Texas News & Politics


Democratic race to challenge Will Hurd gets crowded

The majority-Hispanic 23rd Congressional District remains the ripest in the state for a Democratic pickup in 2018, and Democrat Pete Gallego appears likely to make another go at reclaiming it from Will Hurd, the Republican who defeated Gallego by narrow margins in 2014 and 2016. But first, Gallego, who won the seat in 2012, will have to get past at least three other Democratic candidates emboldened...
Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case

Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case

Dan and Fran Keller, who spent more than 21 years in prison after they were accused of sexually abusing children during supposed satanic rituals at their South Austin day care facility, will receive $3.4 million from a state fund for those wrongly convicted of crimes. Shortly after receiving the news Tuesday, an ecstatic Fran Keller said they will no longer have to live on the brink of destitution...
Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case

Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case

Dan and Fran Keller, who spent more than 21 years in prison after they were accused of sexually abusing children during supposed satanic rituals at their South Austin day care facility, will receive $3.4 million from a state fund for those wrongly convicted of crimes. Shortly after receiving the news Tuesday, an ecstatic Fran Keller said they will no longer have to live on the brink of destitution...
UTMB lung experiment flies into space

UTMB lung experiment flies into space

Two hundred and fifty miles above the Earth’s surface, scientists have begun testing the limits of human biology. In the sterile environment of the International Space Station, cells are being prodded to grow and multiply. The goal is to grow human body parts, without the rest of the human attached. The experiment sounds like a plot for a science fiction movie. But it’s actually one of...
Reports: Angela Paxton, Ken Paxton’s wife, mulling state Senate run

Reports: Angela Paxton, Ken Paxton’s wife, mulling state Senate run

Angela Paxton, wife of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is considering running for the Texas Senate next year, according to multiple reports. Paxton is eyeing a North Texas district represented by state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, who is expected to run for Congress. Ken Paxton represented the district for two years. Angela Paxton is a guidance counselor at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco and is...
San Marcos to support challenge to SB 4 ban on ‘sanctuary cities’

San Marcos to support challenge to SB 4 ban on ‘sanctuary cities’

The San Marcos City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to file a legal brief in opposition to Senate Bill 4, the state ban on so-called sanctuary cities. The vote during a specially called meeting marked a shift from last week, when the council voted not to join the cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in their lawsuit against the measure, which goes into effect Sept. 1. The...
Commentary: A second special session would stir up a million teachers

Commentary: A second special session would stir up a million teachers

The 85th Texas Legislature just completed a tumultuous special session, tasked by Gov. Greg Abbott to tackle 20 subjects not addressed to his liking during the regular session. The special session was an engineered opportunity for a legislative bonus round, necessitated after critical sunset legislation affecting medical licensure did not pass in May. Media reported that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick worked...
Commentary: Why the faith community’s silence on racism is deafening

Commentary: Why the faith community’s silence on racism is deafening

In April 1963, I was a 10-year-old boy living in my hometown of Birmingham, Ala. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been arrested and was in the Birmingham jail after participating in a march against racism and racial segregation. I vaguely remember my father, who was also a preacher and King’s friend and college mate, speaking with other African-American preachers about King’s jailing. As King...
Did your Austin eclipse photos come out as good as these?

Did your Austin eclipse photos come out as good as these?

Not so bad, Austin. Here we were thinking your photos of Monday’s once-in-a-lifetime-probably solar eclipse would come out looking a lot like those taken by iPhone’s everywhere during eclipses past: black square, blurry dot. But these pictures are really something. Did your photos of the eclipse come out as good as these? And can you even see them?
Trump signs McCaul pediatric cancer research legislation into law

Trump signs McCaul pediatric cancer research legislation into law

A new law, introduced by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and a group of bipartisan lawmakers, could make it easier for children with cancer to battle the disease with the help of adult cancer drugs. The Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity for Children Act – or RACE for Children Act – gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to require that adult cancer drugs be studied...
Feds: Houston man tried to plant bomb on Confederate statue

Feds: Houston man tried to plant bomb on Confederate statue

A man has been arrested after he was caught trying to plant explosives on a Confederate statue at a Houston park, authorities said Monday. Andrew Schneck, 25, of Houston was caught Saturday evening near a Hermann Park statue of Richard Dowling, a lieutenant in the Confederate army, prosecutors said Monday. A Houston park ranger found Schneck holding two boxes with duct tape and wires as well as a...
UT removes Confederate statues from South Mall

UT removes Confederate statues from South Mall

University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves abruptly announced late Sunday that four statues of people with Confederate ties would be removed immediately from the school’s South Mall. The bronze likenesses of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan will be relocated to the university’s Briscoe Center for American History...

