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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Photo by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has turned down Texas’ request to run a family planning program that excludes certain providers — namely Planned Parenthood — saying it’s a violation of the federal Social Security Act.

photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Alex Proimos for KUT News

Newly — and fiercely — critical of using public office for personal financial gain, Gov. Rick Perry this week unveiled a campaign ad demanding that lawmakers who use “insider knowledge to profit in the stock market” be jailed, and he rolled out an overhaul plan of the federal government that would make that possible by criminalizing insider trading by members of Congress.

Photo by Todd Wiseman and Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Texans have elected Rick Perry governor three times — with almost 55 percent of the vote in 2010 — but that does not mean Texas’ Republican establishment is falling in line to help elect him president.

Some prominent Texas business executives, Republican members of the state’s Congressional delegation and even university regents whom Perry appointed have lent their money — if not their endorsements — to other Republican contenders, most notably former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Photo by Ben Philpott, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry, struggling in the polls as he pursues the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, released atax and spending reform plan today aimed at luring away business-minded voters from Mitt Romney and Tea Party fiscal conservatives from Herman Cain — and convincing a skeptical public that he’s got the policy chops to be a serious contender against President Barack Obama.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Gage Skidmore / Ed Uthman

On the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Rick Perry has explained his much-maligned effort to make the human papillomavirus vaccine mandatory for school-aged girls by saying he hates the cervical cancer it causes and will “always err on the side of savings lives.”

Yet he gets some of his biggest applause in early primary states when he brags of signing a state budget that largely defunds Planned Parenthood — which provides four times more cervical cancer screenings every year in Texas than abortions.

Photo courtesy of Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to let Texas enforce its new abortion sonogram law while the measure is under appeal, following a similar ruling from a federal appeals court on Wednesday.  

The abortion sonogram law, which forces women to have a sonogram and hear a description of the fetus before terminating a pregnancy, was deemed unconstitutional by an Austin district judge in August, who blocked several of its key provisions. 

Photo by Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent Wednesday morning preaching to the choir.

To uproarious cheers in a packed basketball arena at the world’s largest Evangelical university, Perry spoke more like a minister than a politician, motivating students to use their Christian values to wrest control of their futures from Washington.

Photo illustration by Bob Daemmrich/Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

 On the heels of a GOP debate where he reasserted his controversial belief that Social Security is a “monstrous lie” and a “Ponzi scheme,” Gov. Rick Perry heads today to Florida, a big state, rich in delegates, with a key early primary — and home to many older voters.

With wildfires raging outside of Austin, Gov. Rick Perry is leaving the campaign trail to return to his home state, the governor's office confirmed this morning. 

“The wildfire situation in Texas is severe and all necessary state resources are being made available to protect lives and property,” Perry said in a statement. “I urge Texans to take extreme caution as we continue to see the devastating effects of sweeping wildfires impacting both rural and urban areas of the state."

Photo illustration by Caleb Bryant Miller/Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

In the spring of 1999, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini approached then-Lt. Gov. Rick Perry on the chamber floor, wielding a green vote tally card. Zaffirini, a Catholic, anti-abortion Democrat from Laredo, had taken a count, she told Perry, and the Senate was just a couple of votes away from passing a bill requiring parental consent for a minor to have an abortion. 

photo by: Emily Ramshaw

Anne Heiligenstein, the commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services, is retiring from the agency after three years.

In a statement, Heiligenstein said she met with Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs this morning, and told him she intended to retire by the end of the year.

"After 30 years working for the people of Texas, I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life," she said. "I have three children and a grandbaby on the way, and I’m excited about getting to see a lot more of them."

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Gage Skidmore

Gov. Rick Perry routinely attacks federal health care reform, calling it a massive overreach that intrudes into the lives of every American. But in the presidential contender’s early days on the campaign trail, he has revealed little about what his own “Perrycare” could look like — or how much changing American health care will figure into his candidacy.

Rick Perry's remote, rural hometown of Paint Creek is the scene-setter for many a stump speech. We take you there with this photo slideshow from the governor's childhood and audio interviews with people he grew up with.

 This video was produced for the Texas Tribune by Caleb Bryant Miller. Rick Perry's remote, rural hometown of Paint Creek is the scene-setter for many a stump speech. We take you there with this photo slideshow from the governor's childhood and audio interviews with people he grew up with.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The doctor who performed a controversial adult stem cell infusion on Rick Perry during a July spinal surgery said Wednesday night that he’d never done the procedure before he did it for the governor, who could announce a run for the presidency any day.

Photos by Caleb Bryant Miller & Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the nine-term, liberal Austin congressman, foiled Republicans’ efforts to redistrict him out of office in 2003 and intends to do it again in 2012, living “in a Winnebago, if that’s what it takes,” to vie for a newly-drawn district that encompasses San Antonio’s most Democratic and Hispanic neighborhoods and spreads up to southern Travis County.

The Republican Legislature drew him a bad map again this year, and getting through March’s Democratic primary could be a doozy. At a minimum, Doggett will face State Rep. Joaquin Castro, a 36-year-old rising star in his party who has politics in his DNA — his identical twin brother Julián is San Antonio’s mayor — and grew up in one of the San Antonio neighborhoods central to the new district.

Photo by Daniel Lobo, Texas Tribune

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a national abortion-rights advocacy group, has filed suit over Texas' newly-signed abortion sonogram law, alleging it violates the First Amendment rights of the doctor and the patient. 

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Republican Gov. Rick Perry has made no secret of his disdain for federal health reform, or for one of its key tenets, a Travelocity-like state insurance marketplace in which consumers could choose from public and private health plans.

Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The health reform bill House lawmakers will consider today has drawn an unexpected band of supporters: abortion opponents. The measure — designed to improve health care delivery and cut waste in a system where costs are spiraling — contains a single provision aimed at doing what GOP lawmakers have fought to do all year: restrict funding to Planned Parenthood.

Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

GOP lawmakers have gone to great lengths to force Planned Parenthood out of Texas’ Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which provides family planning and reproductive health care — but not abortions — for more than 100,000 low-income women every year. They’ve considered legislation and passed budget riders. They’ve asked for opinions from the Texas attorney general. A hearing at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Thursday is expected to try to seal the deal by clarifying regulatory language to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state program.

photo by KUT News

Many thought this was the year. But Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, acknowledged on Saturday that a measure establishing a statewide smoking ban in Texas is dead. 

Crownover blamed its failure on a "handful" of Senate conferees who refused to keep a smoking ban amendment on Senate Bill 1811, a sweeping fiscal matters bill. She said the amendment would have saved taxpayers $30 million in Medicaid spending over the next biennium.