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Crude Oil Export Ban and Biggio in Hall of Fame: Monday’s show (July 27, 2015)

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Houston’s City Council must either repeal the city’s equal rights ordinance or place it on the November ballot. That ruling follows a state district judge ruling three months ago that opponents of the non-discrimination ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a repeal referendum. The state […]

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Houston’s City Council must either repeal the city’s equal rights ordinance or place it on the November ballot. That ruling follows a state district judge ruling three months ago that opponents of the non-discrimination ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a repeal referendum. The state Supreme Court, however, now says the City Secretary certified the petition which means the Council must reconsider and repeal the ordinance or put it before voters.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance bans discrimination of a variety of forms, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we’ll talk with News 88.7’s Florian Martin about the latest developments.

And: A proposed bill in Washington would repeal a 40 year old ban on crude oil exports. Two Congressmen from Texas – Gene Green (D-Houston) and Joe Barton (R-Ennis) – weighed in during a recent hearing before a House and Energy subcommittee.

Congressman Barton, the bill’s chief sponsor, argues repealing the ban would increase domestic production, create jobs, and decrease prices at the pump. Congressman Green says he has reservations about an outright repeal of the ban.

We’ll talk with Christopher Ross, Executive Professor of Finance at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, about why  there’s interest now to repeal a ban put in place forty years ago, and what’s potentially at stake for Houston should the ban be lifted.

Also this hour: Earlier this month, Mexico held its first in a series of auctions of offshore oil leases. These auctions are part of efforts to open the oil and gas industry to outside investors for the first time in nearly eight decades. But the first auction fell short of many industry expectations, with only a fraction of offshore fields awarded. We’ll find out why, and consider the implications for Houston’s oil and gas industry with Dr. Tony Payan, Director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Then: The Houston Forensic Science Center was created in 2012 to provide independent forensic services to law enforcement agencies, primarily the Houston Police Department. In 2014, the independent forensic operation took over what was formerly HPD’s Crime Scene Unit, Crime Lab, and part of its Identification Division. The crime lab is governed by a nine-member board of directors. Last month, the Houston City Council confirmed a few appointments, including Nicole Casarez as chairwoman, and Anthony Graves, who was exonerated in 2010 after spending more than a decade on death row. We’ll talk with Casarez and Graves about recent developments at the lab.

Plus: Dave Fehling reports on a training exercise at a Texas firefighting school designed to prepare for potential rail disasters as crude oil rides the rails to Houston.

And: We’ll share highlights from Craig Biggio’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony Sunday in Cooperstown, New York.

 

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