Politics

Politics
11:15 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Workman Wins in Republican Primary

In Texas House District 47 covering western Travis County, incumbent Paul Workman handily won his Republican primary.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Workman bested Ryan Downton, 67 percent (9,644 votes) to 33 percent (4,782). 

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Politics
10:57 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Republican Battle for U.S. Senate Going to Runoff

The Republican skirmish for the U.S. Senate nomination isn’t any anywhere anytime soon.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is stopping short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff. He currently has 46 percent of the vote, or 499,817 votes.            

Former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz is second in a nine candidate field with 33 percent, or 359,177 votes.

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Politics
9:12 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Nail-Biter in Senate District 25

From left: Donna Campbell, Elizabeth Ames Jones and Jeff Wentworth are nearly locked neck and neck.
Photo illustration by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Looks like it could be bad news for incumbent State Senator Jeff Wentworth, whose District 25 covers part of Austin.

With just under eight percent of precincts reporting, Wentworth is locked in a three-way battle with challengers Donna Campbell and Elizabeth Ames Jones. Wentworth has locked up 36 percent. Campbell and Ames Jones have secured 32 percent each.

A former railroad commissioner, Ames Jones resigned her post in February to run in the state senate primary. Clashes between Wentworth and Ames Jones, including the former’s lawsuit against the latter, and an anti-Wentworth website squatting at jeffwentworth.com  reflect the tough tenor of the campaign.

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Politics
10:30 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Polls Show Obama's Support For Gay Marriage Influencing Blacks

President Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room May 9. In an interview with ABC, he said he supports gay marriage.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 10:27 am

In this space earlier this month, I wrote about whether President Obama would face a backlash from African-Americans for his endorsement of same-sex marriage. (He hasn't.) I made mention of a random field experiment in which 285 black people in Cook County, Ill., were polled about gay marriage.

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Politics
9:04 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Remember the Debt Ceiling Debate? It's Back

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks at the 2012 Fiscal Summit held by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation on May 15 in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:22 pm

A storm is brewing in Washington that could darken political debate for months to come. It's about the debt, the deficit, taxes and spending — all hot topics lawmakers have been fighting about for years now.

This time, though, there's a deadline, and the consequences of inaction would be immediate. That has many in Washington saying: Here we go again.

In the past week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have begun a new round of sparring over the U.S. debt ceiling.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:31 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Romney Pivots to Education Platform in Seeking Latino Votes

Mitt Romney speaks at the Latino Coalition annual economic summit Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:39 pm

Declaring that a "national emergency" exists in public education, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shifted from his usual economic message to outline his education platform during a speech to a Latino business group Wednesday.

Romney pledged to provide federal funding for "every" child from low-income families, or those with special needs, to attend the public, public charter or, in some cases, private school of their parents' choice. The proposals are boilerplate Republican Party planks.

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Texas Legislature
2:10 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Crime Victims Fund Running Low

A fund used to compensate victims of violent crime is not meeting its benchmarks, lawmakers learned today.
Image courtesy Office of the Texas Attorney General

The state fund used to compensate some crime victims is facing major financial problems.

That's what members of the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard today. Lawmakers learned that court fees going into the fund have fallen in the past three years – creating a short term deficit and threatening the long-term survival of the fund, according to the Associated Press.

The Crime Victims' Compensation program assists those affected by violent or traumatic crimes, offering up to $75,000 in cases of “catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability.” 

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Politics
4:40 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Legislators' Complaint Targets Conservative Activist

Photo courtesy Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Michael Quinn Sullivan and the influential conservative group he leads, Empower Texans, haven't filed required disclosure reports on their lobbying and campaign activities, two Republican state legislators said in formal complaints filed today with the Texas Ethics Commission.

In one complaint, Reps. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Vicki Truitt, R-Southlake, said Sullivan lobbied in 2010 and 2011 without filing the required lobbyist disclosures that he had filed up until that time.

In their filing, they said Sullivan and his employees lobbied lawmakers during the last quarter of 2010 and into 2011, when lawmakers began their most recent legislative session. "That direct communication included written communications directed to elected members of the Texas House of Representatives and staff employed by them expressing the action on legislation preferred by Mr. Sullivan's employer," they wrote.

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Texas
3:51 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Lone Star State Of Mind: Could Texas Go It Alone?

Lone Star Nation: Today, the Texas capitol flies both the American and Texas flags, but after independence the Lone Star flag would fly on its own.
Steve Dunwell Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:46 pm

It's a popular idea in Texas that the Lone Star State — once an independent republic — could break away and go it alone. A few years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted that if Washington didn't stop meddling in his state, independence might be an option. In his brief run for the White House, he insisted that nearly anything the feds do, the states — and Texas in particular — could do better.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:46 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Super PAC Comes to Austin

A UT chapter of the Colbert Super PAC was announced yesterday.
Image courtesy comedycentral.com

Political satirist Stephen Colbert has made plenty of mischief in the Republican presidential primary with his real-life political action committee. And now the mischief is spreading to the University of Texas.

