Texas News & Politics


At funeral, Barbara Bush called ‘first lady of the greatest generation’

Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the greatest generation” during a funeral Saturday attended by four former U.S. presidents and roughly 1,500 other people who filled the church with laughter as much as with tears, with many recalling her quick wit and devotion to family. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joked that his mother called her style of mothering him and his siblings...

TWO VIEWS: Austin policies are making affordability crisis worse

Paying more for housing? Blame City Hall. In spite of paying regular lip service to affordability, city officials continue to push big government policies that make it more expensive to live in Austin. In fact, officials are exploring a new one now. Earlier this month, Austin’s Code Department began seeking public input on a proposal requiring certain homes and apartments to install insect screens...
Federal money to connect Texas schools to fiber at risk, officials say

Federal money to connect Texas schools to fiber at risk, officials say

Delays and denials by the federal government are putting Texas schools at risk of losing millions of dollars in potential subsidies that would help pay for installing high-speed fiber internet in classrooms, according to state officials. Last year, state lawmakers approved $25 million to help school districts over the 2018-19 budget period replace or install fiber-optic cable, arguably the fastest...
TWO VIEWS: “No more cane on the Brazos” or affordable housing in Austin

TWO VIEWS: “No more cane on the Brazos” or affordable housing in Austin

How hard is it to find affordable housing these days? Let’s start in Sugar Land, where the old bones of more than 30 newly disinterred, turn-of-the-20th-century prison inmates can no longer afford their final resting places. The bodies have to move to make way for the local school district’s “new career center.” Figures. The poor souls no doubt finished their careers as forced...

TEXAS DIGEST: Driver in deadly immigrant smuggling case gets life

SAN ANTONIO Driver in deadly immigrant smuggling case gets life The driver of a big rig involved in the deaths of 10 smuggled immigrants in Texas last year was sentenced Friday to life in prison. James Matthew Bradley Jr. pleaded guilty in October to a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death and a conspiracy count. If he had gone to trial and been convicted, he could have faced the...
Top contract oversight official at Texas health agency resigns

Top contract oversight official at Texas health agency resigns

The top procurement official for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has resigned — the fifth departure from the agency as it answers to multiple contracting flaps this month. Ron Pigott, deputy executive commissioner of procurement and contracting services, resigned Friday from the agency. Agency officials did not provide a reason for his departure and a copy of his resignation letter...
Commentary: We’re suing to stop the hijacking of Travis County votes

Commentary: We’re suing to stop the hijacking of Travis County votes

After seven years — and three election cycles — of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the Texas congressional redistricting lawsuit against then-Gov. Rick Perry and the state of Texas beginning this week. As two of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, we sought to reverse unconstitutional gerrymandering and minority voter disenfranchisement in Travis County. Texas Republicans have...
Texas case is 1 of 3 redistricting fights before high court

Texas case is 1 of 3 redistricting fights before high court

In addition to the Texas redistricting case, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing two other legal battles that could change the way political lines are drawn in all 50 states. The high court has already heard oral arguments this term over whether lawmakers in Wisconsin and Maryland created political districts that were improperly gerrymandered along partisan lines, producing maps that gave one party...
CASTILLO: Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

CASTILLO: Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

The recent decision by the State Board of Education to approve an elective course for Mexican-American studies in Texas high schools should have triggered triumphant celebrations among the scholars and advocates who worked for years to make the curriculum a reality. Instead, many came away feeling like they were history’s losers once more. “Discrimination!” Marisa Perez-Diaz, a member...
U.S. Supreme Court wades into Texas political district fight

U.S. Supreme Court wades into Texas political district fight

When explosive population growth gave Texas four additional seats in Congress after the 2010 census, the GOP majority in the Legislature determined that three of those districts would be drawn to ensure the election of Republican candidates. The congressional district map Republicans produced, however, was met with numerous lawsuits and a series of court rulings that said the GOP achieved its electoral...
Abbott seeking to call a special election to replace Rep. Farenthold

Abbott seeking to call a special election to replace Rep. Farenthold

Gov. Greg Abbott has asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for a legal opinion on whether Abbott can suspend state election law to call a special election “as soon as is legally possible” to fill the congressional seat left vacant when embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, resigned two weeks ago. In a letter to Paxton on Thursday, Abbott said he is concerned that state...
Abbott seeking to call a special election to replace Rep. Farenthold

