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Politics


Donald Trump’s first 100 days: How the president has changed Texas

From a renewed focus on deporting unauthorized immigrants to moves to build a wall along the Rio Grande, President Donald Trump has made his presence felt in Texas during his first 100 days in office. Trump moved quickly to follow through on his promise to crack down on illegal immigration, with coordinated raids in Austin and cities across the country in February. Austin saw the highest rate of non-criminal...
Smith: Texas lawmakers are locked in the bathroom

Smith: Texas lawmakers are locked in the bathroom

The Texas Legislature seems to have locked itself in the bathroom — and it won’t come out. Outside, millions of Texans — like confused family members wondering what could be wrong — pound on the bathroom door, pleading for lawmakers to come out. We refer, of course, to legislation that would force transgender folks to use public restrooms designated for their birth gender....
PolitiFact: Trump’s correct to claim drop in immigration

PolitiFact: Trump’s correct to claim drop in immigration

President Donald Trump is still promising to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. But even before that, he says, border crossings are down. “People want the border wall,” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They want to see the wall, they want to see security. Now, it just came out that they’re 73 percent down. … That’s a tremendous achievement...
Mackowiak: Compromise bathroom bill threads the needle

Mackowiak: Compromise bathroom bill threads the needle

Perhaps it is a sign of how much our culture has changed that a simple notion — that boys and girls should not shower together in schools — is considered controversial. The so-called “bathroom bill,” which seeks to prevent the mixing of boys and girls in our schools, passed the Texas Senate under the able leadership of state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). That bill was effectively...
Austin rally calls for stronger action on climate change

Austin rally calls for stronger action on climate change

As tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Boston, San Francisco and other U.S. cities to demand action on climate change, a smaller but just as fervent group of protesters gathered at a sister rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol. Organizers of the Austin event — which drew at least 2,000 people, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety head count...
PolitiFact: Yep, Legislature can make its own rules

PolitiFact: Yep, Legislature can make its own rules

State troopers arrested a Texas woman after she persisted in shooting video of a legislative hearing despite a state open-meetings law that says, “A person in attendance may record all or any part of an open meeting of a governmental body.” Amy Hedtke of Waxahachie streamed on Facebook Live a portion of the March 22 hearing of the House State Affairs Committee in a building on the Capitol...
At trial, Alex Jones blurred the line between Infowarrior and parent

At trial, Alex Jones blurred the line between Infowarrior and parent

At an April 12 pretrial hearing, state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo said she wouldn’t allow the jury at an upcoming child custody trial to watch a recent Infowars video in which Alex Jones, in an obscene, gay-bashing rant threatened U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, because the judge didn’t want the trial to be about Infowars or politics. Lawyers...
For Texas, judging Trump’s 100 days means more than counting wins

For Texas, judging Trump’s 100 days means more than counting wins

Taking stock of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, which ended Saturday, is not as easy as adding up promises kept and promises broken. Sure, as comedic fodder Trump has killed it with audiences watching Alec Baldwin impersonate the president in hilarious skits on “Saturday Night Live” — including one that looks back at Trump’s first 100 days. “The...

House panel OK’s bill that would create ‘do not hire’ teacher registry

A bill that would create a “do not hire” list of teachers who have been convicted of improper relationships with students has advanced to the Texas House. House Bill 1799, filed by Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, seeks to curb the growing number of improper relationships between teachers and students across the state by expanding reporting requirements and criminalizing the failure to report...
Lawmakers wary of Russia's ability to plant dirt, fake evidence on their computers

Lawmakers wary of Russia's ability to plant dirt, fake evidence on their computers

In a brief and largely overlooked exchange between Sen. Marco Rubio and America's top spy during a January hearing about Russia's alleged election meddling, the Florida Republican sketched out what he fears could be the next front in the hidden wars of cyberspace.  Could Russian hackers, Rubio asked then-Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., hypothetically gain access to a U...
Two Views: Trump administration remains an enigma after 100 days

