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Houston’s Climate Action Plan, Cruz Talks about His Platform, And Decision on Statewide Judicial Elections

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

Mayor Sylvester Turner is advocating for a more sustainable Houston.

Houston's Climate Action Plan

The goal of the City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan is bringing together stakeholders from across the community to develop a variety of cost-effective energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation measures that will reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The City is partnering with the Houston Advanced Research Center, a regional sustainability research institute to help lead the development of the plan and with C40, a global non-profit that works with cities to develop and implement plans to mitigate carbon risk.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is participating in the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, said that Houston has "a lot at stake," and added that "every Houstonian needs to get involved and share their vision for a more sustainable and resilient Houston."

The plan's target completion date of December 2019 and its publication will allow the City to start in 2020 with a defined path forward to reduce carbon emissions and continue to lead global cities in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz talks about his platform

Senator Ted Cruz is running for re-election on a platform that includes advocating for energy deregulation, increased surveillance on the Southern border and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.

Cruz, a Republican from Texas who is running against Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke, was interviewed Thursday on Houston Matters, as part of its series of interviews with candidates running in major political races.

Cruz said the four priorities he has focused on as a Senator have been tax cuts, regulatory reform, repealing and replacing the ACA, and nominating and confirming "strong constitutionalist judges."

Decision on statewide judicial elections

A federal judge has rejected a race-based challenge to the way Texans fill seats on the state's highest courts.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi handed the state of Texas a win Wednesday, writing that its current method for electing judges to the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals does not violate federal safeguards for voters of color.

The system does dilute the power of Hispanic voters, Ramos wrote. But it's not clear that "race rather than partisanship" explains why Hispanic voters' preferred candidates tend to lose at the polls.

Seven Hispanic voters and a community organization sued the state in 2016, arguing that Texas' statewide judicial election system violates the federal Voting Rights Act because it weakens Hispanic voters' political clout and keeps them from electing their preferred candidates. Both high courts have been entirely dominated by Republicans for more than two decades, and both courts remain overwhelmingly white.

The state, meanwhile, argued that the makeup of the courts is explained by changing political preferences. Lawyers from the Texas Attorney General's Office pointed out that the two high courts have seen a complete partisan shift in the last four decades: Democrats dominated the courts until the mid-1990s.

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