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Texas Program Aims to Make Communities Healthier

by Mark Richardson HOUSTON – Some community clinics in central and southeast Texas are being asked to “improve health – not just health care” in their areas. A new grant program aims to help the clinics address the underlying conditions in their communities that cause health problems. The grants from the Episcopal Health Foundation total $10 million. Lexi […]

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Texas Health Clinics in Limbo Until Congress Renews Funding

by Mark Richardson SAN ANTONIO, Texas – More than 1 million uninsured Texans are in limbo, waiting for Congress to approve funding for the neighborhood clinics known as Community Health Centers. Lawmakers face a Thursday deadline to approve a new budget to avoid another federal government shutdown. The Federally Qualified Health Centers program wasn’t renewed in […]

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Unprecedented Number of LGBTQ Candidates on Texas Primary Ballot

by Mark Richardson HOUSTON – An unprecedented number of openly LGBTQ candidates will be on the ballot for the March 6 Texas primary elections. According to OutSmart, a Houston entertainment and advocacy magazine, at least 49 LGBTQ candidates – both Republicans and Democrats – will be on the ballot running for offices ranging from Texas governor down […]

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Kids’ Advocates Blast State’s Appeal of Foster-Care Ruling

by Mark Richardson CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Children’s advocates are crying foul after state officials appealed a federal judge’s ruling mandating numerous changes to the state’s foster care system. The order describes the system as “still broken,” and lists additional steps to protect abused and neglected children. The Texas Legislature approved a package of improvements last year, but […]

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Texas Supreme Court to Settle Dispute Over Plastic Bag Ban

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – A decades-old dispute between Texas cities and state officials over plastic grocery bags has finally made its way to the state Supreme Court. At least 10 Texas cities, including Austin, Brownsville and Lardeo, have passed ordinances outlawing single-use plastic bags in grocery and retail stores. Merchants and manufacturers say cities […]

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Trump Extends Religious-Refusal Protections to Health Providers

by Mark Richardson HOUSTON – A Trump administration plan to protect healthcare workers who refuse to provide services on religious grounds is raising the concerns of civil rights advocates. A presidential order has authorized the creation of a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” of the Department of Health and Human Services. Its goal is to defend providers who […]

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Study: Number of Women Grows in Texas Prison System

by Mark Richardson HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Prison populations are dropping in most states, but a new study finds the number of incarcerated women isn’t falling as fast as it is for men. And in Texas, it’s actually growing. Nationally, the total prison population peaked around 2009. The study, by the Prison Policy Initiative, shows most states have made […]

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Texas Funds Renovations for Crumbling Mental Health Hospitals

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – After decades of neglect, Texas has begun a two-year, $300 million project to rebuild and renovate the state’s antiquated psychiatric hospital system. In 2017, the Texas Legislature appropriated the funding to begin bringing the state’s network of 10 facilities up to current standards. Most of the facilities have gone for decades […]

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Texans Face New Voter ID Law for March 6 Primaries

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas – When Texans head to the polls March 6 for the first primary of the 2018 midterm elections, they’ll face a new Voter ID law. That law, which went into effect Jan. 1, keeps the same list of permissible forms of identification, but allows Texans without a photo ID to vote […]

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Study: Texas Kids Face Major Social, Economic Challenges

by Mark Richardson AUSTIN, Texas — A new report on the “State of America’s Children” shows that large numbers of kids living in Texas confront poverty, homelessness, hunger and violence in their daily lives. The report by the Children’s Defense Fund found that in Texas, children face major challenges: 1-in-5 live in poverty, 110,000 are homeless, a majority […]

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