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Democratic governor candidate Valdez owes $12,000 in property taxes

Lupe Valdez, who on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination for governor, owes more than $12,000 in property taxes on seven different properties, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday. Valdez’s campaign spokesman Juan Bautista Dominguez said that the former Dallas County sheriff does owe the money and said she is paying it back. “Sheriff Valdez has made arrangements to pay off 2017...
McRaven praises class of police cadets for choosing a noble profession

McRaven praises class of police cadets for choosing a noble profession

Bill McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System, was never a police officer, but he spent 37 years as a Navy SEAL, rising to four-star admiral and commander of all U.S. Special Operations forces. He loved, as he put it, “the clarity and nobility” of keeping America safe. So too, he predicted, will the 15 cadets who graduated Friday from the system’s 100th basic peace officer...
Cartels stalk candidates ahead of July 1 election in Mexico

Cartels stalk candidates ahead of July 1 election in Mexico

Around five a.m. on a Sunday morning earlier this month, a convoy of trucks carrying heavily armed men entered the small, rural town of Ignacio Zaragoza, about 200 miles south of El Paso in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua. A half hour later, a dozen buildings were ablaze and eight people were dead. The extreme violence was targeted against candidates and officials with a left-leaning political...
Commentary: Austin’s plastic bag ban is rubbish. Go check the landfill

Commentary: Austin’s plastic bag ban is rubbish. Go check the landfill

As the Texas Supreme Court will soon make its decision regarding the legality of plastic bag regulations in Texas, this is a good time to revisit the arguments used to promote plastic bag bans. A review of the data shows that plastic bag regulations don’t reduce litter overall — and, in fact, they incentivize products that have far greater environment impacts. In Austin, a city-commissioned...
PolitiFact: No links proven between Ritalin and school shootings

PolitiFact: No links proven between Ritalin and school shootings

The National Rifle Association’s new president, Oliver North, deflected attention off guns and onto medication in the wake of last week’s Texas school shooting. “The problem that we got is we are trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease,” North said. “The disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters...
Intense, tearful meeting with shooting survivors ends Abbott gun talks

Intense, tearful meeting with shooting survivors ends Abbott gun talks

Gov. Greg Abbott ended three days of gun violence discussions Thursday with an intense, sometimes tearful session devoted to survivors and victims of mass shootings in Texas. Many in the state Capitol room attended Santa Fe High School or had children who were there when a gunman killed eight students and two teachers last week, and while there was not universal agreement on the cause of school shootings...
3 Texans approved by Senate committee for federal judicial posts

3 Texans approved by Senate committee for federal judicial posts

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved three Texas nominees for lifetime judicial appointments. Andy Oldham, general counsel to Gov. Greg Abbott who had earlier drawn sharp criticism from Democrats, was approved along party lines, 11-10, for a post on the powerful 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that sits in New Orleans. Beaumont attorney Michael Truncale also was approved along party lines...
State to fine company, give students reprieve after STAAR glitches

State to fine company, give students reprieve after STAAR glitches

Texas fifth- and eighth-graders affected by two widespread online testing disruptions in as many months won’t have to pass the state standardized test this year to move on to the next grade, the Texas Education Agency announced Thursday. In addition to dropping the testing requirement, the agency will levy $100,000 in penalties on New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service, which administers...
Commentary: With shootings and small checks, why would anyone teach?

Commentary: With shootings and small checks, why would anyone teach?

The optimism of graduation season was mixed this year with the tragedy of another school shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas. Among the 10 victims were two teachers. While we mourn the loss of our nation’s youths to school shootings, we should also wonder how the prevalence of gun violence will impact college graduates’ decision to enter the teaching profession. Teaching is one of the...
INSIGHT: 3 maps that explain graying areas of Texas, U.S.

INSIGHT: 3 maps that explain graying areas of Texas, U.S.

The U.S. population has changed substantially in the last half century, growing by nearly 63 percent. Perhaps the two most prominent demographic changes over the past 50 years relate to age. In 1968, the baby boom had just ended, and the oldest members of its cohort were only 22 years old. As baby boomers age, the nation has substantially aged as well. In 1970, the median age in the U.S. was 28.1...

