Gov. Rick Perry

KUT News

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today over same sex marriage, it was Family and Faith Day on the Texas Capitol grounds.

State officials, including Governor Rick Perry, joined hundreds of people who support what they call “Texas values.”

Bob Daemmrich / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Simmering tensions between University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and the UT Board of Regents keep rising: An article in the Houston Chronicle claims Gov. Rick Perry – who appoints the regents – “has communicated through emissaries that Powers should resign to avoid an embarrassing regents vote to fire him.”

Chronicle reporter Patricia Kilday Hart spoke with Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. Sen. Zaffirini argues that recent several actions by the Board of Regents – a special-called meeting to discuss a sexual encounter between assistant football coach Major Applewhite and an adult student, a sweeping open records request, and the controversial decision to re-investigate financial arrangements at the UT Law School foundation – are designed to “make life miserable” for Powers and lead to his resignation.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Despite an ongoing grant moratorium, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas received permission Wednesday from state leaders to move forward on contract negotiations for 25 grants that would bring renowned cancer researchers to Texas.

“We have worked hard to regain trust with our elected officials and the citizens of Texas,” Wayne Roberts, interim executive director at CPRIT, said in a statement. “We take this action as evidence that some progress has been made, and we will continue to work to strengthen this trust during the coming weeks and months.”

The researcher grants represent a combined $72 million and were formally approved by the CPRIT oversight board in late 2012 before the moratorium took effect. Many of the researchers had moved their families and research labs to Texas in anticipation of receiving CPRIT financing.

KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry reiterated his stance against Medicaid expansion today at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. Texas is the last large state still opting out of the expansion of Medicaid to people earning more than traditional recipients who still cannot afford private insurance.

In his speech, Perry chastised other Republican governors who he said have “folded in the face of federal bribery.”

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.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Federal and state elected officials are now exempted from the background checks required of visitors to the Governor’s Mansion, the Department of Public Safety said Tuesday.

Several members of the Texas Legislature had complained last week after learning they were required to undergo background checks before being allowed to enter the Governor’s Mansion for a reception hosted by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Angry legislators had asked DPS officials why the vetting they go through by Capitol security wasn’t sufficient for access to the Governor’s residence.

Felipa Rodrigues / KUT

Texas lawmakers are taking a fresh look at a statewide ban on texting while driving, but the Governor may not be budging.

Members of the House Transportation Committee heard testimony today from people whose relatives were killed in crashes blamed on use of mobile phones.

There are concerns about enforcement.

A veteran Houston Police officer says he has no trouble seeing when someone is texting behind the wheel, but as it is now, he has to wait for the driver to do something more dangerous before he can make a stop.

Spencer Selvidge, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry announced the appointment of Jeff Hildebrand and Ernest Aliseda, along with the re-appointment of Paul Foster of El Paso, to the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday.

Hildebrand, of Houston, is chairman and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company. Aliseda is the managing attorney of Loya Insurance group and a municipal judge for the city of McAllen. Foster, of El Paso, is the executive chairman of Western Refining Company.

Bob Daemmrich

Just six months ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Gov. Rick Scott were fishing together on FoxNews, pitching then-presidential contender Mitt Romney’s Medicare plan and arguing that decisions about health care should be made by states, not the federal government.

On Wednesday, Scott reversed course, joining a growing number of Republican governors who are reluctantly embracing the key tenet of President Obama’s federal health reform — a sweeping Medicaid expansion.

Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin will see sunny and mild weather today with a high approaching 70 degrees. A band of severe thunderstorms is expected to blow in Saturday night.

Lead Story: In Georgetown, it’s day five of a court of inquiry seeking answers into the case of Michael Morton. Wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife, Morton spent 25 years behind bars before he was cleared by DNA evidence.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Governor Rick Perry has made a habit of saying businesses from other states would be better off in Texas. Now, he’s bringing that message to the airwaves in California.

Governor Perry is courting Golden State companies with a 30 second radio spot that will run for the next week on stations in 5 cities – including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. His message, as always, focuses on the low-tax, low-regulation climate in Texas.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Governor Rick Perry says Attorney General Greg Abbott will not challenge him in the 2014 Republican primary if Perry decides to seek re-election.

“Greg is a dear friend. He has said clearly that if I ran again, he’s not going to be running against me," Perry said in an exclusive interview with Dallas TV station WFAA. 

KUT News

State lawmakers gathered Tuesday at the Capitol in support of a bill that would outlaw texting while driving. 

Both Senate Bill 28 and House Bill 63 would ban all forms of cell phone use while driving a vehicle—including texting, emailing and talking. This is the second attempt at a texting ban for both State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and State Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland). Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the last attempt in 2011

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Governor Perry delivered his seventh State of the State speech to the Texas Legislature Tuesday. In it, he laid out his priorities for the session – from water to taxes transportation.  

KUT’s Emily Donahue checked in with PolitiFact Texas' Gardner Selby, whose team reckons Perry kept a little over half of his campaign promises. 

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered his seventh state of the state address to the Texas Legislature Tuesday.

Looking back at Governor Perry’s past speeches, the state of our state has varied from strong, to vibrant, to good, back to strong…and now, "...It is my pleasure to report that the state of our state is stronger than ever," Perry said.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

In his 2013 State of the State address, Governor Rick Perry said Texas is “stronger than ever.”

In his address to the 83rd Texas Legislature this morning, Gov. Perry outlined priorities for the session: first and foremost is dispensing “at least” $1.8 billion in tax cuts and possible refunds over the next two years.

KUT News

Good morning! The Austin area will see highs in the upper-80s this afternoon. The National Weather Service has also issued a Red Flag Warning from 3 p.m. today through 3 p.m. Wednesday. The humidity will be low and the winds could gust up to 30 miles per hour—leading to higher wildfire danger. At the same time, there’s a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms.

Lead Story: The Austin Independent School District Board voted last night to add three single-sex schools to the district.

KUT News

By the state’s own reckoning, Texas’ population increased four percent  increase from 2011 to 2013.  And Lawmakers cut education spending by more than $5 billion last session. But Gov. Rick Perry says education spending has outpaced statewide enrollment growth, and by a wide margin.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Responding to petitions from Texas and seven other states calling for the right to secede, the White House called for healthy debate, but to not let "that debate tear us apart."

"In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing," wrote Jon Carson, director of the Office of Public Engagement, in a statement called "Our States Remain United." "Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted."

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers may have $29 billion more to spend on the state budget this session than they did in 2011. Now, Gov. Rick Perry is floating the idea of tax cuts.

Perry says lawmakers will have more than $101 billion in revenue over the next two years because of the economic climate Republicans have created in Texas. Increased revenue, he says is a reason to push for keeping a tight budget and avoiding increases -- and, as he told lawmakers during the Legislature’s opening day Tuesday, to consider tax cuts.

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