Politics

Politics
9:33 am
Mon May 25, 2015

House Will Take Up Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In a dramatic turn of events, the House Calendars Committee on Sunday night reversed course and sent a controversial bill prohibiting health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace from covering abortions to the full chamber for a vote.

Earlier in the night, the committee voted not to place Senate Bill 575 by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor on the lower chamber’s calendar for Tuesday — the last day a Senate bill can be passed by the House. After fireworks on the House floor instigated by a lawmaker who believed he had entered into an agreement to get the bill to the full chamber, the committee reconvened and reconsidered its vote. 

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2015 Legislative Session
10:44 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

After One More Gun Fight, Open Carry Passes Senate

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita, Falls, center, and Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speak to Karina Davis the Senate Parliamentarian on March 16th, 2015.
Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

After more than six hours — and a testy debate that escalated dramatically when unusual alliances formed between a few Democrats and a group of Tea Party-backed Republicans — the Texas Senate approved a measure loosening state restrictions on handguns Friday.

The legislation allowing Texans with licenses to carry handguns openly eventually passed on a final 20 to 11 vote along party lines.

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2016 Election
4:09 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Perry Says He Would Not Have Ordered Invasion of Iraq

Former Gov. Rick Perry meets with Iowans on May 18, 2015, in Sioux Center. Perry, who's expected to announce his 2016 presidential campaign in June, spent the day traveling across the northwest part of the state.
Credit Patrick Svitek/Texas Tribune

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — Former Gov. Rick Perry on Monday weighed in on the latest issue to animate the GOP’s 2016 presidential field, volunteering that he would not have invaded Iraq knowing what he does now. 

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Politics
12:40 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

The Ticket: Marco Rubio and Gearge Seay

Credit Screenshot courtesy ABC News

This week on The Ticket: We break down the presidential campaign announcement by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and chat with Rubio supporter George Seay, who was Rick Perry's state finance chairman in the 2012 campaign.

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Politics
3:15 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Texas Senate Approves Bill Allowing Ministers Right to Deny Same-Sex Marriages

The Senate gave tentative approval to a bill that would allow Texas clergy to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
Credit Morguefile/flickr

Today the Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill — the Pastor Protection Act — that would allow religious ministers the right to deny performing a marriage ceremony to a couple if doing so would violate his or her religious beliefs. While the bill's sponsor, Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), acknowledged an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that could legalize same-sex marriage, he said the bill is designed to protect clergy members from potential lawsuits.  

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Politics
8:57 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Election Results: San Antonio Mayoral Race Leads to Runoff, Georgetown Approves Transportation Bond

KUT News

Elections were held this weekend in a number of cities and school districts in the Austin area, but not in Austin itself. In the Eanes Independent School District, there was a $52.5 million bond proposition, approved by 65% of the votes. Eanes ISD says the bond package addresses capital improvements, replaces buses, improves technology and returns land to campuses by moving district functions into a District Operations Center.

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Politics
3:50 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Texas Senate Passes Bill That Would Allow Patients Limited Medical Marijuana Access

Credit flickr.com/esqenzo

From the Texas Tribune: Epilepsy patients in Texas would have access to medicinal oils containing a therapeutic component found in marijuana under legislation the state Senate passed Thursday.  

Senators voted 26-5 to pass Senate Bill 339, by Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, which would legalize oils containing cannabidiol (CBD), a component found in marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. If the measure passes the House, by 2018, the state would be able to regulate and distribute the oils to patients whose symptoms have not responded to federally approved medication. 

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The Ticket
1:05 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

The Ticket: Hillary Clinton and Garry Mauro

This week on The Ticket: We'll break down the presidential announcement video from Hillary Clinton and interview Garry Mauro, a 4-term Texas Land Commissioner, state campaign director for multiple presidential candidates, and unofficial (for now) worker on the Clinton 2016 campaign.

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2016 Election
10:00 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Ticket: Episode 2

The Ticket, produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune, is our new podcast focused on the 2016 presidential race.

In the second episode of The Ticket, KUT's Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root break down the presidential campaign announcement speech of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in another edition of “Stump Interrupted.”

They also talk with Mathew Dowd, who directed President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

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2015 Legislature
10:08 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Senate Approves Drug Testing for Political Candidates

A bill in the legislature would require those running for office in Texas to take a drug test when he or she files to run.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Any candidate seeking elected office in Texas would be required to take a drug test when he or she files to run, under a proposal that the state Senate approved Tuesday. But the idea may never take effect, since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned a similar law in the 1990s.

There wouldn’t be any consequences for failing the test under the rule, which was included as an amendment on far-reaching ethics legislation. But the results would be posted on the Texas Ethics Commission’s website.

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2016 Election
5:14 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

The Ticket: A Presidential Podcast

The Ticket, produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune, is our new podcast focused on the 2016 presidential race.

