Politics

Governor's Race
1:42 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Anti-Corruption Unit Chief: No Davis Docs Passed to FBI

Texas gubernatorial candidate, Sen. Wendy Davis speaks to press following an education rally in Austin, Texas on April 14th
Marjorie Kamys Cotera via Texas Tribune

The agency charged with prosecuting state public corruption cases wrapped up an investigation into state Sen. Wendy Davis last year without finding any issues worth pursuing, its director said, and did not uncover anything it believed it should refer to the FBI.

The Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorneys Office closed an investigation into a complaint made against Davis’ law firm last year. The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that documents related to Davis’ legal work as a lawyer for the North Texas Tollway Authority are part of an FBI inquiry into the agency's board members, citing a letter from the Public Integrity Unit about its own closed investigation into Davis.

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Politics
8:52 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Castro-Patrick Immigration Debate Offers Plenty of Attacks, Few Solutions

Mayor Julian Castro and Sen. Dan Patrick shake cordially after their San Antonio debate on April 15, 2014.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has been making headlines for taking what some consider a hard line on immigration in his campaign. Last night, he squared off against San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro over the topic.

The genesis of the debate was a squabble on Twitter between the two –started in large part because of State Sen. Dan Patrick's comments calling undocumented immigrants entry into Texas an "invasion." In the debate, Mayor Castro quickly revisited that topic.

“I want to break news to the Senator, that we’re about to celebrate San Jacinto Day, but Texas is not being invaded by Mexico. I can assure you of that," Castro joked.

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Politics
7:20 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

REWATCH: Dan Patrick and Julian Castro Immigration Debate

State Senator and GOP Lt. Governor candidate Dan Patrick faced off against San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro in a televised debate over immigration tonight at 6pm.

The debate was moderated by the Texas Tribune's Evan Smith.

Immigration
4:41 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Immigration Activists Chain Themselves to MLK Statue to Protest Obama Policies

Patrick Fierro(left) and Juan Belman are two of four immigrant rights activists who chained themselves to the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the U.T. campus Wednesday afternoon.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Protesters gathered on the UT campus to protest President Obama’s immigration policies during his speech today at the Civil Rights Summit. Some chained themselves to the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. on campus and many brandished signs deriding the president for strict deportation strategies in light of the event which highlights equal rights. 

“We want them to recognize that the fight for civil rights is not over,” said student organizer Maria Reza. “Enough talk – we need action.”

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
11:30 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Watch President Obama's Address at the Civil Rights Summit

President Barack Obama is speaking this afternoon at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin.

The summit, gathering four U.S Presidents and dozens of other speakers, marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act.

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Politics
6:58 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How Sports Played a Role in the Civil Rights Movement

NBA legend Bill Russell talked about the role he played in helping other black athletes during the Civil Rights Summit.
LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

The role sports has played in America's civil rights struggle, especially with black athletes, has been well documented.

For many the movement started with Jackie Robinson crossing the color line in baseball. But two other athletes were in Austin Wednesday to share their perspectives at the LBJ Library's Civil Rights Summit.

Jim Brown is often called the greatest running back in the history of pro football. But he was never the most popular player. He told the crowd in Austin he attributes that to his role in pushing for civil rights and equality for himself and other black athletes.

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
7:28 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Bill Clinton Speaks at UT Austin's LBJ Summit

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the audience during the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas campus on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Deborah Cannon, American-Statesman

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Wednesday night at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin. The summit, gathering four U.S Presidents and dozens of other speakers, marks the 50th anniversary of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act.

Clinton lamented last year’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to weaken another part of the LBJ legacy, the Voting Rights Act. Clinton singled out the Texas law requiring voters to show photo ID.

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Red State Women
4:45 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Red State Returns Spotlight To Women, Backbone Of Texas GOP

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:48 pm

Republican women have always played an important role in Texas politics, but this year, the GOP finds itself on the defensive in the campaign for women's votes. As KUT's Ben Phillpott reports, there's a new group to help address the issue: Red State Women.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Politics
3:11 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Crossroads GPS At Heart Of GOP's Lois Lerner Probe

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. (center), flanked by the committee's ranking member, Sander Levin, D-Mich. (right), and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, listen on Capitol Hill April 9 as the panel debates whether IRS official Lois Lerner's refusal to testify to Congress deserves criminal prosecution.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 7:08 pm

Among the alleged crimes committed by Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the heart of the tax agency's targeting of conservative groups: singling out Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove's nonprofit group that spent $165 million in the last election attacking Democrats and helping Republicans.

That's according to House Republicans pushing criminal charges against Lerner.

The House Ways and Means Committee met in closed-door session Wednesday to discuss three specific violations Republicans believe she committed while running the IRS's office that handles tax-exempt groups.

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Politics
7:54 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Immigration, Gay Marriage and the Expanding Definition of Civil Rights

David Boies and Ted Olson talk about marriage equality at LBJ Civil Rights Summit.
LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

When the Civil Rights Act was signed into law nearly 50 years ago, its main focus was on the treatment of the country's black population. But over the years, other groups have slipped under the act’s umbrella of protection. As the LBJ Library’s Civil Rights Summit opened in Austin Tuesday, it began with a discussion of how two groups are hoping those protections will extend to them.

The opening panel at the summit dove right into one of the two civil rights issues dominating the American political and legal landscape: same-sex marriage.

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
5:50 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Watch: Jimmy Carter Speaks at the LBJ Civil Rights Summit

Former President Jimmy Carter is in Austin today as part of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. The event marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act.

