Axios Dallas

Picture of the Dallas skyline.

Happy Friday! Every river changes course.

☀️ Today's weather: High of 61°, but the weekend may be a little rainy.

ğŸŽµ Sounds like: "Mo Money Mo Problems"

💰 Situational awareness: The Biden administration announced that it's taking steps to make renting more affordable in the wake of several years of skyrocketing rental rates.

  • Here's how that might affect Dallas.

Today's newsletter is 939 spare words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: What our state surplus could do for us

A photo of a bullet train in Japan

This is not in Texas. But it could be. Maybe. Photo by Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

An unprecedented $32.7 billion surplus is about to make it rain in Texas.

Driving the news: State Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state will also have $188.2 billion in general revenue during the 2024-2025 fiscal year, a 26% increase from the last biennium.

Why it matters: Hegar is calling it a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

  • Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that as taxpayers, the surplus is our money.

The latest: Texas leaders are already piping in with some ideas for what to do with the historic surplus.

What we're watching: Whether any money will go toward the long-awaited but sluggish bullet train project to make travel between Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio easier.

💭 Our thought bubble: Here are some other very realistic options we have in mind.

  • A full-fledged public transit system within major metro cities and their suburbs.
  • More affordable housing projects across the state.
  • Long-term housing for homeless people.
  • Student debt relief for Texans with state education loans.
  • Adding more solar panels to homes, giving Texans the freedom to generate their own energy.
  • More resources to solve the county jails' overpopulation.

2. State institutions still hold Indigenous remains

Data: Adapted from ProPublica; Chart: Axios Visuals

Some government agencies, universities and museums in Texas continue to hold the remains of Indigenous people, despite a 1990 federal law that requires they work to return them to tribes.

Why it matters: Native American artifacts and gravesites were looted for many decades, ProPublica reported in a recent, detailed investigation.

By the numbers: The University of Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, which has the largest cache of unrepatriated Native American remains in Texas, reported still having the remains of at least 1,900 Indigenous individuals that haven't been made available for return to tribes.

  • The remains of 341 Native Americans, or 15% of the university's collection, have been made available for return to tribes, according to ProPublica.
  • The university "has worked diligently and within legal requirements," to respond to requests, officials said in a September statement.

Yes, but: The Miakan-Garza Band, a Coahuiltecan tribe that isn't federally recognized, recently renewed its push to get UT's lab to return three sets of remains found in Hays County.

  • University officials initially denied the request in 2020 over what they considered to be a lack of evidence linking the remains to the tribe.
  • UT later sought a recommendation from a review committee formed under the 1990 law, but the case has been put on hold as the university considers an alternative plan to build a massive archeological cemetery for "culturally unidentifiable" remains.

Zoom in: SMU, a private institution, has made 100% of the 387 Native American remains that it reported to the federal government available for return, per ProPublica.

  • UNT has the remains of six Native Americans — all from Oklahoma. It hasn't made any available to return.

What they're saying: "That spirit has been in agony, waiting," Maria Rocha, an elder of the Miakan-Garza Band, said during a September prayer. "UT is saying that spirit can wait three or four more years, 10 more years in agony. So I'm saying to myself, if their parent or grandparent was in agony, would they just postpone it for a few more years? No, no."

Read more

3. 🤩 Axios Dallas Weekender

Illustration of a cassette tape with the tape unspooling to spell weekend.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🐇 Celebrate Lunar New Year. If you didn't get to partake last weekend, Richardson is hosting a celebration that will include Chinese yo-yo, lion and dragon dances and martial arts demonstrations.

  • 11am Saturday at 400 N. Greenville Ave.

👠 Have a really good time. "Pretty Woman - the Musical" runs through Feb. 5 if you're into melodious spins on old classics.

  • Shows run all weekend at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

ğŸŽžï¸ Support Black talent. The five-day Denton Black Film Festival featuring cinema, music, spoken word, art and a poetry slam competition ends this weekend.

  • At the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center through Sunday (but can be experienced virtually from Sunday-Feb. 5). Buy tickets.

4. ğŸ—ž Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

Illustration of a pattern of bluebonnets.

Picking the most important news for you. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚨 Prosper ISD's board president, who lobbied for the district to ban certain books from libraries, was arrested on a charge of indecency with a child. (DMN)

⬇️ Southwest reported a $220 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2022 after losing $800 million from nearly 17,000 cancellations in late December. (AP)

ğŸŽ’ Anna and Terrell are among the latest rural school districts to switch to a four-day week. (FOX4)

🛏️ Commissioners in Dallas County are escalating efforts to get more mental health services for county jail inmates deemed incompetent to stand trial. (KERA)

Seeking employment?

ğŸŽ¾ The ball is in your court. Check out these opportunities.

  1. Client Relationship Director at Daugherty Business Solutions.
  2. Employee Communications Specialist at Texas Instruments.
  3. Sr. Manager, Pricing Strategy at Dave and Busters.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. 🍸 One mocktail to go: Rye

A photo of a cocktail on a bar

No one need know you're sober. Photo: Tasha "Tippler" Tsiaperas/Axios

Nonalcoholic drinks are often laden with juices and fruits, not exactly fulfilling the desire for a "Mad Men"-style martini.

  • That's where this mocktail — recommended by Axios Dallas reader Jamie L. — hits the spot.

What to order: Lyre's Be Warned, made with nonalcoholic dry "gin," lemon, cardamom and sage.

  • Of note: On our visit, a nonalcoholic aperitif was subbed for the usual Lyre's, which produces a variety of booze-free spirits.

Where: Rye, 1920 Greenville Ave.

Cost: $12.

Six-word review: Straight up smooth sipper finishes dry.

What's next: Dry January may be coming to an end, but we'll still be sharing mocktails recs occasionally because sometimes you want a good time without the next day's bad time.

📭 Know a drink we should try? Hit reply and tell us.

This newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Judith Isacoff and Yasmeen Altaji.

Our picks:

📺 Mike is very excited to see the new season of "Succession" … in March.

🥂 Tasha is intrigued by this Danish nonalcoholic spirits company.

💃 Naheed is wondering if she should finally watch "Pretty Woman."

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