TEXAS DIGEST: State owes counties $2.6 billion for indigent defense

CRIMINAL JUSTICE State owes counties $2.6 billion for indigent defense Texas county commissioners say the state of Texas owes its 254 counties about $2.6 billion in for the cost of providing indigent defendants a proper trial defense. Cary Roberts, a spokesman for the Texas Association of Counties, tells The Associated Press the figure dates back to the 2001 start of the state’s indigent defense...
Herman: Runoffs that didn’t have many Texans running to the polls

Herman: Runoffs that didn’t have many Texans running to the polls

It’s quite possible that Rebecca Marques, a political strategist for the ACLU of Texas, is giving the Republicans too much credit. (And, FYI, POC is people of color.) “It’s almost as if #txlege has done everything to make it harder for Texans — especially young people/POC/low income — to vote in November let alone in a primary runoff in May,” she tweeted sarcastically...
Windstorm association reverses course on bait shop owner’s Harvey claim

Windstorm association reverses course on bait shop owner’s Harvey claim

On Thursday, Mary Ann Heiman was at the site of her Port Aransas bait shop, which nine months ago had been flattened when Hurricane Harvey roared across the causeway. Nothing had remained after the Category 4 winds passed. But Thursday was a good day. “Right now, they’re pouring my foundation,” she said. “I’ve waited a long time to see this.” Until recently, it...
Following STAAR glitches, TEA gives students reprieve, fines company

Following STAAR glitches, TEA gives students reprieve, fines company

Following two high-profile testing disruptions in as many months, the Texas Education Agency won’t penalize certain students who didn’t pass the state standardized test this year. The agency will also ask New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service, which administers the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, to pay $100,000 in liquidated damages for the testing problems. &ldquo...
Yes, we speak English in America – and 350 other languages too

Yes, we speak English in America – and 350 other languages too

Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg, center, who ranted against people speaking Spanish in a Midtown restaurant, takes a cellphone video of reporters taking his video as he leaves his home in New York on May 17. (Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News/TNS) Speaking Spanish – something 40 million Americans do – is all over the news. When a Manhattan man went on a racially charged rant...
Want to conserve energy, water? Texas to help with tax holiday weekend

Want to conserve energy, water? Texas to help with tax holiday weekend

This Memorial Day weekend, Texans can take advantage of the second of three sales tax holidays this year. At the end of last month, you could buy emergency supplies tax-free, and most school supplies will see a similar discount in August. But this weekend, from Saturday through Monday, shoppers can save money on certain items carrying an Energy Star logo or the WaterSense logo...
Cornyn seeks to ensure prosecution of juvenile sexual assault on bases

Cornyn seeks to ensure prosecution of juvenile sexual assault on bases

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, filed legislation this week to plug a jurisdictional gap on military bases that has allowed hundreds of sexual assaults committed by juveniles to go unprosecuted. Co-sponsored by New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Maine Independent Angus King, provisions of the bill have been included in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense spending...
Gov. Greg Abbott says he can support modest gun safety regulations

Gov. Greg Abbott says he can support modest gun safety regulations

Concluding his second day of roundtable discussions on gun violence, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that there are several modest gun regulations he could support, including stronger requirements for reporting lost or stolen firearms. Abbott also supported requiring judges to more quickly report court orders that deny people access to guns for safety reasons. “In the state of Texas right now...
Ahead of speaker election, moderates hold strong in Texas GOP runoffs

Ahead of speaker election, moderates hold strong in Texas GOP runoffs

At the end of last summer’s special legislative session, an angry Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vowed that the Texas House members who blocked his agenda — especially the so-called bathroom bill and a measure restricting property tax increases — “are going to have to explain that to the voters.” But in Tuesday’s runoff elections and in the March 6 primary, GOP voters overwhelmingly...
Valdez squeezes past White, faces big Abbott challenge next

Valdez squeezes past White, faces big Abbott challenge next

Lupe Valdez was beaming Tuesday night as she accepted the cheers of supporters at a downtown Dallas restaurant in her hometown for making history as the first Latina and the first lesbian to become the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas. “I am constantly hearing this is going to be such an uphill battle,” said Valdez, elected four times as Dallas County sheriff. “Please, tell...
Familiar name, black voters helped Cole win in House District 46

Familiar name, black voters helped Cole win in House District 46

With name recognition and a push to mobilize African-American and white women working to her advantage, Sheryl Cole narrowly defeated immigration attorney Jose “Chito” Vela III in the Texas House District 46 Democratic runoff Tuesday. Cole, a former Austin City Council member, earned 4,967 votes, or 50.9 percent, on Tuesday, 173 more votes than Vela in the staunchly Democratic...
Lawsuit: GOP judge fired secretary for anti-Trump Facebook posts

Lawsuit: GOP judge fired secretary for anti-Trump Facebook posts

A federal lawsuit claims that a longtime secretary was illegally fired last year because her boss, a Republican judge on the state’s highest criminal court, disapproved of her Facebook posts disparaging President Donald Trump and other GOP politicians. Olga Zuniga argued that her Facebook activity, which included support for Democrats, was done in her role as a private citizen, that she had...
Cornyn bill targets prosecution of juvenile sex assaults on base

