Jim Malewitz

Jim Malewitz covers energy for the Tribune. Before arriving, he spent two years covering energy and environmental issues for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C., where his work also appeared in The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, among other newspapers. A native of Michigan, Jim has an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa, where he played varsity baseball. He also holds a master’s from the University of Iowa, where he helped launch the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Jim loves tacos and barbecue, making him a good match for Austin’s eating scene. However, he remains on the lookout for great waffles.

Recent Contributions

House Signs Off on Body Camera Bill

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday speak with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, right, on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday speak with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, right, on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.

The Texas House has tentatively approved legislation that could increase the use of cameras worn by police officers, an effort to smooth relations between law enforcement and the public by making their interactions more transparent.

 

OSHA Chief: Fine for Deadly Leak "Petty Cash" for DuPont

DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.
DuPont's chemical plant in La Porte. In November 2014, a toxic gas leak killed four workers inside a unit that manufactures a popular insecticide called Lannate.

Seven months after a toxic gas leak killed four workers at DuPont’s chemical plant in La Porte, a top U.S. labor official blasted the company’s commitment to workplace safety, saying he wished he could hand out a stiffer punishment.

 

With HB 40 Signed, Fracking to Resume in Denton

A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.
A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.

The first Texas town to ban hydraulic fracturing is poised to be fracked again. Vantage Energy plans to resume fracking operations at eight gas wells in Denton on June 1, the Colorado-based operator has told city officials.

 

Harris County in Crosshairs of Pollution Lawsuit Limits

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.

In a session that's been kind to business interests, local control might be about to take another hit as the Senate tentatively approves legislation that could make it harder for counties to sue polluters.

 

 

Abbott Signs "Denton Fracking Bill"

Gov. Greg Abbott discusses HB40 with the press prior to its ceremonial signing in the Governor's Reception Room on May 18, 2015. The bill gives the state exclusive control over regulation of oil and gas operations, and preempting local laws against fracking.
Gov. Greg Abbott discusses HB40 with the press prior to its ceremonial signing in the Governor's Reception Room on May 18, 2015. The bill gives the state exclusive control over regulation of oil and gas operations, and preempting local laws against fracking.

Saying Texas needs to avoid a “patchwork of local regulations” that threaten oil and gas production, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed legislation that would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of drilling-related activities.

 

House Republicans Reaffirm Support of Gay Marriage Ban

During the Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment Rally on Mar. 23, 2015 at the Texas Capitol, a protester raises questions of marriage sanctity noting celebrities who've been married multiple times.
During the Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment Rally on Mar. 23, 2015 at the Texas Capitol, a protester raises questions of marriage sanctity noting celebrities who've been married multiple times.

House Republicans want Texans to know they still oppose same-sex marriage – even if foot-dragging Democrats thwarted a debate on the polarizing subject Thursday night.

 

Texas House Again Takes Aim at Denton's Fracking Ban

State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing.
State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Four days after the Senate approved landmark legislation that would pre-empt local control over a variety of oil and gas activities, the Texas House advanced another response to Denton's vote to ban hydraulic fracturing.

Senate Takes Aim at Public Labor Groups

State employees with the Texas State Employees Union (TSEU) hold a small rally at the Texas Capitol entrance during the first day of the session on Jan. 13, 2015.
State employees with the Texas State Employees Union (TSEU) hold a small rally at the Texas Capitol entrance during the first day of the session on Jan. 13, 2015.

The Texas Senate on Thursday passed legislation that would make it tougher for public sector labor groups to collect dues by prohibiting state agencies and local governments from deducting union dues from many paychecks.