New rules proposed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the stateâs Health and Human Services Commission would change the way fetal tissue is disposed of after medical procedures like abortions, requiring burials or cremation instead of long-standing procedures allowing disposal in sanitary landfills.
But it would also apply to miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies terminated in doctorâs offices. That led the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Association to write a joint letter seeking clarification on who would pay for the increased costs associated with this new rule â and whether it would also require a death certificate that would become part of a public record.
To hear both sides of the debate, we talk with Sen. Bettencourt and Trisha Trigilio, staff attorney with the ACLU of Texas.
Also this hour…
The Future of Affordable Housing in Houston
The Houston Housing Authority is a city agency tasked with developing affordable housing in the city through a federal low-rent public housing program and a housing voucher program. HHA has proposed eight projects in the last three years. Five of them have been blocked, and while the agency has redeveloped existing properties, purchased land and developed blueprints it hasnât actually built any new housing in a decade.
The agencyâs outgoing chair, Lance Gilliam, points toÂ âthird-partyâ roadblocks. Take two of the proposed projects, in Acres Homes and on Fountain View Drive: Mayor Sylvester Turner said heâd block the housing authorityâs project at 2640 Fountain View (in one of the wealthiest zip codes in Houston) because the projectâs per-unit cost was too high. And Gilliam says fair housing advocates criticized a plan to build affordable housing in Acres Homes because the neighborhood was, in his words, âtoo black and too poor.â
The root of the problem is this: fair housing advocates want such projects built in âhigh opportunity neighborhoods,â a policy upheld by the Supreme Court. But inevitably, residents in those neighborhoods question costs and the impact on property values, school population and crime. And with no formal affordable housing plan in place, identified projects donât go forward.
How do we end this cycle and get some new affordable housing built in Houston?
We discuss that question with three guests: Chrishelle Palay, co-director, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service;Â Dr. Assata Richards, director of Sankofa Research Institute andÂ the former chair of Mayor Sylvester Turnerâs transition committee on housing; andÂ Tom McCasland, interim director forHouston Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD).
What’s Houston’s One True Nickname?
Then, Houston sure has a lot of nicknames. There is something inherently cool about a city that isnât just one thing.
Our cityâs many nicknames reflect Houstonâs connections to climate (the âBayou Cityâ), culture (âH-townâ), industry (âSpace Cityâ)Â âÂ even ourÂ openness a decade ago in taking in Hurricane Katrina evacueesÂ (âThe Big Heartâ). Classy.
We discuss the history and popularity of Houstonâs many nicknames â and seek out your favorite â as we talk with Matthew Clavin, professor of history at theÂ University of Houston.
Understanding the Tradition of Homecoming Mums
Finally, if you grew up here in Texas, you might well be familiar with the tradition of homecoming mums: corsages given to dates for the high school homecoming game and dance.
Itâs a tradition that persists, but as Houston Mattersâ Paige Phelps reports, the mums â and the decorations that accompany themÂ âÂ have grown so large and elaborate they might need to be given via forklift.