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Experts Fear Obamacare Funding Cuts Could Gut Program

Experts Fear Obamacare Funding Cuts Could Gut Program

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by Mark Richardson HOUSTON – This week, the Affordable Care Act survived another repeal effort in Congress, but behind the scenes, the federal government is adding obstacles and making major cuts to its funding. The Department of Health and Human Services has slashed the ACA’s advertising budget, and significantly reduced the grant…

Study Examines Effect of Funding Cuts on Texas Schools, Students

Study Examines Effect of Funding Cuts on Texas Schools, Students

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by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – Funding cuts by state lawmakers left a five-year, $5 billion hole in the budget for Texas public schools between 2011 and 2016. A new University of Texas study analyzes the effect of those cuts, made because of state revenue shortfalls, which forced many districts to operate…

Hurricane Harvey Decimates Wildlife Habitats on Texas Coast

Hurricane Harvey Decimates Wildlife Habitats on Texas Coast

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by Mark Richardson EAGLE LAKE, Texas – Hurricane Harvey disrupted the lives of millions of people along the Texas Gulf Coast, but also may have damaged or destroyed as many as a dozen critical wildlife habitats. The massive storm, with 120-mph winds and rainfall measured in feet, is believed to…

CHIP Funding at Risk as GOP Pushes Another ACA Repeal

CHIP Funding at Risk as GOP Pushes Another ACA Repeal

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by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – Children’s advocates are concerned that health insurance for almost 400,000 children in Texas is being held prisoner by partisan politics. Senate Republicans, making a last ditch effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, have put re-authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, on hold…

Food Banks: Harvey Victims May Need Help for Year or Longer

Food Banks: Harvey Victims May Need Help for Year or Longer

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by Mark Richardson HOUSTON – After the initial influx of food and other donations following Hurricane Harvey, southeast Texas food banks are preparing to serve the region’s long-term needs. While most of the emergency shelters have cleared out, thousands of people returned to flood-damaged or destroyed-homes, or lost their jobs and need…

Watchdogs Take Global-Warming Message to Texas Cities

Watchdogs Take Global-Warming Message to Texas Cities

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by Mark Richardson LAREDO, Texas – In the wake of devastating damage from Hurricane Harvey along the Texas Gulf Coast, the consumer group Public Citizen is touring cities across Texas to talk about climate change. The tour is designed to engage students, scientists, activists, elected officials and the public in a conversation…

Report: TX Cities Need Policies to Control Stormwater Runoff

Report: TX Cities Need Policies to Control Stormwater Runoff

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by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – Rain is the lifeblood of Texas, but a new study shows that when there’s too much of it, the state’s major cities need to do more to prevent stormwater damage. While incidents such as Hurricane Harvey are extreme examples of urban flooding, a report by…

RNA Discovery Could Help Boost Plant Drought, Salt Tolerance

RNA Discovery Could Help Boost Plant Drought, Salt Tolerance

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by Gabe Saldana/Texas A&M AgriLife DALLAS — Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists have discovered a ribonucleic acid, or RNA, that can increase the thale cress plant’s resistance to stress from drought and salt. The discovery could help illuminate a new pathway to engineering drought- and salt-tolerant plants, including food crops,…

SCOTUS Ruling Blocks Redraw of Texas Congressional Districts

SCOTUS Ruling Blocks Redraw of Texas Congressional Districts

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by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas — A U.S. Supreme Court decision has put a temporary hold on two lower-court rulings ordering Texas to draw new Congressional districts by the 2018 elections. In a 5-4 decision, the court stayed rulings that found that the Texas Legislature had violated the federal Voting Rights…

Texas Fescue Grass First Species Protected by Trump Administration

Texas Fescue Grass First Species Protected by Trump Administration

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by Mark Richardson TERLINGUA, Texas – The federal government has added a species of bunchgrass found mostly in Texas to its list of endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave Guadalupe fescue protected status and set aside 7,800 acres of the fescue’s last U.S. location, in Big Bend National Park,…

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