In the pilot episode of The Ticket, KUT's Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root bring back the Tribune's “Stump Interrupted” feature to break down Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement speech at Liberty University last month and talk with former Texas GOP Chairman and current Rand Paul campaigner Steve Munisteri.

Politics
6:11 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Public Integrity Unit Move Halted, For Now

Democrat's Point of Order sends bill back to committee
Liang Shi KUT News

A point of order from state representative Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso) delayed a vote on a bill that would remove a key function of the Public Integrity Unit. Among the duties of the Unit, a division of the Travis County District Attorney's Office, is investigating allegations of corruption leveled against state-level officials, such as members of the Texas Legislature or employees of state agencies.

Under the bill authored by state representative Phil King (R-Weatherford), that function would go away. Investigation would be the responsibility of the Texas Rangers, an elite division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Prosecution would be handled by the District Attorney's Office in the home county of the accused.   

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Agenda Texas
11:02 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Gov. Abbott's 5 Emergency Items: Where Are They Now?

Gov. Abbott laid out his call for this session's emergency items in his State of the State speech.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The Texas constitution requires lawmakers to pass one bill each session: the state budget, which was under (rather lengthy) discussion last week in the House and in the Senate this week. But governors can push their own to-do list at the start of each session in the form of emergency items.

In February, newly minted Gov. Greg Abbott named five of those priorities during his February State of the State speech, and today we're going to see how those bills are doing, by ranking their legislative progress so far this session.

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Election 2016
7:50 am
Wed April 8, 2015

In Anticipation of Likely Presidential Run, Perry's Image Gets an Upgrade

Rick Perry is expected to run again for President. Since his last try, he's undergone a few changes.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune; Screenshot from Fox News

First there was Ted Cruz. Then yesterday, Rand Paul joined the mix. Eventually, former Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to announce his run — his second — for the Republican Presidential nomination. His first run, in 2011-12, didn’t end well.

But the former Texas Governor and his team have been working to undo past damage and build a better Perry: Perry 2.0.

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Texas Standard
12:09 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Texas Bills Could Change How You Interact with Your Insurance Provider

In 2012, McAllen, Texas was hit with a hail storm that damaged cars and buildings. Now, insurance claims from that storm and others are up for debate in the legislature.
Via Win Henerson

Two companion bills in the House and the Senate aim to change the way you interact with your insurance company.

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Election 2016
8:54 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul Announces 2016 Presidential Run

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., listens to a question at the Epoch Restaurant in Exeter, N.H., on March 21. Paul announced his presidential run today in Louisville, Ky.
Cheryl Senter AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 11:42 am

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced today that he will seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

"I have a message — a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words," he told supporters in Louisville, Ky. "We've come to take our country back."

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2016 Presidential Election
11:42 am
Fri April 3, 2015

3 Surprising Things About Ted Cruz's Campaign

Ted Cruz meets voters in Des Moines.
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Texas Senator Ted Cruz heads to South Carolina today on the next leg of his presidential campaign. KUT’s Ben Philpott has been following his first week on the campaign trail. While much of the week was predictably standard fare for Cruz – and presidential candidates in general – there were a couple things that stood out.

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Election 2016
9:01 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Ted Cruz, Still the Sole Official Presidential Candidate, Courts Young Voters in Iowa

Sen. and 2016 Presidential candidate Ted Cruz campaigns in Iowa. He and other Republicans are expected to focus on winning the youth vote this election.
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Seventy percent of young adults who voted in 2012 voted for President Barack Obama. Some post-election analysis said Republican nominee Mitt Romney could have won if he had split that vote in a handful of key states.

So expect to see a heavy push towards the youth vote from Republicans this election. That includes Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who's campaigning in Iowa this week. How's his message being received by young voters on the campaign trail?

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Politics
6:28 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Pharmacists Group Votes To Discourage Members From Providing Execution Drugs

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 7:16 pm

The largest pharmacist association in the country has voted to discourage its members from participating in executions.

The move could make executions harder for states that have been ordering their drugs from compounding pharmacies. As we've reported, some states like Texas turned to the pharmacies after big pharmaceutical companies — under pressure from death penalty opponents — decided to stop selling their drugs to U.S. prisons.

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2016 Presidential Election
11:19 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Are New Hampshire GOP Primary Voters Tired of Texas Candidates?

Ted Cruz speaks in New Hampshire; Rick Perry appears on Fox News earlier this year.
Ben Philpott/KUT News; YouTube screenshot

From George W. Bush to Ron Paul to Rick Perry — and now Ted Cruz and, presumably, Perry together — the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary has had a Texan on the ticket for a while. And while Republicans in Texas may say that with pride, how do the people of New Hampshire feel about Texans in the race?

By and large, most New Hampshire residents said they weren’t feeling the “Texas fatigue” one might expect with the continual stable of Lone Star candidates. In the case of Cruz, who was there last weekend kicking off his campaign, his proposals outshone any regional biases. In the case of Perry, some primary voters showed surprising support for a candidate who placed sixth in the 2012 contest.

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