Two Views: Trump administration remains an enigma after 100 days

Never before in modern American history have we known less about a presidency after its first 100 days than now. The Trump administration remains an enigma. Its ideological convictions, competency, priorities and most influential voices are all uncertain, perhaps even more so now than on Inauguration Day. In the crucial realm of national security, the signs are particularly mixed. For us conservatives...
Two Views: Glitz can’t disguise these 100 days of ineptitude

Two Views: Glitz can’t disguise these 100 days of ineptitude

Back in 1982, Donald Trump was trying to seduce Holiday Inn into a partnership in a casino that he wanted to build in Atlantic City. In truth, the project was more dream than reality. Trump had acquired a parcel on the boardwalk, but nothing much had been done with it. So when the board of directors of Holiday Inn wanted to visit the site, Trump needed to put on a show — and do so in a hurry...
Valerie Jarrett on Trump’s win, Obama’s legacy and how to raise women up

Valerie Jarrett on Trump’s win, Obama’s legacy and how to raise women up

When Donald Trump visited the White House a few days after winning last year’s election, a photograph captured staffers and top members of the Obama administration looking markedly discontent. Valerie Jarrett, the longest-serving senior adviser to then-President Barack Obama, could be seen leaning cross-armed against a column in the Rose Garden. “The irony is I saw the cameras, so that...
Can Democrats force Republicans' hands on Trump's tax returns? 

Can Democrats force Republicans' hands on Trump's tax returns? 

House Democrats want to force Republicans' hands on President Donald Trump's tax returns — but it remains to be seen how effective posturing can be for the minority.  House Democrats plan to have Massachusetts Rep. Katherine M. Clark introduce legislation requiring Trump to release his tax returns from 2007 to 2016, according to The Washington Post.  Democrats know that this move will...
Trump tax plan would shift trillions from U.S. coffers to rich’s pockets

Trump tax plan would shift trillions from U.S. coffers to rich’s pockets

President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash individual and business taxes and erase a surtax that funds the Affordable Care Act would amount to a multi-trillion-dollar shift from federal coffers to America’s richest families and their heirs, setting up a politically fraught battle over how best to use the government’s already strained resources.   The outline that Trump...
Last-minute GOP push on health care threatens government spending deal

Last-minute GOP push on health care threatens government spending deal

A last-minute push to revive a Republican plan to rewrite the nation's health-care law is threatening to derail a bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown.   Under pressure from the White House, House Republican leaders appeared to be gauging support for a vote on health care as early as Friday. The move alarmed key Democrats, who said they would pull their support from an agreement...
Has the 9th Circuit gone ‘bananas’? And can Trump break it up?

Has the 9th Circuit gone ‘bananas’? And can Trump break it up?

President Donald Trump, angry about a judge's decision to temporarily block enforcement of his order against "sanctuary" cities, has called for breaking up the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Never mind that the sanctuary city ruling came from a trial judge on the district court bench in San Francisco — not the 9th Circuit.  "It's the 9th Circuit going bananas,"...
Legal challenges likely ahead for SB 4

Legal challenges likely ahead for SB 4

Now that Senate Bill 4 is on its way to becoming law, opponents are looking to the courts for relief – and a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case is giving them hope. The high court struck down parts of a controversial 2010 immigration law in Arizona on the grounds that Congress, not the states, has the power to create immigration law. Experts say that argument could come into play with Texas&rsquo...
Tougher ‘sanctuary cities’ ban clears Texas House

Tougher ‘sanctuary cities’ ban clears Texas House

After debating for 16 hours and giving preliminary approval at 3 a.m. Thursday to a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities, Texas House members got a few hours of sleep and returned to work later in the day to give final approval in a 94-53 vote. All Democrats present voted “no.” Senate Bill 4, authored by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, and carried in the House by Rep. Charlie Geren,...
Redistricting trial looms as election deadlines near

Redistricting trial looms as election deadlines near

With election deadlines looming, a federal court panel indicated Thursday that there will be a trial, likely this summer, over whether the Legislature drew illegal districts for the Texas House and U.S. House in 2013. During a courtroom conference with the many lawyers involved in the case, the three-judge panel repeatedly pressed for a streamlined process in a four-step case that has been winding...
The Trump administration says it's not pushing a tax cut for the rich.  

