Emily Ramshaw, Texas Tribune

Texas Tribune Reporter

Emily Ramshaw investigates state agencies and covers social services for KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

 

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Politics
10:45 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Texans Reading a Lot Into Castro Keynote

June 8th, 2012: Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro gives keynote at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston, Texas . Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Call them idealistic, but the Texas delegates in town for this week’s Democratic National Convention are reading a lot into the selection of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to give Tuesday night’s keynote address.

Sure, it means a great deal for Castro’s own political aspirations: The Democratic Party's rising star is already one of the nation’s youngest mayors, a Stanford- and Harvard-educated 37-year-old Latino with an equally ambitious identical twin. Castro sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at the 2012 State of the Union address, another sign he was being primed for the national spotlight.

“They recognize Julián Castro is a potential statewide candidate — very likely to be the first one we’ve had in a long time in the very near future,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa.

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Politics
12:55 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Unlike Romney, State Leaders Oppose Abortion After Rape

Caleb Bryant Miller for Texas Tribune

The state’s Republican leaders are at odds with the presumptive GOP presidential ticket on one key element of abortion politics — whether they oppose the procedure for victims of rape.

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Health
11:52 am
Mon August 20, 2012

After Komen Drama, Planned Parenthood Expands Screening

Planned Parenthood will expand breast health services to more than 40,000 women across five Texas cities, the result of increased donations following Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure's short-lived decision earlier this year to halt breast cancer fundingto the organization. 

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Politics
1:23 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Runoff Voters Were in Mood to Oust Incumbents

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The message from Texas runoff voters? Out with incumbents.

Though the biggest election news on Tuesday night was former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz’s defeat of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican race for U.S. Senate, there was a jaw-dropping ousting of elected officials up and down the ballot — particularly in the Texas House. From emergency room doctor and political outsider Donna Campbell’s win over state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, to Supreme Court Justice David Medina's upset at the hands of former district court judge John Devine, to the commanding defeats of state Reps. Sid MillerChuck Hopson and Jim Landtroop, here’s a look at how the votes fell in key races across the state.

Texas Senate

In SD-25, Campbell easily upset Wentworth, R-San Antonio, ending his 20-year career in the Texas Senate. 

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Health
8:59 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Perry: TX Won't Implement Key Elements of Health Reform

Todd Wiseman / Kjetil Ree for Texas Tribune

Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month, Gov. Rick Perry said in an early morning announcement.

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Texas
10:25 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Fake Twitter Feeds, Deceptive Websites Shake Up Primary

Image by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Looking for state Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s personal website? It's not jeffwentworth.com, an attack site that blasts the 20-year San Antonio incumbent as “the most liberal Republican senator in Austin.”

Want to know what Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, says on Twitter? Don't follow @RealTedCruz, which calls the former state solicitor general a “trial lawyer standing with a Chinese conglomerate to kill American jobs.” 

Straddling the line between dirty tricks and political strategy is as old as elections. And campaign impersonation dates at least as far back as the 1970s, when Donald Segretti, President Richard Nixon’s re-election operative, forged letters seeking to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie — a move that landed Segretti in prison.

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University of Texas
3:36 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Cigarroa: Chairman Didn't Direct Me to Fire Powers

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, responding to a news report suggesting UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell had asked him to fire University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, said Thursday that Powell "never directed me to fire anyone." 

Cigarroa's statement follows a blog post late Wednesday from Texas Monthly Senior Executive Editor Paul Burka. Citing an unnamed source, Burka wrote that the regents are angry at Powers for publicly expressing disappointment with their decision — made with encouragement from Gov. Rick Perry — to reject Powers' request for a slight tuition increase. Burka wrote that Powell asked Cigarroa to officially recommend that they fire Powers, and that Cigarroa refused. The post suggested the board would likely call a special meeting to take action. 

The report sparked an overnight social media campaign on Powers' behalf. 

