Texas

2014 Election
1:37 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Texas Democrats Mark Filibuster Anniversary Ahead of Convention

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, left, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spoke to supporters on June 25, 2014, the one-year anniversary of Sen. Davis's filibuster.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Abortion rights supporters gathered last night to mark one year since State Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster of legislation restricting abortions in Texas.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Fort Worth spoke at an event Wednesday marking the day, but also aimed at gathering momentum for her race against her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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Texas
8:45 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Democratic Party Chair Says Texas Convention Will Highlight Women

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, nominee for lieutenant governor, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, nominee for governor, are at the top of Texas' Democratic ticket.
Callie Richmond Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats will shine a spotlight on their top-of-the-ticket female candidates as they begin their three-day convention in Dallas Thursday.

In an interview with KERA, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said his party will also contrast its beliefs with those Republicans enshrined in their state platform earlier this month.

Hinojosa said this is the first time Texas has had two women – both state senators – running for office on the top of a party ticket.


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Sunset Advisory Commission
4:20 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Sunset Commission Hears Testimony on Closing Austin State Supported Living Center

Members of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission are hearing testimony from the public on June 25, 2014 about reports recommending reforms of several state agencies.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Members of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission are hearing from the public today about reports recommending large-scale changes to several state agencies – including shutting down six state-supported living centers. 

Most people at the Capitol are testifying in support of the Sunset staff’s report on the Department of Family and Protective Services and severe inadequacies that lead to child deaths and caseworker turnover. But others are there to testify against a Sunset staff report [click here for PDF] suggesting the Department of Aging and Disability Services should shutter the Austin State Supported Living Center, off of W. 35th Street near Camp Mabry, by 2017.

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Anniversay of Davis Fillibuster
1:27 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Listen: When Wendy Davis and a Deafening Roar Slowed Texas' New Abortion Law

Sen. Wendy Davis suring her 11-hour filibuster last June 25.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

June 25 marks the one-year anniversary of Sen. Wendy Davis' historic filibuster on the Texas Senate floor.

It was one year ago that Democratic Sen. Davis began an 11-hour filibuster intended to derail Senate Bill 5, a bill containing several new restrictions on abortion. While Davis' filibuster ended before the legislature adjourned, a supportive crowd in the Senate gallery erupted in cheers and screams minutes before the midnight deadline to pass SB 5 – squashing Republican efforts to pass it that night.

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Sunset Advisory Commission
9:15 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Commission Hears Input on Fixing Major Flaws of Texas Agencies

The Sunset Advisory Commission's first day of public meetings about recommendations to reform state agencies took place on June 24, 2014.
KUT News

The second day of the Sunset Advisory Commission’s public meetings at the Capitol is underway.

Today, the public can comment on recommendations made in recent commission staff reports on how to fix major flaws at state agencies, including the Department of Family Protective Services. A June report [click here for PDF] of the Sunset Advisory Commission had about 100 pages of recommendations for reforming the department.

Sunset staff member and project manager Amy Tripp, who worked on the report, told lawmakers Tuesday that caseworkers complain about the punitive work environment.

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Texas
11:01 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Listen: Texas Veterans on ISIS and the Future of Iraq

Members of the 1st Air Cavalry on patrol near Taji, Iraq.
U.S. Army, flickr.com/soldiersmediacenter

Last week, the Obama administration announced their response to the unraveling situation in Iraq. The U.S. is sending 300 military advisors to help government forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The Al-Qaeda augmented militants have recently taken control of much of northern Iraq. 

The White House has not ruled out air strikes, and the possibility of further military action is the talk of Washington. But what about the men and women who served in Iraq? The Texas Standard's David Brown recently sat down with three veterans for a roundtable discussion of recent events.

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Border & Immigration
4:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Latest Surge at Texas Border: Politicians Cruz, Abbott, Davis & Perry

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (foreground, L, R) were joined by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, (background, R) in touring Joint Base Lackland San Antonio today.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Texas politicians are getting a close-up look at how border authorities are handling an influx of Central American immigrants – many of them children who came here without family members.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott got a tour Monday of one facility housing immigrant children after they’re processed near the border: Joint Base San Antonio, where children wait for judicial hearings or to be placed with relatives.

Both Abbott and Cruz blame the increase in immigrants on the Obama administration’s deferred action for childhood arrivals policy, which offered a delay of immigration proceedings for children brought to the U.S. before 2007.

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Amber Alert
9:35 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Update: Baby Missing From Houston Apparently Found

Update: Houston media is reporting that Genesis Haley was found early this morning. 

Original story (7:11 a.m.): Police in Houston have issued an Amber Alert for an infant girl.

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Texas
4:54 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Texas Oil Industry Keeps Wary Eye On ISIS

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chesil/

While the crisis in Iraq is half a world away, it’s impact can be felt here in the U.S.  The rapidly destabilizing region is a base for major Texas oil companies, some of whom have had to evacuate the increasingly hostile environment.  

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Texas
9:31 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Texas Near the Very Bottom in Some Elderly Care Measures

A new AARP study says Texas ranks 30th in the U.S. on care for older adults – but it's close to dead last in quality of care and quality of life measures.
AARP

A national score card out today ranks states on the long-term services they provide for the elderly – and while Texas sits in the middle of the pack overall, it's at the very bottom in some important measures.

The report looks at indicators like affordability, quality of care and support for family caregivers. Overall, Texas ranks 30th on care for older adults. Minnesota tops the list while Alabama and Kentucky are at the bottom. Read more on the overall report.

