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Around the country, Republican congressmen are facing angry crowds at town hall meetings – mostly from people defending the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Photo illustration by Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Andrew Weber / KUT

Just a few weeks into the Texas legislative session, there are already some questions about whether embattled state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, is spending enough time in the Texas State Capitol.

During the last legislative session in 2015, medical issues stemming from an accident kept Dukes, a long-time member of the Legislature, from the Capitol. And, while she told reporters earlier this year that doctors said she would be able to return to work, since the start of the session, her recorded attendance has been pretty spotty.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus today appointed many of his allies to key positions on House committees. Those are the panels that review bills and make changes to them before advancing them to the full Texas House.

Sound boring? It shouldn't be if you care about the future of the state.

We asked KUT's Ben Philpott to explain the significance of the appointments.


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Amid some uncertainty and confusion regarding the country's refugee resettlement program, the federal agency in charge of helping refugees resettle has designated a group of nonprofits that will take over services previously carried out by the State of Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. 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 comes from Sammi Curless: 

What powers to govern are assigned to the governor versus the lieutenant governor versus the Texas Legislature?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week some prominent Republicans said Texas should get rid of straight-ticket voting. Texas is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that allow a person to vote once for one political party straight down the ballot.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

It has been about a week since President Trump signed an executive order banning travel into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump said the ban is an effort to stop terrorists from entering the country, even though refugees already go through an extensive screening process. Local groups who help resettle refugees in Texas say they still don’t know what this means for the families they were expecting this week.

GABRIELLA DEMCZUK FOR NPR

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order suspending new-refugee admissions for 120 days and blocking travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — for 90 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Republican lawmakers in Texas have been inundated with messages over the past few days from constituents both supportive and concerned with President Donald Trump’s nominations and executive orders. So many people called into the Washington offices of Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn over the weekend and Monday that staffers say they couldn’t keep up, leaving constituents frustrated by busy signals and full voicemail boxes.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Demonstrators linked arms to form a human wall around Muslims and protect them from potential protesters at the state Capitol on Tuesday for Muslim Capitol Day.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, has been placed under the protection of the Texas Department of Public Safety after receiving death threats following his filing of a bill to criminalize abortion in Texas.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Thousands are protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from seven predominately Muslim countries. While federal judges have temporarily stayed parts of that order across the country, notably a provision that would deport some refugees detained at airports, demonstrators have staged protests at airports across the country, including at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

WASHINGTON — A lone Republican, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes, joined a handful of the Texas delegation's Democrats in challenging President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. And while the Texas Republican overseeing Homeland Security attempted to distance himself from Trump's action, most of the delegation reacted with silence. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday temporarily banning the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. — and suspended visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.

Texas resettles roughly 7,000 refugees a year, more than many other states. Non-profits who work in helping those families get on their feet here in Texas say Trump’s executive order was “abrupt” and has left both federal and local agencies scrambling to figure out what happens next.

Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump tweets a lot.

With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news.

But 140 characters rarely gives the full context.

Here, NPR's politics team and reporters from across the newsroom will attempt to do just that for key tweets, from both his official presidential account and his personal @realDonaldTrump account.

Filipa Rodrigues / KUT

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it has changed, whom it affects and its future. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

After receiving a letter from Republican state Rep. Kyle Biedermann surveying their beliefs, mosque leaders and representatives of the Texas Muslim community made one request: Get to know us.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed two executive orders related to immigration and border security, moving ahead with his plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and to deport people who are in the country illegally.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is asking a judge to penalize the state for not handing over documents in an ongoing federal lawsuit over the state’s motor voter program.

Last March, TCRP sued state officials, alleging state agencies are violating the National Voter Registration Act and the 14th Amendment by treating people who change their driver’s license information online differently than people who change it in person.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Update (Jan. 23) – Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez today, outlining potential penalties for the county and calling Hernandez’s policy “shortsighted.”

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