Texas Digest: Report on fatal incident at Fort Hood heavily redacted

FORT HOOD Report on fatal training heavily redacted An investigative report on a 2016 Fort Hood training exercise that resulted in the deaths of eight soldiers and one West Point cadet broadly outlines how the accident occurred but redacts all findings, autopsy reports and recommendations. The Killeen Daily Herald reported that the Army’s Combat Readiness Center report released Friday says that...
San Marcos considers supporting challenge to ‘sanctuary cities’ law

San Marcos considers supporting challenge to ‘sanctuary cities’ law

The San Marcos City Council will consider writing an amicus brief in opposition to Senate Bill 4, the ban on so-called sanctuary cities, during a special meeting called for Tuesday morning. The meeting, at 8 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at 630 E. Hopkins St., comes after the council last week voted not to join the cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in their lawsuit...

TEXAS DIGEST: Paramedic hit while helping at car crash in Waco

WACO Paramedic hit while helping at car crash A paramedic was struck by a drunken driver and seriously injured while responding to a car crash in Waco, police reported. A Waco police spokesman says the paramedic, whose name wasn’t released, was struck about 3:30 a.m. Saturday while helping at the scene of a car crash. The paramedic was between an ambulance and a car when a northbound intoxicated...
With rejection of special session core agenda, is GOP civil war next?

With rejection of special session core agenda, is GOP civil war next?

The day before the summer special legislative session began, Gov. Greg Abbott warned lawmakers that he would be keeping an eagle eye on how each of them voted on his 20-item agenda. “I’m going to be establishing a list,” Abbott said. “Who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position yet. No one gets to hide.” The morning after the Legislature finished...
Viewpoints: On racism, a president who’s lost the moral authority

Viewpoints: On racism, a president who’s lost the moral authority

Like the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who emerged from under their hoods for all the world to see last week in Charlottesville, Va., President Donald Trump laid bare his character and his soul Tuesday, telling America that the white nationalists and those who protested racism were equals who shared blame in the mayhem. There “were very fine people on both sides,” the president said...
Austin leaders relieved but still lick wounds from special session

Austin leaders relieved but still lick wounds from special session

When Gov. Greg Abbott called state lawmakers back to the Capitol last month, he gave them a clear mission to strip municipalities of regulations and ordinances that he thought were too meddlesome. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Abbott had declared a war on cities. Abbott’s proposals would jeopardize funding for police and firefighters and destroy sophisticated land use ordinances shaped...
Dallas’ black City Council members push to remove Confederate statues

Dallas’ black City Council members push to remove Confederate statues

The four black members of the Dallas City Council called for the city’s Confederate statues to be removed Friday, saying it will allow the community to start healing from its racist past. Dwaine Caraway, a council member who serves as mayor pro tem, held a news conference Friday afternoon with the other three black city council members to “present a unified statement” on the statues...
Texas appeals ruling requiring new congressional districts

Texas appeals ruling requiring new congressional districts

Three days after a federal court ruled that Republican lawmakers drew congressional districts to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision and protect districts in Travis and Bastrop counties from having to be redrawn. In a separate filing Friday, Paxton asked the San Antonio-based federal court to delay...
Herman: Cornyn breaks his silence on Trump’s latest flare-up

Herman: Cornyn breaks his silence on Trump’s latest flare-up

It was late and lame, tardy and tepid, but at least our senior U.S. senator on Friday broke his silence on what everybody else has been talking about all week — the latest odd behavior of President Donald Trump. The Houston Chronicle characterized its Friday interview with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, as one in which he “added his voice … to a chorus of top party leaders breaking&rdquo...
Doggett: censure Trump over Charlottesville remarks

Doggett: censure Trump over Charlottesville remarks

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, on Friday joined House Democrats calling for the censure of President Donald Trump after his remarks about the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. White supremacists descended on Charlottesville to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue depicting Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. During clashes with counterprotesters, a car plowed through...
The new astronaut ice cream: Blue Bell on International Space Station

