Politics

Politics
11:39 am
Wed January 19, 2011

And they’re off! The Race to Succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2012 is Underway.

KBH will not seek re-election. Potential candidates abound.

Since U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s announcement last week that she will not seek re-election to the in 2012, names of several possible candidates, from both major parties, are beginning to surface. And while it’s still early, the GOP appears to be in prime shape to keep the seat regardless of who runs, according to a recent Public Policy Polling poll.

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Politics
11:42 am
Tue January 18, 2011

Text of Gov. Perry’s Remarks at the 2011 Inauguration Ceremony

Rick Perry was sworn in Tuesday for a third four-year term as Texas governor
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Updated at 1:40 pm: We have added audio of Governor Perry's speech and swearing-in ceremony. You may listen to that here, or download the mp3 by right clicking on the player and choosing "Save Link As..."

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Politics
11:27 am
Tue January 18, 2011

2 New Members Of 15 Member State Board of Education Could Push Politics To Center

A voting device used by members of the State Board of Education
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Culture war issues might figure less prominently in Texas education politics after the five freshmen members of the State Board of Education are sworn in tomorrow. Two of those five are moderate Republicans replacing socially conservative members of the board who often voted as part of a bloc on controversial issues.

Because religious conservatives did not increase their numbers on the board in the last election, their voting bloc has effectively been reduced from seven members to five.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Mon January 17, 2011

Michael Williams Set to Make 2012 Senate Run

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams
picture courtesy Michael Williams

 

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams appears ready to make his campaign to replace U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison a full time job.  Ross Ramsey over at KUT's political reporting partner The Texas Tribune, says Williams will resign his commissioner's seat to focus his efforts on the race for higher office.

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Politics
12:40 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

Sen. Hutchison Not Running in 2012

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will not seek another term
Image courtesy office of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

Update at 1:30 pm:  Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, KUT's political reporting partner, reports that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst told him, "I'm really focused right now on this session.  I've got my plate full."  Dewhurst said he will talk about his political plans after the session.

Earlier:  Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced this morning that she will not seek another term in the Senate in 2012, according to a press aide to the senator.

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Politics
11:29 am
Thu January 13, 2011

Tucson Shooting And Mental Health Cuts In 2011 Texas Legislative Session

A view of the Capitol dome from inside the Capitol building.
Image by KUT

The first wave of political rhetoric to follow Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Arizona speculated on whether Jared Loughner was influenced by far right extremism or socialist dogma.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

Committee for Howard/Neil Election Challenge Set

Howard - Neil election challenge set to start
picture courtesy of The Texas Tribune

The referees have been named for the election battle between State Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) and her Republican challenger Dan Neil.  Texas House Speaker Joe Straus sent out an e-mail today with a list of the 9 lawmakers on the House Select Committee on Election Contest.

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Politics
11:59 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Fight on 2/3rds Rule Delayed in Senate

There wasn't as much action under the Capitol Dome today, as some had expected.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas Senate was expected to take up its rules for the 2011 legislative session today.  But, they did not.  In fact they gaveled in and gaveled out in 10 minutes.  

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Politics
10:42 am
Wed January 12, 2011

The Big 3 Lay Out Session Goals

Gov. Perry, Speaker Straus and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst stay on "No New Taxes" message
Photo by KUT News

Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus held their 1st weekly breakfast of the 2011 legislative session today.  After the meal (which included eggs, according to Speaker Straus) they met with the Capitol press corps to say basically the same thing they've been saying for the last years:  The state will balance the budget without any revenue increases.  

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Politics
4:37 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Governor Names Emergency Items

Texas Governor Rick Perry has handed out the first assignments for lawmakers in the 2011 legislative session.  In separate speeches before lawmakers in the House and Senate, Mr. Perry announced he was making the protection of private property rights and eminent domain along with abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas emergency items for the session.

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Politics
2:20 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Straus Elected House Speaker

The Texas House prepares to elect a speaker for the 82nd legislature
Ben Philpott/KUT

Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio has been re-elected as speaker of the Texas House by a 132-15 vote; two Republicans abstained. He fended off a challenge from conservatives who wanted to replace him with one of their own. Some conservative groups warned the speaker’s vote would serve as a litmus test for lawmakers’ performance at the end of the session.

politics
2:28 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Tom DeLay Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

Travis County prosecutors Gary Cobb and Rosemary Lehmberg speaking to the media after the sentence was handed down.
Image by Matt Largey for KUT News

Former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy.

DeLay was sentenced by senior judge Pat Priest to three years for the conspiracy conviction and five years for money laundering. The five years sentence was probated. That means DeLay would serve ten year probation instead.

DeLay is being booked right now at the Travis County jail, but will be released on $20,000 bond pending appeal.

Earlier details.

Politics
1:59 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

How To Watch The 2011 Legislative Session From The Comfort Of Home

Image Courtesy StarMama http://www.flickr.com/photos/thestarmama/

Political junkies who don't have time to spend all day at the Capitol can watch the Texas legislative session unfold from behind a TV or computer monitor.

Here's how you can do it:

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Politics
11:35 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Estimated Texas Budget Gap Still Between $15 and $27 Billion

After today's eagerly awaited revenue estimate from the Texas Comptroller, it appears we are not much closer to knowing how deep and how wide the state's dreaded budget shortfall will be.

Listen to KUT's Ben Philpott talk about it with KUT freelancer Gretch Sanders.

Comptroller Susan Combs' revenue estimate, issued this morning, predicts the state will generate $72.2 billion to spend in the 2012-13 biennium, the two year time span for which legislators must draft a budget in the once-every-two-years session that begins tomorrow.

So that's how much money is coming in, but we won't know how big the budget gap is (and consequently, how severe cuts to government could be) until we receive a baseline budget from the Legislative Budget Board. No exact date has been set, but it is not expected for a couple weeks.

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Politics
11:15 am
Mon January 10, 2011

DeLay Sentencing Hearing Underway

Update at 12:15 pmBoth sides have rested in the sentencing phase of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's trial.  DeLay himself is expected to address the court when it reconvenes at 1:15 pm.

The defense only called one character witness: former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He testified about DeLay's political motivations and values.  Under questioning from assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb, Hastert said DeLay had not expressed remorse for the crimes he was convicted of in November.

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