Texas News & Politics


Hoping to stave off federal action, Texas rewrites lizard plan

Aiming to reform a troubled state program designed to stave off federal habitat protections for a rare lizard species in the petroleum-rich Permian Basin, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to approve a new version, meant to address what Hegar’s office called the plan’s “systemic problems.” The proposal, the latest turn over how to protect...
In Texas’ U.S. Senate race, both candidates battle to define O’Rourke

In Texas’ U.S. Senate race, both candidates battle to define O’Rourke

The race is on to define Beto O’Rourke. The Democratic Senate candidate’s campaign announced Monday that it had raised $1.27 million in a single weekend in response to attack ads by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and would spend that money to air positive ads this week about O’Rourke in all 20 media markets that reach Texans, from Texarkana to O’Rourke’s hometown of El...
Border wall showdown looming as Trump sharpens his shutdown threat

Border wall showdown looming as Trump sharpens his shutdown threat

When U.S. senators return to Washington this week after a short break, the thorny issue of border security will once again be on the agenda. But this time, with a potential government shutdown looming, an impasse might not be an option. President Donald Trump, whose signature campaign issue has eluded him so far, has ramped up his call — in tweets, rallies and fundraisers — to shut down...
O’Rourke stays positive in first ad buy of his campaign to unseat Cruz

O’Rourke stays positive in first ad buy of his campaign to unseat Cruz

The race is on to define Beto O’Rourke. The El Paso Democrat’s campaign announced Monday that it had raised $1.27 million in a single weekend in response to attack ads by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and would spend all of that money to air positive ads about their candidate in all 20 media markets across Texas this week. The dueling media strategies make sense from each candidate&rsquo...

Texas Digest: Despite bonuses, prisons still short of guards

CRIMINAL JUSTICE Prisons short of guards despite bonuses The Texas prison system is still facing staffing shortages seven months after designating $9 million to bring down the 14 percent officer vacancy rate. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has 3,675 unfilled positions, about 30 more than in January, when state officials started addressing the issue. But...
Reports: Person fires gun inside College Station nightclub

Reports: Person fires gun inside College Station nightclub

UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.: College Station police told Bryan TV station KAGS-LD that no injuries have been reported in connection to gunshots fired Monday morning at bar and nightclub Rockies. The TV station also reports police believe the gunman is alone and are trying to make contact with him. The College Station Police Department is warning people near the bar Rockies to take shelter or avoid the...
Texas man dies after intentionally sideswiping date's car, police say

Texas man dies after intentionally sideswiping date's car, police say

A Texas man who intentionally hit the car of a woman he was dating after an argument was ejected from his pickup truck and died early Monday, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  Houston police said an argument between the couple led to the fatal incident, KHOU reported. According to authorities, the couple got into an argument after leaving the Chulas Sports Bar in Houston...

Texas Digest: Tent city for immigrant teens to stay open

IMMIGRATION Teen tent city to stay open another month Texas lawmakers say they have been told that a temporary tent shelter in far West Texas for immigrant minors will stay open another month. Democratic state Reps. Ina Minjarez and Diego Bernal of San Antonio told the San Antonio Express-News that they toured the Tornillo facility Friday. About 170 teen boys are being housed in tents there. The U...
PolitiFact: Congressman touts his refusal to vote ‘present’

PolitiFact: Congressman touts his refusal to vote ‘present’

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, who represents the 25th District running north and west from Austin to just south of Tarrant County, declared that he always commits to a position on issues before the House — never voting “present” the “chicken way.” A reader asked us to fact-check Williams’ tout. Williams, a former Texas secretary of state who faces Democratic nominee...

TWO VIEWS: ‘Red flag’ law makes us vulnerable to ‘thought police’

Trending its way through the United States and touted as an answer to the “not one more time” demand, “red flag” legislation provides a dangerous solution to a misdiagnosed problem. So, why all the hype? Americans are still reeling from the horrifying venue shootings this year. They want answers — and they want action. Creative minds have responded with a flood of ideas...
School ratings under new Texas system to be released Wednesday

School ratings under new Texas system to be released Wednesday

Texas school districts will receive letter grades this week under a new statewide rating system unpopular among public school officials. On Wednesday, the Texas Education Agency will label school districts with an A, B, C, D or F and campuses with a rating of “met requirement” or “improvement required,” based on performance in the 2017-18 school year. Campuses will not be graded...
TWO VIEWS: Let’s send a ‘red flag’ message to ourselves

