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2014 Elections
6:37 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Livestream: Ballot Boxing District 5 City Council Candidate Forum

KUT, the Austin MonitorUnivision 62KXAN and the Austin Chronicle continue our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums tonight at the ACC's South Austin Campus. 

2014 Elections
11:19 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 4 Forum

Candidates gathered at Marchesa Hall on Sept. 17 for KUT's District 4 Ballot Boxing City Council candidate forum.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The Ballot Boxing series continued last night with the Austin City Council candidate forum for District 4 in North Austin. Seven of the eight candidates gathered at the Marchesa Hall with moderators Michael Kanin of the Austin Monitor and Regina Rodriguez of Univision 62.

You can view a photo gallery above and listen to the full audio of the forum below.

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Education
4:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

State Education Officials Reignite Texas Textbook Battle

The State Board of Education will hear public comment on the overhaul of textbooks until Sept. 30.
Ryan Stanton, Flickr

The State Board of Education got an earful today about proposed changes to Texas students’ social studies textbooks. The Board is considering the adoption of new textbooks, despite claims from some that they contain misleading or biased statements and even misrepresentations of history.

Faculty from Texas universities who found instances of inaccuracy and misrepresentation in the textbooks testified all day before the board, along with and members of religious groups who alleged their faiths were being misrepresented. It's the social studies books' first overhaul since 2010.

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2014 Elections
7:31 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 3 Forum

District 3 candidates gathered at the North Door for the third installment of Ballot Boxing, a partnership between KUT, the Austin Monitor, the Austin Chronicle, KXAN and Univision 62.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The 12 candidates vying for District 3's seat on the Austin City Council met for the first time last night at the North Door for the third installment of Ballot Boxing, a series of in-district debates sponsored by the Austin Chronicle, the Austin Monitor, KXAN, Univision 62 and KUT.

Candidates discussed congestion issues, affordable housing, issues surrounding gentrification and the future of Austin going forward with the city's new 10-1 representation system. You can view photos of all the candidates from last night's forum above and listen to the forum in its entirety below.

10-1
8:58 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 2 Forum

Three of the four candidates showed up to last night's debate. Mike Owen was not in attendance.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Last night KUT continued the Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums at the Dove Springs Recreation Center last night in Southeast Austin.

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Austin Police
7:18 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Bank Robbery Suspect Dies After Officer-Involved Shooting in Wells Branch

Credit Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A man is dead and two Austin Police Officers are on administrative leave this morning after an officer-involved shooting last night in the Wells Branch neighborhood near Maye Place.

Officials say the two Austin Police officers, one Round Rock Police officer and at least one FBI agent were involved in the shooting. They were members of the Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force investigating a suspect involved in a bank robbery investigation.

The officers were serving a warrant to the suspect when he exited the vehicle and began firing.

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10-1
6:52 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 1 Forum

The District 1 candidates: George Hindman, Sam Osemene, Christopher Hutchins, DeWayne Lofton, Valerie Menard, Michael Cargill, Ora Houston and Andrew Bucknall. Norman A. Jacobson did not attend the forum.
Jenna VonHofe/KUT

Last night KUT kicked-off the Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums at Wesley United Methodist Church in East Austin.

KUT's Joy Diaz and the Austin Monitor's Mike Kanin hosted and moderated the event, which featured eight of the nine candidates vying for the seat in District 1 this Election Day, with help from our additional partners the Austin Chronicle, KXAN and Univision 62.

You can listen to the entire forum below.

Politics
1:35 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

What to Expect Now That Greg Abbott's Dropped Out of the Gubernatorial Debate

Attorney General Greg Abbott says he won't participate in the only scheduled gubernatorial debate against his opponent Wendy Davis.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune for KUT News

Republican candidate Greg Abbott has reversed his decision to appear in the only gubernatorial debate to be broadcast on statewide television. 

Abbot and his Democractic opponent, Wendy Davis, had both agreed to participate in a roundtable debate in Dallas on Sept. 30 broadcast on WFAA.  But Abbott's team reversed an earlier decision and said it will not participate because of disagreements with the round-table format. 

Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss Abbott's decision and whether the 2016 presidential election speculations are over-shadowing the Texas governor's race.  

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Education
12:00 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Why Texas Says It's Not Prime Time to Give Deion Sanders' Charter School State Money

Sanders as an NFL Network analyst in 2008.
Michael De Jesus Wikimedia Commons

Football legend Deion Sanders is used to the media spotlight. The two-time Super Bowl winner earned the nickname "Prime Time" for his flashy style and aggressive speed. But it's his Prime Prep Academy that's been grabbing headlines lately. 

The charter school founded by the former Dallas Cowboys cornerback suffered a string of setback, including allegations that led the Texas Education Agency to revoke its charter. The school is currently appealing the decision, but it's in hot water once again for opening a second campus without TEA approval. 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to Dallas Morning News reporter Jeff Mosier about the state of the charter school and its outspoken founder. You can read some of the interview highlights below. 

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Education
3:13 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Texas School Finance System

Judge John Dietz issued a ruling calling the state's school finance system constitutionally inadequate.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Today, Travis County District Court Judge John Dietz issued a ruling that finds the way Texas pays for public schools unconstitutional, calling it a de facto statewide property tax.

The case was brought by hundreds of Texas school districts after the state legislature cut $5 billion from public school funding in 2011.

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Texas Standard
2:47 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Evan Smith on the Rick Perry Indictment: 'Nobody Knows Anything'

Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith says Rick Perry's indictment – which launched many memes – will be settled in court. "These rallies and public relations efforts and expensive lawyers and ice cream cones … it does not make a bit of difference."

