Politics

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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."

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

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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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.

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.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

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.

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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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.

"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.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, a hero to many conservatives and tea party advocates who saw her fortunes rise and fall quickly in the 2012 race for the GOP presidential nomination, announced early Wednesday that she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.

The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.

Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave

Another official is out at the embattled agency.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief

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No one doubts the growth of the Latino electorate in Texas. But its turnout at the polls is lower than in the rest of the country, leading some to question how to change that. Especially Democrats who say this is how to turn Texas blue.

State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, joined Julie Martinez Ortega of PAC Plus to discuss the challenge at a news conference today.

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the FBI's criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities.

President Obama is meeting with Treasury officials today to discuss the IRS targeting of conservative groups for special review.

Make no mistake, the acting commissioner of the IRS put himself in historic company Tuesday by writing in USA Today that "mistakes were made" when his agency singled out for extra scrut

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