Ben Philpott, KUT News

Governor Perry delivered his seventh State of the State speech to the Texas Legislature Tuesday. In it, he laid out his priorities for the session – from water to taxes transportation.  

KUT’s Emily Donahue checked in with PolitiFact Texas' Gardner Selby, whose team reckons Perry kept a little over half of his campaign promises. 

KUT News

With the Texas Legislature in session, thousands of people will visit the capitol to talk with lawmakers and their staffs about bills being debated. But Texas is a giant state, and many Texans can’t make the trip to Austin.

Francis Curry is a member of the United Methodist Women. It’s a group that advocates for several legislative topics, including issues of faith and caring for low-income Texans.

With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, small-scale pot shops will open up soon in places like Denver and Boulder. But that's not the only business that could get a boost: Large-scale commercial farmers may also be in line to benefit.

Why? When Colorado voters legalized marijuana last November, they also legalized hemp.

Governor Rick Perry is adamant, Texas will not make Medicaid available to more Texans by taking part in a federal program. But recently other Republican governors in Nevada and Arizona have changed their minds, saying they can’t ignore the billions of federal dollars they’d lose by opting out.

Lawmakers in Austin are now debating what Texas should do, including a senator from  Greenville who also wears a stethoscope.  

Congressional Democrats appeared on Capitol Hill Thursday to push for a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The bill's author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, started her remarks with a roster of tragedy: "Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Tucson. Oak Creek. The common thread in these shootings is each gunman used a semiautomatic assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine."

Flickr user Fifi LePew, bit.ly/YqObEH

Texas Democrats have been fighting an uphill battle against Republicans for years. The state has been firmly red since 2002. But a new Washington-based group, Battleground Texas, wants to invest tens of millions of dollars to turn Texas blue.

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: Saying that American men and women are "fighting and dying together and the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Thursday afternoon that the Pentagon's rule banning women from combat positions is being rescinded.

Panetta said that as the Pentagon works through how to implement the change, the goal will be to "eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service."

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET: By a vote of 285-144, the House just passed a Republican plan that postpones for three months the federal government's next bump up against the so-called debt ceiling.

As we said earlier, the measure would head off another big battle over raising the government's borrowing authority — such as the one in 2011 that almost led to a government shutdown.

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET. Clinton Testifies Before House Committee:

One of the defining moments of Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state was her strong advocacy for U.S. military intervention that helped oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

But as she prepared to step down from the post, she faced a grilling from Republicans in both the House and the Senate over what went wrong in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, when four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Map Data @2013 Google

There's been a lot of confusion in the aftermath of the four-day long hostage crisis at a remote Algerian natural gas production facility. KUT News takes a look at the information and tries to sort out the information relevant to Texas.

The siege ended in a violent standoff Saturday, after security forces stormed the natural gas production facility, leaving a preliminary count of 58 hostages dead. That number is likely to go up as more information becomes available. The New York Times reports “there are a good 20 bodies,” some badly burned, left to be identified.

Details are murky about who survived and who was lost during the siege, but what is known is that out of the reported 685 Algerian and 107 foreign workers at the plant, at least four Texans have been linked to the crisis.

Good morning.

Though he and the vice president have already taken their oaths of office, President Obama is due this noon to stand outside the Capitol for his ceremonial swearing in and then to deliver his second inaugural address.

States aren't likely to prevent many shootings by requiring mental health professionals to report potentially violent patients, psychiatrists and psychologists say.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar intends to step down at the end of March, his office confirms to NPR's Jeff Brady.

Word of Salazar's plan broke over night. According to The Denver Post, the former senator from Colorado intends to "return to Colorado to spend time with his family."

As the Post writes:

After nearly two months in a Houston hospital, where he spent some of the time in intensive care for treatment of complications related to bronchitis, an infection and a stubborn fever, former President George H.W. Bush was sent home today.

Vice President Joe Biden is getting ready to make recommendations on how to reduce gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

But he says his task force is facing an unexpected obstacle: slim or outdated research on weapons.

Public health research dried up more than a decade ago after Congress restricted the use of some federal money to pay for those studies.

A Researcher Under Fire

If you've gotten the "Death Spiral" email that's apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here's the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers:

It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.

The debunkers: both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has sent President Obama the invitation that precedes each year's State of the Union address:

Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki plan to remain with President Obama's administration as his second term begins, according to a White House official. The news that the three will remain in their current posts comes amid the departure of other Cabinet officials, including Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who submitted her resignation today.

Update: At 6 a.m. ET. Jan. 10, White House Announcement:

The White House has officially confirmed that President Obama will nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary. According to a statement, the announcement is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET today (Thursday).

NPR's Scott Horsley had more about the nomination on Morning Edition.