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
4:19 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Interview: President Jimmy Carter on Why Women's Rights are Civil Rights

Timothy A. Hazel, U.S. Navy

President Jimmy Carter is one of four U.S. presidents attending the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin this week.

President Carter, who served from 1977 to 1981, grew up in Southern Georgia during some of the worst days of Jim Crow. The 39th president of the U.S. is also promoting a new book, "Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power," in which he discusses what he calls discrimination and violence against women and girls worldwide – what he calls "the most serious and unmet worldwide challenge" of our time.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The Politics Of Equal Pay: It's More Than A Women's Issue

A crowd lines up in Atlanta for a recent women's forum on pay equity and other issues featuring Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 3:18 pm

The pay equity issue, which President Obama and Democrats are making a central theme of the 2014 midterm election campaign, is often framed as a women's issue. But Democrats are expecting it will also have crossover appeal to men.

For many men, it's a matter of self-interest: Two-income families are part of a long-term trend, as many families find two paychecks essential to cover the bills in an era of rising prices and stagnant, if not falling, wages.

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
12:41 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Former President Jimmy Carter: Religions Have A Role In Abuse And Degradation Of Women

Former President Jimmy Carter has a new book out, called "Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power."
The Carter Center

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 11:20 am

Jimmy Carter is on a mission. The 89-year-old former president has issued a blunt manifesto in book form titled A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. In today’s Friday Conversation, President Carter talks with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, about what he calls “the human and civil rights struggle of our time” – how religions have systematically denigrated women, leading to prejudice, infanticide and horrific violence.

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Politics
8:09 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Four Presidents Will Be in Austin for the LBJ Civil Rights Summit

Four U.S. Presidents are heading to Austin for the Civil Rights Summit.
LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

Four U.S. Presidents headline a three-day summit in Austin this week, kicking off a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Life before the act can sometimes seem foreign to those of us who came after the landmark legislation was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Organizers say that alone is a great reason to hold a summit.

"Of course it's appropriate to look back. I mean, I myself am a child of the segregated South. So I grew up in that world and I know in ways that our students really don't, what things were like before this legislation,"  LBJ School of Public Affairs Dean Robert Hutchings says.

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Money in Politics
10:32 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Limits On Political Contributions

People wait in line for the beginning of the 2013-2014 Supreme Court term in Washington on Oct. 7. The court heard the first major case on campaign contribution limits since 2010's landmark Citizens United.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 11:34 am

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down an overall cap on the amount that large campaign donors can give to parties and candidates in a two-year election cycle.

In a 5-4 decision split between conservatives and liberals on the high court, the court said the limits were a violation of the First Amendment.

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Politics
8:13 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Marijuana: A Potential Cash Crop for Texas Farmers?

Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Kinky Friedman at the KUT studios.
Mike Lee, KUT

Vanishing salmon and fields trashed by trespassers are the most common agricultural side effects of marijuana growth in California, experts there say. The idea agriculture commissioner candidate Kinky Friedman promotes of a hemp farming utopia brought on by the legalization of marijuana in Texas, they say, might be more pipe dream than reality.

"It is the green thread that weaves its way through all of our lives," Friedman said of marijuana during an interview with The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith. "This is not about long-haired hippies smokin' dope. It is about the future of Texas."

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Lower Colorado River Authority
10:34 am
Tue April 1, 2014

New LCRA Team: Varied Experience, Highly Paid

Community members attending an LCRA meeting in 2011. Phil Wilson, the water authority's new general manager, could take home over half a million dollars annually.
I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Editor's note: This report comes from KUT's reporting partner, the Austin Monitor

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s new general manager Phil Wilson received a hefty pay increase when he moved from the hot seat at the Texas Department of Transportation to another hot seat at the state-created water and power authority two months ago. And his pay increase could get even heftier.

Wilson’s annual base salary has been set at $425,000, according to LCRA spokeswoman Clara Tuma in an email response to questions from the Austin Monitor. In addition, Wilson could receive a bonus of up to 25 percent of his salary, Tuma indicated.  Wilson’s salary and any bonus are determined by LCRA’s 15 member board of directors, which hired him late last year. He took over the job on Feb. 3.

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Politics
5:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Tax Cut Promises Lead Campaigns, But May Be Hard to Fulfill

With tax revenues up, the call for tax cuts is getting louder.
Todd Wiseman & Mikhail Popov, Texas Tribune

Several Texas Republican candidates are pushing the idea of cutting taxes in the 2015 legislative session. That includes cutting property taxes and the state’s business tax.

The State of Texas has been flush with cash the last two years. There was a nearly $9 billion dollar surplus in 2013. With another $2.6 billion dollar surplus reported for 2014.

"Our current trends suggest that we're going to do even better than that with the continued health of the oil and gas industry," says Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. "The prospects for next session look very good on the money front and I think that's going to give the Legislature a number of options." 

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Lt. Governor Race
8:41 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Immigration Rhetoric in Lt. Gov Race Disappoints Some Hispanic Republicans

In a commercial, Lt. Gov candidate Dan Patrick touts his opposition to in-state tuition at Texas universities for qualifying undocumented children.
YouTube

Before the March primary, a handful of Hispanic Republican leaders questioned the tone on immigration among some GOP candidates – especially statements from State Sen. Dan Patrick, who’s running for Lieutenant Governor.

This year's Republican primary has been an exercise in running to the right of everyone else on the ballot. In the race for Lieutenant Governor, candidates began pushing further and further rightward when talking about border security. 

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