Politics

Politics
5:56 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

In Austin, Biden Announces Funding for Domestic Abuse Hotline

Vice President Joe Biden visited the headquarters of the National Domestic Violence Hotline in Austin on Oct. 30, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Vice President Joe Biden visited Austin today to announce that the underfunded 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline will be getting more dollars.

He helped create the hotline when the Violence Against Women Act that he sponsored in Congress was passed in 1994. 

Since 1996, "in most cases, the voice a woman in distress hears is yours -- the folks here in Austin, Texas," he told a small, packed room of activists, stakeholders and staff. "They're prisoners in plain sight. And the only voice so many of them hear is the people at the other end of the line here."

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Agenda Texas
11:16 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Abbott Would Limit State and Local Spending as Governor

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sep. 28, 2013. Abbott released his first major policy plan this week.
Callie Richmond, flickr.com/thetexastribune

The leading Republican in the race to be the next Texas Governor has released his first major policy plan of the campaign. Attorney General Greg Abbott’s “Working Texas” plan includes several proposals for restraining state and local government spending. 

Parts of the plan are a nod to proposals in Governor Rick Perry’s 2012 Texas Budget Compact. That includes linking the state’s constitutional spending cap to population growth and inflation instead of growth in personal incomes.

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Abortion Law Lawsuit
12:58 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

State Appeals Ruling Striking Down Part of Texas Abortion Law

Attorney General Greg Abbott greets supporters of House Bill 2, the state's new restrictive law on abortion.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has appealed yesterday’s ruling striking down part of the state’s new restrictions on abortion.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled a requirement that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics was unconstitutional. Judge Yeakel partially allowed another provision to stand, ruling a new requirement that doctors follow FDA protocol for dispensing abortion-inducing drugs was not an undue burden – unless the woman’s life was in danger due to the pregnancy.

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Abortion
4:15 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Federal Ruling In: Part of Texas' New Abortion Law is Unconstitutional

A Texas Capitol protest this summer. A federal judge blocked certain provisions of a restrictive Texas abortion law today.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Update: With a federal judge blocking enforcement of a key restriction on abortion in Texas, here’s reaction from Gov. Rick Perry:

“Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently. We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”

NARAL Pro Choice America President Ilyse Hogue:

"We are pleased but not surprised by this development. It has been clear from day one that the laws advanced by Governor Perry and others are unconstitutional and put women at greater risk. We will continue to fight to ensure all parts of this law, and other laws restricting women's health care options, which are clearly unconstitutional are defeated."


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Voter ID
11:53 am
Mon October 28, 2013

New Voter ID Law Forces Governor Candidate Wendy Davis To Sign Affidavit To Vote

Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who's running for governor, greeted a voter on Monday morning in Fort Worth.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 10:55 am

Add gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis to the growing list of women who are having problems voting because of Texas' new photo ID law.

Davis, a Democratic state senator, was voting early in Fort Worth on Monday when poll workers made her sign an affidavit to verify her identity.

Why?

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Affordable Care Act
4:33 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Sebelius Vows to Fix Obamacare Site, Calls for Texas Medicaid Expansion

Central Health CEO Patricia Young Brown, left, and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell join Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a CommUnity Care clinic in Austin on Oct. 25, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

With all of the attention on the health care marketplace website problems, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Austin today for some damage control. 

Sebelius went to CommUnityCare’s East Austin Health Center, where she promised that problems with healthcare.gov and its Spanish-language version will get fixed.

She also praised mayors across Texas for supporting Medicaid expansion, and urged state leaders to join them.

"I’m hoping that Texas takes another look at that opportunity because there will be millions of people still left on the side of the road with no affordable options," Sebelius said.

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Government Shutdown
2:59 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Texas Vs. Utah: A Tale Of Two Government Shutdowners

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah (left), and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walk to the Senate floor on Oct. 16 to vote on a bill to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 3:01 pm

Two Tea Party-backed, defund-Obamacare-or-we'll-shut-down-the-government Senate leaders. Two very different outcomes.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

A Clash of Americas: Dan Balz' 'Collision 2012'

Dan Balz chronicled the the race for the 2012 presidency, interviewing candidates including Gov. Rick Perry.
Image courtesy of Google Books

Remembering the 2012 presidential election brings a slew of bipartisan memories – from Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks to Obama’s pre-election comment to Russian president Dimitri Medvedev that he would deal with the EU’s missile defense system after his would-be election. Dan Balz’ chronicled the election and spoke first-hand with candidates for his latest book, "Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America." 

The book’s title reflects the clash between Democrats and Republicans – and between the 2008 election and the cutthroat 2012 Republican primary.

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Politics
4:39 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Perry Preaches Texas Prosperity in Israel

Perry, seen above on the campaign trail in 2011, was out promoting the business success of Texas in London and Israel this week.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Texas Governor Rick Perry is nearing the end of a 10-day international economic opportunity tour with stops in London and Israel.

Perry took the opportunity to highlight the opening of a  Texas A & M University in Israel and looked to highlight Texas' financial successes, as well as recent resource and energy conservation solutions.

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Politics
1:57 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Meet the Candidates in HD 50 Special Election

Along with constitutional amendments, voters in Northeast Travis County have a special election for House District 50.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The early retirement of former State Rep. Mark Strama, who's now heading Google Fiber's operations in Austin, means we're going to have a special election on November 5th to pick someone to fill out the rest of Strama's term.

Strama's term ends January 2015, which means the winner of the special election will also have to win the 2014 March primary and November General Election as well if they want to represent Central Texas in the 2015 Legislative session.

So to help you decide who gets your vote, we've put together a short bio of each candidate, including endorsements and top campaign issues.

