Politics

State Legislature
12:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Public Integrity Unit Will Be Left Out of Texas Senate Budget

Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick announced the Senate will not restore funding to the Public Integrity Unit.
Credit Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

The next Lieutenant Governor of Texas has announced the Senate will not restore funding to the Public Integrity Unit. The operation, based in the Travis County District Attorney's office, had its funding vetoed by Governor Rick Perry in 2013. That came after District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested and spent time in jail for drunk driving.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Checking the Facts: Is Greg Abbott's Wife Really Texas' First Hispanic First Lady?

Gov. Greg Abbott on NBC's Meet the Press in December.

The next Texas governor said his wife is making history as the “first Hispanic first lady of Texas.” The Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas fact-checking team was on the case, digging up ancestry research to assess the validity of Abbott’s claim.

Abbott made the declaration in early December on an episode of Meet the Press.

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Austin City Council
8:22 am
Wed January 7, 2015

New Mayor and 'Council of Firsts' Sworn In

New Mayor Steve Adler presents and award to outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon KUT News

Hundreds of people attended the swearing in of Austin's new mayor and City Council last night. Once the council chamber was full, people stood in stairways and hallways and watched on screens as the new council members delivered their first messages to the geographic districts that elected them.

The diversity of those in attendance was significant. In the crowd, there were toddlers in their parents' arms and folks whose age demanded they move with the help of canes. Some wore the most sophisticated brands and others wore simple attire. But the faces of those in the crowd were similar in that they all looked hopeful, according to political consultant and former journalist Mike Madison.

"Even the people here who do this for a living, who have to be here every week, who are going to be fighting with these people going forward on issues that come up – they're still not jaded. They wouldn't be anywhere else,” Madison said.

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City Council
5:31 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Former Austin Female Mayor Calls First Female City Council Majority 'Historic'

Carole Keeton, then Carole McClellan, at a 1976 Austin School Board meeting at UT. Keeton went on to become Austin's first, and only, female mayor.
Austin Public Library

The new Austin City Council being sworn in tonight is historic in that it is the city's first council where the majority of its members – seven out of eleven – are women. 

It took more than a century for the first woman to make it to council. And even after that, Austin's female population continued to struggle for fair representation.

In 1977, Carole Keeton was the first woman to be elected mayor of Austin. No other woman has held that office since.

"Before this election there had only been 15 women – that's counting me as mayor, 14 council members and me as mayor – 15 women since 1839, and now, we've got seven out of eleven,” said Keeton, who calls this election "historic."

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Boston Bombings
8:28 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Jury Selection To Begin Monday In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 3:51 pm

The search begins Monday for the jurors who will decide the fate of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks, and the trial is one that many have been waiting for.

A couple of dozen survivors are expected in court for at least part of the trial — including Heather Abbott, who lost a leg in the attack. She's hoping for answers to both why and how the bombing was carried out.

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Politics
3:11 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Staffers Walk Out Of Congress In Protest Over Brown And Garner Cases

Black congressional staffers hold their hands up as they pose for a group photo during a walkout on on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Thursday, in a protest over the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 5:15 pm

Dozens of congressional staff members walked out of the Capitol at 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday, in a show of support for protesters angered by recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

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Politics
12:08 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Parade Of Open-Carry Bills Exposes Divide In Ranks

Tarrant County open carry gun owners rally at the Republican Convention on June 5, 2014.
Credit Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

As momentum grows behind a push to let Texans carry handguns openly, the biggest fight may be among Second Amendment advocates themselves.

A conflict is emerging over how far changes to the current state law should go, and some gun-rights supporters fear that the divide may sink efforts to lift handgun restrictions during the legislative session that begins in January.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

How Same-Sex Marriage Could Come to Texas, Sooner Than You Think

Both Conservatives and Progressives took to the Capitol as the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing the DOMA and Prop 8 cases in 2013.
KUT

County clerks in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio could keep their doors open around the clock, should the state receive a ruling lifting a ban on same-sex marriages in Texas.

San Antonio-based U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is expected to deliver a ruling that could have thousands of gay couples rushing to gain marriage licenses before a higher court could overrule.

Texas Standard speaks with John Wright, freelance journalist and publisher of Lone Star Q, about what county clerks offices could see.

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Politics
4:53 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Texas Leads State Coalition Lawsuit Against Presidential Immigration Action

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, announcing a lawsuit over the Obama administration's executive order on immigration policy.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Texas is part of a lawsuit filed by 17 states over President Obama's executive action on immigration. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday afternoon in the Federal District Court in Texas and names the heads of immigration enforcement agencies as defendants. 

