Texas News & Politics


‘Whole lotta women’ changing the face of the Texas Democratic Party

Kim Olson strode to the stage of the Democratic State Convention on Friday to Kelly Clarkson’s “Whole Lotta Woman.” “Let me just repeat those lyrics, a bad-ass woman with class and self-confidence,” Olson said. “I run for office because I’m confident I’m going to win.” “Whole lotta women” could have been the theme of this weekend&rsquo...

Texas Digest: 2 charged in child abandonment case

COLLEGE STATION 2 charged after 5 kids found home alone Two 25-year-old women have been arrested on child abandonment charges after authorities say five children — the youngest 5 months old and the oldest 11 years of age — were found alone at a home in College Station. Police said in a statement that the home had “unsafe and unsanitary conditions” and that the children were...

TEXAS DIGEST: Heart transplant hospital could lose Medicaid funds

HOUSTON Heart transplant hospital could lose Medicaid A Houston hospital that suspended its heart transplant program for two weeks amid scrutiny following the deaths of two patients could lose federal Medicaid funding. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on Friday was notified that Medicare plans to halt funding to its heart transplant program in mid-August, the Houston Chronicle reported. Federal...
PolitiFact: Asylum cases rising rapidly

PolitiFact: Asylum cases rising rapidly

President Donald Trump argued that immigrants entering illegally are gaming the American immigration system, citing a remarkable rise in asylum applications. He said some asylum-seekers are abusing the process with criminal intentions. “There’s been a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims over the last 10 years,” Trump said in a June 19 speech. “Think of that. Think of that...
In Rio Grande Valley, a life-altering limbo as asylum process shifts

In Rio Grande Valley, a life-altering limbo as asylum process shifts

In shelters in Mexico, in detention facilities in the United States and in consultations with attorneys, they wait in uncertainty. Lorena, 31, left Honduras with her husband and four children in mid-April, when gangs started killing children attending local schools and skimming the money she earned as a laundress. “Every day you hear that they killed four, that they killed 10, that they killed...
Herman: Beto O’Rourke flashes star power at Texas Democratic Convention

Herman: Beto O’Rourke flashes star power at Texas Democratic Convention

Some takeaways taken away from three days with 7,500 or so delegates at the Texas Democratic Convention: In general, the Dems didn’t approve a platform with nearly the volume of nutty stuff the Repubs did at their convention. Oh, there’s plenty in the Dem platform that some folks won’t like, but there’s nothing approaching the GOP calls for getting the U.S. out of the U.N....
Vinnie Paul was co-founder, drummer of Texas metal band Pantera

Vinnie Paul was co-founder, drummer of Texas metal band Pantera

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of the Arlington-based metal band Pantera, has died at 54. Pantera’s official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul’s cause of death. His real name was Vincent Paul Abbott, and he was born in Abilene. He and his brother...
PolitiFact: For 401 straight months, it’s been hotter than average

PolitiFact: For 401 straight months, it’s been hotter than average

A reader inquired about an Austin weathercaster saying the planet has sweltered through hundreds of months of consecutive record temperatures. “Last week, Jim Spencer said during his weather forecast that record-breaking heat has been going on for over 400 months,” the reader said. KXAN-TV’s Spencer, the reader said, had called April 2018 the 400th straight month with global temperatures...
Texas Democrats looking to Trump-fueled anger to elect upbeat O’Rourke

Texas Democrats looking to Trump-fueled anger to elect upbeat O’Rourke

With U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, Texas Democrats have a candidate at the top of their ticket of enormous likability and relentless equanimity. But at their biennial convention, anger was the watchword for a party counting on deep-seated animus toward President Donald Trump and acquiescent Texas Republican leaders to rouse voters — especially Hispanics, women and the young &mdash...
Family reunifications could take months, Cruz, Cornyn told on border

Family reunifications could take months, Cruz, Cornyn told on border

Reuniting immigrant children separated from their parents seeking asylum could take up to four months, a federal official told U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, along with local leaders and others meeting at Border Patrol offices on the Texas-Mexico border Friday. The senators traveled to the Rio Grande Valley for a roundtable discussion with the local leadership of federal agencies...
City bag bans violate state law, Texas Supreme Court rules

City bag bans violate state law, Texas Supreme Court rules

Backing businesses over environmentalists, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday said cities like Austin may not ban retailers from providing customers with disposable bags at the checkout counter. In a unanimous ruling, the state’s highest civil court said bag bans run afoul of a state law that prohibits cities from trying to reduce waste by banning “containers” and “packages...
Study: Rising seas may routinely flood over 10,000 Texas homes by 2045