The new astronaut ice cream: Blue Bell on International Space Station

Get outta here with that freeze-dried Neapolitan mess. The astronauts aboard the International Space Station are scooping out Brenham’s favorite ice cream. According to NPR, the SpaceX Dragon capsule made a special delivery to the station Monday. Before the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the capsule left the ground in Florida, NASA put a care package of 30 individual Blue Bell ice cream cups inside...
Hiott: Why do headlines focus on racism? Because it still lingers

Hiott: Why do headlines focus on racism? Because it still lingers

It is not unusual at the newspaper to hear a reader or online commenter — one is not always inclusive of the other — question why we might highlight different ethnic groups, write about race and racism, or point out a lack of diversity in positions of authority. We’ve done so frequently, most notably in the past year with an award-winning series on Latino voter suppression in Texas...
Commentary: On reviewing NAFTA principles, first do no harm

Commentary: On reviewing NAFTA principles, first do no harm

I’ll be joined by government, business and nonprofit leaders in El Paso at the 2017 U.S.-Mexico Border Summit to discuss the merits of this trade agreement and what the future holds for U.S.-Mexico trade relations under NAFTA 2.0. While in some ways our conversation will mirror that happening in Washington, D.C. — what about the original trade agreement worked well, what has changed in...
Dallas lawmaker fights to remove Confederate plaque at state Capitol

Dallas lawmaker fights to remove Confederate plaque at state Capitol

A Dallas legislator might have gained a powerful ally in his quest to remove a Confederate plaque near his Capitol office. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said through a spokesman Thursday that the State Preservation Board should review “signs and monuments around the Capitol” for accuracy and that he will work with Rep. Eric Johnson on the matter. The comment comes a day after...
We asked you if Robert E. Lee Road should be renamed. Here’s what you said.

We asked you if Robert E. Lee Road should be renamed. Here’s what you said.

Austin City Council members announced Tuesday that they city would begin the process of trying to change the name of Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin, following the recent violence at a white supremacist rally in Chartlottesville, Va. We wanted to know: What do American-Statesman readers think about the potential name change? In a poll of our Twitter followers, the answer was decisive: Give...

TEXAS DIGEST: Family killed man to get custody of girl, affidavits say

SAN ANGELO Affidavits: Family killed man to get custody of girl Court records say three members of a West Texas family conspired to kill an Abilene man and kidnap his daughter in an effort to gain custody of her. Arrest affidavits obtained Wednesday by the San Angelo Standard-Times allege 34-year-old Stephen Jennings and his wife, 28-year-old Kristen Jennings, conspired with his father and two others...
Herman: The silence of the senior senator

Herman: The silence of the senior senator

In these odd times, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is a canary in the conservative coal mine. Our state’s senior senator is a reasonable, level-headed Republican plagued these days in a party that gave us a president whose head often does not seem level. Cornyn, who so far has been unwilling to chirp up about President Donald Trump, is among the Repubs who will go a long way in determining Trump&rsquo...
Central Texas congressional Republicans sidestep questions on Trump

Central Texas congressional Republicans sidestep questions on Trump

Republican members of Congress representing Central Texas avoided an opportunity to address remarks by President Donald Trump about violence in Charlottesville, Va., and how he’s handled issues of race. White supremacists last weekend protested the city’s decision to remove a statute depicting Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Their presence drew numerous counterprotesters, and clashes ended...
UT’s McRaven worries that U.S. is losing sight of its common humanity

UT’s McRaven worries that U.S. is losing sight of its common humanity

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven said Thursday that the violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., has heightened his concern that the nation is losing sight of its common humanity. “Some, who are lost in a world of hatred, bigotry and violence, are focusing on our differences and not our commonalities,” McRaven said in a memo to the presidents of the 14 UT System...
Texas police chiefs start adapting to ‘sanctuary cities’ law

Texas police chiefs start adapting to ‘sanctuary cities’ law

Even as a new Texas law targeting so-called sanctuary cities remains in legal limbo, police chiefs and sheriffs are making changes to comply, rewriting training manuals and withdrawing policies that prevented officers from asking people whether they are in the United States illegally. The law, known as Senate Bill 4, goes into effect Sept. 1 unless a federal judge in San Antonio blocks it. The law...
Lawmakers provide little extra money for Austin-area school districts

