Politics

Ferguson
8:32 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Ferguson Jury: No Charges For Officer In Michael Brown's Death

Lesley McSpadden (wearing sunglasses), the mother of Michael Brown, reacts as she listens to the announcement of the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday. The panel found there was no probable cause to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Brown.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 7:10 am

This post was last updated at 12:03 a.m. ET.

A grand jury did not indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for any crimes related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed and black, in an Aug. 9 incident that has stoked anger and debate in Ferguson and beyond.

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Politics
8:34 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Will Step Down, Once Successor Is Confirmed

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 12:34 pm

(This post was last updated at 11:41 a.m. ET.)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the highest-profile Republican on President Obama's Cabinet, will step down, once his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Calling Hagel an "exemplary defense secretary," Obama made the announcement in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday.

Hagel, a two-term Republican senator, came to the post in February of 2013, the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense.

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Texas Standard
4:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

What Can Immigrants Expect Following Obama's Executive Order?

Immigration reform advocates protest in this file photo from 2009.
Mariana Salazar for KUT

President Barack Obama announced broad changes to national immigration policy last night, affecting up to five million undocumented U.S. residents.

Immigrants who have been living in the United States for at least five years, who have children who are U.S. citizens or whose children are legal residents, may stay in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation, provided they register with the government, pass a criminal background check and pay their taxes. 

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Border & Immigration
7:53 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Obama Goes It Alone, Shielding Up To 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

President Obama announces executive actions on U.S. immigration policy during a nationally televised address from the White House on Thursday.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:01 pm

After six years of often bitter back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over the issue of immigration, President Obama announced he has decided to go it alone by temporarily shielding up to 5 million immigrants from being deported.

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Politics
10:36 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Van de Putte Resigning to Run for San Antonio Mayor

Credit Janis Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two weeks after losing her bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte on Wednesday night announced that she was running for mayor of San Antonio and would not finish her term at the Texas Capitol.

“I’m running for mayor. I’m coming home,” Van de Putte said in an interview with KSAT-TV. "My decision to run for mayor had to do with how I can serve the people the best."

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Texas Standard
3:12 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Could a Student Massacre Launch Mexico's Arab Spring?

A Mexican flag flies in the city of Iguala.
Flickr user Ricardo Maldonado, https://flic.kr/p/5ajTQf

Members of a teacher's union set fire to a local legislative hall. Molotov cocktails splatter against the walls of a ministerial building. A police commander is grabbed off the street by protestors, while students torch state-owned trucks and try to storm the national palace.

This all sounds like scenes from the Arab Spring. But these are snapshots from south of our border right now. It's a popular uprising that's spreading across Mexico triggered by the presumed massacre of 43 students in Iguala.

Some are calling this Mexico's watershed moment, including Alfredo Corchado, Mexico City correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and author of  "Midnight in Mexico". He speaks with Texas Standard's David Brown about what's next for the country. 

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2015 Legislative Session
12:24 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Bill Filings Begin: Four Things to Look for in the 2015 Texas Legislature

The Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 13, but what will lawmakers be considering?
Liang Shi for KUT

It's that time of the biennium.

The 84th Texas Legislature is just a few short months away, and state lawmakers are already filing their bills for the first Rick Perry-less session this side of the millennium. So far, the bills include legislative pet projects like texting and driving bans, open carry initiatives and tax cuts. Other proposals target tougher statewide issues like transportation funding and state budgeting.

You can find a roundup of issues that state lawmakers are considering below.

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Texas Standard
3:31 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What Conventional Wisdom Gets Wrong About Texas Politics

The Texas Delegation at the Republican National Convention in 2008
Tom LeGro for PBS NewsHour Flickr; https://flic.kr/p/5ixDyb

For much of this election year there was powerful conventional wisdom about the race for governor in Texas: Democrat Wendy Davis couldn’t win, Republicans couldn’t lose and Texas wouldn’t change.

Now that Election Day has come and gone, it’s clear that that conventional wisdom got a good bit right. But in the eyes of author and commentator Richard Parker, [it] got a good bit wrong as well. 

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Politics
2:33 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What's In Store For The Texas Legislature?

The Texas House of Represenative chambers
flickr.com/garyjd

Now that the elections are over the big question on everybody’s mind is – what now? What changes will we see coming in the state and what battles will be fought in the halls of the Texas Legislature? If Texas knows anything - it’s how to make legislative waves. In recent memory Texas gained national notoriety for a variety of topics ranging from its voter ID law to its much debated abortion restrictions.

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Texas Standard
12:47 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Did Campaign Ads Work in Texas?

A still from Wendy Davis' controversial "wheelchair" ad.
youtube.com

Now that Election Day's come and gone, you've probably noticed something different on your television screen – the election cycles' wide assortment of political ads have finally relented.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, about $62 million was spent on campaign ads in Texas this election cycle – earning it the No. 2 spot on ad spending nationally.  

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2014 Texas Elections
10:30 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Biographies Collide in Race for Texas Comptroller

Mike Collier (D) and Glenn Hegar (R) each believe their work experience will make them a good Comptroller.
via Texas Tribune

The Texas Comptroller has the very important job of telling lawmakers how much money they have to spend in each 2-year budget. Getting that answer wrong can lead to millions or billions in unnecessary budget cuts.

