Houston Matters

Why are Fewer Death Sentences Being Handed Down in Texas?

Posted on · The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty holds its annual conference this weekend in Houston. Harris County has been described in the past as the death penalty capital of the world because so many death sentences were once handed down here, but last year there were only two. We explore what’s behind that decline, […]

Houston Matters

How Likely is Another Constitutional Convention?

Posted on · Gov. Greg Abbott last week (Jan. 8, 2016) joined the ranks of Republicans pushing for the first U.S. Constitutional Convention in more than 200 years. He called on Texas to take the lead in pushing for numerous constitutional amendments that would give states power to ignore federal laws and override decisions made by the U.S. […]

Houston Matters

Why Do So Many Test Cases from Texas End Up at the Supreme Court?

Posted on · The U.S. Supreme Court last week (Dec. 8 and 9, 2015) heard oral arguments in two cases that stem from Texas. One, Evenwel v. Abbott, deals with how legislative districts are drawn – and it could have a profound effect on future elections. The other, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, deals with affirmative […]

Houston Matters

Who Has Authority to Accept or Refuse Refugees?

Posted on · Nine more Syrian refugees are scheduled to arrive here in Houston today, after U.S. District Judge David Godbey Wednesday denied Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's request for an emergency order blocking them. Paxton submitted then withdrew a similar request last week. The Attorney General's back-and-forth actions are not, of course, the only mixed messages coming […]

Houston Matters

What Would UT Expansion in Houston Mean for Local Universities?

Posted on · Earlier this month, the University of Texas announced plans to buy land to build an ‘intellectual hub' here in Houston. The Houston Chronicle reported that UT Chancellor William McRaven wants the land to create a sort of collaboration and research center to bring new investment into Houston. However, the University of Houston is concerned that […]

Houston Matters

Do Changes to Council Elections in Pasadena Disenfranchise Latinos?

Posted on · The City of Pasadena has changed the way it elects city council members. But the new approach has not been welcomed by some who believe the change has diluted the minority vote. We hear from an attorney representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city. We also talk over the legal implications of the change […]

Houston Matters

What Should Be the 28th Amendment?

Posted on · There are 27 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The first ten, of course, are the Bill of Rights, which address matters ranging from speech to religion to guns. The other seventeen amendments include one dedicated to abolishing slavery, others ensure voting rights, one establishes prohibition, another repeals it. From time to time, citizens call for […]

Houston Matters

How Will Recent Supreme Court Rulings Affect Texas?

Posted on · The U.S. Supreme Court issued the last of its opinions for this term on Monday. Many of the High Court’s decisions this term carry big implications for the nation — and for the state of Texas in particular. Among the highlights: the court determined bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, that health care subsidies acquired […]

Houston Matters

Should Expression on Campus Be Limited to Free Speech Zones?

Posted on · A young Blinn College student named Nicole Sanders wanted to start a student organization to advocate for gun rights on the Brenham campus. She was told she could only "engage in expressive activity" in a designated "free speech zone," which is roughly the size of a parking spot. Add this to other “free speech” questions […]

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Free Speech on Campus and the Right to Hunt and Fish: Friday’s Show (May 29, 2015)

Posted on · A young Blinn College student named Nicole Sanders wanted to start a student organization to advocate for gun rights on the Brenham campus. She was told she could only "engage in expressive activity" in a designated "free speech zone," which is roughly the size of a parking spot. Add this to other “free speech” questions […]

Houston Matters

How Might Courts Rule Regarding the State’s Voter ID Law?

Posted on · Last week, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Veasey v. Perry, a challenge to the Texas voter ID law. In a federal district court ruling, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled there was "compelling evidence" that Senate Bill 14, enacted in 2013, was passed with the intent to discriminate against minority […]

Houston Matters

Bills in the Legislature Could Either Expand or Restrict Access to Public Information

Posted on · Transparency — or the lack thereof — has been an ongoing discussion as of late, especially in the Texas Legislature. Houston Democratic Rep. Borris Miles recently filed legislation to increase transparency when it comes to complaints against Houston police officers. On the other side of the coin, Republican Rep. Mike Schofield from Katy is looking […]

Houston Matters

Expert Advice for Filing Your 2014 Taxes

Posted on · The April 15 tax deadline is just over a month away. And tax time always tend to add a little bit of stress to many people’s lives. Filing taxes, after all, can be complicated, but Houston Matters is here to help! We welcome your questions for a pair of tax experts, who can address everything […]

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Tax Prep and Accordion Throwdown: Thursday’s show (March 5, 2015)

Posted on ·   The April 15 tax deadline is just over a month away. Tax time always tends to add some stress to our lives. Preparing your taxes, after all, can be complicated, but Houston Matters is here to help! On this edition of the program, we welcome your questions for a pair of tax experts, who […]

Houston Matters

Should Tuition Benefits for Texas Vets Extend to Those Who Lived Elsewhere When They Enlisted?

Posted on · The Hazlewood Act in Texas provides veterans (and some children of veterans) exemptions from some tuition and fee charges at public colleges and universities here. It’s awarded regardless of financial need. But historically, it has required the veteran to be a resident of Texas at enlistment. That wasn’t the case for Keith Harris. He enlisted […]