Texas News & Politics


Emily’s List gets involved in fifth Texas race for Congress

It’s the year of the woman in terms of the number of women running for office — and it’s the year that female donors are stepping up to back them, with the advocacy group Emily’s List choosing to get involved in five Texas congressional races. Emily’s List, which promotes campaigns of Democratic women who support abortion rights, announced Friday that it was endorsing...
Abbott has $29 million in campaign cash heading into fall

Abbott has $29 million in campaign cash heading into fall

Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign raised $10.9 million and spent $22 million between Feb. 25 and June 30, and it had $28.9 million in cash on hand, according to its filing Monday with the Texas Ethics Commission. Abbott’s expenditures include $16.1 million for TV time across the state for a fall ad campaign. “This is the first wave of advertising we have bought,” campaign...

Texas Digest: Store owner’s killer set for execution Tuesday

CRIMINAL JUSTICE Store owner’s killer set for execution Condemned prisoner Christopher Young says there’s no question he fatally shot a San Antonio convenience store owner but insists he never intended to kill the man whose slaying was recorded on a surveillance camera. “I’ve never denied the crime,” Young said recently from a visiting cage outside Texas death row. &ldquo...
Federal judge defends actions as fetal-burial trial begins in Austin

Federal judge defends actions as fetal-burial trial begins in Austin

A federal trial over the future of a Texas law requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated got off to an unusual start Monday when the judge took time to defend himself from a federal appeals court that had questioned his motives in the case. The dispute involved a side issue over a subpoena compelling the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops to disclose more than 1,000 pages of emails and other...
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has huge fundraising advantage over Mike Collier

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has huge fundraising advantage over Mike Collier

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has 233 times as much cash on hand as his Democratic rival, Mike Collier, heading into the fall campaign. Texans for Dan Patrick will report that it has raised almost $4.5 million between Feb. 25 and June 30 and has nearly $14 million in the bank. The report will be filed by Monday’s deadline with the Texas Ethics Commission. Collier will report raising $265,000 in the same...
They come in white? Texas Parks and Wildlife shares photo of unique ‘little friend’

They come in white? Texas Parks and Wildlife shares photo of unique ‘little friend’

You might have thought it pretty hard to spot a rattlesnake in the bushy Hill Country terrain. But what if it were white? The division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department responsible for the Wyler Aerial Tramway, which runs along the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, recently shared a picture of a rattlesnake with a white/gray coloring spotted near the attraction.  The snake is identified...
Plutonium went missing in San Antonio, and the government is silent

Plutonium went missing in San Antonio, and the government is silent

Two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there. Their task, according to documents and interviews, was to ensure that the radioactive materials did not fall into the wrong hands on the way back to Idaho, where the government...
UT Austin’s ‘Kate the Chemist’ gets Stephen Colbert to ‘breathe fire’ on the late show

UT Austin’s ‘Kate the Chemist’ gets Stephen Colbert to ‘breathe fire’ on the late show

University of Texas lecturer Kate Biberdorf has a reputation for blowing stuff up.  The chemistry professor labels herself a pyromaniac and leads explosive science demonstrations in her classrooms. Last week, “Kate the Chemist” got to take her lab space to New York City for an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  Biberdorf, who was named one of the ...
Abbott has $29 million cash plus $16 million ad buy heading into fall

Abbott has $29 million cash plus $16 million ad buy heading into fall

Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign raised $10.9 million and spent $22 million between Feb. 25 and June 30, and had $28.9 million in cash on hand, according to its filing Monday with the Texas Ethics Commission. Abbott’s expenditures include $16.1 million for TV time across the state for a fall ad campaign. “This is the first wave of advertising we have bought,” said campaign...

Texas Digest: Man accused of being former cartel leader to go on trial

WACO ‘Comandante Kiko’ to go on trial A 38-year-old man authorities describe as a former leader of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico is scheduled for a federal court trial starting Monday in Waco on charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs inland through South Texas, conspiracy to possess firearms and laundering millions of dollars in drug proceeds. Juan Francisco Trevino Chavez Jr., also...
Membership rules for Austin Planning Commission both restrictive, rare

Membership rules for Austin Planning Commission both restrictive, rare

When Austin voters went to the ballot box in the spring of 1994, they were inundated by nearly two dozen proposition questions regarding possible changes to the city’s charter. One of the 22 items was yet another an attempt to establish single-member districts for the Austin City Council. That proposition failed. So did Proposition 22, an amendment that would have prohibited Austin from providing...
PolitiFact: Opponent didn’t pass any bills? We found one