The Trump administration says it's not pushing a tax cut for the rich.  

President Donald Trump's top tax lieutenants are billing his approach as relief for the middle class, saying ordinary taxpayers would see big cuts while the rich would go on paying as much as they do now.   That description, however, is sharply at odds with what details the administration has put forward thus far.   On Wednesday, the administration released a one-page document...
Can the Texas House bar visitors from recording its meetings?

Can the Texas House bar visitors from recording its meetings?

After a Waxahachie woman was arrested and charged with trespassing after she refused to stop live-streaming video from a Texas House hearing, Anthony Holm of Austin asked us if officials had the right to stop her. After all, a 1973 Texas law says anyone may record a public government meeting. Amy Hedtke of Waxahachie cited the law in proceeding to stream a House committee meeting using Facebook Live...
VERDICT: Ex-wife of Alex Jones wins joint custody after bitter trial

VERDICT: Ex-wife of Alex Jones wins joint custody after bitter trial

11:30 p.m. update: After nine hours of deliberation in the child custody trial involving internet broadcaster Alex Jones, a Travis County jury gave his ex-wife, Kelly Jones, a victory, awarding her joint custody with the right to have their three children make their primary residence with her instead of her husband for the first time since their 2015 divorce. Infowars.com founder Alex Jones...
House Republicans look to Trump to fund Obamacare subsidies

House Republicans look to Trump to fund Obamacare subsidies

  Now that House Republicans are officially refusing to fund extra Obamacare subsidies, they're looking to the Trump administration to make the payments — despite having sued the Obama administration for doing just that.   House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., confirmed Wednesday morning that funding for the subsidies, which insurers say are necessary to tamp down marketplace...
How Trump's tax plan could affect you

How Trump's tax plan could affect you

 The White House unveiled a broad outline Wednesday for a dramatically simpler tax code that could lead to lower tax bills for many ordinary taxpayers but also eliminate many of the tax deductions that Americans currently claim.   President Trump's plan, which did not include many details, could cut taxes for some middle and high-income families, parents,and also reduce taxes for businesses...
Fox News’ latest headache: Jesse Watters denies his Ivanka Trump comment was lewd

Fox News’ latest headache: Jesse Watters denies his Ivanka Trump comment was lewd

 Jesse Watters, the Bill O’Reilly protégé who recently moved to the 9 p.m. slot on Fox News as a host of the “The Five,” made a comment Tuesday that critics saw as a lewd joke directed at Ivanka Trump.   Responding to footage of Trump being jeered on stage in Berlin while speaking on a panel about female entrepreneurship, Watters first defended Trump...
Treasury secretary says Trump 'has no intention' of releasing tax returns

Treasury secretary says Trump 'has no intention' of releasing tax returns

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that President Donald Trump "has no intention" of releasing his tax returns, which would show the public how much he would benefit personally from the administration's plan to overhaul the tax code.   At a White House news conference to roll out the administration's tax cut proposal, journalists peppered Mnuchin with questions about...
Winners and losers in the Trump tax plan 

Winners and losers in the Trump tax plan 

The tax plan the Trump administration released Wednesday consists (so far) of a single page of bullet points.   If this were a more rounded plan, we could wait for the tax wonks at various think tanks to run it through their models and tell with some precision how it would affect people at different income levels and who would benefit from different deductions.   Lacking that level...
Texas House gives initial OK to 'sanctuary cities' bill