TWO VIEWS: Let’s send a ‘red flag’ message to ourselves

What happened? How did we travel from a time of school paper drives, kick ball and May Fetes to a time of school metal detectors, armed teachers and live shooter drills? How did we go from ABCs to AK-47s? Before examining that question, can we acknowledge together the wearying nature of our national “conversation” about guns in America? The Wild West’s famous Gunfight at the OK Corral...
INSIGHT: Eugenics. Segregation. U.S. universities facing racist pasts

INSIGHT: Eugenics. Segregation. U.S. universities facing racist pasts

The Trump administration recently announced plans to scrap Obama-era guidelines that encouraged universities to consider race as a factor to promote diversity on campus, claiming the guidelines “advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution.” Some university leaders immediately went on the defense. Harvard University stated that it plans to continue...
Herman: At the Capitol when they said ‘Babe’ you knew who it was

Herman: At the Capitol when they said ‘Babe’ you knew who it was

Among the challenges of a long life is that you can outlive your fame. So let me tell you about Aaron Robert Schwartz, who died Friday in Houston at 92. The cause of death was cardiac arrest. Schwartz had suffered from a combination of health challenges in his latter years. If you’re under a certain age, you’ve probably never heard of Aaron Robert Schwartz. And if you’re over a certain...
Herman: The Daughters of the Republic of Texas close down and pack up

Herman: The Daughters of the Republic of Texas close down and pack up

It was a tired museum in a tired building tucked under a freeway in a tired part of town ripe for a reawakening. Ditto, some might say, for the longstanding organization that ran the now-closed museum. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas museum closed July 27 after being on East Anderson Lane, just went of the U.S. 183 and Interstate 35 interchange, since the early 1990s. Everything’s being...
Meet Cody Wilson, the Austin man behind the fight over 3D-printed guns

Meet Cody Wilson, the Austin man behind the fight over 3D-printed guns

Cody Wilson found his calling when, in 2013, he successfully fired the first gun made on a 3D printer. That very week, he dropped out of his second year at the University of Texas Law School, which wasn’t much of a sacrifice because he’d pretty much stopped attending classes as his interests were captured by a revolutionary idea: The internet was more powerful than governments, gun-control...
3 of 4 local Obamacare providers seek to raise premiums in 2019

3 of 4 local Obamacare providers seek to raise premiums in 2019

Three of the four health insurers offering plans in the Austin area under the Affordable Care Act are angling to raise premiums in 2019 — with the nonprofit provider created by Travis County’s health district pushing for the largest rate increase by far. Sendero Health Plans, an offshoot of taxpayer-supported Central Health, has requested a 33 percent rise in premiums for next year, saying...
Sid Miller allows fever tick spray operations to resume

Sid Miller allows fever tick spray operations to resume

After drawing the cattle industry’s ire, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller temporarily reversed his ban on spraying cattle in a confined space with an insecticide that prevents a deadly infection from fever ticks. “After working with representatives from the Texas cattle industry and our state and federal partners at Texas Animal Health Commission, (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and...
Editorial: Travis County voters must check their ballot’s paper trail

Editorial: Travis County voters must check their ballot’s paper trail

The most critical piece of any election is getting the results right. That simple goal involves highly complex logistics when it comes to voting equipment. Travis County has hundreds of different ballot combinations tailored to voters in different congressional, legislative and local districts, making preprinted paper ballots an unwieldy option — particularly in a county where any voter can...
How many shark attacks have there been in Texas waters?

How many shark attacks have there been in Texas waters?

On Thursday news broke that a 42-year-old man swimming along a sandbar near Crystal Beach was bitten by a shark. The man, who reportedly told paramedics that the shark bumped him and “Then he wanted to taste me,” suffered a non life-threatening injury. The incident might have some wondering exactly how common a shark encounter like it is in Texas waters. According to the International...
INSIGHT: Think Confederate markers are racist? Look at pioneer statues

INSIGHT: Think Confederate markers are racist? Look at pioneer statues

In San Francisco, there is an an 800-ton monument that retells California history, from the Spanish missions to American settlement. Several bronze sculptures and relief plaques depict American Indians, white miners, missionaries and settlers. A female figure symbolizing white culture stands atop a massive stone pillar. The design of the “pioneer monument” was celebrated in newspapers...
PolitiFact: O’Rourke said he’s open to abolishing ICE — with caveats

PolitiFact: O’Rourke said he’s open to abolishing ICE — with caveats

Republican Ted Cruz, seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate, calls Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke too extreme and reckless for Texas in a video ad including the charge that O’Rourke, the El Paso congressman, is amenable to wiping out the nation’s lead immigration agency. In the ad, Cruz’s narrator says: “Not even Nancy Pelosi is open to abolishing ICE. But Beto is...
Commentary: Our Capitol’s plaque lies about history. Let’s remove it

Commentary: Our Capitol’s plaque lies about history. Let’s remove it

It has been a year since a horrific tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, caused a loss of life and painfully reminded us that bigotry still exists and needs to be confronted. It was bigotry also — and, a backlash to the Civil Rights movement — that likely motivated state officials to hang a demonstrably false and incendiary plaque in our state Capitol during the late 1950s. We’ve...
Texas’ VW emissions settlement: $209M. Austin’s cut: $0.