PolitiFact: Opponent didn’t pass any bills? We found one

A North Texas Democrat nominated for the Texas Senate told a Dallas crowd that the incumbent, Bob Hall of Edgewood, has an empty legislative record. Kendall Scudder of Sulphur Springs was quoted by The Dallas Morning News as saying at a July event: “None of you should be surprised to find out that Bob Hall never successfully passed a bill before. And we’re going to keep it that way.&rdquo...
Wear: Texas’ frozen gas tax thawed by Propositions 1 and 7

Wear: Texas’ frozen gas tax thawed by Propositions 1 and 7

Perhaps Texas’ mummified gas tax can just stay in the crypt. Periodically through the many years I’ve been on this beat, I’ve written about Texas’ 20-cents-a-gallon gas tax and how it hasn’t been increased by the Texas Legislature since 1991. So has the Statesman’s editorial page. And the message, either subtle or overt (in the case of the opinion page), was...

Texas Digest: Girl who sparked opposition to separations back with mom

HOUSTON Girl who fueled opposition rejoins mom A 6-year-old girl from El Salvador who became a face of the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant families at the border has been reunited with her mother. Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid and her mother, Cindy Madrid, were separated after U.S. authorities detained them June 13 for illegally entering the United States near Harlingen...
Landlady Lupe Valdez: Better to offer low rent than pay taxes on time

Landlady Lupe Valdez: Better to offer low rent than pay taxes on time

Colin Howell and Jayme Thompson have a dream to start a mobile food truck — the Flying Pineapple Baking Company — selling retro desserts in Dallas-Fort Worth. What’s made the numbers work on their ambition is their phenomenal rent — $700 a month for a piece of a fourplex on the outskirts of Oak Cliff’s trendy Bishop Arts District. “This is Bishop Arts. For what?&rdquo...
Supreme Court nominee, wife met when working for President George Bush

Supreme Court nominee, wife met when working for President George Bush

The common link between U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his West Texan wife, Ashley, was none other than former President and Texas Gov. George W. Bush. After nominating Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006, Bush joked at the swearing-in ceremony that Kavanaugh’s marriage was the “first lifetime appointment I arranged.&rdquo...
Migrant family separated despite Trump order, civil rights group says

Migrant family separated despite Trump order, civil rights group says

A 2-year-old girl from Guatemala was taken from her father in McAllen earlier this month after they crossed the border illegally, despite President Donald Trump’s executive order ending the practice, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project said Friday. After being apprehended, Mario Perez-Domingo presented a birth certificate to prove that the toddler was his daughter, but border authorities...
Report: Most donations to 2016 council races from outside districts

Report: Most donations to 2016 council races from outside districts

Most of the money Austin City Council candidates raised for their races in 2016 came from outside their council districts — more than 90 percent for Council Members Delia Garza and Greg Casar — according to a report issued by Texans for Public Justice. The city’s three wealthiest districts accounted for 68 percent of all resident campaign donations, even though two of those three...
Texas’ fetal burial law to go on trial in federal court

Texas’ fetal burial law to go on trial in federal court

In a five-day trial set to kick off Monday morning in Austin, the fate of another abortion-related restriction in Texas will be decided by a federal judge — this one requiring that fetal remains be buried or cremated instead of incinerated and deposited in a landfill. Lawyers for Texas plan to argue that the 2017 law, which has not been enforced, promotes respect for human life and the dignified...
Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

An Austin advertising legend who once helped sell “Don’t mess with Texas” is now working with state officials on a sequel: a campaign to get Texans to cherish water, from their lakes to their sinks. Roy Spence, one of the founders of ad giant GSD&M, is partnering with Texas State University’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and the Texas Water Development Board...
Army: Quality of life, tech culture helped Austin land Futures Command

Army: Quality of life, tech culture helped Austin land Futures Command

The same things — quality of life, innovation, civic support, higher education facilities – that have helped attract countless businesses to Austin also played a key role in the city landing the U.S. Army’s new Futures Command center. The facility, which will ultimately employ 500 enlisted and civilian workers, is expected to be up and running by next summer. Futures Command&rsquo...
5 things to know before night swimming at Barton Springs

5 things to know before night swimming at Barton Springs

Is there anything better than jumping into a pool on a sunny day? Maybe.  Barton Springs Pool, Austin’s oasis, is known for more than its refreshing (read: very cold) spring water and its sprawling, sloping lawn. While the pool offers a cool respite from an aggressively sunny day, it is also the perfect spot for a night swim.  Here are a few things to keep in mind before diving in...