Last night, the “Colbert Report” host announced he was encouraging college chapter PACs to operate under the umbrella of his Super PAC, Americans for A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. The motivation was an email Colbert shared with his audience from UT student Paul Benefiel, who cited “an overwhelming urge” to open a Colbert PAC on the 40 Acres. And with that, Colbert gave his imprimatur to Texans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Arising from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark “Citizens United” decision striking down a prohibition on corporate contributions to political action committees, opponents argue Super PACs distort the electoral landscape by drastically increasing the expense of campaigns.

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Politics
2:24 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

We Read The 2013 Budget So You Don't Have To

A congressional staffer collects copies of the president's 2013 budget request from the Senate Budget Committee on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 1:43 pm

NPR reporters are analyzing the president's 2013 budget proposal. We'll be adding to this post as we get additional budget breakdowns. Check back for updates.

Overview

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Politics
11:24 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Keystone Pipeline Application to be Rejected, Sources Say

If completed, the Keystone XL pipeline will stretch from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Image courtesy transcanada.com

Approval for the Keystone XL pipeline – a controversial 1,700 mile pipeline designed to transport oil sands from Canada all the way to Texas ports along the Gulf of Mexico – is expected to be rejected today by the Obama Administration, according to a report from The Washington Post.

StateImpact Texas notes the announcement comes just a few weeks before the Obama administration would have been forced to make a decision on the proposal.

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Politics
12:39 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Hispanic Lawmakers Like Redistricting Proposal

The House side of the US Capitol building
Photo by jcolman http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcolman/

New congressional maps proposed today by a San Antonio court will protect Hispanic influence in federal politics, according to a group of Latino state lawmakers.

A panel of three judges proposed this map today and is seeking feedback by Friday. Their proposal comes after a federal court in Washington, D.C. blocked redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-dominated state legislature.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:04 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Watchdog Group Skeptical of Perry's Overhaul Plan

This week, GOP presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry outlined his plans to criminalize insider trading in Congress and to make it a part-time body, similar to the Texas Legislature. One fiscal watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice, warns that Perry should be careful what he wishes for. The Lone Star state, they say, may not be a model of good government.

Health
12:13 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

1st Birthday for Federal Healthcare Bill

A birthday those opposed to the Federal Law aren't celebrating
Photo by KUT News

O.K.  We're actually a couple of days early, since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010.  But advocacy groups have been celebrating/commiserating the anniversary for the last week…so we thought we'd give you a sampling of what's already out there.

Political parties are saying pretty much what each has been saying over the last year.  Democtrats seem to be keeping quite so far... but those on the "Right" are vocal about their displeasure.

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Texas
3:39 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

"Double-Dipping" Bill Filed in Legislature

A Fort Worth Republican lawmaker proposes bill aimed at tightening some campaign spending rules.
Image by KUT News

State Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), filed today an bill that takes aim at double-dipping by  Texas politicians.

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Politics
3:54 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Initial Report Gives HD 48 to Rep. Howard by 4 Votes

Rep. Howard gets initial nod in election challenge
Picture Courtesy The Texas Tribune

A state lawmaker tasked with investigating an election challenge in a Travis County House District says Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the winner by 4 votes over her GOP challenger Dan Neil.  Howard won re-election to the Texas House on Election Day by 16 votes.  A recount lowered the margin to 12.

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Education
10:51 am
Tue January 18, 2011

Eissler: Cutting Non-Teaching Staff To 2006 Levels Could Save $3 Billion

A view of the Capitol dome from inside the Capitol building.
Photo by KUT News

The man in charge of the House Education Committee in the Texas legislature is looking at ways to reduce spending as the state grapples with its massive budget gap. Rob Eissler says reducing the number of counselors, librarians, administrators to 2006 levels could save $3 billion in the next budget.

The story comes from KERA, our NPR sister station in Dallas. News director Shelley Kofler sent us this piece they ran this morning.

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Immigration
1:40 pm
Thu January 6, 2011

Immigration Battles Heat Up...Again

State Representative Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas) will lead the charge against immigration laws in the House.
KUT News

Ever since Arizona passed its controversial immigration law last year, some Texas lawmakers have been chomping at the bit for their chance to push similar legislation here.

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2010 Midterm Elections
9:24 pm
Tue November 2, 2010

Republican Party Keeps Building

The crowd at the GOP Watch Party in Creedmor, TX, keeps up with national election results.
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry was declared a winner around 8:30.  And his opponent Bill White delivered his concession speech around 9.  But Governor Perry is still a no-show in Buda.  The initial plan was for the governor to deliver his victory speech around 10 p.m. after a parade of other GOP winners had their turn in the spotlight.  And no one seems to think there's any reason to change the plan.

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