Study: Rising seas may routinely flood over 10,000 Texas homes by 2045

More than 10,000 homes along the Texas coast could flood twice a month by 2045 if sea level rise from climate change continues, researchers say. The findings are part of a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which used property data from real estate website Zillow and sea level projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to estimate how many coastal properties...
Herman: In search of peace, quiet at the Texas Democratic Convention

Herman: In search of peace, quiet at the Texas Democratic Convention

Hype, hope and hoopla prevailed Friday at the Texas Democratic Convention, an event that exists for the purpose of hype, hope and hoopla. The energy was palpable, even in the morning caucus sessions of the various interest and demographic groups that make up the party. So where could one go for a brief respite from the masses for a few minutes of rest and repose? Let’s take a look. The convention...
PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations

PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations

Since early June, President Donald Trump had insisted that his hands were tied and families who wanted to enter America without permission had to be separated. The adults went to one place to await criminal charges, while their children were sent to another facility. As the number of children being held rose above 2,000, Trump continued to blame the Democrats for blocking a solution. “I hate...
‘I don’t care, do you’: San Antonio missions vandalized with viral phrase

‘I don’t care, do you’: San Antonio missions vandalized with viral phrase

Graffiti on two missions in San Antonio was discovered Friday morning, according to Fox 29 San Antonio. On a wooden gate outside Mission San Jose were the words “I don’t care, do you,” the station reported. “A few miles away, similar graffiti was found on the walls of Mission San Juan,” according to Fox 29. The graffiti appears to be a reaction to the now-infamous...
Texas high court says Xerox can’t blame dentists in Medicaid fraud case

Texas high court says Xerox can’t blame dentists in Medicaid fraud case

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that Xerox alone is on the hook for a reported more than $2 billion-worth of fraudulent Medicaid losses and damages that Texas is seeking to recover. The company, since renamed Conduent Business Services, had sought to share blame with dentists and orthodontists who performed the procedures. The finding represents a significant blow to Xerox, which was responsible...
Texas Democrats hope to exploit outrage over family separation issue

Texas Democrats hope to exploit outrage over family separation issue

Texas Democrats gathered Thursday for their state convention determined to seize a dramatic, emotion-charged moment in which the eyes of the world are on Texas and the state’s Republicans find themselves divided, on the defensive and unusually muted. “It has been said that evil triumphs when man is silent; evil triumphed on Texas soil and (Lt. Gov.) Dan Patrick was silent,” Mike...
Herman: For some reason, Texas Democrats go to work on a platform

Herman: For some reason, Texas Democrats go to work on a platform

Texas Democrats are drawing up a legislative wish list. And Rice University football players are planning about playing in the national title game. Faith, hope and optimism — even in the stark face of reality — are to be encouraged. Texas Democrats are convening in convention in The Town of Cows on Friday and Saturday. If you’re a political party convening in a convention...
3 asylum-seekers separated from their children sue federal government

3 asylum-seekers separated from their children sue federal government

Three Central American asylum-seekers are suing the federal government after they were separated from their children. The three plaintiffs are suing the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies. They also name 10 government officials. According to Politico, the suit could be the first to challenge the...
Southwest Key considered giving up contracts over family separations

Southwest Key considered giving up contracts over family separations

Leaders at an Austin-based nonprofit that operates 16 shelters for immigrant children in Texas considered ending its relationship with the federal government amid furor over President Donald Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy, the organization’s CEO told the American-Statesman on Thursday. “We said, what if we … didn’t take these kids?” said Juan Sanchez...
Texas Democrats poised to back legalization of marijuana

Texas Democrats poised to back legalization of marijuana

Last week, the Texas Republican Party at its convention in San Antonio approved a platform plank that called for decriminalizing marijuana. Not to be outdone — or more accurately, not to be matched — the Texas Democratic Party appears on its way to embracing legalization of marijuana when it approves its platform here Saturday. “The 2012 convention was the first time our platform...