Texas Digest: Eight MS-13 gang members indicted, authorities say

DALLAS Officials: 8 MS-13 gang members indicted Authorities say eight MS-13 members in the U.S. illegally have been indicted on charges tied to alleged gang activities including racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder and assault. U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox announced the charges at a news conference Friday in Dallas. Cox said seven suspects are in custody. Janet Pearre, a spokeswoman for the U...
Taxpayers on hook if Pflugerville’s risky water park gambit fails

Taxpayers on hook if Pflugerville’s risky water park gambit fails

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, Pflugerville seemingly has plenty to teach ambitious small towns eager to prosper. But the suburb north of Austin is at risk of imparting one lesson in the form of a cautionary tale. A high-profile Pflugerville initiative — a water park that the city’s economic development arm financed for a private company about five years ago &mdash...
Letters to the editor: July 14, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 14, 2018

Re: July 9 article, “Central Texas suspensions of young students raise concerns.” So, those who advocate banning suspension of misbehaving kids in second grade and under, for most situations, “warned that suspensions caused students to fall behind in their classwork, to be disciplined more in the long run and to be ostracized by their peers.” Someone doesn’t understand...
Shooting rampage suspect targeted victims at random, Austin police say

Shooting rampage suspect targeted victims at random, Austin police say

Austin police on Thursday said a former policy analyst at the Legislature is a suspect in the fatal shooting of a man at a South Austin apartment complex Monday and in a shooting rampage Wednesday that left two women injured. Charles Curry, 29, was arrested about 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Post South Lamar apartment complex at 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. Curry has been charged with aggravated assault with a...
Austin mayor claps back at a constituent: Texas’ attorney general

Austin mayor claps back at a constituent: Texas’ attorney general

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are exchanging words, as Texas vs. Austin tensions continue to flare. Adler shot back Thursday at an opinion piece by Paxton calling the city hypocritical and disdainful of the rule of law. “The city of Austin recently declared itself a ‘freedom city’ — meaning that it will make every effort to thwart enforcement...
Consul: DPS helped Bastrop traffic operation that led to deportations

Consul: DPS helped Bastrop traffic operation that led to deportations

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper participated in the Bastrop County sheriff’s controversial “zero tolerance” traffic enforcement operation, which resulted in 24 people being arrested and 14 of them picked up by immigration authorities for deportation proceedings, according to Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Mexican consul for Austin. González said he...
O’Rourke maintains blistering fundraising pace in race against Cruz

O’Rourke maintains blistering fundraising pace in race against Cruz

Maintaining his blistering fundraising pace in his Senate bid, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised more than $10.4 million in the second quarter of the year, more than twice as much as U.S. Sen Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent he is seeking to unseat. O’Rourke had $14 million cash on hand as of the end of June, compared with $10.4 million for Cruz. The Cruz campaign reported raising $4.6...
Abbott and Valdez to debate amid Friday night lights

Abbott and Valdez to debate amid Friday night lights

There will be at least one debate between Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic rival, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, to be held in Austin, and broadcast statewide, at the end of September. The Abbott campaign effectively unveiled the debate plan Wednesday when it announced it had accepted an invitation from Nexstar Media Group to debate Valdez from 7 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28 at a location to be...
Mexico’s asylum system may be key to migration puzzle, but can’t keep up

Mexico’s asylum system may be key to migration puzzle, but can’t keep up

Since leaving her violent hometown in Honduras months ago to go to the United States with her 2-year-old daughter, the young woman had been robbed and forced to sleep in the streets. Once the 21-year-old mother heard that U.S. immigration officials had been separating children from their parents, she wasn’t sure she wanted to go on. But during her travels through Mexico, she learned about another...

Man wrongly named as suspect in Dallas police shooting sues

A man wrongly identified by Dallas police as a suspect in the 2016 fatal shooting of five police officers is suing the city and its police department. The federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges Dallas police detained Mark Hughes and his brother, Cory, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Both are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which says the brothers were interrogated “without...
Commentary: Why we cannot take the 14th Amendment for granted

Commentary: Why we cannot take the 14th Amendment for granted

Few times in recent memory have demanded a more careful examination of our nation’s history than now — the year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment’s passage. At a time when the Trump administration is throwing asylum seekers in jail without due process, and undermining efforts to desegregate schools, it is critical to remember that the “pervading purpose&rdquo...
The best Austin bar for every Myers-Briggs personality type 

The best Austin bar for every Myers-Briggs personality type 

Admittedly, there are worse scenarios than being an ISFP at a ENTJ bar. But... Why did mother-daughter team Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Myers go to all the trouble of creating a personality type test if not to match you perfectly to your ideal drinking locale? Having a defined sense of self is great. But if you’re not going to apply to every trivial scenario possible, who really are...
Commentary: No one’s light on the brisket, yet. Keep weighing barbecue

