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New Texas Law Enables Comprehensive Rape Kit Reform

New Texas Law Enables Comprehensive Rape Kit Reform

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – With the passage of a bill establishing a tracking system for evidence in sexual-assault cases, Texas has become the first state to implement comprehensive rape-kit reforms. There are an estimated 20,000 or more untested rape kits sitting in evidence lockers around the state, but new regulations are aimed at ensuring […]

Study: Switch to Solar Power Could Save 50,000 Lives

by Mark Richardson SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of Americans die prematurely from air pollution-related diseases associated with burning coal, and a new study says transitioning to solar power would save more than 50,000 American lives each year. The report’s lead author, Joshua Pearce, an electrical-engineering professor at Michigan Technological University, said investing in solar power is more than […]

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Annual Report Ranks Texas 41st for Children’s Well-Being

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – Texas children are starting their lives near the back of the pack, according to a new report. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today, ranks Texas 41st overall in the country for child well-being, and in the bottom half of states in all its individual statistical […]

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Proposal in Congress Would Override Texas Medical Malpractice Laws

by Mark Richardson HOUSTON – Medical malpractice laws in Texas and other states would be nullified under a measure in Congress that could be voted on this week. House Resolution 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act, would weaken accountability requirements for hospitals, doctors, nursing homes and drug companies accused in a patient’s injury or death. […]

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Study: Medicaid Increasingly Important to Rural Texas

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – A new report shows Medicaid is important to ensure that rural families, in Texas and across the country, have access to the care they need to stay healthy. The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds 46 percent of children in rural Texas are on Medicaid, compared with 41 percent in […]

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Texas Bill Provides Alternatives to Jail for Inability to Pay Fines

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – A measure passed by the Texas Legislature is designed to prevent people convicted of low-level crimes from being sent to jail when they can’t afford a fine or fees. Senate Bill 1913 was approved by just five votes in the waning hours of the legislative session and awaits the governor’s signature. […]

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CBO Report: 23 Million to Lose Coverage Under AHCA

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – The Congressional Budget Office says 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 if the American Health Care Act becomes law. Some 14 million of those 23 million would lose coverage because of plans to cut Medicaid by $884 billion. Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Center, […]

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Opponents Plan Court Challenges for Many New Texas Laws

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed some of the nation’s most conservative laws during the current session, but political analysts say the real battle may just be getting started. The session is scheduled to end this weekend, but when the gavel comes down, opponents of the myriad anti-abortion, anti-immigrant and […]

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Bill Aims to Improve “Shamefully Poor” Conditions in TX Nursing Homes

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Legislature could soon approve a bill to correct dangerous conditions in many of the state’s 1,200 nursing homes. Senate Bill 932, designed to close loopholes in regulations and strengthen penalties for bad actors, is awaiting a House vote after being approved by the state Senate. Its sponsor, […]

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Report: Many TX Abortion Laws Not Based on Science or Medical Fact

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – Texas leads the nation in the number of anti-abortion laws on the books that contradict scientific and medical evidence, according to a new study. The state is tied for first place among the 50 states in the Guttmacher Institute report for the number of abortion regulations that don’t square […]

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