Texas

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

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From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump said in a meeting Tuesday that he would “destroy” the career of a Texas state senator who was pushing for legislation to change current civil asset forfeiture laws in the state.

Trump was meeting with sheriffs from around the country when Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson commented that an unnamed senator was seeking to require a person to be convicted of a crime before the state could seize any of their assets.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The prosecutors in Attorney General Ken Paxton's securities fraud case are asking for a change of venue, arguing they cannot get a fair trial in Collin County. 

Pedro Vásquez Colmenares/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Mexico’s election season is right around the corner and two candidates are already leading in the polls. It looks likely that leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico’s MORENA party and conservative candidate Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo of PAN will face off in July 2018.

MellieRene4/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Texas police are involved in a shooting – whether they shot the gun or not – they are mandated to report it to the attorney general’s office. But the legislator who sponsored the 2015 law acknowledges that it has no teeth. And one report has found that not all police departments are following the rules.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Republican-controlled Texas Senate gave its final stamp of approval on Wednesday to a bill that would gut funding from local and state entities that don’t enforce immigration laws.

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From Texas Standard:

We’re only a few weeks into the Trump administration and the president has come out swinging when it comes to both illegal and legal immigration. He’s signed executive orders – one that paves the way for a wall along the United States-Mexico border and another that placed a travel ban on immigrants from certain countries.

In line with Trump’s restrictive policies on immigration into the country, two U.S. senators filed a bill Tuesday that seeks to reduce immigration further.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would penalize jurisdictions with so-called “sanctuary” immigration policies. The 20-11 vote fell along party lines.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate, passing its first bill of the 2017 legislative session, unanimously approved an ethics reform package that watchdogs say will help curb conflicts of interest and shed more light on the private dealings of state elected officials.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr.

From Texas Standard:

Selene Moreno is a senior at Benito Juarez-Abraham Lincoln High School in La Joya, Texas. She says she’s looking forward to graduation.

“I’m planning to become a physical therapist after I graduate from high school and I’m planning on going to Texas A&M,” Moreno says.

Lorne Matalon/Fronteras Desk

From Fronteras Desk and Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump says he’ll renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. That has a lot of businesses that participate in cross-border trade concerned. That includes some U.S. energy executives, even though energy was excluded from NAFTA.

 

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From Texas Standard:

A special report by the Austin-American Statesman found that teachers who engage in improper relationships or who may solicit sex with students are not always punished for doing so.

The Statesman’s Julie Chang looked at 686 cases between 2010 and 2017 where public school teachers allegedly participated in flirtatious text messages, kissing, sexual relationships and other banned relations with a student within their school district.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

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A Spanish-language version of this post is available on Texas Standard:

In his inaugural address last month, President Trump called for Americans to focus inwardly – his “America First" movement. But in response, Mexico has come up with its own cry: "Hecho en Mexico” (Made in Mexico).

Ken Lund/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries on Jan. 27. The word came late that Friday, sparking confusion among travelers, visa holders, airlines and government officials. Questions arose over who exactly was affected and how the ban would be implemented.

But before those issues can be fully worked out, a legal battle over the executive order is adding to all the confusion. Trump’s executive order is temporarily blocked nationwide as of this past Friday, Feb. 3.

Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee's recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.

Clay Gilliland/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas A&M University has a new partner – in North Korea. The nation’s only private university has reached out to ask for help teaching students how to grow food in a nation of persistent shortages and high food insecurity.

Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which was founded and is mainly funded by American evangelical Christians, will receive donated teaching materials from the Aggies.

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From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump renewed a campaign pledge Thursday to sign a bill that would alter an aspect of the divide between church and state that's been in place since 1954. At a prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C. he said he would “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.”

Some conservatives and religious organizations, among them evangelical Protestants which have been at the forefront in pushing for the amendment’s repeal, argue that the Johnson Amendment infringes on the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

Immigration activists and attorneys in Travis County are bracing for the possibility of deportation raids by federal officials in the coming days. 

Mayor Jess Herbst of New Hope, Texas recently publicly announced she is transgender.

From Texas Standard:

Jess Herbst became mayor of New Hope – a small north Texas town in Collin County – last May when the previous mayor died of a heart attack. As the longest serving alderman on the town council, she was next in line. Herbst just came out publicly as a transgender woman, the first sitting mayor to do so. She publicly announced her transition with an open letter to her constituents on the conservative town's website.

Screenshot via c-span.org

This week, Iran's defense minister confirmed the country had tested a new ballistic missile. Iran has said the weapons test did not violate a deal with the United States aimed at keeping nuclear ambitions in check.

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