Politics

Political news

Picture courtesy The Texas Tribune

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Governor Rick Perry didn't fair very well in a Presidential straw poll taken over the weekend at a Tea Party event in Arizona. 

KUT News

City officials released thousands of documents Friday under an Open Records Request, including unflattering email exchanges between Mayor Lee Leffingwell and city council members.

The emails expose what goes on behind the scenes and what city council members say and think about city staff members and residents.

Photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has weighed in on President Obama's decision to no longer have the U.S. Justice Department defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act banning recognition of same-sex marriage. 

Image by KUT News/Mose Buchele

It was a packed house at Austin City Hall this morning, as Mayor Lee Leffingwell gave his state of the city address.  KUT’s Mose Buchele reports a lot of what the mayor talked about could be labeled, "Coming Attractions."

picture courtesy Sen. Van de Putte

Man...I had a GREAT idea for a story on Texas Lawmakers giving advice to lawmakers in Wisconsin and Indiana who are dealing with legislative walkouts.  BUT - Sam Stein over at the Huffington Post beat me to it (by a week...darn it!).  You may remember in 2003 Democrats in the Texas House fled to Okl

Image courtesy Daquella Manera at flickr.com

The Texas Senate passed a bill this Thursday that would require doctors to perform a sonogram at least two hours before an abortion takes place.

Picture Courtesy The Texas Tribune

A state lawmaker tasked with investigating an election challenge in a Travis County House District says Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the winner by 4 votes over her GOP challenger Dan Neil.  Howard won re-election to the Texas House on Election Day by 16 votes.  A recount lowered the margin to 12.

Image by Liang Shi for KUT News

The Texas Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would give property owners more rights, when the government wants to exercise eminent domain.  The bill was one of a handful of issues that Governor Rick Perry designated "emergency legislation," to bring it to the senate floor within the first two months of the legislative session.

Picture courtesy of The Texas Tribune

House Speaker Joe Straus has released his list of committees for the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.  The list has dozens of changes from the last session.  Which was expected after Republicans gained 25 seats since 2009 and now have a supermajority in the House.  Democrats lost chairmanships on high profile committees like Ways and Means (where tax bills originate) and Transportation (which is were road bills originate).

Here's the list and demographic breakdown:

Image by KUT News.

Governor Rick Perry delivers his sixth State of the State address at 11:00 am today, before a joint session of the Texas Legislature.

Our political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, is live-blogging the event.  You can also watch the speech online here.

KUT

An Austin lawmaker has introduced a bill in the Texas Senate that would modify the laws governing “sexting” by minors.

State Senator Kirk Watson worked with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott to craft the bill. It would create a series of graduated punishments for kids under 18 who transmit sexually-explicit material via cell phones.

    

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart made a stop in Texas a few weeks back to tape a story on the Texas House Speaker's race.  The reason for the trip was the inclusion of some anti-semitic messages in the campaign to oust current Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish.  The segment aired Thursday night.  

Austin's state Representative Elliott Naishtat, who's also Jewish, was interviewed for the story but sadly didn't make the final cut.

Image by KUT

Gov. Rick Perry's office sent us this statement:

"Because of winter weather conditions that have created an unprecedented demand on the state's energy grid, many Texans across our state are experiencing power outages today," Gov. Perry said. "Texas power and emergency management experts are working very closely with ERCOT and various utility providers to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible. Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event."

Image courtesy of the Texas Tribune

Testimony is underway before a Special Master of Discovery and members of a House select committee to determine a winner in last November's House District 48 election.

Democratic incumbent Donna Howard won the election by 12 votes, following a recount.  But Republican challenger Dan Neil claims that a handful of votes were cast by people not eligible to vote in the Travis County house district.

Image courtesy Al Jazeera English http://www.flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/

The political unrest in Egypt has parallels to the recent uprising in Tunisia, but the two countries have their own unique set of political and economic conditions, according to University of Texas political scientist Clement Henry.

Henry is scheduled to chair the political science department at the American University in Cairo this fall. Henry still plans to visit Cairo in March.  He spoke to KUT News by phone.

From our political reporting partner The Texas Tribune comes this video of State Sens. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) debating the importance of voter ID, which Gov. Rick Perry has declared a legislative emergency.  Wondering what the heck that means? The Texas Tribune explains.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Some Texas lawmakers and their staffs will be getting a course in CPR training, starting this week.

The Texas Society Anesthesiologists is organizing the training sessions, with help from the American Heart Association and the Seton Family of Hospitals.  State Rep. John Zerwas (R-Simonton) is an anestheologist and former society president.  He performed CPR on then-State Rep. Edmund Kuempel, after the Seguin Republican suffered a near-fatal heart attack and collapsed in a Capitol elevator during the 2009 legislative session. 

Picture by KUT News

The Texas Senate has added its take on the 2012-2013 Texas budget to the ongoing debate.  The Senate's version spends $158.7 billion.  That's $2.3 billion more than the Texas House's version of the bill.  The additional money includes about $500 million more for both the public education and higher education budgets.

Photo by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry designated pre-abortion sonograms as emergency legislation today at the annual Rally for Life. The rally marks the 38th anniversary of what Perry calls the “tragic” Roe v. Wade court decision, which gave women the legal right to abortion.

Photo by Chris Kosho/KUT.

Gov. Rick Perry has declared two more emergency items for the 2011 legislative session. The new emergency items include legislation that would require voters to show identification at the ballot box, and a bill calling for a new balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Fiscal discipline, balanced budgets and the integrity of the ballot box are critical to the people of Texas,”  Perry said in a press release today.  “Under this emergency declaration, Texas lawmakers will be able to address these priority issues more quickly.”

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