Edgar Walters, Texas Tribune

Reporter

Edgar Walters is a reporter with the Texas Tribune.

Ways to Connect

Casey Chapman Ross/Texas Tribune

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said Tuesday that lawmakers in the Capitol’s lower chamber would seek to restore funding for disabled children’s in-home therapy services during the upcoming legislative session, potentially reversing the state's course in an emotionally fraught, year-long legal battle.

“It did not work, and it will be addressed in the supplemental budget,” Straus said of the payment cuts. He said the cuts were “well intentioned” but that “maybe they were a mistake.”

Callie Richmond

From the Texas Tribune: More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas quietly announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: Faced with a rising death toll from opioid abuse, Texas public health officials in May decided to apply for a $1 million federal grant to purchase Naloxone, a drug that, if administered during an overdose, can save the life of a person addicted to heroin or pain pills. 

Texas Tribune

On any given day in the last six months, nearly a thousand of Texas' "highest-priority" children — considered by the state to be at immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse — were not checked on even once by Child Protective Services investigators.

Another 1,800 of those kids were seen by investigators, but not within the required 24-hour window following an urgent report of possible abuse or mistreatment.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

 A significant cut to the amount of money Texas pays therapists who treat children with disabilities was finally cleared to take effect — more than one year after state lawmakers originally ordered it — when the Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a lawsuit over the budget cut's legality.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas lawmakers on Thursday revisited the fate of a $150 million cut in state funding to Medicaid payments for disabled children’s therapy made in 2015 — though the outcome of that cut remains uncertain as a legal battle over its legitimacy remains before the Texas Supreme Court.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

With federal funding to fight Zika stuck in Congress, and amid news that mosquito-to-human transmission of the virus has reached the continental U.S., Texas officials announced on Wednesday they would allow Medicaid to pay for mosquito repellent for women, in the hopes of preventing the disease.

From the Texas Tribune: Texas' top Senate Republicans on Monday upped the urgency on federal policymakers to do something about the Zika virus.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

In the last five months, LaNelia Ramette has been to the home of eight Denton County families who had just lost a loved one to suicide. Three of those times, she arrived on the scene before the police tape came down.

Unlike the police officers and medical examiners she encounters on her shifts, Ramette is not a typical first responder. She is a volunteer who appears at the scene of tragedy — with the medical examiner’s permission — to be a voice of compassion in a suicide survivor’s darkest hour.

From the Texas Tribune: Charles Smith, a longtime ally of Gov. Greg Abbott, will be the next executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the governor announced Tuesday.

Smith, the chief deputy executive commissioner at the massive agency, will start his new position on June 1.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep some federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, a relief to health care providers that feared losing the funds over state leaders' refusal to provide health insurance to low-income adults. 


Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Daniel Hernandez, an investigator for the state’s Child Protective Services agency, left his South Austin home at dawn on a recent Thursday holding a stack of folders. Their contents detailed troubles facing the children and families Hernandez was scheduled to check on that day: a starving infant, parents using drugs in front of a child and a teenager's suicide attempt.

Shelby Tauber/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Meechaiel Criner, the 17-year-old arrested in connection with the death of University of Texas at Austin student Haruka Weiser is in the care of the Texas foster youth system, an official said Friday.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Texas’ Republican leadership has stifled voter turnout, and the public sector should do more to encourage online voting and other civic engagement, President Barack Obama said in an interview Friday with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith.

Obama’s remarks at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin focused on using Internet technology to encourage more civic participation, including voting.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

From the Texas Tribune: Texas health officials have asked a prominent academic journal to take the state's name off a published finding that Texas women lost access to health care services after lawmakers kicked Planned Parenthood out of a family planning program.

thespeakernews via flickr

Public health officials in Dallas County have confirmed the first sexually transmitted case of the Zika virus, which is said to be linked to birth defects.

The virus is typically transmitted by mosquitoes, but Dallas County Health and Human Services said Tuesday that an unidentified person had been infected by sexual transmission — the first confirmed case of a person acquiring the virus in the continental United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the transmission Tuesday.

Chris Maddaloni/ The Texas Tribune

In a fresh — but long shot — assertion of states’ rights, Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday called for a convention of U.S. states to pass nine new amendments to the U.S. Constitution, measures meant to limit the powers of the federal government.

Pages