Abbott seeking to call a special election to replace Rep. Farenthold

Gov. Greg Abbott has asked Attorney General Ken Paxton for a legal opinion on whether Abbott can suspend state election law to call a special election “as soon as is legally possible” to fill the congressional seat left vacant when embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, resigned two weeks ago. In a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton Thursday, Abbott said he is concerned...
Twenty-five years later, Waco survivor is keeper of the Davidian flame

Twenty-five years later, Waco survivor is keeper of the Davidian flame

On April 19, 1993, Clive Doyle was one of nine Branch Davidians to emerge from the fire that consumed Mount Carmel, the small religious sect’s communal home a few miles outside of Waco. He was burned, but alive. “Twenty-five years, a quarter-century, it’s hard to believe,” an emotionally exhausted Doyle, 77, said at the conclusion of a nearly three-hour memorial service Thursday...
Poll: Most Texas voters back legal status for unauthorized immigrants

Poll: Most Texas voters back legal status for unauthorized immigrants

Sixty percent of Texas voters support the National Guard being used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, but a majority oppose a border wall and support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. A majority of the survey respondents also held liberal views on gun control and marijuana, the pollsters reported. Hispanic...
Appeals court blocks Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Appeals court blocks Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Correction appended. A state appeals court has struck down a 2015 law that made it a crime to post “revenge porn” — intimate photos and videos from a previous or current relationship — on the internet without consent. The Tyler-based 12th Court of Appeals, in a ruling handed down Wednesday, said the law violated the First Amendment by restricting expression based on the content...
San Antonio school work asking for ‘positive aspects’ of slave life ‘unacceptable,’ Joaquin Castro says

San Antonio school work asking for ‘positive aspects’ of slave life ‘unacceptable,’ Joaquin Castro says

U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, took to Twitter on Thursday to call out a San Antonio school assignment about slavery that he called “unacceptable.”  Castro tweeted an image of the assignment, which asked students to list both positive and negative aspects to living as a slave.  The charter school where the assignment came from, Great Hearts, has since responded...
Poll: Texas voters support legal status for unauthorized immigrants

Poll: Texas voters support legal status for unauthorized immigrants

Sixty percent of Texas voters support the National Guard being used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, but a majority oppose a border wall and support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. A majority of poll respondents also held liberal views on gun control and marijuana. Hispanic voters are divided &mdash...
Appeal planned after court voids Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Appeal planned after court voids Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

A state appeals court has struck down a 2015 law that made it a crime to post “revenge porn” — intimate photos and videos from a previous or current relationship — on the internet without consent. The Tyler-based 12th Court of Appeals, in a ruling handed down Wednesday, said the law violated the First Amendment by restricting expression based on the content of the photographs...
Clive Doyle, voice of Davidian survivors, leads memorial service

Clive Doyle, voice of Davidian survivors, leads memorial service

It is 25 years since fire consumed Mount Carmel, the communal home of the Branch Davidians a few miles outside of Waco, ending a 51-day FBI siege with the death of 76 of the members of the small religious community, more than a quarter of them children. On this quarter-century anniversary, the deaths of those 76 people, as well as the six Davidians and four agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol...
State officials detail increased National Guard deployment to border

State officials detail increased National Guard deployment to border

At least 762 Texas National Guard troops are now deployed to the border, state officials announced at a legislative hearing Wednesday. The figure — up from 130 in March — shows how Texas has stepped up operations in response to President Donald Trump’s call for broader border security operations. Speaking to the Texas House Committee on Appropriations, Angela Isaack, manager...
Texas lawmakers rebuke state health officials for contract flap — again

Texas lawmakers rebuke state health officials for contract flap — again

State lawmakers on Wednesday rebuked Texas Health and Human Services Commission officials for bungling millions of dollars in contracts, a problem revealed this month. Lawmakers called the contracting problems a systemic failure of the agency, which has struggled for years to follow proper procurement processes. Officials inaccurately scored an estimated $600 million worth of contracts in recent months...
Texas facing a challenge in push to improve straight-to-college rate

Texas facing a challenge in push to improve straight-to-college rate

Barely half of Texas high school graduates enroll directly in college, but 65 percent will need to do so by 2030 for the state to meet goals intended to produce an educated populace and a skilled workforce, Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said Wednesday. The rate in Texas has slipped in recent years, from 54 percent in 2014 to 53 percent in 2015 and 52 percent in 2016. The figure...
White: Use border security dollars, expand gambling to fund education

