Share your voice Amazon employees urge the company to take more aggressive actions on climate crisis. Alexander Pohl via Getty Images Amazon employees want the company to put more effort into fighting climate change.In an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the company’s board published Wednesday, 3,541 Amazon employees ask the e-commerce giant to take more aggressive actions on climate change.”Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis,” reads the letter. “We believe this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to stand with employees and signal to the world that we’re ready to be a climate leader.”The staff members included a to-do list for Amazon in the letter. They asked the company to make a corporation-wide plan to reach 100% renewable energy in a timely manner, to stop selling Amazon’s cloud service to the oil and gas companies so they won’t expand fossil fuel extraction, to stop donating to regulators who vote against climate legislation and more. In response, an Amazon spokesperson said the company has launched several major and impactful programs and is “working hard to integrate this approach fully across Amazon.””Our dedication to ensuring that our customers understand how we are addressing environmental issues has been unwavering — we look forward to launching more work and sharing more this year,” the spokesperson said in an email. Tags Tech Industry Politics Now playing: Watch this: This isn’t the first time Amazon employees voiced their concerns over the company’s business conduct. Last June, the e-commerce giant’s staff wrote to Bezos to stop selling facial recognition technology to US law enforcement. They feared how the company’s Rekognition software would be used by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security in the current political climate. “In our mission to become ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company,’ we believe our climate impact must be a top consideration in everything we do,” wrote the staff. “We have the power to shift entire industries, inspire global action on climate, and lead on the issue of our lifetimes.”Originally published April 10, 11:13 a.m. PT.Update, 1:04 p.m. PT: Adds statement from Amazon spokesperson. 8 Amazon kills plans for NYC headquarters 4:00 Comments Amazon Jeff Bezos
Share Graphic by Todd WisemanAs the week-long trial on Texas’ redistricting battle nears its finish line, testimony Wednesday washed the 2013 Legislature — the body of lawmakers who adopted the court-drawn state House and congressional maps still in place — back to shore. Here’s what you need to know: • It’s been a legal squabble years in the making. Did the Republican-dominated Legislature in 2011 intentionally discriminate against Latino and black voters in redrawing the state’s House and congressional maps? That’s what the state of Texas and minority groups have gone back and forth over for six years. A panel of federal judges this spring ruled they did, but here’s the catch — those maps never took effect. Instead, the same judges created temporary maps before the 2012 elections, and with the backing of then-Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gov. Rick Perry, the Legislature in 2013 eventually adopted them.• Some big-picture items: A couple things could happen if the judges find the state intentionally discriminated minority voters. For one, such a ruling could place Texas’ election laws back under the federal government’s watch — and the San Antonio court has previously ruled in a way that’s raised that possibility. More immediately, the state’s largest argument — that it can’t be knocked for following the court’s wisdom and adopting its temporary maps — would be weakened. • There’s still more to go. Republican lawmakers are expected to testify before the panel later this week, and the trial is set to end Friday or Saturday. Follow Texas Tribune reporter Jim Malewitz for updates out of San Antonio.
iStock.comEarlier this year, a local charter school sparked so much controversy at the Houston school board, a scuffle led to two women arrested at the meeting. Now the board has decided to continue doing business with that charter group.Energized for Excellence was the charter school that the Houston school board briefly considered giving temporary control of several struggling schools. That plan was dropped after public outcry.But Energized for Excellence, along with seven other charter schools, will get their contracts renewed with the Houston school district. Together, the contracts are worth about fifty six million dollars. Some parents urged the board to take a closer look. Shana Holverson questioned their low enrollment of children with disabilities.“These campuses have reported an average of two percent of their students as recognized as needing special ed services. Remember that the national average is 13 percent,” said Holverson.Some trustees maintained it would be unfair to families if the schools had to close over the summer. Share