Politics

Politics
11:19 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Gov. Perry Signs Texas' Sweeping Abortion Bill Into Law

Gov. Rick Perry shakes hands with State. Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, one of the sponsors of House Bill 2, on July 18, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial bill into law this morning.

"It is a happy, celebratory day, and so many of you in this audience are the reason we're here today," Perry said. "In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon."

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Texas
9:14 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Watch the Daily Show's Lewis Black Rip Rick Perry

“Texas is calling?” Good thing I got caller ID,” Black says

Gov. Rick Perry’s radio and TV ads seeking to lure out-of-state jobs to Texas are beginning to get some serious pushback: Not from California Gov. Jerry Brown this time, or editorial pages in Connecticut or Illinois, but instead The Daily Show’s Lewis Black.

On last night’s Daily Show, comedian Black excoriated Gov. Perry’s latest round of business-poaching ads. Targeting employers in New York State, Perry says his state offers a reprieve to the Empire State’s atmosphere of “over-taxation, over-regulation and frivolous litigation.”

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Austin
10:59 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Long-Time Austin Activist Anne C. McAfee Fights to the End

A photo of McAfee at the State Capitol.
Travis County Democratic Party

Long-time Austin activist Anne C. McAfee passed away on Saturday.

McAfee, 82, passed away at her home last Saturday after complications from a stroke she suffered while attending a protest against abortion restrictions late last month, during State Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster of the bill.

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Politics
9:19 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Wendy Davis Raises Nearly $1 Million

State Sen. Wendy Davis at a Capitol rally in favor of abortion rights. Davis is currently weighing a gubernatorial run.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the new star of the Texas Democratic Party, raised nearly $1 million in the final two weeks of June, much of it from small donors who sent her money after she launched her famous filibuster of a restrictive abortion bill, her campaign will reveal Monday. 

According to figures that her campaign expects to report to the Texas Ethics Commission, the Fort Worth Democrat raised $933,000 between June 17 and June 30. Counting money left over from 2012, she ended the reporting period with more than $1 million in the bank.

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Politics
12:30 pm
Sat July 13, 2013

Photos: Over Protest, Senate Passes Abortion Bill; Tampons Confiscated From Gallery Watchers

An unidentified woman has her bag searched by a DPS officer outside the Senate chambers. Those looking to get inside the gallery had tampons, along with
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Senate has given a final vote to pass House Bill 2, passing it 19-11.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked Senators that  "whether you're Christian, whether you're a person of faith, that we not forget to love each other." He said he felt goose bumps by seeing the orange and blue shirts in the gallery.

Update: The fate of House Bill 2 has been decided for now. The Texas Senate voted preliminarily 19 to 11 to pass the measure, without any amendments.

They need to give the bill a final vote before it would go to Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature.

In the last stretch of the night, senators gave most of their most impassioned statements when they gave their closing remarks.

  • View a photo gallery of the day's events in the slideshow player at the top of this page.
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Austin
6:29 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Austin Rep. Mark Strama Resigns to Run Google Fiber Rollout (Update)

State Rep. Mark Strama is leaving politics for a tech job.
Spencer Selvidge via Texas Tribune

Update: Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced a special election to fill the State House of Representatives seat formerly held by Austin State Rep. Mark Strama will be held Nov. 5.

Strama resigned late last month to become the head of Google Fiber in Austin. The person elected will serve out the rest of Strama’s term – which expires in January 2015.

Original Story (June 26): Democratic Austin State Representative Mark Strama is leaving politics to become the head of Google Fiber in Austin.

Strama announced earlier this year that he’d be resigning his seat in the Texas House. At the time, he was considering running for Austin mayor.

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Austin
3:05 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Conservative Texas Think Tank Looks to Influence Local Policy

Voters cast their ballots at a Houston polling place. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, traditionally focused on state legislation, is now looking to influence local policy.
flickr.com/luna715

After influencing state policy at the Capitol, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) – a non-profit conservative think tank – is now turning its attention to local municipal governments.

TPPF officials say its new Center for Local Governance will work on the local level to tackle issues including spending, funding, local control and government transparency.

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Politics
6:53 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Senate Committee Wraps Testimony on Texas Abortion Bill

The line of those wishing to testify in the Capitol Extension. DPS estimates over 1,700 people waiting in line, some of whom have been waiting since early this morning.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Update: The Senate Health & Human Services Committee public hearing on Senate Bill 1 wrapped up just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. Senators did not vote on the bill.

Original Story (July 8, 10 a.m.): The Senate Health & Human Services Committee is holding a public hearing today on a bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas.

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Politics
1:59 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Texas Senators Wrap Abortion Testimony After March, Rally (Photos)

A line of state troopers blocks hundreds of protestors (primarily abortion-rights advocates) from the Capitol steps as an anti-abortion rally comes to a close Monday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

For the first time since State Sen. Wendy Davis' historic Senate filibuster last month, Texas senators revisited the abortion debate at a committee hearing that ended at almost 2 a.m. Tuesday.