Texas House gives initial OK to 'sanctuary cities' bill

After more than 16 hours of debate, the Texas House at about 3 a.m. Thursday voted 93-54 to give initial approval to the bill to ban so-called sanctuary cities, the common term for jurisdictions that decline to assist federal immigration enforcement. Along the way, lawmakers cried, fought and traded horses on the Texas House floor, and the bill was amended to be more in line with the goals of hard-line...
WEDNESDAY WRAP-UP: Alex Jones child custody case awaits closing arguments

WEDNESDAY WRAP-UP: Alex Jones child custody case awaits closing arguments

5:20 p.m. update: The presentation of evidence in the Alex Jones-Kelly Jones child custody case came to a close Wednesday with the testimony of an Austin therapist who said that Kelly Jones’ periodic “emotional dysregulation” was only normal for a woman who feared she was losing her children. “Any mom who thought she was losing her kids would dysregulate,” said Jennifer...
5 things to look for in the challenge to Texas redistricting

5 things to look for in the challenge to Texas redistricting

After declaring that the Legislature drew several Texas House and U.S. House districts in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against minority voters, a three-judge federal court panel will meet Thursday in San Antonio for a conference with lawyers to discuss what happens next. Here’s what to look for: 1. 2011 vs. 2013 Although the 2011 maps were found to violate the U.S. Voting Rights Act...
Justice Sotomayor sees 'disturbing trend' of unequal treatment regarding police, alleged victims

Justice Sotomayor sees 'disturbing trend' of unequal treatment regarding police, alleged victims

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote Monday that the court is developing a "disturbing trend" of siding with police officers accused of excessive force at the expense of their alleged victims, a notion disputed by two of her colleagues.   Sotomayor was arguing that the court should have accepted the case of Richardo Salazar-Limon, who was shot in the back by Houston police...
Social activists prepare to examine race at White Privilege Conference

Social activists prepare to examine race at White Privilege Conference

This is not going to feel good: The National White Privilege Conference is coming to Kansas City.  The notion that whites in America step into their communities with more advantages of earned and unearned privileges than their neighbors of color is a hard conversation starter.  The social activists who urged the annual conference to come to Kansas City know that talking about "white...
Ted Cruz proposes using assets seized from El Chapo to fund border wall

Ted Cruz proposes using assets seized from El Chapo to fund border wall

As President Donald Trump struggles to persuade Congress to pay for his oft-promised border wall and Mexico continues to insist it will not spend a dime on the project, Sen. Ted Cruz has come up with another idea.  The Texas Republican introduced a bill Tuesday that would use assets seized from Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and other drug lords to pay for the wall and bolster border security...
See 7 fresh fact checks about immigration, sanctuary cities

See 7 fresh fact checks about immigration, sanctuary cities

Texas House members are poised to debate and likely advance “sanctuary city” legislation to stop communities in the state from not inquiring into the immigration status of detained individuals. So we piled up immigration-tied fact checks right here. Significantly, President Donald Trump was correct when he recently said illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached a decades-long...
How Newt Gingrich became the go-to interview for every story about the Trump White House

How Newt Gingrich became the go-to interview for every story about the Trump White House

Donald Trump is everything to Newt Gingrich.   He's "the grizzly bear in The Revenant," he told the Huffington Post; a "pirate" willing to get things done outside the system he proclaimed to Fox News; and a shrewd businessman who "likes to invest in winners because they make more money," he said to the New York Times. He "resembles [Margaret] Thatcher much...
Trump expected to order study of federal role in education

Trump expected to order study of federal role in education

 President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that would require Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study how the federal government "has unlawfully overstepped state and local control," according to a White House official.   Trump has repeatedly pledged to downsize the Education Department and its role in U.S. schools and colleges. The order he plans...
Trump changes course on childcare benefit after criticism he would mainly help well-off families

Trump changes course on childcare benefit after criticism he would mainly help well-off families

 The White House is pursuing a new approach to providing relief for families burdened by childcare costs after receiving criticism that a campaign proposal would have done little to help working-class families while providing disproportionate benefits to well-off parents.   President Donald Trump's administration is now looking to bolster the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which allows...
White House scurries as 100-day mark nears

