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Laura Buckman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Roughly 150 Texas attorneys have signed on to a letter threatening to file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas against Attorney General Ken Paxton for his response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

"It seems to us that your edict to encourage Texas clerks to violate a direct ruling of the United States Supreme Court violates" the State Bar's rules requiring attorneys to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the letter states. 

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on Friday morning. After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, he issued an opinion telling Texas clerks they did not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violated their religious beliefs — though he suggested that they could face litigation.

Prosecutors Developing Criminal Case Against Paxton

Jul 2, 2015
Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The potential criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton is apparently growing more serious, with the state's top lawyer hiring heavyweight legal counsel of his own as special prosecutors prepare to take felony charges before a Collin County grand jury.

Late Wednesday, special prosecutor Kent Schaffer said he and co-counsel Brian Wice plan to start presenting evidence to the grand jury in less than a month that Paxton violated the Texas Securities Act. 

"We'll be pursuing an indictment for first-degree felony securities fraud," Schaffer said, confirming a WFAA report.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The plaintiff at the heart of last week's historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is trekking the country on a multi-state tour that brought him to Austin today. Jim Obergefell is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Texas for Marriage/facebook

From Texas Standard:

The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage today. All 50 states are now required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Ronald “Ronnie” Macklin and his partner, Fritz Johnson-Macklin, are one of those couples. From the Austin suburb of Pflugerville, Ronnie joined Texas Standard to talk about his family’s story –  just minutes after learning about the Supreme Court decision.

Supreme Court: Texas Reinforced Segregated Housing

Jun 25, 2015
Supreme Court of the United States

From the Texas Tribune: The biggest federal housing subsidy program in Texas — which awarded $9.7 billion in tax credits from 1990 to 2011 — effectively has been reinforcing segregated housing, the U.S. Supreme Court found Thursday.

Divided along ideological lines, the high court ruled 5-4 against the state of Texas, which administers the federally backed subsidy program.

"Much progress remains to be made in our Nation’s continuing struggle against racial isolation," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "We must remain wary of policies that reduce homeowners to nothing more than their race."

barackobamainvirginia-august2nd/flickr

From Texas Standard:

Austin Bennett Tice has been missing since August 12, 2012.

The 33-year-old Texas veteran was working as a freelance journalist in Syria when he was kidnapped while reporting on the war. His whereabouts are still unknown.

To bring their son home, Tice’s father secured a meeting with President Obama. He had heard that the administration was going to review the U.S. hostage policy and wanted a chance to influence the President’s decision with his family’s story.

Texas Politicians Return Money From White Supremacist

Jun 22, 2015
KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: A number of elected officials from Texas are parting ways with campaign donations from the white supremacist leader of a group tied to the recent massacre at a church in South Carolina. 

Earl Holt, a Longview man who heads the Missouri-based Council of Conservative Citizens, has given to dozens of Republican candidates and causes across the country, according to federal records. In Texas, he has spread around several thousand dollars over the past four years, state records show. 

KUT

This week on The Ticket: Two big name Republicans joined the 2016 primary field this week. We'll talk about Donald Trump and Jeb Bush with SiriusXM POTUS channel host Julie Mason. While Ben Philpott and Jay Root will take a deeper dive on the Bush announcement as they break down his speech on Stump Interrupted.

You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

Ben Philpott/KUT

This week on The Ticket: So far, we've spent each week breaking down candidate speeches. This time, we're asking Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina what they want to hear when they come to a stump speech. And we'll have an interview with Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com about early polls in the 2016 election and how they affect who makes it to the GOP debates.

The Ticket, a weekly presidential podcast from KUT News and the Texas Tribune hosted by KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root, breaks down the week's campaign action and brings you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the political campaigns.

Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcast app.

Ben Philpott/KUT

Former Gov. Rick Perry wrapped up his first 2016 presidential campaign swing yesterday with a couple of stops in South Carolina.

The crowds he drew throughout the trip were eager to hear his ideas for border security and the economy, but one looming issue remained undiscussed: his felony indictment in his home state.

Ben Philpott/KUT

Today, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will hit his third state in three days with a couple of meet-and-greets in South Carolina – he was in Iowa and New Hampshire over the weekend – three states in which he performed poorly during his first presidential run in 2012.

This time, Perry’s hoping to piece together a coalition of voters in order to win the Iowa primary, but first he must appeal to the state's GOP base.

Ben Philpott

The first stop on the official Perry for President campaign was the same place he ended his last Iowa campaign. On the night before the caucus in early January 2012, Rick Perry and a couple hundred supporters gathered at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa. The enthusiastic crowd hoped they could still make a difference in a flagging campaign.

This week on The Ticket: With former Texas Governor Rick Perry jumping into the GOP race, we talk with Opportunity and Freedom Super PAC co­-chair Ray Sullivan about Perry's chances in his second run, and we'll continue our review of presidential contenders with an analysis of the Ben Carson campaign on Stump Interrupted.

The Ticket, a weekly presidential podcast from KUT News and the Texas Tribune hosted by KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root, breaks down the week's campaign action and brings you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the political campaigns.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Emphasizing his humble roots and military service, former Gov. Rick Perry made official Thursday what he has been hinting at for some time: He's running for president in 2016. 

"It's time," he said to a few hundred flag-waving supporters. "It's time to create real jobs; to raise wages; to create opportunity for all; to give every citizen a stake in this country; to restore hope — real hope to forgotten Americans."

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has (as expected) declared he's pursuing the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Perry announced first online this morning (in this web video and new website), ahead of his in-person announcement later in North Texas.

Liang Shi/KUT News

The Texas legislative session ends Monday, and there's not a bunch left for lawmakers to do between today and next week. No more bills can be voted on. Now it's all about conference committees. Those are the groups made up of five House members and five Senators who will be huddled together in meeting rooms and hallways around the Capitol this weekend, trying to come to an agreement on bills that the House and Senate each passed different versions of.

This week on The Ticket: We continue our review of presidential contenders with an analysis of the Carly Fiorina campaign on Stump Interrupted. And with candidate announcements falling from the sky like rain from a Texas thunderstorm, we talk with Washington Post writer and The Fix blogger Chris Cillizza about how the 2016 race is shaping up.

The entertainment industry was shocked when state legislators slashed $63 million from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentives Program from the state’s budget. It’s a program that was created in 2008 to attract businesses by giving companies grants for hiring Texas workers to develop film, tv, commercial or video game projects in the state. Now the film and video game industries are trying to figure out what went wrong.

Todd Wiseman/Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that centers on how Texas draws its political districts, a longtime point of dispute between the state and voting rights advocates.

The high court said it will take up Evenwel v. Abbott, which involves whether Texas should use total population or voting age population when composing districts. The debate is especially pertinent in Texas, where some districts include many people living in the country illegally who are not eligible to vote. 

House Will Take Up Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban

May 25, 2015
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In a dramatic turn of events, the House Calendars Committee on Sunday night reversed course and sent a controversial bill prohibiting health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace from covering abortions to the full chamber for a vote.

Earlier in the night, the committee voted not to place Senate Bill 575 by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor on the lower chamber’s calendar for Tuesday — the last day a Senate bill can be passed by the House. After fireworks on the House floor instigated by a lawmaker who believed he had entered into an agreement to get the bill to the full chamber, the committee reconvened and reconsidered its vote. 

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