White: Use border security dollars, expand gambling to fund education

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said Wednesday he wants to increase public education spending by $6.5 billion and would pay for it by expanding gambling in Texas, ending a property appraisal law and redirecting the state’s share of border security funding. White, an investor in Houston and son of the late Gov. Mark White, is running against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez...
Lessons for media still echo from Waco tragedy

Lessons for media still echo from Waco tragedy

As the gunfire began at the Branch Davidian compound 25 years ago, kicking off what would become a 51-day siege, a group of journalists found themselves smack in the middle of it. Tommy Witherspoon, along with several colleagues from the Waco Tribune-Herald, spent nearly three hours stretched flat in a ditch across the street from the compound. A few yards away a crew from KWTX, a local news station...
Texas politicians, public figures react to the death of Barbara Bush

Texas politicians, public figures react to the death of Barbara Bush

Former first lady Barbara Bush, a presence in American and Texas politics for decades, died Tuesday evening at the age of 92. Here’s what Texans had to say about her death: “Barbara had a unique and profound impact on our country. Spearheading the fight against illiteracy, she created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, working to improve the lives of those less fortunate...
Poll: Ted Cruz-Beto O’Rourke race too close to call

Poll: Ted Cruz-Beto O’Rourke race too close to call

The Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, is “too close to call,” according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Cruz has 47 percent support from registered voters to O’Rourke’s 44 percent, according to the poll. The poll comes on the heels of surprising fundraising numbers posted by O’Rourke. In...
A top Texas health official resigns amid contracting issues

A top Texas health official resigns amid contracting issues

State lawmakers on Wednesday rebuked Texas Health and Human Services Commission officials for bungling millions of dollars in contracts, a problem revealed this month. Lawmakers called the contracting problems a systemic failure of the agency, which has struggled for years to follow proper procurement processes. Officials inaccurately scored an estimated $600 million worth of contracts in recent months...
Commentary: Schools need good maintenance, like your car and home

Commentary: Schools need good maintenance, like your car and home

In Monday’s New York Times, the sorry state of public education was on display. Tattered textbooks, broken and outdated equipment and facilities in disrepair were featured, as teachers reported on how much of their own money they spend each year to try to close some resource gaps for their students. A teacher in Palacios in South Texas was among those featured. But if we are honest, we know...
Herman: The passing of an unelected Texas political icon

Herman: The passing of an unelected Texas political icon

The last time I saw Barbara Bush in person was in February 2016 in the West Running Brook Middle School cafeteria in Derry, N.H. The event was sort of sad and symbolic. A presidential candidacy was fading away, and with it a political dynasty as we’d known it through the presidencies of Barbara Bush’s husband and one of her sons. On that cold New Hampshire day in that middle school cafeteria...
Alex Jones facing four lawsuits calling him to account for “fake news”

Alex Jones facing four lawsuits calling him to account for “fake news”

The parents of children killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., have filed suit against Alex Jones and InfoWars for suggesting the death of their children was a “hoax,” setting the stage for what could be a landmark Austin trial on where to draw the line between free speech and libel in the era of fake news. “We’re not settling; everything...
Some celebrate as Texas State student president Clegg is impeached

Some celebrate as Texas State student president Clegg is impeached

It started with a fiery press release that then-student government president Connor Clegg issued following the publication of a controversial column on whiteness in the student newspaper in November. It ended Monday night, with Texas State University student senators voting overwhelmingly to remove Clegg from office, an impeachment vote that sparked shouts of joy and dancing in the aisles of a university...
Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

Why the ‘hyphenated Americanism’ comment triggered outrage

People rally in front of the State Board of Education building last week before a preliminary vote on whether to create a statewide Mexican American studies course. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN The decision by the State Board of Education to approve an elective course for Mexican-American studies in Texas high schools should have triggered triumphant celebrations...
What could be more Texan than a Whataburger charm from James Avery?

What could be more Texan than a Whataburger charm from James Avery?