TEXAS DIGEST: Officer hurt in Santa Fe school shooting out of hospital

SANTA FE Officer hurt in school shooting out of hospital A Houston-area school district policeman who was wounded during a campus shooting that killed 10 people has been discharged from a hospital. John Barnes faces months of rehabilitation after a shotgun blast tore through his elbow during the May 18 massacre at Santa Fe High School, the Houston Chronicle reported. The 49-year old Santa Fe school...
Commentary: Let’s celebrate the value in working together

Commentary: Let’s celebrate the value in working together

Our national celebration as Americans will soon be here with the red, white and blue prominently displayed. Celebrations draw our attention from the ordinary to the inspired. Something inspiring happened at the Texas State Board of Education that merits celebration. We bemoan the fact we are becoming a people divided — society that lives in separate cultural and political silos. The board &mdash...
Melania Trump wears ‘I really don’t care. Do u?’ jacket ahead of border trip

Melania Trump wears ‘I really don’t care. Do u?’ jacket ahead of border trip

Update, 4:58 p.m.: Melania Trump also wore her now-infamous jacket after returning from her visit to the Texas border. The Dallas Morning News’ Washington bureau chief, Todd J. Gillman, tweeted Thursday afternoon that Trump sported the jacket reading "I really don't care. Do u?" as she returned to Andrews Air Force Base from McAllen. Getty Images released photos where the words...
Democrats denounce Abbott and Patrick for cowardice on border crisis

Democrats denounce Abbott and Patrick for cowardice on border crisis

The Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor Thursday excoriated Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans, as moral cowards and un-Texan for failing to condemn the Trump administration for the zero tolerance policy on illegal border crossings that led to the separation of children from their parents. “It has been said that evil triumphs when man is silent...
Amid lodging shortage, day-trippers keep Port Aransas afloat

Amid lodging shortage, day-trippers keep Port Aransas afloat

Hurricane Harvey battered Deven Bhakta’s Port Aransas hotel until it was uninhabitable. The Category 4 hurricane’s 130 mph winds blew out windows and stripped parts of the roof off the three-story Holiday Inn Express, while the resulting storm surge filled the hotel with nearly 2 feet of water. The 74-unit building, which Bhakta owns, has since been completely gutted and won’t reopen...
UPDATE: Mayors, council members denied entry to Tornillo ‘tent city’

UPDATE: Mayors, council members denied entry to Tornillo ‘tent city’

12:30 p.m. update: Austin City Council Member Greg Casar said he was speechless when he first approached the chainlink fence around a federal facility along the Mexican border near El Paso where about 360 immigrant teens are being held by federal authorities. Casar said he tried to do a livestream video, but when it started, he had no words. “It’s unconscionable that this exists,&rdquo...
Mayor Adler, Austin council members visit tent encampment at Tornillo

Mayor Adler, Austin council members visit tent encampment at Tornillo

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar said he was speechless Thursday when he first approached the chain-link fence around a facility along the Mexican border where about 360 immigrant children are being detained by federal authorities. Casar said he tried to do a livestream video, but when it started, he had no words. “It’s unconscionable that this exists,” Casar said. Hours later...
Make Chahuites great again? Mexican Trumps stoke anti-immigrant fervor

Make Chahuites great again? Mexican Trumps stoke anti-immigrant fervor

Last year, Mayor Leobardo Ramos earned the nickname “The Oaxacan Trump” after he shut down a migrant shelter for Central Americans in his small town of Chahuites near the Guatemalan border. “We see many migrants without a shirt, doing drugs and fighting among themselves,” he told local reporters at the time. And in a postscript that echoed Trump’s Make America Great Again...
City Council members to get a firsthand glance at Tornillo’s ‘tent city’

City Council members to get a firsthand glance at Tornillo’s ‘tent city’

Outfitted with his Canon camera and a telephoto lens, Austin Mayor Steve Adler got his first look at the burgeoning “tent city” of Tornillo on Wednesday evening. The brief glance came a day ahead of a scheduled protest at the Tornillo port of call along the Mexican border, where Adler, nearly the entire Austin City Council and mayors from across the nation will protest the practice of...
Texans in Congress react to Trump’s reversal on family separation

Texans in Congress react to Trump’s reversal on family separation

Texas members of Congress and statewide elected officials reacted Wednesday to President Donald Trump’s decision to halt his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents when they are detained illegally crossing the U.S. border: “I think a zero tolerance policy is exactly correct. I think a family unification policy is exactly correct. And as far as detention...
Abbott calls special election to replace Carlos Uresti in Texas Senate

Abbott calls special election to replace Carlos Uresti in Texas Senate

Gov. Greg Abbott has set a July 31 special election to replace state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who announced his resignation this week after his conviction on 11 fraud-related counts in February. Candidates have until the close of business Monday to file for the race. Uresti’s successor will complete the remainder of his term, which ends in January 2021. If a candidate doesn’t...
Democrat for AG: Paxton should have sued Trump on separations