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Health
11:51 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Texas Planned Parenthood Branches Will Vote on Merger

Planned Parenthood supporters rally at the Capitol on Tuesday morning.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

The boards of three regional Planned Parenthood branches — North TexasCentral Texas and the Capital Region — will vote today on a proposed merger designed to form a $29 million-per-year mega-organization with 26 clinics up and down the Interstate 35 corridor.

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Texas
11:08 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Planned Parenthood Sues to Halt Exclusion from Program

March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood
Photo by: Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Planned Parenthood branches in Texas have filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to block their exclusion from the state's Women's Health Program.

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Health
11:09 am
Fri March 23, 2012

The Storm Over Women's Health Care Had Been Brewing

Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services at TAMHSC.
Photo by Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

In the battle between state leaders and the Obama administration over Texas’ decision to oust health care providers affiliated with abortion clinics from a five-year-old contraception and cancer-screening program, both sides believe they are the victims.

The Obama administration says Texas is violating federal law by limiting where poor women can seek health care, and it announced last week that it was cutting off financing for the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which does not pay for abortions and received $9 in federal financing for every $1 the state contributed.

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Texas
4:30 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Abbott Sues Feds Over Women's Health Program

Woman at Texas Capitol protests Republican lawmakers decision to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is filing yet another lawsuit against the federal government, this one, no surprise, over the Women's Health Program. 

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Texas
11:03 am
Thu March 15, 2012

State Spends Big to Pay Workers for Unused Vacation

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Texas government agencies have paid fired or resigning state employees more than $500 million in unused vacation time over the last decade. It’s a staggering sum that fiscal conservative critics call “ridiculous,” especially in tough budget times.

But state workers say what’s ridiculous is that so many jobs have been cut — and that agencies are so understaffed that employees can’t take vacations.

In each of the last 10 years, state officials paid out an average $50 million in accrued vacation time, according to data from the Texas comptroller’s office. That number crept up to $68 million in 2004 and $67 million last year — both on the heels of a budget shortfall and related layoffs.

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Health
2:55 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Suehs: Feds' Stand on Women's Health Sets Bad Precedent

Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs (left), and Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The state's health commissioner is blasting the Obama administration's argument that it can't renew a joint state-federal health program because Republican lawmakers have banned Planned Parenthood from participating in it. 

In an uncharacteristically angry letter sent to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs argues that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) won't let Texas exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, "then no state can ever confidently apply policies and requirements that advance important and legitimate state interests to regulate providers' participation in Medicaid." 

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Politics
4:35 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

In Texas and Virginia, Different Reactions to Sonogram Bill

Two sonogram tools used at a Planned Parenthood clinic providing abortions in Austin.
Erich Schlegel, Texas Tribune

The pandemonium over Virginia’s proposed abortion sonogram law — from a Saturday Night Live sketch to furious protests and intense national media coverage — bears little resemblance to the battle over Texas’ version of the law.

That’s despite some striking similarities between the two states: They’re both Republican-leaning; they both have conservative governors with national ambitions who have headed the Republican Governors Association. But the political reality is that Texas’ abortion sonogram bill and Virginia’s abortion sonogram bill were debated at very different times, and under very different circumstances.

Though both states have Republican governors — Rick Perry in Texas and Bob McDonnell in Virginia — and Republican majorities in their legislative chambers, that doesn’t mean they’re equally red, said Matt Mackowiak, an Austin-based Republican consultant.

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Texas
11:39 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Suehs Signs Rule Banning Abortion Affiliates

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

If there was any hope that the state was seeking a compromise with the federal government over Texas’ Women’s Health Program, it’s fading fast. At the direction of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule on Thursday that formally bans Planned Parenthood clinics and other "affiliates of abortion providers" from participating in the program — something the Obama administration has said is a deal-breaker for the nearly $40 million-per-year state-federal Medicaid program. 

The rule, signed by Commissioner Tom Suehs on Thursday, takes effect March 14.  

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