But on some specific indicators, however, Texas is at the very bottom. In both quality of care and quality of life, Texas ranks 49th, according to the 2014 Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard. High staff  turnover, the use of antipsychotic medications and a high rate of pressure sores pull the state's score down.

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Affordable Care Act
10:53 am
Wed June 18, 2014

The Most Popular Obamacare Plans in Texas

Most consumers in Texas – and across the U.S. – are choosing health insurance plans within the silver tier through the federal marketplace.
healthcare.gov

We’re learning more about the type of health insurance plan most Texas consumers purchased through the federal marketplace and how much they’re paying ,through data released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Consumers can choose from four tiers of health plans – platinum to bronze. The most expensive ones contain the most benefits, while the lower cost plans with fewer benefits.

Most consumers in Texas chose the lowest or second lowest plans within the mid-level silver tier. Here's several examples of silver level plans from  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

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San Antonio
7:36 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Castro Has First HUD Secretary Confirmation Hearing Tuesday

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address at this year's commencement at the LBJ School of Business at UT-Austin.
Erika Rich/BDP

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will go before a Senate confirmation committee Tuesday, the first step in the process of becoming the new leader of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In May, President Barack Obama nominated the three-term San Antonio mayor for the job, replacing Shaun Donovan.

If confirmed, Castro said while he'll be focused on housing in his new role, he's always been a strong supporter of education and hopes that's how he'll be remembered.

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Texas
5:16 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Embattled Texas Sex Offender Agency Undergoing Big Changes

The Texas Office of Sex Offender Management that supervises violent sex offenders after they’re released from prison has a new director who’s making changes.
Sex offender map image from Texas Department of Public Safety website

A Texas agency that supervises violent sex offenders after they’re released from prison has a new director who’s making changes.

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Texas
2:07 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Texas Politics To Be Lone Star Of New HBO Series

A large Texas flag is carried up Congress Avenue toward the Texas Capitol during the annual Boy Scouts Parade and Report to State in Austin in February 2013.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 2:54 pm

Between Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Wendy Davis, Texas politicians in recent years have lived up to their state's reputation for producing larger-than-life characters.

That makes the Texas political scene a natural for the Hollywood treatment.

HBO has given God Save Texas, a drama about the state's often raucous political culture, the green light for development. It's set to unfold at the Texas statehouse, a perennial flashpoint for national debates about issues ranging from abortion to gun rights to the size and role of government.

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Texas
5:02 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Texas Volunteers Turn Out to Aid Migrant Children

On the pedestrian bridge from Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas.
flickr.com/spamily

The U.S Border Patrol says it has been overwhelmed with the massive influx of migrant children crossing into Texas from Central America. Many of them are arriving with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The Border Patrol turned for immediate emergency relief to a group well-versed in emergency relief efforts, including the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention disaster relief effort.

"We provide temporary solutions. We come in during the crisis,” says director Jim Richardson. The organization just wrapped up its work at the border near Brownsville, where volunteers provided food, safe shower facilities and clean clothes.

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San Antonio
7:33 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Bergdahl Back In The U.S. To Continue Recovery

Bowe Bergdahl, seen on a Taliban-affiliated website sometime after his capture by Taliban militants in 2009.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 4:52 pm

This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is back in the U.S.

As we told you early this morning, Bergdahl, who was freed May 31 by his Taliban captors in exchange for five of the group's members in Guantanamo Bay, arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio after a flight from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He will continue his treatment at the center.

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Immigration Reform
4:12 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Texas Conservatives Say Congress Must Break Gridlock on Immigration Reform

Although immigration legislation may be a tougher prospect now that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost his primary to a Tea Party opponent, a number of Texas Republicans say they’ll keep urging Washington to change immigration law.
flickr.com/wallyg

Now that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost his primary to a Tea Party opponent, immigration legislation may be a tougher prospect.

But in Texas, a number of Republicans say they’ll keep urging Washington to change immigration law.

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Abortion
4:36 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Update: Abortion Doctors Regain Admitting Privileges at Dallas Hospital

Two Texas doctors have filed a lawsuit against University General Hospital Dallas for revoking their admitting privileges.
Nathan Bernier, KUT

Update:  Drs. Lamar Robinson and Jasbir Ahluwalia have reached a settlement [PDF] with University General Hospital Dallas. The hospital  has restored their admitting privileges, which enables them to keep providing abortions by complying with Texas' new abortion restrictions.

Original Story (April, 17, 2014): Two Texas doctors that offer abortions are challenging a hospital for revoking their admitting privileges.

Read the petition here.

In a letter, University General Hospital Dallas says granting admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions would be disruptive to the hospital’s reputation.

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Immigration
4:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Report Alleges Abuse of Immigrants at Private Texas Prisons

A report out June 10, 2014 by the ACLU and ACLU of Texas alleges undocumented immigrants live in abusive conditions at private prisons in Texas.
KUT

Undocumented immigrants live in deplorable conditions at private prisons in Texas, according to a report out today by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

The report is based on years of interviews the ACLU and ACLU of Texas have conducted with immigrants detained at so-called Criminal Alien Requirement prisons. Inmates said conditions include overflowing bathrooms and infestations of vermin.

Rebecca Robertson, Legal & Policy director of the ACLU of Texas, says these companies are in business to make money – and federal Bureau of Prisons contracts are lucrative.

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Fort Hood
12:35 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Article 32 Hearing Wraps In Case Of Fort Hood Sgt. Accused Of Running Prostitution Ring

Fort Hood headquarters and main flag pole.

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 12:13 pm

An Article 32 hearing, the military version of a grand jury, has completed its investigation of a Fort Hood staff sergeant accused of running an on-base prostitution ring with female soldiers.

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