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Texas Matters: Voting Rights Weakened, Bum Steers and The Deported Dial Home

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David Martin Davies
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Texas Public Radio
Gov Greg Abbott is the Texas Monthly Bum Steer of 2021

Top Senate Democrats are shifting their focus to away from the stalled effort to pass the President Biden Build Back Better bill and redirect their efforts to protecting voting rights.

Since the last presidential election which Democrat Joe Biden won numerous Republican controlled states have passed laws that will restrict voting access particularly for communities of color.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismisses allegations that new voting laws in red states are discriminatory or an attempt to make it harder for Democratic voters to cast their ballots, arguing that the new election laws are aimed at tackling fraud.

But the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law published this week a scalding take down on how Texas republican leaders have passed the most restrictive voting laws across the country.

The report is called "How the Freedom to Vote Act Can Blunt the Worst of Texas’s Voter Suppression Law." And uses Texas Senate Bill 1 as a case study.

The report says SB1 in Texas is "one of the cruelest and most aggressive restrictive voting bills" enacted this year.

Will Wilder is a co-author of the report.

Bum Steers

Looking back at 2021 – we have an abundance of disappointments and embarrassing moments. And try as we might to block them from our conscience awareness Texas Monthly re-traumatizes us with the annual bum steer award.
This collection of regrettable low points is the product of a process by the Texas Monthly staff.
Texas Monthly senior editor Jeff Salamon explains.

The Deported Dial Home

Not far across the U.S. border in Mexico – call centers are busy phoning into the United States – manned by people who were recently deported.

The short documentary film “Dial Home” explores this world of castoffs who are trying to survive after deportation.

The film is directed by Cesar Martinez Barba. Barba is a San Antonio native and learned his film making skills at Say Si – a local free youth arts program.

“Dial Home" has qualified to be considered by the Academy Awards. The film is hosted online on the New Yorker magazine’s website.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi