Houston Matters

Court Overturns Damages Ruling in Ashby High-Rise Case: What It Means for Homeowners and Developers

Posted on · Last week (June 30, 2016), a state appeals court overturned a ruling pertaining to the fight over the so-called Ashby high-rise, a proposed residential tower near Rice University that's been at the center of a conflict for several years. In 2013, a jury ruled that if the project were built, the developer — Buckhead Development […]

Good, Bad and Ugly

Abortion Ruling and Law Schools to Face Off in Court: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Houston News

Posted on · A lot can happen in a week. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it downright ugly. When faced with intriguing developments in the week's news, we turn to our rotating panel of "non-experts" to parse The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of it all. This week, our panel debates: the […]

Full Show

Traffic Laws, Parenting, and Oysters: Friday’s Show (July 1, 2016)

Posted on · According to AAA,  the upcoming three-day Independence Day weekend will see the highest Fourth of July traffic volume on record. Some 43 million Americans are expected to take to the roads. We want all Houstonians to be safe while traveling this weekend. In that spirit, we welcome your questions for Trooper Richard Standifer from […]

Houston Matters

Supreme Court Strikes Down Two Provisions of Texas Abortion Law

Posted on · The US Supreme Court this morning (June 27, 2016), in a 5-3 ruling, struck down two provisions of a Texas law regulating abortion: one requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admissions privileges within 30 miles; the other requiring clinics that provide abortions to meet the standards of outpatient surgical centers. The state argued […]

Houston Matters

Supreme Court Rules in Two Cases Stemming from Texas

Posted on · On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down decisions in two of the three pending major cases tied to Texas. The court deadlocked 4-4 on President Obama's plan that would have shielded millions of immigrants from deportation. And, in a 4-3 decision, the court upheld the affirmative action program at the University of Texas. Joining […]

Houston Matters

Revisiting Debate Over Texas Voter ID Law

Posted on · Judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments last week (May 24, 2016) over a challenge to the state's voter ID law. Plaintiffs allege the requirement violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by making it more difficult — specifically for African Americans and Latinos — to cast […]

Houston Matters

Why the Supreme Court Punted on the HBU Birth Control Case

Posted on · The U.S. Supreme Court recently (May 16, 2016) sent Zubik v. Burwell back to lower courts. A ruling in the Texas case (which includes challenges from Houston Baptist University and East Texas Baptist University) would have clarified whether an Obama Administration mandate for some employers to provide birth control benefits to employees runs afoul of […]

Houston Matters

Was the City of Beaumont Intentionally Trying to Restrict People with Disabilities from Living There?

Posted on · Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the City of Beaumont agreed to pay $475,000 and change its zoning and land use practices to resolve a lawsuit alleging it discriminated against people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who sought to live in small group homes in the city's residential neighborhoods. The settlement stems […]

Houston Matters

Tax Exempt Status for Churches: What’s the Impact on Greater Houston?

Posted on · Since 1894, churches have been exempt from paying federal income taxes, and they’re also exempt from paying property taxes in all 50 states. This can sometimes be a contentious issue like in Friendswood recently, when a church bought 135 acres of land and applied for a tax exemption on the entire property — with an […]

Houston Matters

Can Universities Justify Massive Endowments While Raising Tuition?

Posted on · Amid rising tuition, some members of Congress want to know how private universities use their massive endowments. The lawmakers recently sent a letter to a number of schools, including Rice, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Christian University, asking for a response. To learn more, we ask Houston Chronicle higher education reporter Benjamin Wermund what […]

Houston Matters

Does Houston Really Have Zoning — Just By Other Means?

Posted on · Much is made about Houston’s lack of zoning. But Matthew Festa, a law professor from South Texas College of Law, argues Houston doesn’t really look that different from most other cities. We talk with Festa about whether a variety of land rules, regulations and restrictions are essentially zoning by other means.

Houston Matters

How Calls for Profiling After Terrorist Attacks Impact Houston’s Muslims

Posted on · Following last Tuesday's (March 22, 2016) attacks in Brussels, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas called for "empower[ing] law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized." It's the latest such comment from the two leading Republican presidential candidates suggesting Muslims should be in some way singled out for scrutiny even […]