Political news

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

This week on The Ticket: In 2008, POLITICO and Huffington Post took center stage in the presidential race. In 2012, we saw the rise of BuzzFeed. In 2016, some think this will be the year of Snapchat. To explain what election coverage on Snapchat means, The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root and KUT’s Ben Philpott talk with Peter Hamby, Head of News at Snapchat.

Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday he will not be a candidate for president in 2016, sparing Democrats from a shake-up in the race for the White House and removing a potential stumbling block for Hillary Clinton.

The vice president's decision comes after a long, and very public, struggle with whether or not to make a third run for the White House. Overcome with grief after the death of his eldest son, Beau, in May from brain cancer, at many times Biden seemed far from ready for the rigors of the campaign trail.

Image by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Early voting starts today for the Nov. 3 election, and over the past few weeks, we’ve been taking a closer look at each of the seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on the statewide ballot.
We wrap up today with Proposition 7, which, if you drive a car or commute to work on Texas roads, might be the most important proposition on the ballot.

Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Just shy of his first year in office, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has certainly made good on one important campaign promise – giving the General Land Office (GLO) a reboot. 

Speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, President Obama said on Thursday that slowing down the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is "the right thing to do."

"Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be," Obama said, so the United States will leave 9,800 troops in the country through most of 2016. By 2017, about 5,500 troops will remain in a few bases across the country.

Obama said that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will remain focused on two non-combat objectives: to train Afghan forces and carry out counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida.


The Texas Constitutional propositions up for a vote on Nov. 3 tend to come in a few different flavors. Some want to change the current constitution to allow something previously blocked. Some are needed to allow a new way for state tax dollars to be used. And some are just added to keep future state lawmakers from passing laws for or against something — that's where Proposition 6 falls.

This post was updated at 11:15 p.m.

After two rollicking Republican debates, the Democrats' first face-off delivered punches but was policy-focused and far more civil.

Compared to the crowded GOP debates, the stage this evening in Las Vegas seemed bare. Just five Democrats faced off: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard: As a country, we've been looking towards November elections and which candidates will be moving into office, but we haven't been paying much attention to the other end of the story: What do you do when you get out of office?

Photo via Flickr/blmurch (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The question of how Americans define friends living in foreign lands – and how Americans define people who’ve migrated to the U.S. – has been on Sheila Croucher's mind for the last decade or so. She teaches Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University of Ohio, and says a word as seemingly straightforward as "immigrant" is anything but.

Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month, a lineup in the U.S. Senate press room showed Democrats and Republicans standing together showing rare agreement over a comprehensive criminal justice bill.

KUT News

Constitutional elections in Texas don't draw many voters. Over the last three elections, no more than 8 percent of registered voters have gone to the polls, and typically, it’s propositions like this cycle's Proposition 5, a statewide vote on constitutionally mandated population limits for road funding, that might keep people away.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

A prepaid vacation to Florence, Italy is the latest procedural hiccup in the trial of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry was indicted on two felony counts last year of coercion and abuse of power during his time as governor. Perry’s lead attorney, David L. Botsford, filed the motion with the court yesterday to request a postponement of oral arguments in the case, which were previously scheduled for Nov. 4. According to the motion, Botsford and his wife scheduled the trip to Italy in August and, after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals scheduled arguments yesterday, Perry’s counsel petitioned the court to delay the case to “any other date convenient” to the court.

Bernie Sanders for President Website

This week on The Ticket: Bernie Sanders has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 Presidential campaign. But those who know the Vermont Senator’s history aren’t surprised at all. The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott will go back in time to hear from Burlington Vermont Mayor Bernie Sanders. The two will also talk with UT-Austin pollster Jim Henson about what’s behind the Sanders Surge.  And we’ll hear a report on how the closure of several driver licenses offices could affect minority voter turnout in Alabama.


Today, the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros kick off their series in the American League divisional playoffs.

Any other year, that would have nothing to do with the Texas Constitution, but this year’s different. While the teams are on opposite sides of the diamond, this legislative session both teams joined sides for a common goal: charitable raffles.

Those raffles are the subject of one of the seven Constitutional propositions on this November's ballot.

Photo via Flickr/Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In 2003, then President George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The bill required federal and state lockups to implement certain procedures and standards that would address sexual abuse behind bars. Not doing so, states would run the risk of penalties, such as the loss of federal grant money.

The final rules took effect in 2012, and the Texas governor at the time, Rick Perry, refused to sign on. However in a 180-degree reversal, Gov.Greg Abbott says the state will be brought in-line with the law.

Image via Facebook/Susan Hawk

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk disappeared.

Her office fielded questions as to her whereabouts explaining that she was just taking a summer break, and that everything was fine.

Everything wasn't fine, as the public would learn later.

As Hawk's absence continued, the DA publicly revealed she was struggling with depression. More recently, in a candid interview with D Magazine, Hawk revealed that she was experiencing suicidal thoughts and had spent two months getting treatment at a psychiatric hospital in Houston.


Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Former Governor Rick Perry's bid for the presidency may have come to an end, but there's still a few chances that someone with Texas ties could occupy the White House next term.

Some, more obvious than others: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, son of Texas congressman Ron Paul, and from the Texas family legacy — Jeb Bush.

Liang Shi/KUT News

The third of seven propositions on the Texas ballot this Election Day would change the requirement for some statewide elected officials to live in Austin.

Prop 3’s passage would mean the governor would be required to live in the Governor's Mansion, but the rest of the statewide elected officials would have the option of living outside of Austin. Though, it's likely they would still have a place around Austin so they can get to their Texas Capitol offices quickly.

Photo via Office of the Texas Attorney General

From Texas Standard:

This week in Texas politics: in between court appearances, A.G. Paxton visits a church in central Texas and Sen. Cruz rounds up endorsements while Wendy Davis makes an endorsement of her own.

Timothy D. Easley/AP

This week on The Ticket: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott look at the role religion is playing in the 2016 presidential race. They talk with Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches on how religion is being used in the GOP Primary.