Lawmakers provide little extra money for Austin-area school districts

Despite talk of teacher raises and a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House that would have infused $1.8 billion into Texas schools, lawmakers left Austin this week without moving the needle much on education funding. At the end of the 29-day special legislative session this week, the Legislature passed a scaled back version of House Bill 21 that will spend $351 million on schools and $212...
West Texas sand rush exposes faults in state’s lizard protection plan

West Texas sand rush exposes faults in state’s lizard protection plan

A sudden influx of mining companies scraping the West Texas oil patch for sand to use in fracking operations has disrupted nearly as much highly sensitive habitat of a rare lizard in the last three months as the oil and gas industry had in the previous five years, according to state officials and a conservation group that monitors the area. The development, they say, exposes deep and potentially fatal...
UPDATE: Six Flags will now only fly American flag, report says

UPDATE: Six Flags will now only fly American flag, report says

UPDATE, Friday 12:15 p.m.: From now on only one flag will fly over the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park.  Park officials have confirmed that the six different flags that had previously flown over the park, including the Confederate States of America flag, will be replaced by six American flags, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.  “We always choose to focus on celebrating...
Commentary: Move Confederate statues from parks to reliquaries

Commentary: Move Confederate statues from parks to reliquaries

Every Southern city should have a reliquary to receive Confederate statues. These monuments are a part of history and some are true works of art. But they should no longer dominate downtown squares and parks in cities where 30 percent or more of residents are the descendants of formerly enslaved people. To those who say these relics are an essential part of our history and heritage and should be revered...
Commentary: Remembering Mark White

Commentary: Remembering Mark White

I was deeply saddened to learn of Gov. Mark White’s passing. I have many fond memories, both personal and political, of our long friendship. His intelligence, wit, compassion and loyalty not only changed my life, but the face of Texas itself. I first met White when he was secretary of state under Gov. Dolph Briscoe. I worked on campaigns in both college and law school and was actually working...
When the Ku Klux Klan gripped Austin and the nation

When the Ku Klux Klan gripped Austin and the nation

Hate groups, historians remind us, have always been with us. The recent deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., might have been the largest and most brazen of such American gatherings in a decade or so. However, one of the constituent groups, the Ku Klux Klan, has emblazoned a long historical scar on Texas. At one point during the 1920s, the group was politically and socially pervasive...
Abbott blames Straus for all that the special session didn’t get done

Abbott blames Straus for all that the special session didn’t get done

Gov. Greg Abbott only got about half of what he asked for out of the Legislature’s special session, and the day after it abruptly ended, without even sending him a bill on his top priority of property tax reform, he laid the blame for the session’s shortcomings squarely on House Speaker Joe Straus. Asked by host Bob Frantz on KTRH radio in Houston — the first of eight Abbott...
Efforts underway in large Texas cities to remove Confederate monuments

Efforts underway in large Texas cities to remove Confederate monuments

As Austin officials start an effort to change the name of Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin, similar efforts are underway to remove symbols of the Confederacy in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio in the wake of last weekend’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. But “tearing down” those symbols won’t change the past nor will it help the nation’s...
Special session blows up over property taxes

Special session blows up over property taxes

There’s little disagreement in the state Capitol that property taxes are too high, but stark divisions over what to do about it boiled over in the closing days of the special session, which ended late Tuesday with no immediate relief for taxpayers. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, came closer than ever to his longtime goal of automatic elections to approve property tax increases...

TEXAS DIGEST: Video shows deputy removing woman’s pants in body search

HARRIS COUNTY Video shows deputy removing woman’s pants A Houston lawyer has released dashcam video that appears to show a sheriff’s deputy removing the pants of a handcuffed woman pinned to the ground to perform a body cavity search. Attorney Sam Cammack called Wednesday for an independent prosecutor to consider sexual assault and official oppression charges against three Harris County...
Herman: Mars’ role in the future of Texas public education

Herman: Mars’ role in the future of Texas public education

Mars, people. The solution to what is always the biggest challenge our state faces will come from Mars. Or, says a leading state lawmaker, from people who make believe they’re from Mars. The suggestion came in inspiring and instructive remarks made late Tuesday by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, as the special legislative session approached its end and he rose to express remorse that...
UT’s Fenves: No place for white supremacy in America

UT’s Fenves: No place for white supremacy in America

University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the American-Statesman, which asked whether he was considering removing statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures from campus as a result of race-fueled violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.: “The display of hatred and violent actions by white supremacists in Charlottesville...
More Texas News & Politics Stories