Texas

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

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.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From Texas Standard:

Over the last several months, opponents of President Donald Trump's plan for the expansion of a border wall with Mexico have listed innumerable reasons why they believe it's a bad idea. And now there’s one new reason. Construction as planned may violate a 47-year-old boundary treaty between the two countries – an issue that could end up in an international court.

John Koetsier/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is giving headaches to some of the state’s lawmakers, but it may be a self-inflicted ailment. In 2013, the Legislature scaled back the panel’s regulatory powers in an effort to give university leaders more of a role in determining what’s best for their students and institutions.

 

Spc. Carlynn Knaak/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard:

There's nothing unusual about a state lawmaker and a mayor being worried about turnout in a local election. But in Dallas, it's not just low turnout that's got two local leaders concerned. It's the cause.

 

Ståle Grut / Flickr

Five days after a controversial amendment defining "sex" as "the physical condition of being male or female" was added to a statewide ride-hailing bill, representatives from Uber and Lyft called the addition disappointing and unnecessary — though both companies stopped short of saying they'd withdraw their support. 

Why Don't More Texas School Buses Have Seat Belts?

Apr 21, 2017
Nathan Bernier/KUT

For nearly a decade, there have been efforts in Texas to require seat belts in buses. 

 

But this time might be different.

 

At a hearing earlier this month, Democratic state Sen. Sylvia Garcia presented a bill requiring three-point seat belts for all newly purchased school buses in Texas. They’re the same over-the-shoulder seat belts already required in other motor vehicles.

 

Hourick/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard:

Many have expressed concern and outrage over the way police treat citizens, especially African-Americans and other minorities. The Black Lives Matter movement began in response to the deaths of African-Americans in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the arrest of Sandra Bland, who was later found dead in a Waller County jail, an apparent suicide.

Almost two years after Texas tried to import an execution drug from overseas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled Thursday that the drug can’t be admitted into the United States.

Pexels (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

A 32-year-old former teacher at Dickinson High School in Galveston has surrendered to police. He is accused of having an improper relationship with a 17-year-old student. Last year, Texas saw 150 similar reported incidents. No other state comes close to the number of cases reported in Texas. Number 2 on the list is Pennsylvania, with 45 cases this year.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

After a lengthy debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas House backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies.

Jon Ossoff/Twitter

From Texas Standard:

Tuesday was a late night for political junkies, and residents of Georgia's 6th Congressional District, who were voting to decide on a new member of Congress. CNN called the race just after midnight. There will be a June runoff between Democrat Jon Ossoff – who won just under 50 percent of the vote – and Republican Karen Handel. The special election had pitted Ossoff against 11 Republicans.

Air Force One (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump's latest executive order focuses on the way the federal government gives visas to highly trained foreign workers. It's part of the administration's "buy American, hire American" efforts, and it could have a pretty significant impact on Texas.

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