Veronica Zaragovia

State Reporter

Veronica Zaragovia reports on state government for KUT. She's reported as a legislative relief news person with the Associated Press in South Dakota and has contributed reporting to NPR, PRI's The World, Here & Now and Latino USA, the Agence France Presse, TIME in Hong Kong and PBS NewsHour, among others. She has two degrees from Columbia University, and has dedicated much of her adult life to traveling, learning languages and drinking iced coffee. 

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
12:23 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Bill Would Change Rules for Non-English Mail-In Ballots

Lawmakers may change voting by mail by making multi-language ballots optional instead of the default option.
flickr.com/miikka_skaffari

Lawmakers are looking at a bill today that would change the requirements for mail-in ballots in Harris County. The county would no longer need to send out ballots in a language other than English, unless it’s requested by the voter.

The Harris County clerk says it costs a lot to print and send mail-in ballots to eligible voters. That’s because the county must print ballots in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.

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Politics
6:26 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Lawmakers, Public Debate Guns on Campus

Gun legislation drawing comments and criticism
Liang Shi for KUT

Students, parents and police testified Thursday on four bills that would allow some people to carry guns onto college campuses in Texas.

People crammed into a room at the Capitol to testify before the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. One of the bills the committee is considering would allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to carry a weapon at a public university. 

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
4:59 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Bill Would Stop Cops From Drawing Blood After DWI Stops

As it is now, police officers can draw blood from a DWI suspect if they have training.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

In Texas, if a motorist suspected of drunk driving refuses a breath test, a police officer can get a search warrant to draw a blood sample.

A few police departments in the state allow trained officers to draw the blood themselves. Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Spring, has introduced a bill that would require that medical professionals draw blood. She says officers should focus on patrolling streets.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
4:35 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Should Pols Running for Higher Office Pay Their Own Security?

A Michigan crowd watches Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential campaign. Perry had the state pay for his security as he traveled the country campaigning.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Future presidential candidates from Texas may have to foot the bill for their own security on the campaign trail.

Gov. Rick Perry’s unsuccessful run at the White House last year cost taxpayers $3.7 million. And state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said at a House committee meeting today that the cost of non-state-related security is a burden to Texans.

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Politics
8:25 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Challenging Work Standards for Texas Hotel Housekeepers

Some people in the hotel industry say the requirements outlined in the Texas bill would be bad for business.
flickr.com/bwalsh

Texas lawmakers are looking at a bill that would set new standards for hotel housekeeping workers. The bill’s author says the workers are not getting fair treatment, but some in the hotel industry disagree.

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) says if Texas hotels can prove housekeepers earn minimum wage, she’ll drop her bill. But, she says, she’s skeptical they can.

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Education
7:17 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Veterans Education Requirements Putting Strain on Texas Colleges?

UT-Austin's Student Veterans Services guides veterans through the benefits of the Hazelwood Act.
Teresa Vieira for KUT News

Colleges and universities in Texas are struggling to pay for the tuition benefits they give to qualifying veterans and their dependents as part of a program called the Hazlewood Act.

As the number of veterans rises, higher education leaders say their institutions need help tackling the costs.

“We continuously get pulled at not to increase tuition. We don’t want to increase tuition. But those are the issues that we follow," Kenth Hance, Texas Tech University Systems Chancellor, says.

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