Political news

Watch: Ted Cruz Announces Presidential Bid

Mar 23, 2015
Screenshot from Washington Post

From the Texas Tribune: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz declared his candidacy for the White House on Monday in a speech heavy on faith and hard on President Obama, making him the first major party candidate to formally jump into the race.  

"I believe in you, I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America," Cruz said to a college basketball arena filled with students. "And that is why today I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States."

The 2016 presidential campaign has its first official candidate. Republican Ted Cruz jumped into the race for the presidency, announcing his intentions in a tweet at 12:09 am EDT Monday morning.

"I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support!" the firebrand Texas senator tweeted simply with an embedded video.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will announce Monday he is running for the Republican nomination for president, a close aide of the lawmaker confirmed to NPR following a report first published by The Houston Chronicle.

Alabama Chief Justice to Speak on Same-Sex Marriage

Mar 16, 2015

Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore went to war with the Supreme Court back in 2003, over the right to display the Ten Commandments outside an Alabama courthouse. As a result, the Alabama Judiciary removed Moore from his post during his first term.

Now, Moore talks about who has jurisdiction over marriage and divorce, equality of rights and the future of same-sex marriage.

Rand Paul Opens Austin Office Ahead of Likely 2016 Run

Mar 16, 2015
Patrick Svetik/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Laying down a marker in a state with a burgeoning tech community — and no shortage of political ambition — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Monday opened an Austin outpost of his likely 2016 presidential campaign, hailing it as proof of his forward-thinking appeal to nontraditional Republican voters.

"People keep asking, 'Why are you in Texas and not in New Hampshire?'" the Kentucky Republican said, nodding to the influx of his potential presidential rivals this past weekend into the Granite State. "Well, because I think if you want talent, you've got to go where the talent is."

Frankie Leon

From the Texas Tribune:

In an email forwarded to legislative staffers on Thursday, a Department of Public Safety captain warned of "glitter bombs" being sent to state lawmakers and attached a document titled "Glitter Bombing: Weapon of Choice for Gay Rights, Pro Choice Advocates." 

According to the DPS email, passed along to Senate chiefs of staff by Patsy Spaw, the secretary of the Senate, state Rep. Debbie Riddle's district office in Spring recently received such a parcel — a spring-loaded tube filled with glitter. 

The Obama administration wants to move forward with its Deferred Action Program that would shield some illegal immigrants from deportation. But a federal court halted the administration's program last week.

On Monday, the administration asked the court to lift last week's order. In its request, the administration is offering options: Let the program go forward nationwide or let it go forward everywhere except in Texas.

Perry Attorneys Challenge Amended Indictment

Feb 23, 2015
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Watch: Abbott Delivers State of the State

Feb 17, 2015
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.

In New Web Ad, Perry Touts New Hampshire

Feb 16, 2015

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."

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.


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:

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.

Straus Names Otto as House's Chief Budget Writer

Feb 4, 2015
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.

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. 

Rand Paul is Making His Play for Texas

Feb 3, 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.