Politics

Perry Indictment
2:25 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Perry Attorneys Challenge Amended Indictment

Former Gov. Rick Perry at Jan. 28 press conference with his lead attorney, Tony Buzbee.
Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

An amended indictment against Rick Perry is "woefully deficient" and should be rejected because it fails to allege a crime was committed when the former governor vetoed funds to the Travis County district attorney's office nearly two years ago, his attorneys said in a court document filed Monday. 

"Governor Perry, as a matter of law, acted within his capacity as Governor when he deliberated with his staff regarding the exercise of his veto and any negotiations regarding that potential veto, directly or through his staff," the defense team argued in its supplemental motion to quash an indictment amended on Feb. 13.

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Same-Sex Marriage
2:40 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Texas Attorney General Calls on Court to Invalidate State's First Same-Sex Marriage

Sarah Goodfriend (middle left) and Suzanne Bryant (center) were married Thursday. They were the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Texas. The Attorney General hopes to invalidate their marriage.
Courtesy of Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant

Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling on the Texas Supreme Court to invalidate the state’s first same-sex marriage. Paxton filed a petition with the high court just after noon today.

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Agenda Texas
10:31 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Timeline: Texas' First Legal Same-Sex Marriage

Suzanne Bryant (l) and Sarah Goodfriend (r) speak to the press at the celebration of their marriage, the first legal marriage of a gay couple in Texas.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

Thursday morning at about 9:15, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant became the state’s first legally married same-sex couple.

You may have already heard about the marriage, but do you know what happened in the hour before that ceremony or the hours that followed?

Let’s spend a few minutes explaining what happened, and perhaps more importantly, what happens next.

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Same-Sex Marriage
5:08 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Travis County Judge Declares Texas' Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A Travis County judge ruled Tuesday that Texas' same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, though the county has not yet started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Credit erin m/flickr

In an order handed down today, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman declared Texas's ban on same-sex marriages "unconstitutional."

The restriction of marriage to the "union of a man and a woman" violates the 14th amendment by excluding same-sex couples, the order says.

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Politics
1:22 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Abbott Declares Five Emergency Items for Lawmakers

Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Credit Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is out with his list of top priorities for lawmakers in Austin for the next 100 days.

In his first State of the State address, Abbott told a joint session of the Legislature that his emergency items include expanding pre-K education, securing the southern border and ethics reform. And he wants Texas to achieve those goals with lower taxes.

“I will reject any budget that does not include genuine tax relief to Texas employers and job creators. And I will also insist on property tax reduction for Texans,” Abbott said.

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Politics
10:44 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Watch: Abbott Delivers State of the State

Credit Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

Greg Abbott delivered his first State of the State address as Texas governor today.

In his address, Abbott highlighted five emergency items for the state's legislative session: early and higher education, road funding, border security and ethics. Watch the governor's speech below.

Politics
4:21 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

In New Web Ad, Perry Touts New Hampshire

From the Texas Tribune:

After taking his Lone Star swagger 2,000 miles east to New Hampshire last week, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a new web ad on Sunday celebrating the Granite State's independence.

The ad — which was produced by RickPAC, Perry's federal political action committee — was obtained by the New Hampshire Journal, which called the video the "first campaign-style digital ad of the 2016 cycle."

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Agenda Texas
10:29 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Border Security and Battle Lines in Austin

Texas lawmakers want border security, but what kind? And how much will it cost?
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

It's about a month into the 84th Texas Legislative session, and this week saw the first cracks in any unified front among the state's Republican leadership.

Just like every Texas legislative session – ever, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House won't always agree on things. And that was highlighted this week in the debate over border security.

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Same-Sex Marriage
3:43 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

What Does the Alabama Marriage Ruling Mean for Texas?

Morguefile/flickr

Alabama is now the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage. In January, a federal judge struck down that state’s gay marriage ban, and a federal appeals court let it stand.  

The process went like this:

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Agenda Texas
10:17 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Bills, Guns and Committees Come to the Capitol

Activists who support a legislative proposal that would lift the state's handgun licensing requirements stand outside the state Capitol on the opening day of the Texas Legislature on Jan. 13, 2015
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Two weeks ago Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick handed out his committee assignments, and, this week, House Speaker Joe Straus did the same. That means the sounds that now fill the House and Senate chambers –  of lawmakers giving congratulatory resolutions – is about to change.

Bills often make the news only to quickly disappear from public discourse. Some, like one that moved in the Legislature this week on open carry, gain attention and momentum. Why do some bills fade away while others don't? The answer sometimes lies with House and Senate committees.

How to Pass a Bill

The journey from bill filing to governor's signature is a long and, about 70 percent of the time, unsuccessful journey.  First up, bill referral, when bills are read for the first time in either the House or Senate and then sent to a committee.

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Texas Legislature
5:08 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Straus Names Otto as House's Chief Budget Writer

Credit Todd Wiseman & Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

House Speaker Joe Straus released his committee assignments Wednesday, including new chairmen for the two high-profile committees that will take the lead on writing the budget and crafting tax cuts.

