texas tribune

Politics
10:20 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Supreme Court: Texas Reinforced Segregated Housing

'We must remain wary of policies that reduce homeowners to nothing more than their race,' wrote Justice Kennedy in the majority opinion handed down today.
Supreme Court of the United States

From the Texas Tribune: The biggest federal housing subsidy program in Texas — which awarded $9.7 billion in tax credits from 1990 to 2011 — effectively has been reinforcing segregated housing, the U.S. Supreme Court found Thursday.

Divided along ideological lines, the high court ruled 5-4 against the state of Texas, which administers the federally backed subsidy program.

"Much progress remains to be made in our Nation’s continuing struggle against racial isolation," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "We must remain wary of policies that reduce homeowners to nothing more than their race."

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Politics
9:33 am
Mon May 25, 2015

House Will Take Up Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In a dramatic turn of events, the House Calendars Committee on Sunday night reversed course and sent a controversial bill prohibiting health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace from covering abortions to the full chamber for a vote.

Earlier in the night, the committee voted not to place Senate Bill 575 by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor on the lower chamber’s calendar for Tuesday — the last day a Senate bill can be passed by the House. After fireworks on the House floor instigated by a lawmaker who believed he had entered into an agreement to get the bill to the full chamber, the committee reconvened and reconsidered its vote. 

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Politics
12:40 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

The Ticket: Marco Rubio and Gearge Seay

Credit Screenshot courtesy ABC News

This week on The Ticket: We break down the presidential campaign announcement by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and chat with Rubio supporter George Seay, who was Rick Perry's state finance chairman in the 2012 campaign.

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Health
10:04 am
Fri April 24, 2015

State Health Tests Prodded Blue Bell Recall

A sign on an ice cream case in an Austin convenience store warns shoppers of the Blue Bell recall.
John Jordan/Texas Tribune

Via the Texas Tribune:

It’s the phone call no company in Texas wants to receive.

Shortly after lab tests on two Blue Bell ice cream flavors — Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough — came back “presumptive positive” for the deadly bacteria Listeria monocytogenes , Kathy Perkins reached for the phone and contacted the Brenham-based company with the unfavorable news.

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Education
11:57 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Fenves Named Next President of UT Austin

University of Texas President Bill Powers speaks to Provost Gregory Fenves during a board of regents meeting on July 10, 2014.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: After more than three weeks as the sole finalist for the job, Gregory Fenves has been named the next president of the University of Texas at Austin. 

And this time, the current executive vice president and provost has been elevated without any dissent. The vote to hire him was 8-0 by the UT System Board of Regents. Regent Wallace Hall abstained from voting.

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Texas
3:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

State Audit: 'Operational Defects' Led to 21CT Deal

Texas Health and Human Services Commission Kyle Janek and former HHSC chief counsel, Jack Stick.
Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: A scathing state audit of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's $20 million deal for fraud tracking software has revealed "operational defects" within the agency's procurement process. 

According to the report, which was released on Thursday, no one took ownership of the deal or ever questioned why it should not be competitively awarded. 

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Texas
12:51 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Grand Jury Recommends UT Regent's Removal

UT Regent Wallace Hall on April 28, 2014. Lawmakers admonished and censured Hall, who was waging a personal investigation into lawmaker influence in the UT-Austin admissions process.
Charlie Pearce/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In an unusual, strongly worded report, a Travis County grand jury recommended this week that University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall be removed from office.

It didn’t, however, indict him or accuse him of any criminal wrongdoing. Instead, it called Hall’s behavior “unaccountable and abusive.”

"Transparency and accountability are key elements in maintaining citizens' trust in their government," the report said. "Regent Hall demonstrated neither accountability nor transparency in his actions."

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Texas
11:45 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Report: Health Commission Was Found to Be 'in Quiet Turmoil'

Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek whispers to an aide at a hearing of the Sunset Advisory Commission on Jan. 14, 2015.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Leadership problems at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in the wake of a contracting scandal that resulted in forced resignations leave the agency too vulnerable to consolidate at this time, according to a report released Monday by Gov. Greg Abbott's handpicked "strike force."

The report found that too often decisions at the committee are reactive and that when the strike force team came to the agency in January, the agency found it "in quiet turmoil."

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Politics
4:44 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

DPS: Glitter Bombs Weapon of Choice for Gay Rights Advocates

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. 