White House scurries as 100-day mark nears

The final frenzy at the White House began Monday, with a private reception for conservative news publications, a tariff on softwood lumber imports from Canada and the late-night debut of a website highlighting President Donald Trump's "First 100 Days" achievements.   It continued Tuesday in the form of an executive order designed to help farmers and ranchers, an assurance that...
STATESMAN EXCLUSIVE: Where ‘savings’ come from in Abbott’s hiring freeze

STATESMAN EXCLUSIVE: Where ‘savings’ come from in Abbott’s hiring freeze

Gov. Greg Abbott said this week that the state government hiring freeze he announced in January has already saved the state $145 million, well on the way to reaching the $200 million he said the policy would save by the time it expires at the end of August. About $99 million of the savings, however, don’t come from a streamlined state workforce but from “offsets” proposed by state...
As controversy swirls, feral hog bait manufacturer pulls out of Texas

As controversy swirls, feral hog bait manufacturer pulls out of Texas

A grand experiment by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to hasten “the feral hog apocalypse” is on hold after the company producing a bait meant to poison the destructive animals has asked the Texas Agriculture Department to withdraw its approval of the product. The rollout of the product, Kaput Feral Hog Bait, had faced wide skepticism from hunters, environmentalists and meat...
Parents of teen who died in police custody testify for change in law

Parents of teen who died in police custody testify for change in law

The parents of a teen who died while in custody of the Mesquite Police Department stayed up late Monday night to share their son’s story with legislators in an effort to persuade them that a law allowing police departments to withhold investigative records from the public needs to be changed. Kathy and Robert Dyers’ appearance before the Texas House Committee on Government Transparency...
U.S. Rep. Williams: CHOICE Act would have toughest penalties for fraud

U.S. Rep. Williams: CHOICE Act would have toughest penalties for fraud

Economists at a prominent think tank based in Washington, D.C. last week reported that a full repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would boost the economy by 1 percent and generate $340 billion in federal revenue over a 10-year period. Dodd-Frank, as it is called for short, was passed by the Democrat controlled Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama...
Herman: Proposal to require Texas lawmakers’ OK for state statue moves

Herman: Proposal to require Texas lawmakers’ OK for state statue moves

The battle over the University of Texas’ Jefferson Davis statue is over. So now we move on to the battle over the battle. And we all know where those are fought. Let’s say it all together: “Our state Capitol.” Quick background: The statue of the Confederate president stood (proudly in the eyes of some, disgracefully in the eyes of some others) on UT’s Main Mall from 1933...
Kelly Jones finishes testimony in custody dispute with Alex Jones

Kelly Jones finishes testimony in custody dispute with Alex Jones

6:15 p.m. update: Kelly Jones finished testifying Tuesday afternoon in her child custody case with Austin broadcaster Alex Jones. In his cross-examination of Kelly Jones, attorney Randall Wilhite, representing Alex Jones, sought to present Kelly Jones as a woman who was distrustful of virtually all the others parties in the case — the therapists, counselors and even the judges — depicting...
Ivanka Trump goes to Berlin as Merkel seeks bond with White House

Ivanka Trump goes to Berlin as Merkel seeks bond with White House

One is a 62-year-old former physicist who grew up in a Lutheran parish house in East Germany. The other is a businesswoman whose billionaire property-developer father brought her from Manhattan to the White House.  While Angela Merkel and Ivanka Trump don't have a lot in common, Germany's chancellor is seeking out President Donald Trump's daughter as a back channel to moderate his views. Merkel...
Russian hackers who targeted Clinton appear to attack French candidate Macron

Russian hackers who targeted Clinton appear to attack French candidate Macron

  The campaign of the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been targeted by what appears to be the same Russian operatives responsible for hacks of Democratic campaign officials before last year’s U.S. presidential election, a cybersecurity firm has warned in a new report.   The report has heightened concerns that Russia may turn its playbook on France in an...
Sessions vows to enforce bribery law that Trump once called 'horrible'

