Politics

Wendy Davis
1:32 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Davis Says She'll Run for Re-election or for Governor

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, at a "Stand With Texas Women" rally at the state Capitol.
Callie Richmond via Texas Tribune

This story was co-reported with Adam Wollner with the Center for Public Integrity.

WASHINGTON — State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, said Monday that she will either run for re-election or for Texas governor, and that she's working hard to make her decision.

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Politics
10:08 am
Mon August 5, 2013

U.S. Debate Over Immigration Reform Could Impact Texas GOP

As leaders in Washington tackle the country's immigration system, the debate could impact the future of the Texas Republican Party.
Joy Diaz for KUT News

Lawmakers in Washington are on break for a few weeks. One of the big issues they’re facing when they return is a proposal to overhaul the country’s immigration system.

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Politics
8:07 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Big Roadblock in Texas Transportation Plan: Missing Legislators

The more Texas lawmakers who stay in their districts during the third 2013 special session, the more challenges ahead to muster enough votes for a transportation plan.
Morgue File

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Politics
8:35 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Is Third Special Session the Charm for Texas Transportation Funding?

Texas lawmakers have roughly 30 days to come up with a measure that will help fund the state's transportation infrastructure, now that the third 2013 special session began on July 30, 2013.
Daniel Reese

By the time the Texas Legislature's second special session of the year ended yesterday, the House still couldn’t get to a deal that would add more funding for road and highway projects. But a similar measure is back on the table as the third special session is already underway. 

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Politics
7:23 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Gov. Perry Calls Third Special Session of Texas Legislature

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Just over an hour after lawmakers ended their second 30-day special session of the year, Gov. Rick Perry called lawmakers back for a third one, with transportation funding the only issue on the agenda.

"When it comes to transportation, the stakes facing our state could not be higher, and a failure to act now could take years — if not most of a decade — to correct, as traffic congestion increases and harms our quality of life," Perry said in a statement announcing the call.

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Politics
5:31 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Texas Lawmakers Speed Up on Transportation Funding Measure

Texas Senate and House members have until July 30 to agree on a measure that would shore up the state highway fund.
Courtesy of Morgue File

Soon as members of the Texas Senate gaveled in this afternoon, they received a message of encouragement from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. 

"Good job conference committee, and good job Texas Senators. Good job," he said.

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst praised the work accomplished by a conference committee of Senators and Representatives between yesterday afternoon and today on House Joint Resolution 2. It would divert more than $800 million in oil and gas tax revenues from the state's Rainy Day Fund to the highway fund. 

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Politics
3:35 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Is She In? Wendy Davis On Running For Governor And Life As A Teenage Mom

Wendy Russell in elementary school, 4th or 5th grade.
Office of Sen. Wendy Davis

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 7:47 pm

With Republicans Greg Abbott and Tom Pauken already campaigning for governor, Texans want to know whether Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth will challenge them from the Democratic side.

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Politics
11:19 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Gov. Perry Signs Texas' Sweeping Abortion Bill Into Law

Gov. Rick Perry shakes hands with State. Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, one of the sponsors of House Bill 2, on July 18, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial bill into law this morning.

"It is a happy, celebratory day, and so many of you in this audience are the reason we're here today," Perry said. "In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon."

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PolitiFact
6:05 am
Wed July 17, 2013

PolitiFact: How Well Do Food Stamps Work?

KUT's Emily Donahue sat down with PolitiFact Texas' Gardner Selby to see if U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego's claim that 97 percent of stamps are properly distributed.
KUT News

U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, recently said 97 percent of all food stamp benefits reach those in need – meaning the benefit program, which caters to those at or below the federal poverty level, has an error rate of only three percent.

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Politics
6:42 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Unlikely Allies Shake Up Military Sex Assault Debate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, at a news conference Tuesday with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas (right) and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul and Cruz have endorsed Gillibrand's bill regarding sexual assault in the military.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 4:29 pm

On most recent days, nothing that wasn't bitterly partisan has seemed possible in the nation's capital.

On Tuesday, the city got its exception.

Republican Tea Party Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas stood with liberal Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, endorsing her bill that would dramatically change how military sexual assault cases are reported and prosecuted.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

The Abortion Debate is Affecting Texas Politics, Left and Right

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is one of a handful of Texas politicians using their recognition from abortion debates this legislative session to further upcoming campaigns.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Last week, the Texas Senate passed  House Bill 2, restricting abortions in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign it in coming days, and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services is already gearing up to start implementing the changes. But even with that battle lost, some Democrats have dared to dream about what the abortion battle could mean for the 2014 elections.

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Politics
7:50 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Public Input Sought for Rules on Texas Abortion Clinics' Upgrade

The Texas Department of Health Services will seek public input as it drafts the rules for the state's abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards.
Image courtesy Daquella Manera at flickr.com

Now that House Bill 2 has passed and awaits Governor Rick Perry’s signature, a long process will begin to determine how the new, stricter standards for abortion clinics will be implemented. 