Democrat for AG: Paxton should have sued Trump on separations

Texas should have sued the Trump administration to halt the zero-tolerance policy that led to children being separated from their immigrant parents at the Mexican border, Justin Nelson, the Democratic candidate for Texas attorney general, said Wednesday. “This policy is being used to punish (immigrants), to send a message that America acts like this, and as a pawn for congressional leverage...
Want to get away? Far, far away? Buy your own Terlingua ghost town

Want to get away? Far, far away? Buy your own Terlingua ghost town

Long before there was a Terlingua Farmer’s Market or anything close to an Ocotillo Suite … before there were river tours, aviation companies or Desert Lotus Healing Arts massage therapy and rolfing … even before there were dueling chili cookoffs or nearby beer-drinking goats …  Before any of that, Terlingua had something going on: Quicksilver! By the end of the 19th...
Southwest Key denounces family separations after Trump signs order

Southwest Key denounces family separations after Trump signs order

Austin-based nonprofit Southwest Key Programs came out against family separations at the border after President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the practice. “Southwest Key Programs does not support separating families at the border,” the organization said in a statement shared on Facebook. “For 30 years, our work in offering youth justice alternatives, immigrant...
For sale: Columbus ship replica damaged by Harvey

For sale: Columbus ship replica damaged by Harvey

South Texas officials are selling a replica ship built by Spain to honor explorer Christopher Columbus after it partially sank during Hurricane Harvey. The Corpus Christi City Council has authorized the Columbus Sailing Association’s request to find an interested buyer for the Niña. Marina Superintendent Gina Sanchez told the Corpus Christi Caller Times that the association is no longer...

TEXAS DIGEST: MDAnderson center faces $4.3M fine for data breaches

HOUSTON Cancer center faces $4.3M fine for data breaches Federal health officials have ordered the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to pay a $4.3 million fine for failing to secure health records stemming from data breaches. The Houston Chronicle reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that MD Anderson’s failure to encrypt health records violated...
Democrat for AG: Texas should have sued Trump on separations

Democrat for AG: Texas should have sued Trump on separations

Texas should have sued the Trump administration to halt the zero-tolerance policy that led to children being separated from their immigrant parents at the Mexican border, Justin Nelson, the Democratic candidate for Texas attorney general, said Wednesday. “This policy is being used to punish (immigrants), to send a message that America acts like this, and as a pawn for congressional leverage...
Mexico’s crackdown on Central American migrants may fade after election

Mexico’s crackdown on Central American migrants may fade after election

As his administration began implementing a “zero tolerance” immigration policy last month, a frustrated President Donald Trump cast blame on the government of Mexico for the influx of Central Americans arriving at the border. “They do nothing to stop people from going through Mexico, from Honduras and all these other countries,” he told supporters at a campaign rally in Nashville...
Houston Zoo welcomes new baby elephant

Houston Zoo welcomes new baby elephant

The Houston Zoo has a brand-new attraction: Tilly, the baby elephant. The Asian elephant was born in the early morning hours on Father’s Day and weighed a whopping 345 pounds. After a pregnancy that last almost two years, 35-year-old mother Tess is likely relieved. “Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” Houston Zoo official Lisa Marie Avendano said on...
Rattlesnake impersonator spotted in Texas

Rattlesnake impersonator spotted in Texas

We’re not all who we claim to be. And that goes for snakes, too. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shared a video of a nonvenomous bullsnake imitating the rattle of a rattlesnake... with his mouth. The department, which moved the snake from the road so that it wouldn’t be hit, called the snake’s impression “very convincing.”  The researchers who captured...
Commentary: Austin ISD prefers to see us appease parents than teach

Commentary: Austin ISD prefers to see us appease parents than teach

Austin ISD has adopted an “improved” approach to working with families. In this customer-service model — called AISD Cares — educators will prioritize parent requests regardless of professional judgment. This new focus shifts attention away from student needs to submit to the public. In an age when students are at greater risk than ever, now is not the time to turn efforts...
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer at border for parents of separated children

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer at border for parents of separated children

As media from around the world clustered in and around an immigrant shelter run by nuns in the Rio Grande Valley Tuesday, the arrival of a familiar face drew a buzz. Michael Avenatti, the Los Angeles-based celebrity lawyer recently known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, has jumped into the issue of separating asylum-seeking immigrants from their...
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