Texas’ VW emissions settlement: $209M. Austin’s cut: $0.

A state proposal to divvy up millions of dollars related to a Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal almost completely shuts out Austin — even though Austinites purchased more of the compromised Volkswagens, as a percentage of population, than other parts of Texas. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said in a draft plan published this week that it will release the lion&rsquo...
Commentary: Texas issues A-F grades for schools Aug. 15

Commentary: Texas issues A-F grades for schools Aug. 15

On Aug. 15, the Texas Education Agency will issue report cards for our schools. We do this for two main reasons: First, parents should know how well our schools are performing, so they can better support their children; second, educators benefit from having clear information about school performance, highlighting successes and challenges, to help improve support for students over time. This year,...
Texas.gov going under two-day maintenance after crash this week

Texas.gov going under two-day maintenance after crash this week

7:30 p.m. Friday: Texas’ official website crashed earlier this week because of server restarts that caused “a high number of connections to build up,” according to the Department of Information Resources. The department also announced that Texas.gov applications will be under maintenance from 8 p.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Sunday. “This temporary shutdown is part of a larger...
Texas history museum names new director you might know

Texas history museum names new director you might know

You might already know the newly appointed director of the  Bullock Texas State History Museum. That’s because hyper-competent  Margaret Koch has already twice served as the museum’s interim director as well as its director of exhibits and deputy director. The Bullock Texas State History Museum names Margaret Koch as director. Contributed Koch previously...
Report: 5 corgis rescued in Georgetown in high demand, shelter says

Report: 5 corgis rescued in Georgetown in high demand, shelter says

Late last month, animal control officers found 14 animals dead and rescued 40 others from a rural home in Georgetown. According to a previous American-Statesman report, the owner was charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty. At the time of the bust, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody asked the public to consider adopting some of the animals, which were relocated to the Williamson County...

Texas Digest: Dallas official pleads guilty to accepting bribes

DALLAS Key official guilty of accepting bribes Federal prosecutors say Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway accepted more than $450,000 in kickbacks and bribes, in part through gambling money, trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere, and a phony consulting agreement. Caraway, the second highest-ranking elected official in Dallas, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, according to court documents filed...
Herman: Churchill and Gov. Greg Abbott together again for the 1st time

Herman: Churchill and Gov. Greg Abbott together again for the 1st time

A half-century after his death, Winston Churchill remains a towering figure worthy of revere (which is kind of odd because Revere once urgently warned his neighbors that people of Churchill’s nationality would be arriving imminently). So revered is Churchill that God continues to see fit to create many babies in Churchill’s image. And Churchill said so much awesome stuff that it&rsquo...
Texas' No. 1 public high school is right here in Austin, list says

Texas' No. 1 public high school is right here in Austin, list says

One of Austin’s top high schools racked up another honor: Best public high school in Texas. Liberal Arts & Science Academy, a public magnet school located on the LBJ campus, earned the distinction from the neighborhood and school review site Niche.  According to Niche’s latest ranking of the best public high schools in the U.S., LASA ranked No. 11, with a grade of A+ on the site...
‘$75 for you to ruin my watermelon?’: Here’s what this New York barbecue joint is smoking

‘$75 for you to ruin my watermelon?’: Here’s what this New York barbecue joint is smoking

“How different could New York barbecue really be?” you asked yourself, before you sat down to a plate of brined and smoked watermelon that looks exactly like ham steak. That’s right. Really different.  According to Insider, the smoked watermelon steak is being served at New York barbecue restaurant Duck’s Eatery and runs guests $75. It also takes between four and six days...
Don't lose your head, New Braunfels alligator was a hoax

Don't lose your head, New Braunfels alligator was a hoax

The floating alligator head, the Amazon listing says, is used for geese and heron control in koi ponds, water farms and other small bodies of water. But it’s just a matter of time until someone marries the faux gator with a fancy remote-controlled boat and uses it to make a mobile gator capable of scaring the bejesus out of someone on a public waterway. Apparently that’s what...
The next big thing in Japan? Arrival of fire ants stokes fears