What-a-charm. Two Texas brands banded together once again to offer customers a special piece of Lone Star State bling.  After selling out within hours in October, James Avery’s Whataburger charm appears to be back in stock.   According to the James Avery website, the sterling silver charm is 5/8 of an inch long and costs $60. Buyers have the option to engrave the back...
Commentary: Facts matter, so expect marchers at the Capitol again

Commentary: Facts matter, so expect marchers at the Capitol again

One year ago, we stood on the south steps of the Capitol and looked out on a sea of thousands of Texans. We were there to demand something that by today’s standards almost seems radical: How about we just stick to facts. The event was the March for Science — one of hundreds of similar marches that same day across the country and around the world organized to champion science and STEM advancement...
Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate

Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate

While we’re talking about a Democratic gubernatorial runoff debate (something Lupe Valdez might be forced to talk about a lot unless and until she firmly agrees to do one), let’s take a look at a potential first question she and foe Andrew White might get in said debate. Valdez fielded it last week at a San Antonio campaign event. “Thanks for your service in the military and law...
Eyeing Congress, two Austin-area Democrats outraise Republicans

Eyeing Congress, two Austin-area Democrats outraise Republicans

Two years ago, in the midst of a hot-and-heavy presidential race, Democrat Mike Clark, running in a congressional district just north of Austin, reported raising $1,035 in a six-week period ending in late March on his way to getting crushed by incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Carter. During the equivalent periodof 2018, Democrat Mary “MJ” Hegar, running in the same district, raised...
Texas State student president Connor Clegg removed from office 

Texas State student president Connor Clegg removed from office 

10:30 p.m. update: The Texas State University student government voted to impeach student president Connor Clegg Monday night, removing him from office two days before his term expires in a case that has roiled this campus for months. “I am thrilled, happy, excited, overwhelmed,” said Emmy Orioha, president of the school’s Pan African Action Committee. “It’s incredible...
Granddaughter: Barbara Bush is ‘a fighter,’ in good spirits

Granddaughter: Barbara Bush is ‘a fighter,’ in good spirits

Former first lady Barbara Bush, who was reported to be in failing health over the weekend, is in “great spirits,” and the family is grateful for “everybody’s prayers and thoughts,” her granddaughter said Monday. Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release Sunday that “Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will...
Recovery continues in West 5 years after plant explosion

Recovery continues in West 5 years after plant explosion

Head football coach David Woodard, like others in West, lost his home and his place of employment on a Wednesday evening five years ago, when an explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant rocked the town, killed 15 and injured hundreds. Woodard chose to rebuild and rely on the resilience he saw around him as residents immediately went into action, both before and after the blast, which came at 7:51...
Texans could lose access to retail cannabis products

Texans could lose access to retail cannabis products

Proponents of medical marijuana in Texas cheered what they viewed as a small but significant step forward in February, when the first legal sales of products containing a non-psychoactive extract of the plant began under the state’s highly restrictive medical cannabis law. But they’re recoiling two months later, as a state health agency considers a proposal that could strip from Texas...
This Texas city beats Austin when it comes to work-life balance, list says

This Texas city beats Austin when it comes to work-life balance, list says

Who knows better than an Austinite that work is a lot easier when you take a fair amount of time to not do it? According to SmartAsset’s list of cities with the best work-life balance, anyone from Lubbock. The city came in at No. 4 on the list, which considered factors including employment, home affordability and lifestyle in ranking the 100 largest cities in the country. Lubbock is the place...
Report: Teen pregnancy rate 5 times higher among Texas foster youth

Report: Teen pregnancy rate 5 times higher among Texas foster youth

The 2015 pregnancy rate among Texas teens in the foster care system was almost five times higher than the pregnancy rate for girls not in foster care, according to a report released Monday by Austin nonprofit Texans Care for Children. Researchers with the organization used state Medicaid data to determine that 5.7 percent of girls between 13 and 17 in the foster system became pregnant compared with...
Pressure builds for Lupe Valdez to agree to debate Andrew White

Pressure builds for Lupe Valdez to agree to debate Andrew White

Pressure was mounting over the weekend for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez to agree to debate her runoff rival, Andrew White. The two candidates have appeared together multiple times at campaign events in recent weeks, but they haven’t interacted. White, son of the late Democratic Gov. Mark White, has never held office and finished a distant second to Valdez in the March primary...
Dozens gather at Capitol to protest Syria airstrikes

Dozens gather at Capitol to protest Syria airstrikes

Drivers, with their car horns and thumbs-ups, encouraged about 50 protesters at the south entrance of the Capitol grounds Sunday afternoon condemning U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria. President Donald Trump announced the airstrikes late Friday amid suspicion that Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people in a rebel-held area near the nation’s capital. The attack...
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