Texas

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

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

State Sen. Carlos Uresti, accused of misleading a former client who invested in a company in which Uresti has a financial stake, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 charges over his involvement in the alleged investment Ponzi scheme, one of two separate indictments issued Tuesday. 

Luis Antonio García Sepúlveda/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

You may not have known him, but many thousands have relied on his reports for decades, covering drug cartels and organized crime. Award-winning reporter Javier Valdez was gunned down in the middle of the day in Sinaloa, Mexico, becoming at least the sixth journalist killed in that country since March.

Some fear that the attacks on journalists could lead to a de facto information blackout.

Kremlin.ru (CC BY 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

Officials with the State Department say the Syrian government has constructed, and is using a crematorium at a military prison. Just a few hours later, the Washington Post broke the news that President Donald Trump revealed classified information when he met with Russian officials last week in the Oval Office.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0

From Texas Standard:

The talk of Washington is still centered on the news from last week that President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump cited Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails as the reason for his dismissal, but others are worried that the firing may have had something to do with the agency's investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign, during the election.

Tom/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Mosquito season is looming large in Texas, and with it, renewed fears of mosquito-borne illnesses. Several Zika cases have already been reported this year in the Rio Grande Valley.

CSIS

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments Monday in Seattle on whether President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is a form of religious discrimination. The revised order limits travel from six, instead of seven Middle Eastern countries. Iraq is no longer included on the list thanks to the efforts of Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the former inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

There's a fight looming at the Texas Legislature: how to balance the state budget for the next two years.

The Texas House's version of the budget pulls $2.5 billion from the state's savings account, also known as the Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day, Fund.  Right now, there's more than $10 billion in that reserve.

The Senate, though, says it doesn't want to pull out any of that money.

But before that debate heats up, we got to wondering how all that money got there in the first place.

Image Courtesy ice.gov.

From Texas Standard:

Judges are no longer hearing cases at the family immigration detention centers in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas. That's because, according to officials, the judges didn't have much to do.

Laura Skelding / Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is on the short list to succeed James Comey as FBI director, according to a White House official. 

CSIS

Texas’ top health care fraud investigator resigned Wednesday night under pressure from the governor, the result of media inquiries that revealed Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Stuart Bowen was moonlighting for a private firm that provided services for the government of Iraq.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News.

From Texas Standard:

With the legislative session set to end on May 29, time is running out to pass a state budget, and resolve the avalanche of other bills that are still moving between chambers of the Legislature. And then there are the governor's priority items, some of which are still stuck, because lawmakers can't agree how to pay for them.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The firing of FBI Director James Comey is not just a matter of domestic politics. For a look at how it could affect foreign policy, Texas Standard host David Brown turns to Jeremi Suri – the chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

From Texas Standard:

May 9, 2017, the day President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, may go down in history the way Oct. 20, 1973, has. That 1973 date is better known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” – when President Nixon’s attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned. For reaction to Comey's ouster, Texas Standard host David Brown turns to a Texas Democrat and a Texas Republican in Congress.

Faith-based adoption agencies in Texas would be able to reject prospective parents on religious grounds under a bill the state House preliminarily approved Tuesday over strong objections from Democratic lawmakers who said it would ultimately harm children and deny good people the right to care for them.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed Tuesday he told pastors to pressure members of the Texas House to pass the so-called “bathroom bill.”

“These pastors were concerned about the possibility of no law passing that would protect the safety of women and children in bathrooms,” Abbott said in a radio interview with Dallas-Fort Worth station WBAP-AM host Chris Salcedo.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The American Civil Liberties Union has issued an advisory for people planning to travel to Texas in response to the "sanctuary cities" bill Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Sunday.

The advisory cautions people traveling to Texas to "anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement."   

Matthew Peoples/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The cooler in your local gas station or grocery store is now a much more colorful place than it once was. Texans who like to bend the occasional elbow are still riding the wave of the craft beer boom.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law Sunday. It was expected that the measure regulating so-called "sanctuary jurisdictions" would prompt lawsuits. But it surprised many that the first to file a suit was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Senate Bill 4 has drawn its first lawsuit.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, Maverick County and the city of El Cenizo sued the state of Texas on Monday, claiming that SB 4 has failed to properly define a “sanctuary city,” and that the city and county — both on the border — have kept their residents safe by choosing to operate as sanctuaries since 1999.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas is preemptively suing the City of Austin, Travis County and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to enforce the state’s newly minted “sanctuary city” law, Senate Bill 4.

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