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Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Texas broke the seal on marijuana legalization this year when lawmakers voted to make available a non-intoxicating marijuana extract for patients with severe epilepsy in 2017. And, a national advocacy group for the legal marijuana industry is pledging to push even harder in Texas for a change in pot regulation.


Donald Trump entered the fifth Republican debate of this presidential contest on Tuesday night as the national front-runner by leaps and bounds. Other candidates have risen and fallen, but the legion of Trump's support has not wavered.

If anything, the billionaire's backing has swollen to even greater proportions since his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. That idea has taken a beating in the media and has been endorsed by exactly none of the other presidential hopefuls. Yet Trump's message continues to resonate with his legions of followers.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It's still just over two months until the Texas primary, but yesterday’s filing deadline cements who we’ll officially see on the ballot in March. The big race emerging over the last few days comes in the wake of the retirement of long-time State Rep. Elliot Naishtat.

That's led to 7 people filing to run for his seat in House District 49. All are Democrats and cover a wide range of experience – from former legislative staffers to advocates for housing and abortion rights to a current AISD School Board member. 


Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Longtime state Rep. Elliott Naishtat announced Thursday he will not seek re-election to the House seat he first won in 1990, despite saying earlier this week that he would.

Naishtat, 70, said Tuesday he had discovered a renewed desire to run for office. But since then, he has "been very anxious and stressed about the decision," he said Thursday.


Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s second attempt to immediately block the arrival of additional Syrian refugees was even shorter-lived than the first.

Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey on Wednesday rejected Paxton’s renewed request for a temporary restraining order barring nine Syrian refugees set to arrive in the stateon Thursday. Godbey’s ruling came just hours after Paxton asked for the order, citing security concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and Robert Bodisch, the deputy director of homeland security at the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Pu Ying Huang/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: The state of Texas is renewing its effort to immediately block the arrival of additional Syrian refugees, asking a federal court for a temporary restraining order barring nine Syrian refugees set to arrive in the state on Thursday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to temporarily bar the refugees, citing security concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and the state’s deputy director of homeland security.

The U.S. Supreme Court once again is weighing into a fraught elections case — a case with enormous potential political repercussions. At issue is the meaning of the "one person, one vote" principle.

The federal Constitution orders the Census Bureau to count every resident in the country so that they all can be represented in districts of equal population in the national House of Representatives. The status of state legislative districts, though, is less clear.

Chris Maddaloni/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas teamed up Tuesday to push new curbs on Syrian refugees entering the United States, with Cruz unveiling a new bill that would let states "opt out" of accepting some refugees. 

"America is a charitable nation, but we cannot allow charity for some to compromise the safety for all," Abbott said during a news conference with Cruz in Washington, D.C. "That is what has happened by the way that the federal government has interpreted and applied the Refugee Act that already exists."

Image via Flickr/Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard: 

During President Obama's Oval Office speech on Sunday evening, he laid out two gun control measures he wanted Congress to act on, one of them dealt with the nation's no-fly list.

"To begin with, Congress would have to make sure no one who's on a no-fly list would be able to buy a gun," Obama said in his televised address. "What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

But many, including the ACLU, have concerns about tying the no-fly list to a database for firearm purchases.

 


Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Sunday, December 6 – a day before the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack – is no date that will live in infamy. But it may be remembered by historians as the date the 44th U.S. President tried to allay the growing fears of a nation and talk tough against terror.


KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has taken his first-ever lead in an early state poll, surging past billionaire Donald Trump to the no. 1 spot in Iowa. 

In a Monmouth University poll released Monday, the Texas senator leads Trump 24 percent to 19 percent among likely caucus-goers. His support in the survey has spiked 14 percentage points since October. 

Photo by flickr.com/photos/theeerin/

This week on the The Ticket 2016: It's the season of the brown envelope. What's in these anonymous packages dropped on a journalist's desk? Pictures, audio, documents…all aimed at discrediting a political candidate. The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott dive into the world of opposition research to break down how these attacks are created and distributed. Plus, we'll have analysis on Chris Christie's recent resurgence in the 2016 race from New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz.

Pu Ying-Huang/KUT News

Update 12:30 p.m. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that the state was withdrawing its request for a Temporary Restraining Order blocking the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state. Paxton cites the federal government's "provid[ing] additional requested information" about the group of refugees scheduled to arrive in Texas in the coming week as the reason for the withdrawal. The state is still seeking an injunction against the federal government, requiring it to comply with its "statutory duty to consult with Texas in advance of resettling refugees." That's according to the statement Paxton released on his website.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

From the Texas Tribune: Texas has gone to federal court in its efforts to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, filing suit against the federal government and a refugee resettlement nonprofit.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton claims the federal government and the International Rescue Committee — one of about 20 private nonprofits that have a state contract to resettle refugees in Texas — are violating federal law by moving forward with the planned resettlement of two Syrian families. One such family is expected to arrive in Texas as soon as Friday.

Texas Tribune, NASA

From the Texas Tribune: While Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't outright called for repeal of the United States' decades-old trade embargo with Cuba, he made clear to Cubans Tuesday that Texas is ready to jump at the business opportunity if it happens. 


Though he said an "honest debate" about abortion in the United States is valid, President Obama, following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, again called for action on guns.

In his first news conference since Friday's deadly shootings at that Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Obama said Tuesday that Congress, states and local governments will have to act in order to prevent "people who are deranged or have violent tendencies" from getting weapons that can inflect mass casualties.

KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Ted Cruz on Monday offered a spirited defense of Republicans on women's health issues, accusing Democrats of creating a phony "war on women" based on claims that his party wants to restrict access to birth control.

"The last I checked, we don't have a rubber shortage in America," the GOP presidential candidate said during a town hall here, responding to a question about the availability of contraception to women who want it.

JACQUELYN MARTIN/AP

Cecile Richards is walking a fine line: She paints the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as one of many attacks linked to "hateful rhetoric."

She doesn't specifically say that rhetoric motivated the attack Friday in Colorado Springs.

The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America spoke with NPR on Monday morning about the attack that left three people dead: a mother of two children, an Iraq war veteran, a police officer.

The annual presidential turkey pardoning event at the White House, which took place again today, is a peculiar one. Presiding over his sixth one last year, even President Obama seemed confused by it all.

"It is a little puzzling that I do this every year," Obama said, "but I will say that I enjoy it, because with all the tough stuff that swirls around in this office, it's nice once in a while to just say, 'Happy Thanksgiving.' "

Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Medicaid Removal

Nov 23, 2015
Tamir Khalifa/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Planned Parenthood’s Texas affiliates on Monday filed a federal lawsuit to keep state health officials from booting them from the state’s Medicaid program.

Following Texas’ announcement in October that it would stop funding any care for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics — a response to what state officials called “acts of misconduct” revealed in undercover anti-abortion videos — the women’s health organization is asking the courts for a reprieve. 

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