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Texas officials launch inquiry into "skyrocketing" energy bills after winter storm

Officials in Texas announced Saturday investigations into the causes of the state's widespread power outages and an energy bills spike following the state's winter emergency.

Driving the news: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement after holding an emergency meeting with the state's Republican and Democratic legislative members it's "unacceptable for Texans who suffered through days in the freezing cold without electricity or heat to now be hit with skyrocketing energy costs."


  • The cost of power rose from roughly $50 per Megawatt to $9,000, WFAA reports, noting some Texans were facing bills of up to $17,000 so far this month.
  • The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the state's utility regulator, announced Saturday that it has opened an investigation "into the factors that combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of power to millions of Texas homes."
"The Commission also unanimously approved a series of steps designed to protect retail electric customers feeling the financial effects of the ERCOT grid event."
PUCT statement

What to watch: Abbott said he's working with the lawmakers and the lieutenant governor "to develop solutions to ensure that Texans are not on the hook for unreasonable spikes in their energy bills."

Top Chinese diplomat warns Biden against meddling in country's affairs

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a speech on Sunday warned the U.S. against getting involved in China's "internal affairs," saying that "both sides need to abide by the principle of non-interference," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a hardline approach with China. Tensions between the U.S. and China had heightened for years under the Trump administration.

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America is learning to rebalance its news diet post-Trump

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

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Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

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Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

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Biden to sign voting rights executive order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.

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New York Gov. Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male aides who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

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In photos: Minnesota protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old Black man's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

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