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Abortion Law Lawsuit
6:48 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Plaintiffs Hope Judge Rules Parts of Texas Abortion Law Unconstitutional

L-R: Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Woman's Health, Janet Crepps of The Center for Reproductive Rights and Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas speak to reporters after day one of the abortion lawsuit hearing on Oct. 21, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

A lawsuit attempting to block parts of a new restrictive abortion law is expected to wrap up today. Plaintiffs hope the judge will find certain provisions of the law unconstitutional. 

Plaintiffs -- including Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, Whole Woman's Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights -- are challenging two key provisions of the abortion law, arguing each creates an undue burden on women seeking an abortion, which makes each unconstitutional.

One requires the physician to give two rounds of abortion-inducing medication to the patient in person. The second requires physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform the abortion.

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Politics
1:43 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

San Antonio Republican Judge Joins Democratic Party

A Republican Bexar County judge who narrowly won his election in 2010 announced today that he will run next year as a Democrat. 

In a written statement, Judge Carlo Key of San Antonio, who is running for re-election to County Court Position 11 in San Antonio, cited ideological extremism as the reason for his departure from the Republican Party of Texas. 

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Affordable Care Act
11:42 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Obama: Health Care Site Is Troubled; Affordable Care Act Is Not

"There's no sugarcoating it: The website has been too slow," President Obama said at the White House on Monday. Obama said the health care system's online problems are being addressed.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 2:05 pm

The website that's meant to allow Americans to shop and sign up for new medical plans under the Affordable Care Act isn't working as well as it should, President Obama says. But he promised that the problems will be fixed — and he said the Affordable Care Act is bringing many benefits that aren't tied to those problems.

"Nobody is madder than me that the website isn't working as it should — which means that it's going to get fixed," Obama told a crowd at an outdoor address at the White House.

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Middle East
10:00 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Syrian Peace Talks To Start In November

Arab League Secretary General Nabill el-Araby says negotiations to broker a political solution to Syria's bloody civil war will begin in November.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 12:50 pm

Negotiations to try to broker a political solution to Syria's bloody civil war will begin in Geneva on Nov. 23.

That's according to Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby, who spoke to reporters after meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria.

These meetings have been a long time coming, but until now have not materialized because at different points, the Syrian regime and the Syrian rebels have refused to come to the table.

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Affordable Care Act
12:47 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

At Texas Medical Conference, Ted Cruz Vows to Keep Fighting Obamacare

Sen. Ted Cruz spoke at the fall conference of the Texas Medical Association in Austin on Oct. 19, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Just a few days after the end of the partial government shutdown, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addressed the Texas Medical Association at its fall conference in Austin on Saturday.

He vowed to continue his effort against Obamacare. "My job is to fight for 26 million Texans," Cruz said, "and the reason I have been fighting this fight is anywhere you go in the state of Texas...the answer is the same: Obamacare is the biggest job killer in the country."

Cruz chided fellow Senate Republicans who didn’t support House Republicans in their opposition to funding Obamacare.

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Immigration
2:26 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Obama's Immigration Pivot Hits A Bruised GOP's Weak Spot

Demonstrators supporting an immigration overhaul stage a sit-down protest at the offices of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., on Oct. 11.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 6:58 pm

After successfully staring down congressional Republicans in the shutdown-debt ceiling fight, President Obama pivoted to immigration in a move with almost no downside.

That makes it perfect as the next vehicle for him to use to cause the GOP major indigestion.

Before being re-elected last year, President Obama said he hoped the Republican "fever" of opposition to him would break during his second term. But if the just-completed standoff is any indication, that temperature is still spiking.

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Agenda Texas
6:03 am
Fri October 18, 2013

The 9 State Propositions Texans Will Vote On Next Week

Prop 6 is getting most of the attention this election.
KUT News

Early voting begins Monday on nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. Constitutional elections traditionally draw less than 10 percent of registered voters to the polls. But the changes being proposed could have widespread effects on Texas in the future.

Below you’ll find the Secretary of State's explanation of each of the Joint Resolutions passed in the House and Senate that created the amendment propositions, along with the ballot language you’ll see when voting. We’ve also included links to groups for or against passage on individual propositions, if there are any.

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Agenda Texas
8:10 am
Thu October 17, 2013

For Texas' Ted Cruz, Shutdown Ends with Little Political Damage

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has made it through the shutdown without hurting his support in Texas.
KUT News

The federal government shutdown is over, for now. But the battle over who gets the blame for the congressional meltdown will likely extend through the 2014 party primaries and general election. So how did the shutdown affect the political landscape in Texas?

A recent Rasmussen poll found 78 percent of the country would vote to get rid of the entire Congress and start over. And yesterday, the Houston Chronicle expressed regret for its endorsement of Sen.Ted Cruz in the 2012 Senate race. Sounds like there are dark days ahead for our Congressional incumbents in Texas.

Actually … no, says Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith.

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Government Shutdown
4:45 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Congress Approves Bill To End Government Shutdown, Avert Default

Speaker of the House John Boehner pumps his fist after leaving a meeting of House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 11:32 pm

Bringing to an end an episode that once again exposed Washington gridlock at its worst, the House approved a Senate deal that will end a 16-day federal government shutdown and avert the first government default in U.S. history.

The 285-144 vote came at the eleventh hour, after weeks of partisan bickering and a very public airing of deep divisions within the Republican party. President Obama signed the bill into law after midnight Thursday.

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Government Shutdown
2:29 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

As It Happened: The Fight Over The Debt Ceiling, Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor after agreeing to the framework of a deal to avoid default and reopen the government, on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 9:23 pm

Update at 10:18 p.m.: House Approves Bill:

The crisis is over. With about two hours before the country reached the debt ceiling, the House has approved the bill and it is now it's way to the White House. We've posted separately on that development and we are putting this live blog to bed.

Our Original Post Continues:

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