Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin

A majority of Texans are in favor of making school safety a top priority for the Legislature, while other political issues remain heavily divided among voters. That’s according to a new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll.

The poll examined Texans’ beliefs about guns, gambling, marijuana, immigration, and more. All of these topics are going to be addressed in the current legislative session, and the general category is a special focus for the SXSW EDU 2023.

School safety was the only education issue that was declared “extremely important” by Texans in the poll. Texas Politics Project co-director James Henson says though there is an element of bipartisan support among voters for improving school safety, there are still plenty of partisan divisions in other areas of public education.

“Among Republicans, for example, school safety is effectively tied with curriculum content as the top priority, while among Democrats school safety is similarly tied with teacher pay and retention,” he shared in a press release.

On the topic of abortion, the poll found 79 percent of Democrats said abortion laws should be made less strict, while a majority of Republicans support current laws. A third of Republicans in the poll want even stricter abortion laws.

“As one might expect, Democrats are more concerned about abortion and more likely to want an expansion of abortion rights,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the Texas Politics Project and the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Chair of State Politics. “But it is also worth noting that this issue isn’t as salient as many have assumed: Fewer than five percent of Texans consider abortion the most important issue facing the state.”

Gun regulation is another hot topic surveyed in the poll. Half of Texans said gun laws should be more strict, with less than a third saying they are fine as is, and 16 percent of pollsters in favor of a relaxation of the laws. A slight majority of Republicans in the poll (51 percent) want gun laws unchanged, while 79 percent of Democrats overwhelmingly voted for stricter laws.

Joshua Blank, research director of the Texas Politics Project, says gun regulation is a good demonstration of how Texans are reacting to “high profile incidents of mass violence” as well as the government’s response to those events.

“Taken in this context, it’s not surprising to see a majority of Texans and the vast majority of Democrats asking for stronger gun laws, nor that a majority of Republican voters appears to have lost their appetite for looser gun laws.”

Other findings from the poll include:

  • Texas Democrats are more supportive of the United States’ involvement in Ukraine defense than Republicans. The overall results showed 32 percent of Texans say the U.S. is doing enough in response to the Russian invasion, while 30 percent believe the U.S. is doing too much and 21 percent think too little is being done.
  • 51 percent of Texans want less strict marijuana laws, with 22 percent in favor of stricter laws, and 15 percent saying they should be left alone.
  • 46 percent of Texas Democrats say President Biden should run for reelection, which is a four percent increase in comparison to an August 2022 poll.
  • 56 percent of Republicans think Former President Donald Trump should run in 2024, a result that is down 5 percent from the August 2022 poll.

The poll’s full results and methodology can be found on the Texas Politics Project website.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Local artist creates replicas of iconic Austin businesses

Life in miniature

As Austin continues to grow, some feel that the city's essence is getting lost. The more successful the city becomes, the more the culture continues to change.

But one Austin artist is highlighting the things that keep Austin unique.

Kayla Kent is the founder of Functional Miniatures. She took inspiration from an artist based in Los Angeles.

"He did all these miniatures of these little shops that you never would expect to have a miniature," she said.

Now Kent is doing the same, recreating replicas of some of Austin's most famous stores. The first one she ever made was Big Top Candy Shop, which doubles as a candy jar.

Kent has also created a functional miniature for Antone's Record Shop, which doubles as a record holder, and a bookend for South Congress Books.

Right now, Big Top is selling the replicas. Kent is also working with Antone's and South Congress Books to get their replicas in stores.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Everything to know about Austin's 4th annual Stay Black and Live Juneteenth Festival


A weeklong celebration of Black history is returning to Austin with a focus on local organizations and people that are making long-lasting impacts in the local community. The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center is hosting the fourth annual Stay Black and Live (SB&L) Juneteenth Festival June 12-19.

