• DEMOCRACY WATCHTexas Pushes Back Against Widespread Disinformation About Voter Registration

    By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square

    The Secretary of State and a voter registration expert in Texas have refuted widespread disinformation spread by YouTubers and anonymous social media accounts, which falsely claimed that since January 2024, over 1.2 million people registered to vote in Texas without photo IDs. Voter rolls in Texas have increased by 57,711 voters since the beginning of 2024, and each one of the new registrant did so with either a driver’s license or an SSN, after the state verified that the SSN was authentic.

  • IMMIGRATIONChicago Migrant Spending Approaching $300 Million

    By Glenn Minnis, The Center Square

    With the city’s spending on non-citizen migrants increasing, criticism of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and his handling of the ongoing crisis also grows. In the 11 months since Johnson took over at City Hall, data from the “New Arrivals Mission” website pegs such spending at nearly $300 million with more than 38,000 migrants having arrived in the city and around 9,700 still residing in city shelters.

  • CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTUREEngineers Fortifying Critical Infrastructure

    In a bid to protect the nation’s energy sector against cyber attacks, engineers are creating a digital twin to help weed out threats and fix software and firmware vulnerabilities. If left unchecked, these weaknesses could allow ransomware attacks that could cause severe havoc to critical U.S. energy systems.

  • WATER SECURITYWhere Did All the Water Go? New Study Explores Water Use in the Colorado River Basin.

    By Kyle Dunphey

    The final 100 miles of the Colorado River is a shell of its former self — nearly 10 miles wide at the turn of the century, farmers had more water than they knew what to do with. Now, a weave of concrete canals brings water to sprawling industrial farms situated in the Mexicali Valley, with much of the natural riverbed dry and the wildlife sparse. Where did all the water go?

  • WATER SECURITYStates and Tribes Scramble to Reach Colorado River Deals Before Election

    By Jake Bittle

    There are three main forces driving the conflict on the Colorado River. The first is an outdated legal system that guarantees more water to seven Western states than is actually available in the river during most years. The second is the exclusion of Native American tribes from this legal system. The third is climate change, which is heating up the western United States and diminishing the winter snowfall and rainwater that feed the river. Landmark agreements would cut big states’ water usage for decades and deliver water to the Navajo Nation.

  • ELECTION SECURITYStates Rush to Combat AI Threat to Elections

    By Zachary Roth

    This year’s presidential election will be the first since generative AI became widely available. That’s raising fears that millions of voters could be deceived by a barrage of political deepfakes. Congress has done little to address the issue, but states are moving aggressively to respond — though questions remain about how effective any new measures to combat AI-created disinformation will be.

  • NUCLEAR POWERSmall Nuclear Reactors May Be Coming to Texas, Boosted by Interest from Gov. Abbott

    By Emily Foxhall

    A nuclear power plant hasn’t been built in Texas in decades because of cost and public fears of a major accident. Now the governor wants to find out if smaller reactors could meet the state’s growing need for on-demand power.

  • IMMIGRATIONEnforcing Texas’ New Immigration Law May Be Challenging, Even for Authorities That Support It

    By Alejandro Serrano

    A new law allowing local authorities to deport migrants remains tied up in court. Even if it goes back into effect, logistical challenges could complicate enforcement. S.B. 4 remains temporarily blocked while a federal appeals court weighs a challenge from Texas to a lower court’s ruling that struck the law down. The lower court found that the law “threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice.”

  • BORDER SECURITYSupreme Court Lets Texas’ Immigration Law Stand, Intensifying Fight Between Texas and the U.S. Government Over Securing the Mexico Border

    By Mark P. Jones

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion on March 19, 2024, that Texas can – at least for now – have state authorities deport undocumented migrants, which has traditionally been the federal government’s responsibility. Texas’ attempts to control its border with Mexico and intervene on immigration issues – historically both the responsibility of the federal government – derive in part from the fact that many Texans believe that their Lone Star State is unique.

  • ELECTION INTEGRITYDeep Red Utah Wants to Keep Voting by Mail

    By Matt Vasilogambros

    When it comes to voting by mail, Utah is not your typical deep red state. As Republican-led states seek to limit mail-in voting, Utah stands by its system. Conspiracy theories questioning the integrity of voting by mail in the tumultuous aftermath of the 2020 election never rang true for most Utahns. They’d been testing the system for years and found it trustworthy and convenient.

  • TEXAS WILDFIRESHow Climate Change Primed Texas to Burn

    By Naveena Sadasivam

    Over the past 10 days, five wildfires in the region have burned more than 1.2 million acres. The largest of them — dubbed the Smokehouse Creek Fire, for a creek near its origin — stretches across an area larger than Rhode Island. The state’s high plains get a month more fire weather now than they did in the 1970s.

  • TEXAS WILDFIRESTexas Requires Utilities to Plan for Emergencies. That Didn’t Stop the Panhandle Fires.

    By Emily Foxhall

    Experts say utilities need to be ready for extreme weather, which could be a challenge in a state where discussing climate change is often taboo. A review of portions of the state’s electricity code shows utilities have to plan for maintaining their equipment and responding in emergencies, but how they do so is largely left to the companies.

  • BORDER SECURITYAppeals Court Reverses Order Blocking Texas Immigration Law, Setting Up Supreme Court Showdown

    By Uriel J. García

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Saturday reversed a lower court’s ruling that halted a new state law allowing Texas police to arrest people suspected of crossing the Texas-Mexico border illegally. If the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t intervene in the coming days, the law making illegal entry a state crime could go into effect this weekend.

  • IMMIGRATIONFederal Judge Blocks Texas Law Allowing Police to Arrest Migrants Suspected of Being in Country Illegally

    By Uriel J. García

    Senate Bill 4 was Texas’ latest attempt to deter people from crossing the Texas-Mexico border amid a surge in migration. SB 4 was scheduled to take effect Tuesday. “SB 4 threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice,” Judge David Ezra wrote.

  • IMMIGRATIONNew York Appeals Court Strikes Down Law Allowing Non-Citizens to Vote

    By Christian Wade, The Center Square

    The law, pushed through the Democratic-controlled Legislature last year, was expected to add another 800,000 new eligible voters in New York City, which has a population of nearly 8.5 million. “As there is no reference to noncitizens, and thus, an irrefutable inference applies that noncitizens were intended to be excluded from those individuals entitled to vote in elections,” the court said.