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Texting-While-Driving Ban Dies In The Texas Legislature

A statewide texting and driving ban has come to a halt.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A texting and driving ban has come to a halt; a new portrait for former Gov. Perry; public art to honor Stevie Ray Vaughan; and more.

It appears the bill banning texting while driving in Texas has come to a dead end. The Austin American-Statesman reports: “Legislation banning texting while driving in Texas is dead. Again. House Bill 80’s chance for passage expired along with a Texas Senate deadline at midnight Wednesday. House bills had until then to get Senate passage. ‘We tried everything and worked until the last minute,’ state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said early Thursday morning on her Facebook page. ‘It is amazing that only 18 senators (11 Democrats, seven Republicans) supported this life-saving legislation. Elections have consequences.’ HB 80, authored and passed in the House by former Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, would have prohibited drivers across the state from sending or reading ‘text-based communications’ with a hand-held device while driving a car. It was Craddick’s third attempt, and Senate sponsor Zaffirini’s fourth, to pass such legislation.” [Austin American-Statesman]

  • North Texas was hit with rain – once again – overnight. Some areas got nearly 7 inches of rain. Johnson County officials say they have evacuated 12 people who were caught in floodwaters. Officials said some homes in the county south of Dallas were inundated with water late yesterday. Some people were rescued from stranded vehicles. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for 21 Texas communities including Johnson, Travis and Bastrop counties. This is the wettest May on record for Dallas-Fort Worth, the National Weather Service reports. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has recorded 16.07 inches of rain through 6 a.m. Friday, smashing the previous May record of 13.66 inches in 1982. [Associated Press/KERA]

  • The state legislature has approved a portrait for former Gov. Rick Perry. KERA’s BJ Austin reports: “As state lawmakers race to debate controversial issues and pass bills before Monday’s adjournment of the session, one resolution was quickly agreed upon yesterday. It authorized the official portrait for Perry to hang in the Capitol rotunda. But, in the House, unanimous approval did not come without a question from Democrat Chris Turner of Grand Prairie. "Do you know if the portrait will feature the hipster glasses, or be before the glasses?” Perry began wearing glasses in 2013.  The former governor is expected to announce another run for president in Dallas next week.”

  • Here’s the story behind the huge pictures hanging on downtown Dallas buildings. Anne Bothwell with KERA’s Art&Seek talked with the artist. “PhotographerRichard Andrew Sharum captures images of everyday people on the streets of Dallas. It’s the way he’s displaying them that’s unusual. The photos are several stories high – the tallest is 10 stories – and they’ve been hanging on facades of buildings around downtown over the past several weeks. Sharum’s exhibition is called Observe Dallas 2015. He says he hopes his work will help people feel empathy and celebrate the ordinary.” See pictures at Art&Seek.

  • The Dallas City Council has approved a plan to build public art honoring Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother, Jimmie. The Dallas Morning News reports: “The Dallas City Council OK’d spending $142,000 on the yet-to-be-defined piece. About half of that ($74,000) will come from 2006 bond funds already set aside for a piece in Kiest Park, which is mere blocks from the Vaughan brothers’ childhood home. The rest will come from the Oak Cliff Foundation, which is on the hook for $68,000 — $28,000 of which will go toward the project, with the other $40,000 being set aside for its future maintenance.” [The Dallas Morning News]
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.