There won't be a vote on this bill for now. Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, says the Senate will wait on the Texas House to approve its version of the bill. The full House is taking up the issue today.

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Politics
11:02 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Gov. Perry: 'I Will Not Seek Reelection'

Gov. Rick Perry delivering the 2013 State of the State in January. Perry announed plans for his political future today.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry – the longest serving governor in Texas history – has announced he will not seek reelection to a fourth term.

After first being elected to the Texas House in 1984 (as a Democrat), Perry ascended to Lieutenant Governor, and then moved up when George W. Bush left for the White House in December 2000.

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Politics
2:21 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Perry Leaving Governor's Office: Texas Politicos React

Attorney General Greg Abbott (L) and Gov. Rick Perry at a press conference in 2012. Abbott is widely considered a Republican frontrunner for governor.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement this afternoon that he will not seek another term in office has created an outpouring of reactions from Texas politicians  on both sides of the aisle.

KUT News is compiling those reactions, primarily from the Texas politicians Perry’s announcement is affecting deeply – those seeking higher office. 

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Texas
6:43 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry Will Keep Texas Guessing. Until Monday

Texas Gov. Rick Perry addresses the Conservative Political Action Committee in February 2012.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:36 pm

Will he or won't he?

The Texas political class has been abuzz this week about more than just Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' abortion bill filibuster-heard-round-the-nation.

The other occupying parlor game: Whether three-term Republican Gov. Rick Perry intends to seek an unprecedented fourth full term.

CNN and other news organizations reported Tuesday afternoon that Perry, a failed 2012 GOP presidential candidate, plans an announcement Monday about his "exciting future plans."

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Politics
7:24 am
Wed June 26, 2013

How Cheering Activists Defeated the Texas Abortion Bill

State Sen. Wendy Davis in the Senate chamber last night. A raucous crowd disrupted the last 10 or so minutes of the Legislature's special session, after Sen. Davis' filibuster ended.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Hundreds of supporters in orange shirts were at the Texas Capitol throughout the day on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, hoping to watch State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, successfully filibuster Senate Bill 5

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Politics
5:30 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Wendy Davis Filibuster Ends; Abortion Bill Defeated (Update)

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, beginning her filibuster this afternoon.
Credit Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: It's clear this morning that the vote to pass SB 5 came too late. The filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis was successful. Davis took to twitter with the news:

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Politics
8:05 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Hundreds Denied Chance to Speak at Texas Capitol Abortion Hearing

People for and against House Bills 16 and 60 filled the hearing room.
twitter.com/grrlforfashion

Hundreds of people who had signed up to testify at a Texas House Committee hearing on abortion restrictions yesterday didn’t get to speak. Committee Chairman Byron Cook closed testimony after 3 a.m. Friday.

The House Committee on State Affairs was considering legislation that would require abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The committee didn't vote on the bills.

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Texas
7:56 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Poll Shows Texans Unfamiliar with State's Prominent Politicians

According to the new poll, five percent of people said they had no idea who Rick Perry is.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A new poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune shows that many Texans are not familiar with some of the highest profile politicians in the state, particularly the Democratic ones.

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Politics
10:03 am
Mon June 17, 2013

House Committee Preview: West, Redistricting, TWIA Finances

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

The Texas Legislature has just over a week left in its special session.

Today, House Committees will meet on a variety of topics including permanent election maps, oversight of the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion and the financial condition of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

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Politics
6:57 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Holder On The Hot Seat Over Leak Investigations

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on May 15 before the House Judiciary Committee.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 4:52 am

Attorney General Eric Holder has been a lightning rod for the president's fiercest critics during his four years in office. Lately, he's been back on the hot seat with a crisis of his own making: the Justice Department's aggressive stance toward reporters in national security leak cases.

Holder heads to the Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers are sure to demand an explanation.

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Politics
5:00 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Report: Dead Last in Voter Turnout, Texas Civic Health is 'Anemic'

U. S. Census Bureau survey data for 2010 rank Texas last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the percentage of eligible voters who went to the polls.
flickr.com/dawilson
  • Listen: Study looks at state's 'civic health'

A doctor who wants to determine a patient's health will gather all kinds of data - temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight, blood test results, and the like - to come up with an overall picture of how the patient is doing.

The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin kind of did the same thing to determine the civic health of Texas. Bad news: this patient's not in good shape.

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FBI
10:12 am
Thu May 30, 2013

FBI Pick is a Republican With Deep Roots in Law Enforcement

President Obama is expected to nominate James Comey, seen in 2004, to be the next director of the FBI.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:13 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Carrie Johnson talks about James Comey

"Name any high office in federal law enforcement ... odds are Jim Comey's had it over the years."

That's some of what NPR's Carrie Johnson had to say early Thursday on Morning Edition about the man who she has been told, by two sources with knowledge of the decision, will be President Obama's choice to be the next director of the FBI.

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