Sessions vows to enforce bribery law that Trump once called 'horrible'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Monday that the Trump administration would vigorously prosecute white-collar crime amid concerns that such cases would fall by the wayside in favor of high-profile priorities such as violent crime and illegal immigration.   Sessions affirmed the department’s commitment to prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars corporations...
State Department website touts glittering history of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate 

State Department website touts glittering history of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate 

A State Department website that promotes travel to the United States included an article this month about the history and lavish furnishings of President Donald Trump's privately-owned Florida resort club Mar-a-Lago, opening questions about whether the federal government is improperly promoting Trump's moneymaking enterprises.   Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pointed to the travelogue-style blog...
Watch for a fight as Austin reviews who’s paying too much for water

Watch for a fight as Austin reviews who’s paying too much for water

Commercial businesses in Austin are overpaying for their water by nearly $4.4 million this year, while homes and apartments are underpaying to the tune of $2.1 million, according to preliminary numbers in an Austin Water cost of service review. Those customers are paying what they’re being charged. But the rates don’t align with what it costs Austin Water to provide service to them. The...
Taylor council candidates agree city needs to attract businesses. jobs

Taylor council candidates agree city needs to attract businesses. jobs

A real estate company owner and a concrete business’ vice president are running against each other for a place on the Taylor City Council. Gary Gola and Dwayne Ariola are competing for an at-large position left vacant by Taylor Mayor Jesse Ancira Jr., who has decided not to seek re-election. The five council members will choose the next mayor. Both Gola and Ariola said the city needs to attract...
John Lewis joins Saturday protest as Trump heads to Atlanta for NRA convention

John Lewis joins Saturday protest as Trump heads to Atlanta for NRA convention

UPDATE: Atlanta’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis has just been confirmed for Saturday’s protest rally in Woodruff Park, upping the event’s profile on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit Friday to the city. The civil rights icon famously traded barbs with Trump on Twitter earlier this year about Lewis’ accomplishments as well as the state of the congressman’s district...
Texas House to tackle lackluster inspections of farmworker housing

Texas House to tackle lackluster inspections of farmworker housing

The House Committee on Urban Affairs on Tuesday will examine the state’s unfunded inspection program for farmworker housing, which a 2016 American-Statesman investigation found fails to ensure licensed housing for the vast majority of the state’s farmworkers. The committee is scheduled to take up HB 2365, filed by State Rep. Ramon Romero Jr., D-Fort Worth, and HB 2677, filed by State Rep...
The lawyer who will oversee the Russia inquiry has experience investigating the White House

The lawyer who will oversee the Russia inquiry has experience investigating the White House

As a young federal prosecutor in the 1990s, Rod J. Rosenstein played a key role in the highly charged independent investigation of the President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, over their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater.  Rosenstein now is poised to take over another sensitive investigation: the FBI counterintelligence inquiry into whether President Donald Trump's...
Charge Philippine President Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells the Hague

Charge Philippine President Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells the Hague

A Filipino lawyer asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands of people over three decades.   The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, said in a 77-page complaint that Duterte was the “mastermind” of a campaign that has killed...
Trump administration launches new tariff to punish Canadian lumber

Trump administration launches new tariff to punish Canadian lumber

The Trump administration announced on Monday that it is planning to impose a roughly 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber imported from Canada, a new escalation of trade tensions with America's northern neighbor.   Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview that his department had reached a preliminary decision to impose the tax, the administration's first major trade action against...
How CodeNext maps could forecast change for two Austin neighborhoods

How CodeNext maps could forecast change for two Austin neighborhoods

Two old South Austin neighborhoods are readying for war with City Hall over the draft CodeNext zoning maps rolled out last week. “It’s about as subtle as a wrecking ball,” said Cory Walton, the president of the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association, who has lived in the neighborhood for two decades. “The changes in Bouldin are pretty devastating.” His opposite number...
Six vying for three Dripping Springs City Council positions

