Politics

Political news

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

The federal refugee resettlement program has faced a lot of uncertainties in the past several weeks, and folks who work with refugees here in Austin say it’s making their work more complicated than usual.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This story was originally performed as part of Pop Up Magazine.

 

With everything that’s going on in politics these days, it helps to remember the power that we have as individuals to make change. Examples of this are far too few, of course.

But there is one that stands out. And you’ve probably never heard it.


Callie Hernandez/KUT News

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question:

Why do lawmakers meet for 140 days every two years? Why not annually and for longer? How can good discussion happen?

Screenshot via PBS NewsHour

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is taking questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee today. If confirmed, the federal appeals court judge would fill a seat left vacant for more than a year, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

MIT

Gov. Greg Abbott spent more than a year speaking and writing about the need to pass a series of amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in order limit the power of the federal government. His chosen vehicle: invoking Article V of the Constitution to call a “convention of states.”

So when Abbott took the stage to deliver his State of the State message in January, there was every reason to expect he would spotlight the issue. But Abbott went one step further, designating it as one of his top four priorities for the legislative session.

“Senator Birdwell and Representative Phil King, you know as well as I do that the future of America cannot wait for tomorrow,” he said. “So I am declaring this an emergency item today.”

Rep. Will Hurd's Facebook page

After spending two days in a car together, U.S. Reps. Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke on Friday  showed their bipartisan road trip was not for nothing. 

ILLUSTRATION BY ANNEKE PATERSON / TODD WISEMAN

Exactly one week ago, a federal court struck down congressional maps drawn by Texas lawmakers in 2011.

The court sided with plaintiffs in the case who said lawmakers racially gerrymandered the districts. Among the court's concerns was an Austin district.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

A post on McDonald's corporate Twitter account caused a stir Thursday morning, denigrating President Trump and calling for Barack Obama's return. The tweet was up for about 20 minutes only — but in that time, it was liked and retweeted more than 1,000 times.

"You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back," said the tweet, which was briefly pinned to the top of the McDonald's page. It concluded, "also you have tiny hands."

U.S. Congress

The Republican health care bill under consideration by the House would change health coverage for a lot of people. It would no longer require that Americans buy health insurance, for instance, and it would eliminate current subsidies, replacing them with a fixed refundable tax credit.

Via Texas Tribune

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, will ask a Travis County judge on Wednesday to dismiss four of the 13 felony counts against her. 

Dukes' attorneys filed a motion arguing that the four counts of tampering with a government record — which stem from travel vouchers she submitted in 2013 and 2014 — should be dismissed because the statute of limitations had lapsed before Dukes was indicted in January. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of people testified at the state Capitol on Tuesday about the so-called “bathroom bill.”

Senate Bill 6 would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public spaces that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. It passed out of the Senate Committee on State Affairs hearing, which lasted more than 20 hours, on a vote of 7-1 and will now go to the full Senate for a vote. 

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Both houses of the Texas Legislature have unanimously approved an overhaul of how the state cares for its most vulnerable kids. It's a sign they're moving quickly to address what a federal judge deemed a "broken" foster care system.

Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard:

He didn’t say the word "Texas" – but the Lone Star State was woven throughout President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress. From a hint at a shift in immigration policy to a border wall to increased military spending and beyond.

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with two Texas congressmen: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) to gauge their reactions to Tuesday’s speech.

Philippe Put

Every Texas legislator should know by now that more mothers are dying less than a year after giving birth. At least that’s what Lisa Hollier believes.

Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Department of Justice is ditching its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011, according to lawyers who are challenging the state’s law.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Between 16,000 and 17,000 Texans who said they had trouble getting a voter ID were able to sign an affidavit and vote in the last presidential election, thanks to a court order. Now lawmakers want to make it a felony if a voter signing such a form “knowingly makes a false statement or provides false information.”

Qiling Wang for KUT

In 2009, Tea Party protests across the country energized a segment of conservative voters, enabling Republicans to take control of both chambers of Congress.

Inspired by Tea Party tactics, progressive groups today are organizing to put pressure on Republican congressmen in town hall meetings. While the events have been grassroots efforts, many people are organizing under the umbrella of a movement called Indivisible, which, it turns out, has roots in Austin.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Responding to a sexual assault scandal that has rocked Baylor University over the past two years, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, has filed legislation to make it easier for college students to report sexual violence.

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