Cornyn bill targets prosecution of juvenile sex assaults on base

Sen. John Cornyn has filed legislation that seeks to plug a jurisdictional gap on military bases that has allowed hundreds of sexual assaults committed by juveniles to go unprosecuted in recent years and decades. Cornyn is the second Texas lawmaker to push for a solution to the issue, which the American-Statesman revealed in a 2015 investigation. In March, U.S. Rep. John Carter, who represents the...
Celebrate Toilet Seat Art Museum book and 97-year-old artist on Saturday

Celebrate Toilet Seat Art Museum book and 97-year-old artist on Saturday

When Statesman columnist John Kelso stopped by the Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio twenty years ago, he gawked at 500 toilet seat lids and quizzed the artist on inspiration and technique. But he also talked to Barney’s wife. Louise Smith, he wrote, doesn't mind her husband's hobby so long as it doesn't grow any larger. “He's supposed to stop at 500 (lids).” Kelso died last...
Lawsuit: Texas GOP judge fired secretary for anti-Trump Facebook posts

Lawsuit: Texas GOP judge fired secretary for anti-Trump Facebook posts

A federal lawsuit claims that a 14-year secretary was illegally fired last year because her boss, a Republican judge on the state’s highest criminal court, disapproved of her Facebook posts disparaging President Donald Trump and other GOP politicians. Olga Zuniga argued that her Facebook activity, which included support for Democrats, was done in her role as a private citizen, that she had no...
Southern Baptist leader loses job after comments on abuse

Southern Baptist leader loses job after comments on abuse

Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson has been removed from the presidency at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, the school’s board of trustees announced Wednesday. “After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the board determined...
Lupe Valdez defeats Andrew White, faces tough matchup with Greg Abbott

Lupe Valdez defeats Andrew White, faces tough matchup with Greg Abbott

Lupe Valdez defeated Andrew White in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial runoff election. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Valdez won 227,141 votes, or 53.2 percent, to 200,205, or 46.8 percent for White. “Texas is changing,” Valdez told an ebullient victory celebration in a room at Ellen’s, a restaurant specializing in Southern cuisine in downtown Dallas. “Look...
Central Texas congressional matchups take shape

Central Texas congressional matchups take shape

21st Congressional District In a district that includes swaths of Central and South Austin, as well as the north side of San Antonio and six Hill Country counties, Chip Roy, the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former first assistant attorney general under Attorney General Ken Paxton, defeated Matt McCall, who lives in Boerne and owns a business that provides human tissue...
Herman: Time for the look-at-me candidate to look ahead

Herman: Time for the look-at-me candidate to look ahead

In the end, as loser Andrew White sees it, “look at me” beat “listen to me” as Democrats, the relatively few who showed up to vote, picked former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez as their November candidate against GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. “It’s been an odd race,” White told me two hours before the polls closed as we sat in the garage apartment that served as...
Cole, Goodwin, Zwiener win Democratic runoffs in Texas House races

Cole, Goodwin, Zwiener win Democratic runoffs in Texas House races

Former Austin City Council member Sheryl Cole narrowly defeated immigration attorney Jose “Chito” Vela in the Democratic runoff to replace embattled state Rep. Dawnna Dukes Tuesday night. With all precincts reporting, Cole pulled in 4,967 votes, or 50.9 percent, and Vela, earned 4,794 votes, or 49.1 percent. Cole will oppose Republican Gabriel Nila, a public school teacher, in November...
Democrat Julie Oliver to face U.S. Rep. Roger Williams in November

Democrat Julie Oliver to face U.S. Rep. Roger Williams in November

Democrat Julie Oliver has clinched her party’s nomination in the fight to unseat U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, in the 25th Congressional District. Oliver won 52.2 percent of the vote to Chris Perri’s 47.8 percent. The district stretches from Wimberley to almost Fort Worth and includes Lakeway, West Lake Hills, Rollingwood and other Austin neighborhoods. RELATED: Central Texas congressional...
Hegar wins Democratic nomination in 31st Congressional District

Hegar wins Democratic nomination in 31st Congressional District

Democrat Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar defeated Christine Eady Mann in the runoff for their party’s nomination, with 62.2 percent of the vote. Hegar, 42, of Round Rock, is an author and public speaker. She also is a former Air Force pilot who was awarded a Purple Heart after being injured in an ambush in Afghanistan. Mann, 53, of Leander, is a family practice physician. RELATED: Central...
Toth defeats Davidson in GOP race for 3rd Court of Appeals

Toth defeats Davidson in GOP race for 3rd Court of Appeals

Mike Toth, part of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s inner circle, defeated longtime Austin lawyer Donna Davidson in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for a seat on the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals. Toth, who entered the runoff having raised more than three times more campaign money than Davidson, had 52.8 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting Tuesday night. Toth emerged...
Erin Zwiener defeats Rebecca Bell-Metereau in House District 45 runoff

