbFHkF
In Abilene, first responders found a 60-year-old man dead in his home on Wednesday.

His wife was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. She said they hadn’t had power in days. Fire department members said it felt as cold inside the home as outside. bit.ly/3sbFHkF
Read 5 tweets
18 Feb
Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday. bit.ly/37tzqch
2/ The decision grid operators made early Monday morning to begin what was intended to be rolling blackouts — but have lasted days for millions of Texans — occurred because operators were seeing warning signs that massive amounts of energy supply was dropping off the grid.
3/ As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid to be distributed across the state fell rapidly.
Read 8 tweets
12 Feb
Thread: We're tracking COVID-19 vaccine doses administered each day in Texas, percent of Texans fully vaccinated and percent of Texans fully vaccinated by county.

Here is how to follow along + some crucial context about these numbers ⬇️ bit.ly/3fo6O6K Chart showing COVID-19 vaccine doses administered each day i
2/ As of Feb. 10, 3.7 million doses have been administered in Texas. Some things to keep in mind:

-Both vaccines available require two doses.
-Doses remain in short supply.
-Front-line health workers and certain high-risk people are being prioritized first.
3/ Health experts estimate 75% to 90% of all Texans need to achieve immunity to COVID-19 to reach herd immunity, which is when enough people are immune to the virus to make community spread unlikely.
Read 11 tweets
12 Feb
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is retiring, the city manager told city leadership in a memo Friday. bit.ly/3aXsWDn
Manley has been at the helm of the police department since 2016, first as an interim chief and then appointed permanently to the job by City Manager Spencer Cronk two years later.

He was praised for his efforts to stop the serial Austin bombings in 2018. bit.ly/2ZaWhol
But more recently, Manley has faced harsh criticism, largely spurred by the police killing of Mike Ramos last year and how the department handled summer protests over racial inequities and police brutality. bit.ly/3757PxK
Read 4 tweets
12 Feb
New: Asylum seekers who have been forced to wait in Mexico under a Trump-era immigration policy will soon be able to enter the United States to pursue their cases, the Biden administration said Friday. bit.ly/3tQ3bxn
Launched by the Trump administration, the Migrant Protection Protocols forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico border towns for their hearings in American courtrooms.
.@DHSGov advised asylum seekers in the program to remain where they are for now while a virtual registration process is rolled out next week. Once they’ve registered, the migrants will be told where to go, the DHS statement says.
Read 4 tweets