texas tribune

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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Politics
4:58 pm
Fri May 27, 2011

School Finance Deal Running Out of Time

Sen. Florence Shapiro (l), R-Plano, visits with Health & Human Services Committee chairman Sen. Jane Nelson on May 3, 2011
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

he House and Senate must agree on how to distribute the $4 billion reduction in state public education funding by 5 p.m. today, say Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-River Oaks.

"The thing that I'm most concerned about is, if we don't come up with something, what are the schools going to do?" Shapiro asked. "We really are in a very precarious period of time."

After rejecting an initial proposal from the House late last night, the Senate sent a counteroffer back across the dome, which members there are currently considering.

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Politics
7:38 am
Fri May 27, 2011

Conservative "Outsiders" Have Inside Track in Texas

Michael Quinn Sullivan
Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller, Texas Tribune

His nickname around the Texas Capitol is “mucus.”

It’s a play on Michael Quinn Sullivan’s initials — MQS — but the moniker is fitting on at least two levels: It underscores how much of an irritant the conservative activist has become to politicians who dare buck his Tea Party orthodoxy. It also says something about Sullivan’s staying power in Republican-ruled Texas.

They can’t get rid of him.

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Politics
1:38 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Women's Health Program Stands, But Questions Remain

Photo of Women's Health Program website by KUT

The Women's Health Program — long believed to require legislative renewal — lives on, at least for now, in the form of a budget rider.

Jose Camacho, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, said the rider directs the Health and Human Services Commission to renew the program. But he said recent opinions by the Attorney General's Office would apply — which means that Planned Parenthood and other clinics "affiliated" with organizations that provide abortions would likely be forced out.

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Politics
12:17 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

TribLive: "We're Not a Crazy State," Turner Says

At this morning's TribLive conversation, state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, warned his House Republican colleagues about overreaching in exercising their supermajority power.

Education
6:19 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

What $7.8 Billion Less Looks Like for Your District

Photo by Ryan Murphy, Morgan Smith and Todd Wiseman

Whether final reductions to the state public education spending end up closer to $7.8 billion or $4 billion, how much districts will individually bear depends on how — or if — the Legislature rethinks the state’s school finance system. 

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Education
4:16 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

UT System Releases Data on Faculty "Productivity"

Photo by KUT News

This afternoon, the University of Texas System released much-anticipated data on faculty "productivity" — noting, however, that the 821-page spreadsheet is in a raw draft form that has not been fully verified and "cannot yield accurate analysis, interpretations or conclusions."

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Politics
3:27 pm
Tue May 3, 2011

Planned Parenthood Again in Lawmakers' Crosshairs

Photo by Jacob Villanueva for the Texas Tribune

GOP lawmakers' battle against Planned Parenthood resumed today, as lawmakers on a Senate subcommittee passed out a bill that would renew the Texas Women's Health Program, but prohibit the country's most prominent family planning organization from participating.

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