Politics

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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Politics
9:45 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Comptroller Projects State Revenue Will Be $72.2 Billion

Image by Dave Burnstein for KUT News

Texas comptroller Susan Combs estimates the state will generate $72.2 billion to spend on the 2012-2013 state budget. That's $5.6 billion less than the nearly $77.8 billion the state was certified to spend last legislative session two years ago. (Read the revenue estimate report here.)

The Comptroller says the state will bring in $76.5 billion over all, but Texas is already $4.3 billion behind on its current budget. The difference amounts to $72.2 billion.

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Politics
4:43 pm
Sat January 8, 2011

Texas Lawmakers React To Shooting Of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Texas lawmakers are offering words of condolence and issuing calls for justice in the wake of a shooting in Tuscon, AZ that killed five people, including a federal judge, and critically wounded US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Image courtesy US Congress

Updated at 6:44 pm: Texas lawmakers are reacting with shock to a shooting in Tuscon, AZ that killed at least five people including US District Judge John Roll and critically injured US Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  NPR reports the suspected gunman has been taken into custody.

Giffords, who was re-elected to a third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

The suspect fired indiscriminately from about four feet away, Michaels said. A congressional official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the gunman was using an automatic weapon.

US Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) was with Giffords the day before the shooting to discuss the healthcare repeal.  

"You know what she was doing is basically the same thing I do on a regular basis throughout Central Texas," Doggett told KUT News in a phone interview.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

On Monday, We Find Out How Much Money Texas Has Until 2013

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

It's one of the most eagerly awaited events in Texas politics: on Monday, state comptroller Susan Combs will provider her revenue estimate. It's a projection of how much money the state will have to spend over the next 2012-13 biennium.

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Politics
3:45 pm
Thu January 6, 2011

Dan Neil Lawyers Reviewing Travis County Election Documents

Lawyers for Dan Neil reviewing election documents at the Travis County Clerk's Office. Neil subpoenaed the documents in his bid to overcome a narrow 12 vote loss in Austin's House District 48.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Republican candidate who lost to State Representative Donna Howard in Austin's House District 48 has subpoenaed documents from the Travis County Clerk's Office. Dan Neil's lawyers are reviewing them today.

Mary Faro, a spokesperson for County Clerk Dana Dana DeBeauvoir, said attorneys from Howard's camp were there observing. She said the subpoena (posted below) commanded the Election's Office to provide documents locked in a closet that can only be unlocked by the County Sheriff.

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Immigration
1:40 pm
Thu January 6, 2011

Immigration Battles Heat Up...Again

State Representative Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas) will lead the charge against immigration laws in the House.
KUT News

Ever since Arizona passed its controversial immigration law last year, some Texas lawmakers have been chomping at the bit for their chance to push similar legislation here.

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Politics
11:19 am
Thu January 6, 2011

Are Looming Job Cuts At TEA Sign Of Things To Come?

Most Texas Education Agency employees work in the Wililam B. Travis building on Congress Ave. near 17th St. A letter to employees from Education Commissioner Robert Scott is promising job cuts at the agency this year.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott sent a letter to staff this week, welcoming them back to work from the holidays and warning them they might be fired. With state lawmakers ready to begin a legislative session next week that will require closing a budget gap as big as $25 billion or more, is this an impending sign of the pain that will be wrought on Austin's economy?

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Politics
11:19 am
Wed January 5, 2011

Odessa Lawmaker Wants To Cancel Cesar Chavez Day

An image produced by the US Department of Labor to promote Cesar Chavez Day on March 31. One Texas lawmaker has filed legislation that would cancel Cesar Chavez Day and replace it with Texas Hispanic Heritage Day.
Image courtesy US Department of Labor

State Representative Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa) filed House Bill 505 yesterday, a piece of legislation that would eliminate an optional state holiday celebrating labor and civil rights Cesar Chavez on March 31. The optional holiday would be replaced with Texas Hispanic Heritage Day on September 16.

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Politics
10:52 am
Tue January 4, 2011

Voters Already Expect New Congress to Disappoint

The more things change...the more voters expect to be disappointed.
Image courtesy Andy-Beal www.flickr.com/photos/sel/

According to a new Rasmussen poll, the more things change in Washington, the more voters do not expect better results.  

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Politics
12:29 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

These People Don't Want Lawmakers To Take An Ax To State Government

Image by Erik Reyna for KUT News

After months of speculation, we will finally get an idea of just how big Texas' budget shortfall is when the Comptroller Susan Combs releases her revenue estimate within the next seven days. Meanwhile, a group of mostly progressive organizations has banded together to urge a "balanced" approach to closing the budget shortfall.

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Politics
6:25 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Hartnett Appointed Discovery Master in District 48 Race

State Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) will issue a report on the outcome of November's District 48 election
Image courtesy of the Texas House of Representatives

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) appointed Representative Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) to serve as "master of discovery" to determine a winner in the Donna Howard-Dan Neil race in House District 48

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Politics
12:45 pm
Fri December 24, 2010

Medical Marijuana Is A Long Shot This Legislative Session

Some medical pot purchased legally in California. The odds of the Texas legislature moving to tolerate medical pot are slim this session, according to an Austin lawmaker who keeps pushing the issue.
Image courtesy eggrole http://www.flickr.com/photos/eggrole/4822581291/sizes/l/in/photostream/

While states like California and Washington debate the merits of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Texas State Rep. Elliot Naishtat (D-Austin) couldn't even get a hearing on his conservative medical pot bill. Naishat's proposal wouldn't legalize marijuana, but it would permit judges and juries not to send legitimately sick people to jail if they're caught puffing weed on the advice of a doctor.

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Developing
12:01 pm
Tue December 21, 2010

Texas Adds Four Congressional Seats

Texas added the most population over the decade
U.S. Census Bureau

UPDATE:  U.S. Census interactive map added at 12:50 p.m.

Texas now has 25,145,561 residents.  That number was released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The additional 4-million residents the state has added since 2000 brought an additional 4 U.S. House seats to the state.  Those seats will be divvied up during the 2011 Texas Legislative session. 

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Politics
11:02 am
Tue December 21, 2010

Family Feud: GOP Edition

The Speaker's election could be a one party race
Picture by Erik Reyna for KUT News

State House member Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) says he has collected a enough signatures to force the Republican caucus to take a vote on who will be the next House Speaker

In a e-mail statement released this morning, Rep. Chisum says the party needs the caucus to meet to select "one conservative candidate" for Speaker of the House. 

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