Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

As part of Republican efforts to revive the controversial "bathroom bill," the Texas Senate on Tuesday gave initial approval to another version of the legislation.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Legislature’s 30-day special session is moving through an ambitious agenda at a rapid-fire pace, at least in the Senate.

Hamza Butt/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington are taking on the fake news of the world.

The project, aptly named “Bot versus Bot: Automated Detection of Fake News Bots,” will develop tools to detect online social bots that create and spread fake news.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Law enforcement officials from across the state spoke out today at the Texas Capitol against proposed legislation that would restrict bathroom access to transgender people. Senate Bill 3, known as the “bathroom bill,” would restrict access to restrooms in government buildings to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate.

Chiefs and other high-ranking law enforcement officers were uniform in their condemnation of the bill, which is a priority item during the special legislative session.

Bas Silderhuis

State senators on Monday tentatively approved a bill that would give a state task force more time to study why an alarming number of Texas mothers are dying less than a year after childbirth.

wallyg/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas law prohibits members of the Legislature from accepting campaign contributions during a regular session. The restriction came about after poultry magnate Lonnie Pilgrim handed out $10,000 checks on the Senate floor in 1989 – just two days before a vote on a workers' compensation bill that Pilgrim had an interest in.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Those watching the proceedings at the Texas Capitol this weekend may have noticed a tale of two chambers: the senate working at a frenzied pace, while the house moves much more slowly.

Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of the Texas Tribune says that normally, it’s the House where legislation moves at a quicker clip. That norm started to change a few years ago, he says, and it flipped dramatically during this year’s regular legislative session.

Federal prosecutors have charged a Florida man with "transporting illegal aliens" after at least 10 people died crammed into the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio. The truck, which had been parked in a Walmart parking lot in blistering heat, contained 39 people in total, all of whom were immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

Texas Senate Committee OKs Bill To Outlaw City Cellphone Restrictions

Jul 23, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A Texas Senate committee approved a bill Saturday that would outlaw local restrictions on using a cellphone while driving. 

Texas Senate Panel Approves Teacher Bonuses, Retirement Benefits

Jul 22, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Senate Finance Committee on Saturday approved a proposal Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listed as a priority for Texas education: providing bonuses and pay raises for long-term teachers, and reduced health-care costs for retired teachers.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

As part of state lawmakers’ second attempt at passing a bathroom bill this year, a panel of Senate lawmakers voted Friday to advance two measures that would restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Walking outside lately, you've probably noticed Texas' triple-digit temperatures. For those living or working in some of the state's prisons, going outside isn't even required to feel the heat, because some units do not have air-conditioning. Inmates have sued to get some relief, and this week they were handed a victory of sorts.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT Austin

From Texas Standard:

Soon, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin billing local police departments across Texas for any lab work done by the agency. The service used to be free but DPS is now charging in order to make up for budget cuts to its lab system made during the regular legislative session.

Mengwen Cao / KUT

The special session is underway, and of the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott says he wants lawmakers to tackle, one is getting a lot of attention from teachers.

"I want legislation on my desk that increases teacher pay by $1,000,” Abbott said. “To achieve that, Texas doesn’t need to spend more, it just needs to spend smarter.”

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

At the height of the Cold War during the late 1950s, a conservative fringe group, created by some of America's richest businessmen gathered with a lofty mission in mind: to eliminate the so-called "Communist conspiracy" they believed gripped the country, and to preserve the foundation of the Constitution and the nation's Christian roots.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Texas is heading to court over a state law going into effect in September banning the most common second-trimester abortion procedure.  

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood announced on Thursday they're suing over a provision in Texas' Senate Bill 8 bill that outlaws dilation and evacuation abortions. In that procedure, a doctor uses surgical instruments to grasp and remove pieces of fetal tissue. SB 8 only allows the procedure to be done if the fetus is deceased.

Photo courtesy of Stefano de Stefano

From Texas Standard:

With election day 2018 more than a year away, a Houston-area energy attorney appears to be the first to throw his hat in the ring as a primary challenger to fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

As the Texas Senate prepares to consider legislation to restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans in legislative overtime, the national Episcopal Church is renewing its opposition to such proposals.

Senate Gives OK To Must-Pass 'Sunset' Legislation In Midnight Vote

Jul 19, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

A fast-moving Senate gave unanimous approval to critical “sunset legislation” Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning, using two bills to extend the life of five state agencies held political hostage at the end of the regular legislative session.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The colorful scene melded two time-honored Texas traditions: political protest and the quinceañera.

With skirts flouncing, 15 young women ascended the steps of the Texas state Capitol on Wednesday morning to a traditional Mexican birthday song played in a mariachi style.

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