The Texas Department of Health Services will be in charge of writing rules for how abortion clinics in Texas will need to upgrade.

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Politics
4:51 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Committee Weighs Impeaching UT Regent: How We Got Here and What's Next

A view from the 40 Acres to the State Capitol. The fight between UT's Board of Regents and the legislature is widely seen as a proxy fight between Bill Powers and Gov. Perry.
flickr.com/jasonunbound

Update: The Texas House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations met Monday to discuss an investigation that could lead to impeachment proceedings against a University of Texas System Regent.

The committee is tasked with deciding which articles for impeachment it could possibly bring against Wallace Hall. But at a committee hearing, lawmakers found there's little historic precedent to guide the process. According to Jeff Archer with the Texas Legislative Counsel, there have been few attempts to impeach a public official in Texas and there’s no definition or standard for what’s considered an impeachable offense. 

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Politics
9:19 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Wendy Davis Raises Nearly $1 Million

State Sen. Wendy Davis at a Capitol rally in favor of abortion rights. Davis is currently weighing a gubernatorial run.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the new star of the Texas Democratic Party, raised nearly $1 million in the final two weeks of June, much of it from small donors who sent her money after she launched her famous filibuster of a restrictive abortion bill, her campaign will reveal Monday. 

According to figures that her campaign expects to report to the Texas Ethics Commission, the Fort Worth Democrat raised $933,000 between June 17 and June 30. Counting money left over from 2012, she ended the reporting period with more than $1 million in the bank.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

Greg Abbott Announces Run for Texas Governor

Attorney General Greg Abbott begins his run for Governor in San Antonio.
Bob Daemmrich ,Texas Tribune

Long-time Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is running for the GOP nomination for governor in 2014. His official announcement has been anticipated in the days after Gov. Rick Perry announced he would not seek re-election.

A few hundred friends and supporters came to Plaza Juarez in downtown San Antonio to hear Abbott announce his run. A video shown at the announcement and his speech that followed focused on his life in office and on the accident 29 years ago that left Abbott paralyzed.

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Politics
12:30 pm
Sat July 13, 2013

Photos: Over Protest, Senate Passes Abortion Bill; Tampons Confiscated From Gallery Watchers

An unidentified woman has her bag searched by a DPS officer outside the Senate chambers. Those looking to get inside the gallery had tampons, along with
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Senate has given a final vote to pass House Bill 2, passing it 19-11.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked Senators that  "whether you're Christian, whether you're a person of faith, that we not forget to love each other." He said he felt goose bumps by seeing the orange and blue shirts in the gallery.

Update: The fate of House Bill 2 has been decided for now. The Texas Senate voted preliminarily 19 to 11 to pass the measure, without any amendments.

They need to give the bill a final vote before it would go to Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature.

In the last stretch of the night, senators gave most of their most impassioned statements when they gave their closing remarks.

  • View a photo gallery of the day's events in the slideshow player at the top of this page.
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Agenda Texas
5:30 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Abortion Bill Hogs Spotlight from Other Session Priorities

Based on stories coming out of the Texas Capitol, you might think the current 30-day special legislative session is about one thing, and one thing only: abortion.

But there are actually two other subjects on the agenda for this session:

  • Transportation Funding
  • Juvenile Justice
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Politics
7:14 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Texas Senators Push for Family Planning Support

Members of the Senate HHS Committee say restricting abortions still leaves lots of issues to address.
KUT News

Members of the Texas Senate committee that voted today to increase restrictions on abortion also say they want more support for preventive care, family planning and adoption services in Texas.

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Politics
6:17 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Both Sides on Texas Abortion Bill Welcome Future Legal Challenges

Opponents and supporters of House Bill 2, the Texas omnibus abortion bill, say they expect good to come out of a legal challenge in federal court.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

A familiar sound filled the Texas House on Wednesday morning – the voting bell, applause and protesters.

House Bill 2 passed, 96 to 49 nays, and it's also expected to pass the Senate, late this week or early next. Opponents of the new abortion restrictions say regardless, it will end up in court.

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Politics
11:17 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Texas House Approves Abortion Restrictions

State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, at the front microphone answers questions from a line of lawmakers during the July 9, 2013 debate on House Bill 2, a restrictive abortion measure.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: The House passed HB 2 on a vote of 96 to 49 this morning. The bill will be sent to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee this week for a vote, and the bill could be sent to the Senate floor for a full vote as early next week. 

Update (10:00 a.m.) Last night the House passed HB 2 on second reading by a vote of 98 to 49. The bill, which would limit access to abortions across Texas, is set for a third and final reading today in the House.

If passed, the bill will head across the Capitol rotunda to the Senate, and it could be sent to a committee as soon as this week. Below you can watch the live stream of the vote from our reporting partners The Texas Tribune.

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