The next big thing in Japan? Arrival of fire ants stokes fears

The invasion of Japan is underway. First they came by sea, now they are coming by air. The invaders are fire ants, both tropical fire ants and the more aggressive red imported fire ant. First discovered in shipping ports in early summer 2017, the fire ants have spread nationwide from “Oita Prefecture to Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo,” Japan Times reported last June. Now, in the last month...
State auditor: Texas is failing to protect its most vulnerable adults

State auditor: Texas is failing to protect its most vulnerable adults

The state agency charged with investigating abuse and neglect and with protecting older Texans and those with disabilities from financial exploitation did not consistently follow its policies and procedures for in-home investigations, the Texas state auditor reported Wednesday. The audit found that specialists and managers at the Adult Protective Services division of the Department of Family and Protective...
Texas education chief suggests paying higher-performing teachers more

Texas education chief suggests paying higher-performing teachers more

Paying quality teachers significantly more could go a long way in recruiting top college graduates and retaining educators at the state’s neediest campuses, Education Commissioner Mike Morath told Texas lawmakers Wednesday. But Morath proposed an approach — paying some teachers more based on their performance — that was panned by teacher union representatives if tied to student test...
Calls for more drug treatment coverage on final opioid crisis hearing

Calls for more drug treatment coverage on final opioid crisis hearing

On the final day of testimony before Texas lawmakers on the opioid crisis, Rodolfo Morales, a doctor from San Antonio, described the moment seven years ago when he found his 21-year-old son dead from a drug overdose in his bedroom. A Boy Scout and musician, Morales’ son — unlike many — had access to health insurance and good treatment options. But it was not enough to save his life...
This 2-bedroom, 1-bath Texas house comes with a T. rex tour

This 2-bedroom, 1-bath Texas house comes with a T. rex tour

One Texas realtor “spared no expense” while showing a Granbury property earlier this summer. 5407 Water View Drive in Granbury is a fully furnished, 2-bedroom 1-bath lake house that is a short drive from Dinosaur Valley State Park. Given the property’s proximity to that paleontology playground, realtor Casey Lewis took the opportunity to use a Tyrannosaurus rex to help sell the house...
Do you love to feel scared? This Texas festival is for you

Do you love to feel scared? This Texas festival is for you

If haunted dolls freak you out, you may not want to attend the second annual Nightmares of San Antonio Paranormal Fest next month. RELATED: 6 places in Austin you didn't know were haunted The festival will have ghost hunter booths, psychics, mediums, vendors and a “spirit communication class,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. The festival’s main event...
Austin’s quaintest neighbor named ‘prettiest town’ in Texas by Architectural Digest

Austin’s quaintest neighbor named ‘prettiest town’ in Texas by Architectural Digest

Lookin’ good, Fredericksburg.  Austin’s cutest, sweetest neighbor has been named the “prettiest town” in Texas by Architectural Digest.  In describing the town the magazine said: “Settled by Germans, this Texas Hill Country town features wineries, lavender fields, and the country’s largest family-owned wildflower-seed farm (Wildseed Farms).&rdquo...
Grandmother shoots, injures nude bicyclist trying to break into her home, police say

Grandmother shoots, injures nude bicyclist trying to break into her home, police say

A woman shot an exposed bicyclist Tuesday who was trying to break into her home, police said.  The woman, who is in her 60s, was taking out the trash around 5:15 p.m. when she saw a naked man riding a bicycle and performing a sex act, the Houston Chronicle reported.  The woman, who has not been identified, said she told him to stop. He continued the lewd act and eventually followed...
INSIGHT: Why Alex Jones, or someone like him, will be back

INSIGHT: Why Alex Jones, or someone like him, will be back

Confrontational characters spouting conspiracy theories and promoting fringe ideas have been with us since the invention of American broadcasting. First on radio, then on television, the American audience has consistently proven eager to consume the rants of angry and bitter men. Before Alex Jones and InfoWars, there was Glenn Beck. A decade ago, Beck was hawking his conspiracy theories on HLN and...
Treatment options for drug use severely lacking in Texas, experts say

Treatment options for drug use severely lacking in Texas, experts say

The consensus was clear at the state Capitol among criminal justice and Child Protective Services professionals facing the nation’s opioid crisis: Texas needs more treatment options. Experts who work in courts, probation and the foster care system say people with substance use problems often suffer devastating consequences while trying to get into rehabilitation centers, including overdoses...
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