Commentary: No one’s light on the brisket, yet. Keep weighing barbecue

For centuries, people have cheated in commerce. In response, society has created systems that enable fair trade for all. In Texas, the integrity of that process is the responsibility of the agriculture commissioner. Today, the process is being threatened. The Texas agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, is standing up to the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, who asserts that state law exempts barbecue...
From treehouses to trailers, check out these unconventional Texas hotels

From treehouses to trailers, check out these unconventional Texas hotels

Sure, hotels and Airbnbs are great, but sometimes we all crave a little something different. If you’re seeking a unique stay during your next Texas getaway, here are some spots to consider. Cypress Valley Canopy Tours The Nest at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours. Contributed by Cypress Valley Canopy Tours Cypress Valley Canopy Tours may be known for its zipline tours above the lush Texas Hill Country...
Commentary: Even before family separations, Trump was cultivating hate

Commentary: Even before family separations, Trump was cultivating hate

You never blame the victim of a crime. Despite the occasional rulings of rogue judges and the bizarre utterances of lawmakers and candidates emboldened by what they hear on talk radio or see on cable TV, it’s pretty much accepted in public discourse that a woman is not to blame for her rape because her skirt was too short or she had too much to drink. A homeowner is not to blame for a theft...
O’Rourke maintains torrid fundraising pace in Senate bid

O’Rourke maintains torrid fundraising pace in Senate bid

Maintaining his torrid fundraising pace, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced Wednesday that he had raised more than $10.4 million in the second quarter of the year in his bid to unseat Republican rival U.S. Sen Ted Cruz. O’Rourke also said he had $14 million cash on hand as of the end of June. Cruz, who has trailed O’Rourke in fundraising, has not yet released his numbers for the second...
In Houston, drink a Texas beer, help save a Texas icon

In Houston, drink a Texas beer, help save a Texas icon

Houston craft brewery Karbach Brewing Co. is hosting a party at its biergarten on Saturday, July 21. Karbach parties often, celebrating things from bingo to yoga to the Tour de France — but this is for something much, much bigger. Karbach is hosting the “Come and Save It” event to raise funds for the preservation of the Battleship Texas.  "It's a Texas landmark...
Abbott accepts invitation to debate Valdez amid Friday night lights

Abbott accepts invitation to debate Valdez amid Friday night lights

Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday accepted an invitation from Nexstar Media Group to debate Democratic rival Lupe Valdez. The debate will be broadcast statewide on television and online. It will be held in Austin and is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, a Friday night during high school football season. Valdez offered her qualified acceptance, tweeting: “Thanks @GregAbbott_TX for accepting a debate!...
Pair of Texas cities crack Top 10 list of affordable family destinations

Pair of Texas cities crack Top 10 list of affordable family destinations

Looking for an affordable summer vacation spot for your family of four? The first rule of thumb is “head south … or perhaps southwest.” The state of Florida takes three spots in a recent Top 10 list compiled by Smart Asset, while Texas takes two. The financial technology company put San Antonio at No. 7 and Dallas at No. 9. The top three were: Orlando, Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale...
State has $2.8 billion more to spend, Texas comptroller estimates

State has $2.8 billion more to spend, Texas comptroller estimates

A rebounding oil market and a blistering economy led the state’s chief accountant on Wednesday to increase his revenue estimate for Texas’ current two-year budget cycle by $2.8 billion. The upshot is that, within certain bounds, lawmakers will have more money to play with as they make spending decisions after returning to Austin in January. In a letter Wednesday to other state leaders...
After Confederate name change, San Antonio school to auction 'Robert E. Lee' items online

After Confederate name change, San Antonio school to auction 'Robert E. Lee' items online

San Antonio’s Robert E. Lee High School has changed its name and changed its mascot, effective this upcoming school year. But after the switch to Legacy of Educational Excellence High School (LEE, get it?) and making its “Volunteers” mascot a service dog — what does the school do with the items branded “Robert E. Lee” or featuring the “Grumpy Gus&rdquo...
Texas woman catches 6-foot shark on Surfside beach

Texas woman catches 6-foot shark on Surfside beach

At Surfside Beach, smack dab between Galveston and Matagorda, Lauren Biggers was fishing in the surf with a mullet swimming about “400 yards out,” according to a Facebook post. That’s when the 6-foot blacktip shark struck — the mullet, fortunately. Biggers, who lives in the Conroe area, according to her Facebook page, was able to reel in the shark, much to the amazement of...
Out of the spotlight, Mexicans fleeing cartels face worst asylum odds

Out of the spotlight, Mexicans fleeing cartels face worst asylum odds

He didn’t leave for fortune or status. He wasn’t escaping a criminal past or leaving for a better future. As one of the only survivors left in his family, he simply ran for his life. As a newly elected small town official in a cartel-dominated region of Mexico, he began getting threatening phone calls from local cartel members demanding municipal equipment and payments from local government...
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