Erin Zwiener defeats Rebecca Bell-Metereau in House District 45 runoff

9:30 p.m. update: Writer Erin Zwiener garnered enough election day results Tuesday to defeat Texas State University professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau in the Texas House District 45 Democratic runoff. Bell-Metereau had 2,783 votes, or 48.6 percent, while Zwiener had 2,946, or 51.4 percent of votes. Zwiener’s narrow win means she will face Republican nominee Ken Strange, who serves on the Wimberley...
Democrat Mike Siegel to face U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul in November

Democrat Mike Siegel to face U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul in November

Mike Siegel clinched the Democratic nomination in the 10th Congressional District and will challenge U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, in November. Siegel won 70 percent of the vote to Tawana Walter-Cadien’s 30 percent in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff. Walter-Cadien is a three-time challenger to McCaul and registered nurse educator in Cypress, and Siegel, is an Austin assistant...
Michael Cloud to face Eric Holguin in 27th Congressional District

Michael Cloud to face Eric Holguin in 27th Congressional District

Update 10:40 p.m.: Eric Holguin has won the Democratic nomination for the 27th Congressional District. He will face Republican Michael Cloud in November. Holguin received 61.9 percent of the vote. Raul “Roy” Barrera won 38.1 percent. Cloud won 61 percent of the vote, compared with 39 percent for Bech Bruun. Cloud will be the favorite in the conservative district in the general election...
Valdez defeats White in Democratic runoff for governor

Valdez defeats White in Democratic runoff for governor

Lupe Valdez defeated Andrew White in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial runoff election. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Valdez won 227,141 votes, or 53.2 percent, to 200,205, or 46.8 percent for White. “Texas is changing,” Valdez told an ebullient victory celebration in a room at Ellen’s, a restaurant specializing in Southern cuisine in downtown Dallas. “Look...
Vikki Goodwin wins Democratic nod in Travis County legislative race

Vikki Goodwin wins Democratic nod in Travis County legislative race

10:22 p.m. update: With all precincts counted Tuesday night, real estate broker Vikki Goodwin easily defeated retiree association leader Elaina Fowler in the Democratic race in Texas House District 47. Goodwin earned 4,638 votes, or 58 percent, and Fowler got 3,359 votes, or 42 percent. Goodwin will face state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, in the November general election. RELATED: Cole, Goodwin, Zwiener...
Joseph Kopser to face Chip Roy in 21st Congressional District matchup

Joseph Kopser to face Chip Roy in 21st Congressional District matchup

Update 10:15 p.m.: Chip Roy has won the Republican nomination in the 21st Congressional District. He will face Joseph Kopser, the winner of the Democratic nomination, in the November general election. Roy won 52.7 percent of the vote and Kopser won 58 percent of the vote in their respective primaries. RELATED: Central Texas congressional matchups take shape Update 9:45 p.m.: The Associated Press has...
Sheryl Cole defeats Chito Vela in HD 46 runoff

Sheryl Cole defeats Chito Vela in HD 46 runoff

10:28 p.m. update: With all precincts reporting, Sheryl Cole has narrowly clinched the Democratic nomination in Texas House District 46 against Jose “Chito” Vela. Cole, a former Austin City Council member, won 4,967 votes, or 50.9 percent, and Vela, an immigration attorney, garnered 4,794 votes, or 49.1 percent. The overall voter turnout in the district was on par with the county&rsquo...
First gun violence meeting yields ‘solid’ ideas, Abbott says

First gun violence meeting yields ‘solid’ ideas, Abbott says

Proclaiming that he learned more than expected, Gov. Greg Abbott said his first gun violence roundtable Tuesday yielded a list of “solid” ideas for protecting Texas schools, including adding more counselors, creating threat-assessment teams and requiring schools to create emergency plans with local police. Many of the suggestions can be in place before the next school year begins, Abbott...
Central Texas schools look to beef up security after Santa Fe shooting

Central Texas schools look to beef up security after Santa Fe shooting

In the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting last week, Central Texas school officials are reviewing safety plans and working to tighten security, including for upcoming graduation ceremonies. Officials with several area school districts said this week they will continue to conduct drills, including for lockdowns, lockouts and evacuations. They said they’ll also work with local law...

TEXAS DIGEST: Few stiff sentences for Harvey looters

HARRIS COUNTY Few stiff sentences for Harvey looters Harris County prosecutors promised looters arrested during Hurricane Harvey would face stiff sentences, but records show a majority of convictions so far have resulted in short or no jail terms. Houston television station KPRC reports 74 percent of the 54 looting convictions brought a year or less behind bars. In 18 cases, those convicted received...
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