Straus picked state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which crafts the chamber's budget plan. Otto, who has served in the House since 2005, has been a member of the Appropriations Committee since 2007. He is the first certified public accountant to serve as the House’s lead budget writer in more than 25 years.

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Politics
8:01 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz Smoked Marijuana as a Teenager

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at Governor Greg Abbott's election night party on November 4, 2014. Cruz says through a spokesperson that he smoked pot as a teenager but considers it a mistake.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

As he ramps up a possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has revealed through a spokesperson that he "foolishly experimented with marijuana" once as a teenager, but feels it was a mistake and has never tried it since. 

An unnamed Cruz spokesperson made the revelation to the UK paper The Daily Mail. The Cruz campaign confirmed to KUT News that the report is accurate. 

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Politics
10:36 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Rand Paul is Making His Play for Texas

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul delivers the keynote speech at the Dallas County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner on Jan. 30, 2015.
Laura Buckman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Since 1988, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul watched his father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, run three noteworthy but quixotic presidential campaigns. 

But if Rand Paul follows through on his own presidential bid — as he’s widely expected to do — he will not be running to pull the GOP over to the libertarian principles he grew up with. The Kentucky senator made clear this weekend during a swing through Texas that he would run to win.

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Politics
9:43 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Perry All But Confirms Run for President on Fox News

Former Gov. Rick Perry appeared on Fox News' Hannity yesterday to speak about the ongoing case against him.

From the Texas Tribune:

During an appearance on Fox News Wednesday, former Gov. Rick Perry told host Sean Hannity that he realized how unprepared he was to run for president in 2012.

He started an "intensive program" in late 2012, he said, with domestic policy, foreign policy and monetary policy, "So when I stand on the stage and debate this next time, you're going to see a person who is very, very well prepared and able to talk across the board about the issues that the President of the United States is going to have to deal with as we go into 2017."

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Politics
10:50 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Watch: Day After Judge's Ruling, Perry Vows to Keep Fighting Indictment

Perry speaking today in response to yesterday's judge's decision.
Credit Ben Philpott/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune:

Former Gov. Rick Perry decried a criminal case against him as an attack on his right to free speech and amounted to "the criminalization of politics," one day after a judge ruled that the case could move forward.

"I know my actions were right when faced with a public official's illegal, unethical, and embarrassing public behavior," Perry said, referring to Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's drunk driving arrest in 2013.  

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Politics
4:10 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Judge Denies Perry's Second Request to Dismiss Charges Against Him

Credit KUT News

A judge struck down former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's second request for dismissal of the indictment against him today. This means the case will likely extend for several months more in court, even as Perry continues to mount his presumed presidential campaign.

In August 2014, a Travis County grand jury indicted Perry on two felony charges related to his 2013 veto of funding for the county's Public Integrity Unit.

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Texas Legislature
3:36 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Lt. Gov. Patrick on Open Carry: The Votes Aren't There

New Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick emphasizes school choice as one of his top legislative priorities at a Texas Tribune event on Jan. 27, 2015.
Credit Bob Daemmrich

From the Texas Tribune:

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cast doubt Tuesday on the possibility that a bill legalizing the open carry of handguns could pass during the current legislative session. 

“Second Amendment rights are very important, but open carry does not reach to the level of prioritizing at this point,” he said. “I don’t think the votes are there.” 

Patrick, whose comments came during an interview with with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith, also left open the fate of another red-meat measure: repealing in-state tuition at Texas community colleges and universities for children of undocumented immigrants. 

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Agenda Texas
10:04 am
Fri January 23, 2015

What to Watch in the Texas State Budget

Credit Todd Wiseman & Stuart Seeger/Texas Tribune

Agenda Texas is KUT's weekly report on the Texas Legislative session. Each week we'll take a deeper look into the policies being considered and explain what they could mean for you and your life. From transportation to education to the environment and everything in between.

Two weeks down in the 84th Texas Legislature. This one was filled with the pomp of Inauguration Day, and the curious circumstance of the Texas Senate's rules for bringing up a bill. But today's Agenda Texas talks about the state budget.

Out of the billions and billions spent, there are two numbers to focus on to help understand it all.

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Texas Legislature
3:58 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

With Change in Procedure, Senate Democrats Lose Clout

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, with State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, sponsor of the resolution that changed Senate voting rules on Jan. 21, 2015.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

With a new lieutenant governor installed for the first time in more than a decade Wednesday — and over the cries of Democrats — the Texas Senate voted to break from an almost 70-year tradition intended to encourage compromise among its 31 members.

Now the approval of only 19 senators instead of 21 will be required to bring legislation to the floor for debate. The change — passed on a vote of 20-10 — has the practical effect of allowing Republicans to consider a bill without a single vote from one of the chamber's 11 Democrats. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, has targeted the tradition known as the two-thirds rule since he first entered the Legislature in 2007.

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Politics
8:06 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Transcript: President Obama's State Of The Union Address

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 9:31 pm

President Obama's State of the Union address as prepared for delivery on Jan. 20, 2015:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.

But tonight, we turn the page.

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