Ashley Lopez

Ways to Connect

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Amid some uncertainty and confusion regarding the country's refugee resettlement program, the federal agency in charge of helping refugees resettle has designated a group of nonprofits that will take over services previously carried out by the State of Texas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week some prominent Republicans said Texas should get rid of straight-ticket voting. Texas is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that allow a person to vote once for one political party straight down the ballot.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

It has been about a week since President Trump signed an executive order banning travel into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump said the ban is an effort to stop terrorists from entering the country, even though refugees already go through an extensive screening process. Local groups who help resettle refugees in Texas say they still don’t know what this means for the families they were expecting this week.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Faith groups and supporters of the refugee community gathered at a church near UT-Austin’s campus last night in solidarity with refugees already resettled in Texas following President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from predominately Muslim countries.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

With talk of Republicans in Congress repealing the health care law in the coming months, this could be the last time the health insurance marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act, can offer Texans insurance.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday temporarily banning the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. — and suspended visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.

Texas resettles roughly 7,000 refugees a year, more than many other states. Non-profits who work in helping those families get on their feet here in Texas say Trump’s executive order was “abrupt” and has left both federal and local agencies scrambling to figure out what happens next.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has extended his injunction against the Texas fetal burial rule. Judge Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled Friday that he wants to hold a trial to determine whether the rule requiring health care providers to cremate or bury fetal remains is constitutional. 

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

It’s light on details, but so far the Trump administration has proposed one big change to how we pay for health care in the U.S. President Trump wants to turn the federal Medicaid program into a block grant system. This basically means states would get a fixed amount of money from the feds to run the program themselves.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is asking a judge to penalize the state for not handing over documents in an ongoing federal lawsuit over the state’s motor voter program.

Last March, TCRP sued state officials, alleging state agencies are violating the National Voter Registration Act and the 14th Amendment by treating people who change their driver’s license information online differently than people who change it in person.

Jeff Kubina/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court is denying the State of Texas' appeal in case over the state's voter ID law.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

During the Women’s March in downtown Austin this past weekend, reproductive rights were one of the big issues that brought thousands of people out in protest. Women from all over the state say they fear a crackdown on access to birth control and legal abortions under the new presidential administration.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

About a month ago, cuts to a state Medicaid program providing therapy to children with disabilities and developmental delays went into effect.

Child advocates have warned the cuts would put access to care in jeopardy and, as the cuts continue roll out, both lawyers and advocates are keeping an eye out for children who are experiencing gaps in care.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance exchange ends Jan. 31. For many Texans who don’t get their insurance through an employer, this has been an affordable way to get a policy in the state for the past few years.

But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, this could be the last year it’s an option.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

This week, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, announced that she plans to stay in office.

It was just last year that she told voters, as she was running for re-election for House District 46, that she would resign at the beginning of this legislative session. At the time, she cited health reasons. The announcement also came while Dukes was under a criminal investigation, an investigation which is still ongoing.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Federal lawmakers have set their sights on repealing the Affordable Care Act as quickly as possible. According to a new study, if they succeed, Texas could lose thousands of jobs in the coming years, but it could be more than just health care jobs.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas abortion providers are facing off against state officials in court today.

In hearings today and Wednesday,  providers will ask a federal judge to strike down the state's fetal burial rule, which requires medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains following a miscarriage or abortion, regardless of how long a woman has been pregnant.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

People living in parts of South and Central Austin will be sending a new representative to the state legislature this month. 

flickr/jamesjordan

There could be Zika cases in Texas we missed this year, according to experts in the state. That became clearer after health officials closely monitored a small area in South Texas earlier this month and found several additional cases of locally-transmitted Zika.

A couple weeks ago, Cameron County reported the first-known locally-transmitted case of Zika in Texas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Texas officials are trying again to take state funding away from Planned Parenthood in Texas. This time, they are kicking the chain of women’s health clinics out of the state’s Medicaid program, which could affect roughly 11,000 Medicaid recipients across the state.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas electors helped officially send Donald Trump to the White House Monday.

The 38 people in Texas who officially get to pick the next president were also met with hundreds of protesters at the Texas Capitol, though, who were hoping to convince them to vote for someone other than Trump.

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