Texas

Generative AI steps up as a ‘facilitator’

The Texas Department of Public Safety now uses a generative AI-powered chatbot to streamline procurement. And Polco is rolling out a tool to connect city leaders with survey data so they can see how they stack up against others.

School vouchers continue momentum in state legislatures

2023 was considered a landmark year for school choice. It’s a trend that is showing no sign of slowing down, as lawmakers push proposals with fewer restrictions and costly price tags.

A transparent, open-source vision for U.S. elections

Voting technology in the U.S. is secretive and often expensive. Can an open-source alternative take its place?

10 lessons learned from the Justice Department's review of the Uvalde school shooting

COMMENTARY | The critical review of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting offers key takeaways to help policymakers, practitioners and schools avoid the same failures if faced with a similar situation.

San Antonio plans to tackle violence with a public health approach. Here’s what that looks like.

Several cities use the "beyond-policing" approach that aims to reduce gun-related violence, sexual assaults and other crimes against people.

Connect with state & local government leaders

Mental health funding is fast becoming “the bipartisan issue of our time”

States from California to Texas are increasingly investing in mental health as a recognition takes hold that the status quo isn’t working.

Texas quietly moves to formalize acceptable cancer risk from industrial air pollution. Public health officials say it’s not strict enough.

Without public hearings, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is proposing to adopt its 17-year-old standard that scientists and public health officials say fails to account for cumulative air pollution.

Supreme Court to take up two state laws on social media

The high court will hear challenges to Florida and Texas laws that seek to control how social media platforms “censor” disfavored political views.

Printing a place to live: In Central Texas, homes are being built with emerging 3D technology

3D homes can eventually help lessen the housing crisis, and do it in a climate-friendly way.

Gulf Coast carbon capture gets $1 billion boost from Biden administration

Texas and Louisiana are slated for largest-ever investment in direct air capture as part of an initiative that aims to build a nationwide network of large-scale carbon removal sites to mitigate the climate crisis.

With $1.4B Investment, Texas Hopes to Sprint to the Front of the Microchip Manufacturing Race

The state will pump the money into microchip research and manufacturing initiatives in an effort to attract new investments, secure lucrative federal grants and create thousands of high-paying jobs over the next decade.

A New Texas Law Erodes the Power of City Councils

The long-sought bill stops the state’s bluer urban areas from enacting laws that exceed state law on a number of fronts. Republicans say the patchwork of local laws were hurting businesses.

GOP Governors Respond to Texas' Call for Troops at Border

Four more governors have joined a growing list of Republican-led states sending personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border. But is it effective? Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

An Outdated Tracking System Is a Key Factor in Texas’ Foster Care Shortcomings

The decades-old system foster care officials use to track and monitor the health records of the nearly 20,000 children in their custody is both outdated and unreliable—so much so, advocates say, that children have been harmed or put at risk.

As Title 42 Comes to an End, El Paso Declares State of Emergency

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said asylum-seekers are camping out on the sidewalks and staying at shelters in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, under the false notion that they will be allowed to enter the U.S. once Title 42 expires.

Texas Governor Hires 'Border Czar' to Accelerate Wall Construction

Mike Banks, a recently retired Border Patrol agent, will work with the Texas National Guard and state troopers to find ways to deter people from crossing the border illegally.

Election Administrators Are Under Attack. Here’s What That Means for the Upcoming Midterms.

Harassment and threats have driven election officials to resign at unprecedented rates since the 2020 presidential election. David Becker, the founder of The Center for Election Innovation & Research, talked with ProPublica and The Texas Tribune about what that means for the future of our democracy.

Conspiracy Theorists and 16-hour Days: Inside the Stress Elections Officials Face Ahead of the Midterms

Running elections in Texas has never been easy. But since 2020, the scrutiny elections administrators face has grown — even in small Republican-controlled counties that former President Donald Trump carried.

How Hurricane Ian and Other Disasters Are Becoming a Growing Source of Inequality

COMMENTARY | It's an issue even among the middle class, experts say.

Texas AG Says Counties Can Spend Covid Relief Funds on Extra Pay for Elected Officials Without Public Notice

The nonbinding legal opinion states local elected and appointed officials can receive up to $25,000 for work done during the Covid-19 pandemic on top of their regular salaries. Unlike other pay raises, these “premium pay” bonuses don’t need to be declared to the public ahead of time.