News

North Texas begins redistricting process

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Statewide lines may have already been redrawn, but North Texas’ redistricting process is just getting started.

  • Texas representatives approved new maps for Congress and the state Legislature, but the redistricting decisions already face legal challenges as many groups claim the new districts exclude minorities.
Michael Mooney
Oct 19, 2021 - News

Southwest opens a loophole in its vaccination policy

At an airport check-in desk, a masked Southwest employee helps two masked men and a little boy.
Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Southwest Airlines is dropping its plan to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave if they haven’t received a religious or medical exemption by the Dec. 8 federal deadline.

Driving the news: Employees will be able to continue working if they follow mask and distancing guidelines until their exemption request has been reviewed, per a staff memo first reported by CNBC.

Dallas public-private coalition wants to house 2,700 homeless people

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A coalition of local government and civic leaders is aiming to move 2,700 people experiencing homelessness into housing by October 2023 through a private-public partnership.

  • Much of the public funding, which will go toward housing vouchers, comes from the American Recovery Plan Act.

Why it matters: Dallas rehousing programs have long relied on public funds to pay for rents. The private donations will incentivize landlords to accept government housing vouchers.

Texas illegal emissions dropped in 2020 but increased in Dallas area

Smoke billows near power lines
Photo: Samuel Corum for Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Illegal emissions dropped statewide in 2020, but North Texas saw an increase in unauthorized pollutants, according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project and Environment Texas.

Why it matters: 2020's pollutant decline was mostly due to pandemic shutdowns of manufacturing and oil and gas production and not due to increased enforcement of environmental protections, the report says.

Dallas to hire law firm to investigate loss of police files

An illustration of an inmate cuffed behind his back, dissolving into pixels.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Dallas City Council is planning an independent investigation into the loss of more than 8 million data files that largely contained information related to the Dallas Police Department's family violence unit.

Why it matters: This is the next step in determining the full scope of how the data loss occurred and how it could affect criminal investigations and cases filed with the Dallas County district attorney's office.

Delta-8 THC is being advertised as legal in Texas

Illustration of a hand holding a beaker with a green liquid and a marijuana leaf inside
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A popular cannabinoid is being sold in stores and advertised on billboards across North Texas as legal THC.

Why it matters: The legality of delta-8 THC, which has a slightly different chemical structure that makes it less potent than "regular" marijuana, is murky.

Dallas violent crime numbers declining

Illustration of a downward arrow made out of crime-scene tape.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Dallas crime numbers are declining slightly, which police officials say is linked to the chief’s violent crime reduction plan that has focused on hot spot policing.

Why it matters: Violent crimes increased in Dallas and nationwide in 2020, but police officials locally believe that numbers this year show the increase won’t continue.

Dallas police expand mental health response

A truck with the words EMERGENCY RESPONSE UNIT is parked in front of a Dallas Police squad car.
Photo: Mike Stone/Getty Images

This year’s massive Dallas budget includes an expansion of a mental health response team to handle 911 calls that don’t require a traditional police response.

Why it matters: After George Floyd’s murder in 2020, critics called for a drastic shift in city budgets to put more money into social services and not just into police departments.

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