Six vying for three Dripping Springs City Council positions

A half-dozen candidates — three incumbents and three challengers — are vying for three Dripping Springs City Council at-large positions. As the city grapples with issues of rapid growth, all of the candidates say that tackling those growing pains will be among the greatest challenges for the next council. According to Census Bureau figures, the city’s population increased from 1...
A short history of presidents' complicated relationship with the 100-day milestone

A short history of presidents' complicated relationship with the 100-day milestone

On Friday morning, Donald Trump had something to say about his first 100 days. In a tweet, he wrote "no matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!"   That tweet, which appears to recognize his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, followed his claim last Tuesday in Kansas that...
Trump saved Carrier jobs, but these workers weren't as lucky

Trump saved Carrier jobs, but these workers weren't as lucky

These are the Indiana workers whose jobs President Donald Trump did not save.   After assembling circuit boards for Carrier furnaces at a factory here for 21 years, Jim Sholle, 56, walked out of the plant for the final time last month. But he still finds himself waking up every morning at 4:30, ready to work the 6 a.m.-to-2 p.m. shift.   “I’m a routine guy, and I&rsquo...
Trump's first 100 days: What can he accomplish before important benchmark?

Trump's first 100 days: What can he accomplish before important benchmark?

Here's where things stand heading into Day 95 of the Trump administration:   President Donald Trump plans to mark his 100th day in office on Saturday with a rally in Pennsylvania.   That day could also mark the beginning of a government shutdown, depending how events unfold at the White House and on Capitol Hill this week.   There's a lot riding on what happens, both...
Showdown looms as Trump demands funding for wall on US-Mexico border  

Showdown looms as Trump demands funding for wall on US-Mexico border  

President Donald Trump and White House officials pressed congressional Republicans on Sunday to use the looming threat of a government shutdown to win funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a top priority for the administration as it nears the symbolic 100-day mark.   Trump wants funding to be included in a spending measure that would keep the government open past April 28, a determined...
Trump superfan Eric Bolling gets a new show on Fox News — that's a win for the White House

Trump superfan Eric Bolling gets a new show on Fox News — that's a win for the White House

During President Donald Trump's transition to the White House, Eric Bolling was reportedly in the running for a job in the Commerce Department. He just landed a gig that is even better for him — and for Trump.   Bolling, a former commodities trader and New York Mercantile Exchange board member, will launch his own show on Fox News on May 1, giving him a big platform from which to cheer...
In third call with Trump, China's leader urges restraint on N. Korea

In third call with Trump, China's leader urges restraint on N. Korea

President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, discussed growing tensions over North Korea’s advancing nuclear arms program, with Xi urging Trump to show restraint despite signs that the North may be preparing a nuclear test.   This month, Trump has used a meeting with Xi in Florida, a follow-up phone call, interviews and Twitter messages to press Xi to do more to...
Inside Trump's obsession with cable TV

Inside Trump's obsession with cable TV

During a small working lunch at the White House last month, the question of job security in President Donald Trump's tumultuous White House came up, and one of the attendees wondered whether press secretary Sean Spicer might be the first to go.   The president's response was swift and unequivocal. "I'm not firing Sean Spicer," he said, according to someone familiar with the encounter...
Has Austin council’s lone conservative, Troxclair, worn out her welcome?

Has Austin council’s lone conservative, Troxclair, worn out her welcome?

To her colleagues, she’s undermining city policies. To her supporters, she’s the last voice they have left. Austin City Council Member Ellen Troxclair moved through a crowd of revelers at a Circle C Community Center Family Fun Night on a recent spring evening, shaking hands and making introductions, then went inside to take questions about an upcoming transportation bond. Jim Schaffrath...
Seven candidates seek Hays school trustee positions

Seven candidates seek Hays school trustee positions

Hays school district voters in May will not only decide on the largest school bond package in the history of the school district totaling $250 million for new campuses and upgrades, but they’ll also vote on three positions on the board of trustees who will lead a rapidly growing district. Seven candidates are seeking spots for a District 1, District 2 and an at-large trustee position. READ:...

