State Struggles to Launch Energy Efficiency Program

A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state. Texas has spent more than $2.5 billion on the effort.
A 2007 state law said that "smart" meters must "be deployed as rapidly as possible" across the state. Texas has spent more than $2.5 billion on the effort.

A plan to provide low-income Texans with the tools to help them interact with "smart" meters and improve energy efficiency at their homes has been stuck in a bureaucratic limbo with no end in sight. 

New in TribTalk: Hagstrom Miller and Pojman on Abortion

A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.
A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.

As the federal trial on a provision of Texas' new abortion regulations enters its final day, Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Woman's Health and Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life make their case for how the court should rule.

New Immigrant Detention Center Stirs Controversy

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Children and teens play in the courtyard of the facility they are currently being housed  in at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas on June 23rd, 2014. The facility is currently holding hundreds of minors who have crossed Texas-Mexico border unaccompanied.
Children and teens play in the courtyard of the facility they are currently being housed in at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas on June 23rd, 2014. The facility is currently holding hundreds of minors who have crossed Texas-Mexico border unaccompanied.

The newest detention center in Texas for migrant children started operating last week. But it's already drawing disapproval from immigration attorneys, including the team that helped shut down a troubled detention center near Austin in 2009.

New in TribTalk: Milliron on Education Innovations

The Humanities Library at The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas in Austin, is open to anyone for research, provide they have a valid ID.
The Humanities Library at The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas in Austin, is open to anyone for research, provide they have a valid ID.

Too many students today think innovations in higher education, like online courses, are meant to make learning easy, writes Mark David Milliron of Civitas Learning. And Julia Spann of SafePlace explains how UT-Austin got it right on sexual assault.

Van de Putte Calls for Reducing High-Stakes Testing

State Sen. and Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte at the Democratic state convention on June 27, 2014.
State Sen. and Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte at the Democratic state convention on June 27, 2014.

Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, calls for reducing high-stakes testing in a new plan for Texas schools. The campaign of her Republican opponent, Dan Patrick, said the plan would do nothing to help turn around underperforming schools.

Some Lawmakers Want Changes to Avoid Fertilizer Blasts

A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.
A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.

A committee of Texas lawmakers met Tuesday to discuss possible legislation aimed at preventing another disaster like last year’s explosion in West — with some still skeptical of imposing regulations on fertilizer storage facilities.

 

Perry's Office Defends National Guard Funding

Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announces the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announces the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry’s office pushed back Tuesday against criticism that he overreached in funding the deployment of Texas National Guard troops to the border.

Corrupt Insiders: Davis and Abbott Swap Charges

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

Here is the state of the Texas governor's race in the late summer of 2014: Both candidates are speaking directly to their base voters and labeling each other as corrupt insiders out of touch with ordinary people.

 

Congressional Inaction Leaves Border Communities Hoping for Funds

A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.
A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.

When Congress adjourned last week without passing a border security bill to pay for additional operations, it also left local governments without an avenue to be reimbursed for millions spent during the border crisis.