Texas

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

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar sat on the floor, his back blocking one of the two main entrances to a state building on the Capitol grounds. He’d taken a seat as part of a sit-in Monday to protest Senate Bill 4

Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

On Saturday, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards went to a party near Balch Springs, Texas. He didn’t make it home that night. Officer Roy Oliver of the Balch Springs Police Department was responding to the sound of gunshots at the party when he opened fire on a car, killing Edwards, who was a passenger.

The officer reported that the vehicle was moving toward him aggressively. Now the police department says video evidence contradicts the initial report.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

No sanctuary in Texas – that seems to be the top story across the Lone Star State, as a controversial bill essentially banning governments from implementing “sanctuary city” policies for undocumented immigrants, heads to the governor's office. The Texas Senate voted 20-11 to approve the version of Senate Bill 4 that the House passed last week. Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted "I'm getting my signing pen warmed up."

Mesquite High School yearbook/Facebook

After a police officer fatally shot an unarmed 15-year-old in the Dallas area Saturday night, Texas lawmakers are considering whether pending bills could prevent similar deaths — or if any legislative solution is even needed.

'Sanctuary Cities' Bill Heads To Gov. Abbott's Desk

May 3, 2017
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Senate has voted to accept the House version of its so-called "sanctuary cities" bill. Senate Bill 4 would penalize jurisdictions that do not honor all requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.

The vote was 20-11 along party lines. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Prayer is a staple of the Texas Capitol, where lawmakers begin each legislative day with an invocation and bowed heads.

But on Wednesday, about 50 faith leaders of various denominations lined the stairs outside the Texas House in protest. Their prayer was silent, but their message was clear: Don’t legislate against LGBT Texans in our name.

USAG Italy/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas House of Representatives is set to consider a bill Wednesday that would make it mandatory for public high school students to pass the civics test that immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens. If House Bill 1776 passes, end-of-course assessments for U.S. history classes in public high schools would also be eliminated.

Pubdog/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

The risks of lead poisoning are well-known. Exposure to lead can cause brain damage and behavioral disorders, as well as other ailments like kidney failure. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous for children.

Places like Flint, Michigan have grabbed headlines for catastrophic levels of lead exposure. But it's a problem in central Texas, too. Using data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Waco Tribune-Herald found that nearly six percent of children in the area who were tested had elevated levels of lead in their blood – nearly double the state average.

 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Texas Legislature is in full swing. And, while lawmakers debate a flurry of bills ahead of sine die, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Today's question comes from Eric Staib: 

Greg Abbott seems to make the news more often than governors in other states I've lived in. How powerful is the Texas governor compared to other states? 

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Monday afternoon, Kendrex J. White, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Texas, allegedly stabbed and killed Harrison Brown and wounded three others. So far there is no known motive.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

With the 2018 election cycle looming, a federal judge panel has set July 10 as the start date for a trial over the state’s House and congressional political maps.

In an order filed Monday, the three judges presiding over the case scheduled the five-day trial following a pair of rulings that found Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in initially drawing each map in 2011.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, has decided not to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018.

He announced the decision in an email to supporters Monday, saying he wants to remain focused on his work in the House. The decision leaves U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, as Cruz's main competition.

From Texas Standard:

You've probably been following the string of campus controversies from lower Alabama to Northern California – speaking appearances by alt-right politicos and others who've been branded as purveyors of hate speech. Some have canceled appearances amid concerns by universities that say they can't ensure security and that there won't be violence.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Late Thursday night, those watching C-SPAN were rewarded with a preview of what's roiling Washington on this Friday – brinksmanship over a budget. Senate Democrats blocked Republican attempts to hold a quick vote on a short-term spending plan that would keep the federal government open past Saturday. Democrats said the stopgap spending measure was no good because of Republican attachments – so-called 'poison pills.'

 

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

We are about 48 hours away from the federal government shutting down if members of the House and Senate can't come to some sort of budgetary agreement. We have been here before – passing continuing resolutions at the 11th hour to keep the government's doors open has become something of a Washington tradition. Right now, lawmakers are haggling over funding President Donald Trump's proposed border wall, increased defense spending, and payments to insurance companies that offer plans on Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to penalize jurisdictions that don't honor detainer requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

As the Texas House works to balance the state's budget, some lawmakers are attempting to abolish a tax – a source of revenue whose loss others fear could jeopardize public education to the tune of untold billions. Earlier in the legislative session, the Senate voted to eliminate the franchise tax – a tax on businesses that's based on gross receipts. The franchise tax brings in $8 billion, during each two year budget cycle. A large chunk of that revenue pays for public schools.

Eric Schlegel

The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed legislation requiring three-point seat belts be installed on newly purchased school buses across the state. 

Senate Bill 693, authored by Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, cleared the chamber in a 25-6 vote following strong pushback from one Republican who suggested seat belts make buses less safe.

“Seat belts save lives,” Garcia said on the floor.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A federal judge in California on Tuesday froze President Donald Trump’s executive order that would withhold funds from “sanctuary cities” across the nation. So far, the base definition of such an area includes jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration detention orders.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Even as President Donald Trump and the news media mark the 100th day of his administration, the thoughts of those keeping up with politics are already turning to the 2018 midterm elections.

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