This week was a big week for Texas Politics. Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to talk about Rick Perry's indictment and whether or not the controversy will be a political win for the self-described "awesome" governor.

"They sound serious, but we don’t know what they’re about," Smith says of the charges. "The reality is that nobody knows what they’re about."

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Perry Indictment
11:15 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Perry Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Charges

Gov. Rick Perry addresses a gathered crowd of media, supporters and protesters at the Travis County Courthouse where he surrendered himself to county authorities to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry has pled not guilty to charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, both felonies. The charges stem from Perry's threat to veto funding for the Travis County District Attorney's anti-corruption unit, unless DA Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.

The governor and his lawyers decided to waive Friday's scheduled arraignment at the Travis County courthouse. Perry's private lawyer David Botsford submitted the waiver of arraignment to the court yesterday when he was booked at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday.

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Perry Indictment
11:15 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Here's What You Need to Know About Gov. Perry's Indictment

Governor Rick Perry at a press conference on August 16, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

On Friday, special prosecutor Michael McCrum announced a Travis County grand jury decided to indict the Texas’ longest serving governor, with two felonies – one charge of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

When Gov. Rick Perry makes his first appearance in court (at a date to be determined) he will have the charges read to him, but likely won’t face booking in the Travis County Jail, fingerprinting or a mugshot.

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Politics
7:36 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Governor Rick Perry Indicted on Two Felony Charges

Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Editor's note: We are continuing to update this post with reaction and developments in this story.

A Travis County grand jury has indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony charges related to his 2013 veto of funding for the county's Public Integrity Unit.

He's charged with abuse of official capacity (a first-degree felony) and coercion of a public servant (a third-degree felony). The two felony charges are the first against a Texas governor in nearly a century, and carry possible sentences of up to 99 and 10 years respectively. 

Since he's been charged with a felony, the governor will be booked and arraigned. The date for that is likely to be set Monday. The charges could lead to a trial.

The special prosecutor behind the case, Michael McCrum, said he interviewed over 40 people and reviewed hundreds of documents and dozens of cases to make his case before the Grand Jury. "I looked at the law and I looked at the facts," McCrum said. 

Governor Perry's office responded to the charges with a statement that "the veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution." They maintain the governor acted within the law and power of his office. 

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Border & Immigration
1:55 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Watch: Gov. Perry's Border Announcement

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ordering National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.

Gov. Perry says the U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed with the humanitarian needs of the tens of thousands of children coming in from Central America, and unable to devote enough of its resources to border security.

Perry is also calling on the federal government to pay for another 1,000 guard troops at the border until more Border Patrol officers can be brought in. The announcement follows last month’s deployment of Texas DPS resources to the Rio Grande.

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Elections 2014
4:59 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Can Democrats Really Keep Up With Republicans in the Fundraising Race?

Texas Democrats may be raising more money from individual donors, but Republican campaigns have proven adept at consistently garnering campaign-sustaining contributions.
Photo by KUT News

Both candidates in the race for governor have raised $11 million since late February. In the race for lieutenant governor, the Democratic candidate beat out the heavily-favored Republican nominee in fundraising over the last campaign finance reporting period. To some that could appear to be a watershed moment in Texas politics for red state Democrats, but The Austin American-Statesman's chief political writer Jonathan Tilove says the moment is a bit misleading, if not one-sided.  

Tilove spoke with The Texas Standard's David Brown about whether the Democrats' historic fundraising efforts will be enough to defeat their Republican opponents in November. 

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Obama in Austin
3:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

President Obama is Back in Austin Today

President Barack Obama addresses a crowd in the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin, Texas on Thursday.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Note: This post initially contained the White House livestream of Obama's speech. As the speech has concluded and is not yet archived, we have removed the embed.

A recap:

President Obama is flying back to Washington DC after spending the night in Austin. This morning, Obama attended a round table discussion at the home of Democratic activist Aimee Boone Cunningham and then drove the Paramount Theater to deliver a speech – the first time a president has spoken at the Paramount since it opened in 1915.

The president's speech focused on economic opportunity and the middle class. Obama attacked Congressional Republicans for not agreeing to increase the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance benefits or pass equal pay laws. 

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Austin
4:09 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

UT President Bill Powers Will Stay One More Year

Embattled University of Texas President Bill Powers resigned today under the threat of firing from the university's board of regents.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers has announced his resignation, effective about a year from now on June 2, 2015.

Last week, U.T. System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa called on Powers to resign or face being fired at tomorrow’s meeting of the Board of Regents. Powers responded with a letter asking that he stay on until after the next session of the Texas Legislature. Cigarroa has accepted Powers' letter of resignation; the Board of Regents still needs to sign off on it. 

Below, you can listen to Powers' exclusive interview with Texas Standard's David Brown about what he wishes to accomplish in his remaining year and his future with the University of Texas.

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City Council
3:36 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Dais Gets Renovated Ahead of Changes at City Council

Crew members disassemble the dais on July 9, 2014.
Bryan Winter/KUT

Come November the Austin City Council is going to look a bit different. The council will expand from six at-large-elected  members to 10 members elected by citizens within their district — plus the mayor, naturally. In anticipation of the change, the city is revamping the council's dais. 

Immigration
5:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Texas Militias Plan to Patrol the Border Near Laredo

Operation Secure Our Border could head down to the Texas-Mexico border as soon as next week.
Facebook

Militia groups are planning their own response to the recent flood of Central American immigrants across the Texas-Mexico border, according to a San Antonio Express-News report. The initiative called Operation Secure Our Border says it is recruiting armed volunteers to bolster law enforcement and border patrols near Laredo as soon as next week, but that they will not directly engage any so-called "illegals."

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