Politics

Politics
4:47 pm
Thu February 17, 2011

Sonogram Bill Passes Senate

A bill passed in the Texas Senate would require doctors to conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion.
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.

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Politics
3:54 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Initial Report Gives HD 48 to Rep. Howard by 4 Votes

Rep. Howard gets initial nod in election challenge
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.

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Politics
3:01 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Eminent Domain Bill Passes Senate, 31-0

The Texas Senate gives its okay to a new eminent domain protection bill
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.

Politics
2:24 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Texas House Committees Posted

Speaker Straus had plenty of changes in the new committee list
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:

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Developing
10:57 am
Tue February 8, 2011

Follow Governor Perry's State of the State Address

Governor Rick Perry will deliver his State of the State address this morning
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.

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Politics
4:08 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Watson Introduces "Sexting" Bill

A bill in the Texas Senate would modify laws for teens who transmit sexually-explicit material via cell phone
Image by KUT News

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.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

The Daily Show Comes to Austin

    

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.

Politics
1:16 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Statement From Governor Perry On Rolling Power Outages

The Governor speaking at an event last year.
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."

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Politics
11:15 am
Tue February 1, 2011

Howard-Neil House Hearing Underway

The first day of hearings in the election dispute between Donna Howard (left) and Dan Neil is underway at the Capitol.
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.

Politics
1:10 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Don't Confuse Egypt With Tunisia Says UT Middle East Expert

The political unrest in Egypt has parallels with the Tunisian uprising, but Western observers should avoid conflating the two, according to one UT expert.
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.

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Politics
11:13 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Why Is Voter ID an Emergency In 2011 Legislative Session?

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.

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Politics
4:42 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Over 100 Lawmakers & Staff Sign Up for CPR

After the heart attack death of a former state representatives, legislators and their staff will get CPR lessons
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. 

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Politics
2:11 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Texas Senate Lays Out Its Own Budget

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and the Texas Senate lay out their budget.
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.

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Anti-Abortion Rally
5:40 pm
Sat January 22, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry Announces New Emergency Legislation at Anti-Abortion Rally

Volunteers gather on the Capitol steps behind Gov. Rick Perry at the 2011 Texas Rally for Life on Saturday.
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.

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Politics
2:38 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Gov. Perry Announces Two More Emergency Items

Governor Perry added two more items to the Legislature's "emergency" list today.
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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