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Texas
3:54 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Report: Texas Population to Double by 2050

Justyna Furmanczyk

From the Texas Tribune: Texas' population is expected to double by 2050 to 54.4 million people, according to projections released Thursday by the state demographer.

That increase will largely be due to more people moving to the state, rather than just by Texans having more children, according to the report by State Demographer Lloyd Potter and his staff. Migration patterns are expected to "substantially alter the future age structure of Texas," the report found.

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University of Texas
3:50 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Watch: UT President Powers Addresses Admissions Report Findings

University president Bill Powers speaks at a previous Tribune events.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers has helped secure college admittance for some students over the objections of the admissions office, according to an external review of lawmaker and regent influence at the flagship campus.

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Texas Legislature
5:08 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Straus Names Otto as House's Chief Budget Writer

Credit 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.

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Texas Legislature
3:36 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Lt. Gov. Patrick on Open Carry: The Votes Aren't There

New Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick emphasizes school choice as one of his top legislative priorities at a Texas Tribune event on Jan. 27, 2015.
Credit Bob Daemmrich

From the Texas Tribune:

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cast doubt Tuesday on the possibility that a bill legalizing the open carry of handguns could pass during the current legislative session. 

“Second Amendment rights are very important, but open carry does not reach to the level of prioritizing at this point,” he said. “I don’t think the votes are there.” 

Patrick, whose comments came during an interview with with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith, also left open the fate of another red-meat measure: repealing in-state tuition at Texas community colleges and universities for children of undocumented immigrants. 

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Gay Marriage
4:37 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Appeals Judges Raise Doubts on Gay Marriage Ban

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals building in New Orleans.
Credit Alexa Ura/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Signaling significant doubt about the constitutionality of Texas' ban on same-sex marriages, two federal appeals judges on Friday questioned a state attorney's argument that marriage is a “subsidy” that the state has the right to grant and withhold.

In sharp exchanges with two judges of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Jonathan Mitchell of the Texas attorney general’s office argued during the roughly hourlong hearing that defining marriage should be left to the states, not the courts or the federal government. He added that the state should not be forced to recognize marriages that are not between a man and a woman because such marriages do less to “further the state’s interest” in the procreation of its residents.

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Texas Tribune Festival
10:03 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Austin's 'Woodstock for Wonks' Brings Out Texas' Political Rockstars

Likely gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, closed out this year’s TribFest.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

In a city fond of festivals – from Austin City Limits to Pachanga Fest – the just concluded Texas Tribune Festival stands out as the most successful event of its kind. Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith calls it 'Woodstock for Wonks': three days of peace, politics and policy on the UT-Austin campus, featuring a who's-who of Texas politicos.  

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Ted Cruz
3:40 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Interview: The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith Talks Ted Cruz

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz may have slowed down a Senate vote on funding for the Affordable Care Act, but he may have accelerated his own political career.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

After 21 hours of talking - whether it was an official filibuster or not is still up for debate - Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas departed the Senate floor Wednesday.

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Politics
8:45 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Interview: The Calculus of a Wendy Davis Run for Governor

Wendy Davis during her filibuster of abortion-restricting Senate Bill 5. "She is now an official, certified celebrity who has some life and legs beyond this election cycle," Evan Smith says.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Not since Ann Richards has the star of a Texas Democrat risen as fast or conspicuously as that of Wendy Davis.

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Health
11:51 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Texas Planned Parenthood Branches Will Vote on Merger

Planned Parenthood supporters rally at the Capitol on Tuesday morning.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

The boards of three regional Planned Parenthood branches — North TexasCentral Texas and the Capital Region — will vote today on a proposed merger designed to form a $29 million-per-year mega-organization with 26 clinics up and down the Interstate 35 corridor.

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sunday morning roundup
9:11 am
Sun September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup

High winds and higher temperatures Sunday have fire watchers looking at conditions similar to Labor Day weekend. That's when several wildfires, including the massive Bastrop County Complex fire, started.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Good morning and happy Sunday!  Looking for relief from the heat may be the most popular activity in Central Texas today. Fall officially began early Friday morning, but today's weather will be a continuation of the summertime heat.

Fire Danger High Today

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Politics
3:29 pm
Mon May 30, 2011

Texplainer: How Does a Special Session Work?

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Hey, Texplainer: How does a Legislative special session work?

Consider a special session the legislative overtime in Texas. If both the House and Senate reach a stalemate on key issues or if the governor decides the legislative show must go on, he or she can call for a special session. 

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