Politics

North Korea
10:04 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Russia Calls On U.S., North Korea To Step Back From The Brink

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with top brass in a photo released by the state-run KCNA. The chart in the background reportedly reads "U.S. mainland strike plan".
KCNA Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 1:08 pm

Russia is urging the U.S. and North Korea to end an escalating cycle of dangerous provocations after Pyongyang put its missile forces on high alert and American stealth bombers flew practice bomb runs over the Korean Peninsula.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking Friday in Moscow, said the tit-for-tat moves were becoming a "vicious cycle" that could "simply get out of control," Reuters reports.

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Politics
7:06 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Could Spanish-Language Legislative Sites Boost Civic Engagement?

The Texas Senate has a Spanish-language website.
KUT News

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

In a U.S. Census Bureau survey of the nearly seven million Spanish speakers in Texas, almost three million speak English “less than very well.”

State Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) has a bill that would translate Texas legislative information into Spanish in what he calls an effort to boost civic engagement.

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gay marriage
6:18 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Shift In Gay Marriage Support Mirrors A Changing America

Same-sex marriage advocates protest outside the county clerk's office in San Francisco on Feb. 14.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:42 am

When Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman recently reversed his stance on gay marriage after his son came out as gay, he joined a tidal wave of Americans who have altered their views on the subject.

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Guns
8:35 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

NRA-Driven Gun Provisions Pass Along With Spending Bill

Customers shop for guns at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store in Tinley Park, Ill., in January. One of the gun provisions in the spending bill prevents the Justice Department from requiring gun dealers to conduct an inventory to see if guns are lost or stolen.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 5:32 pm

The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a temporary measure to keep the government funded through the end of September. Government shutdown averted.

But it turns out the continuing resolution didn't just address spending. It contains six measures that limit how federal agencies deal with guns.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

House OKs Bill Funding Government Through September

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 4:02 pm

The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday that avoids a federal shutdown and keeps the government open through the end of the 2013 fiscal year, which winds up Sept. 30. The Senate approved the same measure Wednesday, so the bill now goes to the president for his signature.

The New York Times characterizes the measure, which passed the House on a 318-109 vote, this way:

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2013 Legislative Session
1:32 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Lawmaker Pushes for More Funds to Address Domestic Violence

Thousands of postcards from Texans across the state in support of family violence programs funding made their way to lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday. Purple is a color usually used for family violence awareness.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) wants to restore some state funding of domestic violence-related services.

Last legislative session, lawmakers cut funding for Batterer Intervention and Prevention Programs or "BIPP" in half. It went from $2.5 million to $1.25 million.

General funding for main domestic violence services like shelters is at about $51 million.

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2013 Legislative Session
1:18 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Bill Would Make DNA Testing Mandatory in Death Penalty Cases

Sen. Robert Duncan (L) and Sen. Ellis joined Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott at a press conference on DNA testing in death penalty cases.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Some officials in Texas – including Attorney General Greg Abbott – want to change how the state handles DNA evidence.

Abbott says he thinks testing on DNA evidence should happen before a death penalty case goes to trial.

"If you’re innocent, you’re going to find out that your exoneration will come sooner," Abbott said. "If you are guilty, justice will be more swift and more certain."

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Women's Health
8:20 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

North Dakota Bill Bans Abortions After Heartbeat Is Found

Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, talks to reporters at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. on Friday.
James MacPherson AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:55 pm

A week after the Arkansas legislature passed the strictest measure in the country on abortion, North Dakota's legislature passed a bill that goes further and would ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detected.

Arkansas' bill banned abortions after 12 weeks; North Dakota's could ban them as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

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Politics
10:39 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Tribcast: The Next Bush

The Tribcast Crew
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Tribcast for March 14, 2013

On this week's Tribcast, Evan Smith, Emily Ramshaw, Reeve Hamilton and Ben Philpott talk about George P. Bush's launch of his bid for land commissioner, the chances of Medicaid expansion in Texas, and the ongoing questions about the University of Texas Law School Foundation.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
3:19 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Lost Your Job? Bill Would Drug Test Some Texans Looking to Receive Unemployment Benefits

A proposed drug testing rule would apply to unemployed workers seeking jobs in industries that already require tests.
flickr.com/23748404@N00

Texas lawmakers looked at a bill today that would require some people to undergo drug testing in order to receive unemployment benefits.

The bill, filed by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), would require drug tests for unemployment applicants who are looking for work in industries that usually require them for new employees.

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Politics
8:25 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Challenging Work Standards for Texas Hotel Housekeepers

Some people in the hotel industry say the requirements outlined in the Texas bill would be bad for business.
flickr.com/bwalsh

Texas lawmakers are looking at a bill that would set new standards for hotel housekeeping workers. The bill’s author says the workers are not getting fair treatment, but some in the hotel industry disagree.

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) says if Texas hotels can prove housekeepers earn minimum wage, she’ll drop her bill. But, she says, she’s skeptical they can.

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Politics
8:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Should Texas Use 'Rainy Day' Fund for Water Projects?

Ongoing drought has Texas lawmakers paying attention to the state's water needs.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Should Texas take money from the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund for water projects? It’s an idea that will get a closer look today.

Lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposal. The bill would set aside $2 billion from the economic stabilization or "Rainy Day" fund for water projects.

The bill’s author – Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) – says prolonged statewide drought has revealed the importance of developing a dedicated source of revenue for the state’s water plan.

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Politics
3:23 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Senate Approves Nomination of John Brennan As CIA Chief

John Brennan testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington, on February 7, 2013.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 2:57 pm

After an epic filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul that lasted into the early morning hours, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm the nomination of John Brennan as the country's next Central Intelligence Agency director.

As we reported, Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, stood on the floor of the Senate for nearly 13 hours, repeatedly asking for an explanation of the Obama administration's targeted killing program.

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Politics
4:25 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Along Party Lines, Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel As The Next Secretary Of Defense

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who has been nominated to be the next secretary of defense.
Ron Sachs DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 4:17 pm

Update at 5:10 p.m. ET. Hagel Confirmed:

After an unprecedented filibuster by Republicans, the nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense prevailed, Tuesday afternoon.

With a vote of 58 to 41, the Senate acted mostly along party lines to confirm Hagel.

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Borderlands
4:17 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

U.S. Customs Says Sequestration Cuts Will Hobble Border Trade

Rep. Pete Gallego

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:13 pm

If Congress isn’t able to avoid the automatic $2.4 trillion budget cuts of sequestration, then border protection and legitimate border traffic could suffer.

"Certainly, without question. If on March 1 -- if sequestration does happen -- the Border Patrol will have reduced capability," said Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher testifying at a congressional hearing on border security on Tuesday.

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