Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune

Jacob Villanueva/Texas Tribune

A Harris County grand jury on Monday indicted the videographers behind undercover recordings of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston and cleared the women's health provider of any wrongdoing.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

From the Texas Tribune: Intervening in what could be a landmark decision, the Obama Administration, state and federal lawmakers and medical experts asked the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to overturn Texas’ 2013 abortion law, which could shut down about half of the state’s 19 remaining abortion clinics.

In 45 amicus briefs filed to the Supreme Court, opponents of the Texas abortion law known as House Bill 2 argued that restrictions under the law are unconstitutional because they impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions and would do little to improve women’s health.


Todd Wiseman/Callie Richmond via Texas Tribune

Underage Texas women seeking abortions without their parents' consent will face a tougher set of legal hurdles in the new year.

State law already requires minors — those under age 18 — to get sign-off from at least one parent before receiving an abortion, unless doing so could put the young woman in danger of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In those cases, a judge can be asked to approve the procedure.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s second attempt to immediately block the arrival of additional Syrian refugees was even shorter-lived than the first.

Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey on Wednesday rejected Paxton’s renewed request for a temporary restraining order barring nine Syrian refugees set to arrive in the stateon Thursday. Godbey’s ruling came just hours after Paxton asked for the order, citing security concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and Robert Bodisch, the deputy director of homeland security at the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Pu Ying Huang/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: The state of Texas is renewing its effort to immediately block the arrival of additional Syrian refugees, asking a federal court for a temporary restraining order barring nine Syrian refugees set to arrive in the state on Thursday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to temporarily bar the refugees, citing security concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and the state’s deputy director of homeland security.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

From the Texas Tribune: Texas has gone to federal court in its efforts to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, filing suit against the federal government and a refugee resettlement nonprofit.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton claims the federal government and the International Rescue Committee — one of about 20 private nonprofits that have a state contract to resettle refugees in Texas — are violating federal law by moving forward with the planned resettlement of two Syrian families. One such family is expected to arrive in Texas as soon as Friday.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Setting up what could be a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up a legal challenge to Texas’ 2013 abortion law, which could shut down about half of the state’s 19 remaining abortion clinics.

Eric Kayne/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Delivering a hit to the Texas gay rights movement, Houston voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected an ordinance that would have established protections from discrimination for gay and transgender residents and several other classes.

With 95 percent of votes counted, 61 percent of voters opposed the measure. The embattled ordinance, better known as HERO, would have made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on 15 different “protected characteristics,” including sex, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Tamir Khalifa/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Days after Texas health officials announced they want to kick Planned Parenthood out of the state Medicaid program, state investigators on Thursday visited Planned Parenthood facilities in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.

Tamir Khalifa/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday endorsed new laws to further tighten restrictions on Texas abortion providers, including a proposal that likely would bar fetal tissue donation.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Minors seeking to obtain abortions without parental consent would face more restrictions under a bill that received preliminary approval Wednesday from the Texas House.

After about four hours of debate and a barrage of failed amendments by Democrats, the House passed House Bill 3994 by Republican state Rep. Geanie Morrison of Victoria on a 98-47 vote. The measure would enact several restrictions on “judicial bypass,” the legal process that allows some minors to obtain abortions without their parents’ permission. The measure now awaits final approval by the House before it can go to the Senate.

Texas law requires minors to obtain consent for an abortion from at least one parent. But if obtaining an abortion could endanger the minor, she can look to the courts for judicial bypass to obtain the abortion without parental consent.

Alexa Ura / Texas Tribune

NEW ORLEANS — In a long line of tough questioning Wednesday over a new Texas abortion law, federal appeals judges here questioned whether part of a provision requiring abortion facilities to meet hospital-like standards should be struck down.

Janis Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two weeks after losing her bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte on Wednesday night announced that she was running for mayor of San Antonio and would not finish her term at the Texas Capitol.

“I’m running for mayor. I’m coming home,” Van de Putte said in an interview with KSAT-TV. "My decision to run for mayor had to do with how I can serve the people the best."

Todd Wiseman/Phil Moyer via Texas Tribune

A man who may have had contact with 100 other people is in isolation at a Dallas hospital after being diagnosed with Ebola, a deadly virus that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa. Two weeks ago, El Paso officials said more than 700 infants may have been exposed to a hospital aide with tuberculosis. And in July, the first case of chikungunya, a virus spread by mosquitoes, arrived in Texas.

Todd Wiseman/KUT

From the Texas Tribune:

The rate of Texas residents without health insurance has dropped slightly but continues to outpace every other state, according to early figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Todd Wiseman/Karolina Michalak/Felipe Hadler

The private contractor leading the state’s foster care redesign initiative has voluntarily terminated its contract with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Providence Service Corporation of Texas has notified DFPS of its intention to terminate the contract through which it was caring for 1,100 foster children in 60 counties in North and West Texas as part of the state’s foster care redesign initiative. An increased reliance on private contractors is pivotal to the department's redesign initiative to streamline the foster care placement process and keep children closer to home.

Bob Daemmrich / Alyssa Banata/Texas Tribune

As the recent surge of Central Americans entering the country illegally through Texas’ border with Mexico has drawn national attention, it has also become a major talking point for the 2014 candidates for lieutenant governor.

And while state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, have distinct differences on immigration and border security, political observers say they each have advantages as the issue remains at the forefront.

Van de Putte has indicated that the state should secure the border by providing local law enforcement with ample resources to ensure "that troopers can focus on catching criminals, not kids” while calling for immigration reform at the federal level to get to the root of illegal immigration.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — After several hours of debate Saturday, the final day of the biennial state GOP convention, Republican delegates voted to remove the "Texas Solution" from the party’s official platform, reverting to a more hardline stance on immigration.

About 8,000 delegates gathered to consider the party platform and eventually rejected a proposed immigration plank that included language calling for a provisional visa program for immigrants. In its place, they adopted a plank that echoes the party’s 2010 platform. It does not call for a guest-worker program and instead calls for ending in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and prohibiting sanctuary cities — municipalities that do not enforce immigration laws.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

As Texas Republicans prepare to convene Thursday in Fort Worth for their three-day state party convention, an early draft of the party's platform shows that language, approved two years ago,supporting a guest-worker program could be removed.

The draft, which was obtained by the Texas Tribune, shows that the language calling for a guest-worker program has been replaced with language to support the enactment of a provisional visa program. The guest-worker program language in 2012 was an unprecedented change to the official state party platform. It called for a national temporary worker program, which would allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. when jobs are available but citizens are unavailable.

Gilead Sciences

A new treatment for hepatitis C is considered a breakthrough for people with the liver disease. But the high cost of the drug — about $1,000 a pill — has complicated efforts to get the medication to Texans who receive government-subsidized health care.

The state’s prison system and the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program, which covers poor children and people with disabilities, are trying to determine who qualifies for the drug, which is 80 to 90 percent effective but can cost $84,000 for a 12-week regimen.

In Texas, where roughly 300,000 people have chronic hepatitis C and many more may carry the virus, the treatment has raised ethical questions about who gets the drug.

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