Small corner of Travis County to vote on tax for emergency services

In a tiny, quiet, lakeside corner of far northwestern Travis County, about 700 voters will have a choice this May: to keep their sales tax at 8.25 percent or cut it back to 7.25 percent. But the question won’t be phrased that way on the ballot. Instead, thanks to a quirk of timing, it will simply ask if another penny of every dollar spent in the unincorporated areas surrounding the tiny town...
Vacation's over: Obama returns to public life next week

Vacation's over: Obama returns to public life next week

Barack Obama’s extended post-presidential vacation is about to end. After spending weeks in French Polynesia — including time on the yacht of movie mogul David Geffen along with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey — Obama will return to Chicago on Monday for his first public event as a former president.  His self-imposed silence since Inauguration Day will end with...
Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for president

Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for president

 When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put his hat into Iran's presidential ring a couple of weeks ago, onlookers literally gasped.  The hard-liner had, of course, already run the country for eight years, as an isolationist with a talent for riling the West. His flawed re-election in 2009 sparked the Green Movement, which brought thousands of protesters into the streets. In the ensuing government crackdown...
Activists call for greater police accountability ahead of union talks

Activists call for greater police accountability ahead of union talks

Several Austin City Council members said they’d like to see a fundamental shift in how the city negotiates and budgets for police and fire protection, after scores of activists called for greater police transparency and accountability. Austin is amid labor union negotiations for a new contract with public safety employees. Contracts are typically negotiated every three years, and the new one...
Bank robber turned Georgetown law professor is just getting started on his goals

Bank robber turned Georgetown law professor is just getting started on his goals

 During a break in a basketball game to raise money for charity, Shon Hopwood told some of his Georgetown law students it felt different than the last time he was on a court: When he played basketball in federal prison, he had to carry a shank in case his team started to lose.  His students laughed. He ran back onto the law-school court — and sank the winning shot.   ...
Jeff Sessions dismisses Hawaii as 'an island in the Pacific'

Jeff Sessions dismisses Hawaii as 'an island in the Pacific'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the state of Hawaii while criticizing a U.S. District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world.   “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what...
Supreme Court orders refunds for people whose criminal convictions are overturned

Supreme Court orders refunds for people whose criminal convictions are overturned

People who are freed from prison when their convictions are reversed deserve a refund of what they paid in fees, court costs and restitution, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.  "They are entitled to be presumed innocent" once their convictions are thrown out, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the state "has zero claim" to their money.  The 7-1 decision orders the...
Trump orders investigation into foreign steel coming into U.S. markets

Trump orders investigation into foreign steel coming into U.S. markets

After signing a memorandum Thursday ordering an investigation into foreign steel coming into U.S. markets, President Donald Trump joked about whom he should give the pen to: "To labor or to steel?" he asked to laughter in the Oval Office. "How about we give it to the union for a change, should we do that?" He did so.  Trump said that he had pledged in his campaign that he...
Imprisoned Russian pedophile appears to be linked to hack of DNC computers

Imprisoned Russian pedophile appears to be linked to hack of DNC computers

A twice-convicted Russian pedophile imprisoned in a heavily forested gulag some 500 miles from Moscow appears to be the man a controversial dossier says helped hack into Democratic National Committee computers last year.  Sevastyan Kaptsugovich's name is misspelled in the dossier, which was compiled by a former British spy. But his history matches that of a computer expert described in the dossier...
FROM OVERNIGHT: Activists call for greater police accountability ahead of union talks

FROM OVERNIGHT: Activists call for greater police accountability ahead of union talks

Several Austin City Council members said they’d like to see a fundamental shift in how the city negotiates and budgets police and fire protection, after scores of activists called for greater police transparency and accountability. Austin is amid labor union negotiations for a new contract with public safety employees. Contracts are typically negotiated every three years, and the new one must...
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