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Ferguson
8:32 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Ferguson Jury: No Charges For Officer In Michael Brown's Death

Lesley McSpadden (wearing sunglasses), the mother of Michael Brown, reacts as she listens to the announcement of the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday. The panel found there was no probable cause to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Brown.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:57 pm

This post was last updated at 12:03 a.m. ET.

A grand jury did not indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for any crimes related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed and black, in an Aug. 9 incident that has stoked anger and debate in Ferguson and beyond.

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Politics
8:34 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Will Step Down, Once Successor Is Confirmed

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 12:34 pm

(This post was last updated at 11:41 a.m. ET.)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the highest-profile Republican on President Obama's Cabinet, will step down, once his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Calling Hagel an "exemplary defense secretary," Obama made the announcement in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday.

Hagel, a two-term Republican senator, came to the post in February of 2013, the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense.

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Texas Standard
4:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

What Can Immigrants Expect Following Obama's Executive Order?

Immigration reform advocates protest in this file photo from 2009.
Mariana Salazar for KUT

President Barack Obama announced broad changes to national immigration policy last night, affecting up to five million undocumented U.S. residents.

Immigrants who have been living in the United States for at least five years, who have children who are U.S. citizens or whose children are legal residents, may stay in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation, provided they register with the government, pass a criminal background check and pay their taxes. 

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Border & Immigration
7:53 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Obama Goes It Alone, Shielding Up To 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

President Obama announces executive actions on U.S. immigration policy during a nationally televised address from the White House on Thursday.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:01 pm

After six years of often bitter back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over the issue of immigration, President Obama announced he has decided to go it alone by temporarily shielding up to 5 million immigrants from being deported.

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Politics
10:36 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Van de Putte Resigning to Run for San Antonio Mayor

Credit Janis Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two weeks after losing her bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte on Wednesday night announced that she was running for mayor of San Antonio and would not finish her term at the Texas Capitol.

“I’m running for mayor. I’m coming home,” Van de Putte said in an interview with KSAT-TV. "My decision to run for mayor had to do with how I can serve the people the best."

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Texas Standard
3:12 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Could a Student Massacre Launch Mexico's Arab Spring?

A Mexican flag flies in the city of Iguala.
Flickr user Ricardo Maldonado, https://flic.kr/p/5ajTQf

Members of a teacher's union set fire to a local legislative hall. Molotov cocktails splatter against the walls of a ministerial building. A police commander is grabbed off the street by protestors, while students torch state-owned trucks and try to storm the national palace.

This all sounds like scenes from the Arab Spring. But these are snapshots from south of our border right now. It's a popular uprising that's spreading across Mexico triggered by the presumed massacre of 43 students in Iguala.

Some are calling this Mexico's watershed moment, including Alfredo Corchado, Mexico City correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and author of  "Midnight in Mexico". He speaks with Texas Standard's David Brown about what's next for the country. 

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2015 Legislative Session
12:24 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Bill Filings Begin: Four Things to Look for in the 2015 Texas Legislature

The Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 13, but what will lawmakers be considering?
Liang Shi for KUT

It's that time of the biennium.

The 84th Texas Legislature is just a few short months away, and state lawmakers are already filing their bills for the first Rick Perry-less session this side of the millennium. So far, the bills include legislative pet projects like texting and driving bans, open carry initiatives and tax cuts. Other proposals target tougher statewide issues like transportation funding and state budgeting.

You can find a roundup of issues that state lawmakers are considering below.

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Texas Standard
3:31 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What Conventional Wisdom Gets Wrong About Texas Politics

The Texas Delegation at the Republican National Convention in 2008
Tom LeGro for PBS NewsHour Flickr; https://flic.kr/p/5ixDyb

For much of this election year there was powerful conventional wisdom about the race for governor in Texas: Democrat Wendy Davis couldn’t win, Republicans couldn’t lose and Texas wouldn’t change.

Now that Election Day has come and gone, it’s clear that that conventional wisdom got a good bit right. But in the eyes of author and commentator Richard Parker, [it] got a good bit wrong as well. 

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Politics
2:33 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What's In Store For The Texas Legislature?

The Texas House of Represenative chambers
flickr.com/garyjd

Now that the elections are over the big question on everybody’s mind is – what now? What changes will we see coming in the state and what battles will be fought in the halls of the Texas Legislature? If Texas knows anything - it’s how to make legislative waves. In recent memory Texas gained national notoriety for a variety of topics ranging from its voter ID law to its much debated abortion restrictions.

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Texas Standard
12:47 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Did Campaign Ads Work in Texas?

A still from Wendy Davis' controversial "wheelchair" ad.
youtube.com

Now that Election Day's come and gone, you've probably noticed something different on your television screen – the election cycles' wide assortment of political ads have finally relented.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, about $62 million was spent on campaign ads in Texas this election cycle – earning it the No. 2 spot on ad spending nationally.  

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