The festival began as a livestream in 2020, and has since captured the attention of community members citywide, making it the cornerstone event for Austin's Juneteenth celebrations. SB&L's theme for 2023 is "Austin Family Reunion," centered around community kickbacks, cookouts, live music, and more.

In a release, Carver Museum director Carre Adams said the museum continuously aims to "honor the significance of Juneteenth" with their festival programming and education.

“We are incredibly proud to continue Austin’s Juneteenth celebration and tradition at our historic museum,” said Adams. “We invite the Austin community to join us as we commemorate this momentous occasion and bring Black history past, present and future to the forefront.”

The festival will begin with a presentation on Monday, June 12 hosted by 2023 Grammy Music Educator Award winner and Desoto, Texas high school music teacher Pamela Dawson. The website states she will sing and use "negro spirituals" during her interactive session to inform guests about "African-American contributions to the sonic art form." Dawson's lecture will take place from 6-8 pm at the Boyd Vance Theater.

Below is a full weekend schedule for the festival:

Thursday, June 15
James Beard award-winning food historian and author Michael W. Twitty will take the stage at the Boyd Vance Theater from 6-8 pm. He'll discuss the eating habits and culinary practices of African Americans, and open a conversation about modern-day abolitionist movements.

Friday, June 16
Austinites of every age are invited to the festival's community kickback and dance party from 6-9 pm at the Carver Museum's Freedom Lawn. The party will be accompanied by high-energy music by DJ Cysum and DJ Dontizl. The event is in partnership with Creative Action, who will also set up a "sensory station" for attendees to express themselves with glowsticks, kites, bubbles, and more. A special performance by BodyRockATX will close out the event.

Saturday, June 17
The day will begin at 10 am with the annual historic Juneteenth Parade through Austin's Rosewood neighborhood. The parade route starts on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and goes all the way to Rosewood Park.

Following the parade, visitors can gather for the Austin Family Reunion Cookout and Music Festival behind the Carver Museum from 3-6 pm. Veteran pitmasters will provide the delicious barbecue while Lady Joy and KAZI 88.7 DJs host the festivities. Attendees can also enjoy a vendor market, carnival games, workshops, and more.

Saul Paul will host the music festival from 6-9 pm on the Freedom Lawn, with performances by Distinguished Soundz, Stretch Muzik, and DJ Kay Kali. Headliners GAPX will perform at 8 pm.

Monday, June 19
Historian, Harvard law professor, and Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed will lead a Free Your Mind Conversation Series discussion about her book, On Juneteenth, from 1-3 pm at the Boyd Vance Theater.

Later that afternoon from 5-8 pm, the museum will host their final event for the week with their "Community Revival and Remembrance" ceremony in partnership with the Austin Justice Coalition. The closing celebration will pay respect to those who were victims of police violence in Texas.

More information about the Stay Black and Live Juneteenth Festival can be found on juneteenthatx.com.

Political satirist John Oliver heads to Austin on standup tour

Terrifying Times, Again

After the end of the regular legislative session, many Texans could use a dose of political satire, and John Oliver is on his way. The comedian and TV writer will perform live at Bass Concert Hall on Sunday, August 20 as part of the John Oliver Live tour.

Oliver is best known as the host and producer of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, a political recap show that showcases the English comedian's biting sarcasm, which has won him several awards: 23 Primetime Emmys, five Writer’s Guild Awards, two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, four Television Critics Association Awards, and two Peabodys.

His work with similar shows spans nearly two decades, starting as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2006, and including his time hosting podcastThe Bugle with Andy Zaltzman.

Oliver's standup career goes about as far back, starting with his 2008 special, John Oliver: Terrifying Times. Fans may also recognize the actor for his role in Community as a disgruntled, morally-ambiguous professor of psychology, or his voice work on cartoons including Big Mouth, Bob's Burgers, and Rick & Morty.

Tickets will be available to Texas Performing Arts' "Texas Inner Circle" members on Wednesday, June 7. General sales begin on Friday, June 9, at 10 AM. Check Ticketmaster for availability.