The top two candidates running this year both say they'll be the person to make the office better.

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2014 Texas Elections
9:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

The Invisible Campaign for Texas Attorney General

Democrat Sam Houston (left) has been alone on the campaign trail, as Republican Ken Paxton (right) has made few public appearences.
Texas Tribune: Michael Stravato / Cooper Neill

Texas is a Red state. All things being equal, if two candidates have equal access to money and equal get out the vote efforts, the Republican is going to be favored and might even win by double digits.

The 2014 race for Texas Attorney General is setting up to be a pure representation of that Republican advantage.

The GOP nominee, State Senator Ken Paxton, has refused to speak to the press, has made almost no public campaign appearances. He has admitted to violating state securities law, and hasn't released a campaign ad since his GOP primary. And yet, recent polls have him 20 points ahead of Democrat Sam Houston.

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2014 Texas Elections
7:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

The Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor

State Senator Dan Patrick (left) and state Senator Leticia van de Putte.
Credit Bob Daemmrich / Alyssa Banata/Texas Tribune

It's known as the most powerful office in Texas government. And for the first time in 12 years, this Election Day, Texans will choose a new Lieutenant Governor to run the Texas Senate.

Republican nominee state Senator Dan Patrick defeated the incumbent David Dewhurst in a rough GOP primary, where the candidate who won the title as the 'most conservative' won the voters' favor.

Patrick has taken up the mantle of Tea Party crusader in the Texas Legislature. If elected, he has promised to do things that the most conservative activists have wanted to see for years. He's pushing for the elimination of a Senate rule that requires a bill to have support of two-thirds of senators before it can come up for vote.

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2014 Texas Elections
6:15 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Central Texas Boasts Many Legislative Races, Little Intrigue

Credit Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis have criss-crossed the state and spent millions on who will be the state's next governor. But here in Central Texas, the local races for state office have left little to no intrigue.

Now, we're not the Associated Press; we're not calling races. And KUT doesn't endorse candidates. But, there are a number of races where, barring an upset of historic proportions, we already know who's going to win.

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2014 Texas Elections
5:05 am
Tue November 4, 2014

A Lyrical Guide to Austin's Long Election Day Ballot

A ballot this long can have all the drama and emotion of a night at the opera.
flickr.com/photos/philippeos/

It's finally Election Day.

After months of campaigning, thousands of commercials, and tons of ads stuffing your mailbox, statewide and local races will be decided today. But be warned, with Austin’s city elections moving to November, this year's ballot is LONG.

But luckily, KUT's Ben Philpott is here with a lyrical guide to getting through the ballot.

2014 Texas Elections
4:32 am
Tue November 4, 2014

In Davis vs. Abbott, Hopes For a Competitive Race for Texas Governor

State Senator Wendy Davis (left) and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (right).
Credit Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

This year's governor's race was billed as the first actual competitive race for Texas governor since Ann Richards lost to George Bush in 1994. Current Governor Rick Perry was stepping down, making way for Attorney General Greg Abbott to take the GOP nomination. Newly-minted national political celebrity State Senator Wendy Davis made a run for Democrats.

But unless something unexpected happens today, the race could be a repeat of the GOP 12 point win in 2010.

The race opened with Abbott finally stepping out of Governor Perry's nearly 14 year shadow. Perry announced he would not seek a fourth full term on July 8th. Less than a week later, after years of waiting...and raising a bunch of money, Abbott finally announced his run for the governor's office.

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Politics
8:33 am
Mon November 3, 2014

As Planned, Right-To-Die Advocate Brittany Maynard Ends Her Life

This undated photo provided by the Maynard family shows Brittany Maynard, who ended her life on Saturday.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 12:33 pm

Brittany Maynard, who was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor, went through with her plan to end her life on Saturday at her home in Oregon.

Maynard, who spoke publicly about her choice to end her life, revived the debate of assisted suicide in the United States.

In an obituary posted to her site on Sunday night, Maynard is said to have had a "brief but solid 29 years." This past year, she was diagnosed with a stage 4 malignant brain tumor.

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Texas Standard
3:48 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Texas Learns High Voter Registration Doesn't Always Mean High Turnout

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Today's the last day of early voting in Texas.

Reports had voter turnout trending well above average on that first day of polling, but that narrative has since fizzled. The Texas Tribune reports overall voter turnout is down in most of the state, compared to the last midterm election in 2010 ­– or at least so far. So what happened?

Texas Standard’s David Brown sits down with Regina Lawrence, the director for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and a professor at UT-Austin, to discuss Texas’ voter turnout. 

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2014 Texas Elections
2:40 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Texas Candidates Release Last Second Ads

Glenn Hegar's recent ad.
screen capture of Glenn Hager video

Early voting wraps up today. Candidates have spent the last two weeks focused on get-out-the-vote efforts, making sure supporters don't forget to cast a ballot. But campaigns have also released final campaign videos, maybe in hopes of winning the votes of those few remaining undecided Texans.

These ads can take many different forms, from traditional television ads to testimonials from supporters. So for your viewing pleasure, we've compiled a short list of ads from the state's top races that have been released in the last week.

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