2016 Texas Tribune Festival

Texas Tribune Festival 2016

The Texas Tribune Festival, returns on Sept. 23-25! Students and educators will get the chance to engage with some of the biggest names and brains in politics and public policy at the University of Texas at Austin campus.

The registration desk for the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival is now open and are proud to announce the first 100+ confirmed speakers, with many more to come as we lead up to the Fest! Students and educators have a chance to register for the festival for $50.

Speakers at the 2016 Festival will include historian and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates, Jr., former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, energy magnate T. Boone Pickens, conservative commentator S.E. Cupp, former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, along with more from around the state and across the nation. Join more than 150 exciting speakers at compelling panels, as discussions take on issues near and dear to Texas and the U.S. Check out the full list of speakers here.

And don’t miss out on the special Thursday night feast at Franklin Barbecue, featuring a conversation with Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post and one of the subjects of Spotlight, the 2016 Oscar winner for Best Picture. An extra $250 ticket is required for the event, which includes all-you-can-eat barbecue and beer.

After the festival, stick around for Texas Tribune’s first-ever TribFeast, an evening gala following the Texas Tribune Festival’s full day of panels and programming on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who will talk about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the state of the 2016 election in conversation with Tribune Co-Founder and CEO Evan Smith will also be in attendance. Taking place at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the evening will also include remarks by Larry R. Faulkner, former president of The University of Texas at Austin and Houston Endowment.

Texas Tribune wins Murrow Award for God and Governing

The Texas Tribune has won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for the video news series God and Governing from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Read more about the award and project from Tribune editor-in-chief Emily Ramshow on the the tribune’s website.

You can watch the program on KLRU Thursday, June 23rd at 7:30 pm or Tuesday, June 28th at 10:30 pm. You can also watch online anytime!

Explore Texas lawmakers’ religious beliefs

Most Texans say they believe in God, and 77 percent of those identify as Christian. However, roughly one in five Texans are non-believers. The Texas legislature reflects the majority, evident in the most recent session – religion played a large role in the debate and policy formation of the 84th Legislature.

The Texas Tribune’s “God & Governing” series explores the role Texas lawmakers’ personal religious beliefs increasingly play in their legislative decision making. All but four lawmakers polled by the Tribune said they were Catholic or some other type of Christian. Touching on the topics of guns, education, abortion, the death penalty and marriage, “God & Governing” features dozens of intimate interviews which unlock the spiritual motivations behind some of Texas’ most powerful lawmakers, including Senator Kirk Watson, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

Watch it online above or at klru.tv.

7 Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot

Thanks to our partners at The Texas Tribune for this brief on the upcoming election.

From highway funding to protecting hunting and fishing, Texas voters will have a say in whether the state Constitution should be amended in seven very different ways. Alana Rocha, with our reporting partner The Texas Tribune, breaks down what you’ll see on the ballot. Early voting ends Friday. Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd.

Texas Tribune Previews Legislature’s Public School Priorities

EARLY COLLEGE HIGH FOR AIR

This story comes from our partners at The Texas Tribune. As part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative, we are seeking a clearer understanding of factors impacting our region’s dropout rate and convening organizations sharing common goals to increase graduation rates.  

For Public Schools, What to Watch in Next Session

by Morgan Smith, The Texas Tribune

When Texas lawmakers come back to Austin in January, there will be a new governor who touts public schools as a top priority, and plenty of money in the state bank account. But that doesn’t mean everything will go smoothly as the 84th Legislature navigates public education policy.

Here are five things to watch when the legislative session gets underway:

Education Committee Shuffling: Whomever Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick appoints to fill his spot leading the Senate Education Committee — Larry Taylor, Kelly Hancock and Donna Campbell are possible contenders — will wield considerable control over which education bills do and don’t get hearings. Patrick could also opt to combine the chamber’s higher and public education committees, another move that could affect how quickly and easily legislation makes it through the Senate. The House could also take the single education committee approach. With the departure of Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas, that would leave current Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, who is expected to continue in that role, to preside over both.

Pre-K Fireworks: There’s widespread and bipartisan energy building behind a push to boost early education in the state. But there’s a catch — a divide exists between those who want to expand half-day programs to a full day and make them better, and others who want to first get a better handle on how the existing programs are working. Count education advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas in the former camp, and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott in the latter. 

The School Choice Battleground: In the 2013 session, despite a loud drumbeat leading up to January from supporters including Patrick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, legislation that would allow students to receive public money to attend private schools died with barely a whimper. Now, a skirmish over private school vouchers is brewing again, but it’s unclear whether 2015 will see a different outcome. Two areas that may instead become the school choice battleground: a proposal known as an “Achievement School District,” which would create a statewide entity to manage underperforming campuses, and efforts to loosen regulation of virtual education.

How Money Gets Doled Out: With a school finance lawsuit awaiting arguments at the Texas Supreme Court, the Legislature could easily punt on making any changes to the way the state distributes funding to school districts. But that might be too much of a delay for some lawmakers. State Sen. Kirk Watson, an Austin Democrat, has already filed a slate of bills that he told the Houston Chronicle he hoped would get the “conversation started” on school finance. And regardless of how Watson’s bills fare, lawmakers can still tinker around the edges of the school finance system as they make choices in how the budget allocates funding across school districts.

Revisiting the Big Ticket Items of 2013: Last time they were in Austin, lawmakers overhauled high school curriculum and scaled back standardized testing requirements. They also approved the first expansion of charter schools in the state since they were established in 1995. If the interim hearings over the last year on the rollout of those new laws are any indication, expect discussion about improving high school students’ access to guidance counselors, and clarifying the process the state uses to close low-performing charters schools.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/18/five-things-watch-public-ed-lawmakers-return/.

Lt. Gov. Debate Livestream 9/29

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We’re livestreaming the only lieutenant governor debate of the 2014 general election between state Sens. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio. Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey will moderate. Livestream takes place starting at 7 pm on Sept. 29.

Special thanks to Texas Association of Broadcasters and Univision Austin.

MFI Foundation Renews Support of Public Affairs

The MFI Foundation has renewed its generous support of Overheard with Evan Smith, KLRU’s locally-produced public affairs program.

Overheard provides viewers with unique perspectives on current affairs.  Hosted by Evan Smith, the CEO and Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, this weekly 30-minute program features in-depth interviews with noteworthy guests.  Viewers meet politicians, authors, artists, actors, journalists, businesspeople and anyone who’s at the center of things. The series offers smart conversations with the country’s most interesting people, always with an eye toward the news and always with a sense of humor.

KLRU is grateful for MFI’s longtime friendship.  Together, we are inspiring understanding in Austin and beyond.  Thank you!