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Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Responding to a sexual assault scandal that has rocked Baylor University over the past two years, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, has filed legislation to make it easier for college students to report sexual violence.

Emily Albracht/Texas Tribune

A majority of Texans support banning Syrian refugees and blocking individuals from seven countries from entering the United States, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

They balk, but only a bit, at banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the country, the poll found.

The cellphone video is vivid. A Border Patrol agent aims his gun at an unarmed 15-year-old some 60 feet away, across the border with Mexico, and shoots him dead.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case testing whether the family of the dead boy can sue the agent for damages in the U.S.

Between 2005 and 2013, there were 42 such cross-border shootings, a dramatic increase over earlier times.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Emily Albracht/Texas Tribune

In his second month in office, President Donald Trump is getting overwhelmingly good grades on his job performance from the state’s Republicans, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Trump is popular enough to cast positive light on Russian President Vladimir Putin, a world figure who turns out to be markedly more unpopular with Texas Democrats than with Texas Republicans.

Qiling Wang for KUT

During trips to their districts this week, Republican congressmen representing the Austin area will not be holding town halls, even though many constituents have been asking for them.

That hasn’t stopped groups from holding town halls of their own – even if the member of Congress they want to talk to isn’t there.

Screenshot via YouTube

President Trump held a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.

In an event arranged the same morning, he first announced his new pick for Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, a law school dean and former US Attorney. He made an extended opening statement in defense of his administration, trumpeting accomplishments and blasting his critics and the news media.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reporting a flurry of illegal crossings into Canada in recent months. Officials say Quebec province has seen the highest influx of people seeking asylum, with many crossing in snowy, remote areas in northern New York.

One illegal crossing area that has become particularly popular among immigrants is in Champlain, N.Y., in the northeast corner of the state.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas lawmakers are still referencing a highly edited undercover video from 2015 purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal tissue.

Russian intelligence officials made repeated contact with members of President Trump's campaign staff, according to new reports that cite anonymous U.S. officials. American agencies were concerned about the contacts but haven't seen proof of collusion between the campaign and the Russian security apparatus, the reports say.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you've never watched the Texas legislative process before, heading to the Capitol for the first time can be daunting. Connecting with existing groups could be the best way to get involved with the process.

“Don’t feel like you have to become an expert yourself,” said Ann Beeson, director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning state policy think tank. “There are lots of organizations out there that that’s their job, and they can help you both really understand policy issues and develop talking points.”

That Other Paper/Flickr

The 2017 Texas Legislative session is underway. State legislators meet every other year for 140 days in a frenzy of debating (sometimes arguing), deal-making, stand-taking, bill-killing and, occasionally, law-making.

For the past few weeks, we've been asking what you want to know about the Legislature: how it works, why it works the way it does and what you want lawmakers to do.

Photo illustration by Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Andrew Weber / KUT

Just a few weeks into the Texas legislative session, there are already some questions about whether embattled state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, is spending enough time in the Texas State Capitol.

During the last legislative session in 2015, medical issues stemming from an accident kept Dukes, a long-time member of the Legislature, from the Capitol. And, while she told reporters earlier this year that doctors said she would be able to return to work, since the start of the session, her recorded attendance has been pretty spotty.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus today appointed many of his allies to key positions on House committees. Those are the panels that review bills and make changes to them before advancing them to the full Texas House.

Sound boring? It shouldn't be if you care about the future of the state.

We asked KUT's Ben Philpott to explain the significance of the appointments.


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Amid some uncertainty and confusion regarding the country's refugee resettlement program, the federal agency in charge of helping refugees resettle has designated a group of nonprofits that will take over services previously carried out by the State of Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question comes from Sammi Curless: 

What powers to govern are assigned to the governor versus the lieutenant governor versus the Texas Legislature?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week some prominent Republicans said Texas should get rid of straight-ticket voting. Texas is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that allow a person to vote once for one political party straight down the ballot.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

It has been about a week since President Trump signed an executive order banning travel into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump said the ban is an effort to stop terrorists from entering the country, even though refugees already go through an extensive screening process. Local groups who help resettle refugees in Texas say they still don’t know what this means for the families they were expecting this week.

GABRIELLA DEMCZUK FOR NPR

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order suspending new-refugee admissions for 120 days and blocking travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — for 90 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.

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