Texas News & Politics


DeWitt Hale, who gave Texans mixed bar drinks, dies at 100

Texans have L. DeWitt Hale to thank for writing the state’s education code, expanding jury pools to include women and, not least, making it possible to buy a mixed drink in a bar or restaurant. Hale, who served as a Democrat for 28 years in the Texas House, died Tuesday in Austin after a several-year struggle with hip issues and other challenges of advanced age, his daughter Janet Wilde said...
George P. Bush absent from candidate forums as rivals gun for a runoff

George P. Bush absent from candidate forums as rivals gun for a runoff

In 2014, the future belonged to George P. Bush. Elected to statewide office his first time out, out-polling even Greg Abbott, he was the scion of one of America’s great political dynasties. He was the grandson and nephew of presidents and the son of someone who, at that moment, looked like he might have been about to become president. Young and handsome, he was both a Bush and Hispanic, thanks...
PolitiFact: Pence points to nonexistent border terrorists

PolitiFact: Pence points to nonexistent border terrorists

Vice President Mike Pence says terrorists are getting caught at the U.S.-Mexico border day after day. In his Feb. 17 remarks in Dallas, Pence mentioned his visit the day before to the port at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge in Hidalgo, a border town in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. “We’ve made progress but we still have work to do,” Pence said. According to the...
Herman: Progressing toward a better way of picking judges?

Herman: Progressing toward a better way of picking judges?

It’s good that the Texas Legislature created a new and needed state district court for civil matters here in Travis County. Now comes the hard part: We, the voters, must pick a judge for the court. Admit it. We’re not always really good at that. It’s not that we don’t want to do our civic duty and do our homework and pick a good judge. It’s just that, well, life and long...
Commentary: Austin sick leave policy another cleanup for Legislature

Commentary: Austin sick leave policy another cleanup for Legislature

Once again, the Austin City Council has decided to run the city’s private businesses instead of the city of Austin. If it isn’t careful, it’s going to run those private businesses right out of town, like it did to Uber. Thankfully, the Texas Legislature stepped in on the ride-hailing issue. And while mandatory paid sick leave for private employers may not result in companies leaving...
Texas teachers, officers buck Trump’s idea to arm teachers with guns

Texas teachers, officers buck Trump’s idea to arm teachers with guns

Texas teachers, school district officials and school resource officers are panning President Donald Trump’s idea to arm more educators, even as state law already permits certain teachers to carry guns into classrooms. “As superintendent, I don’t believe most teachers would welcome the idea of being armed,” Round Rock school Superintendent Steve Flores said. “While they...
Six months after Hurricane Harvey, is Port Aransas ready for visitors?

Six months after Hurricane Harvey, is Port Aransas ready for visitors?

Wide-eyed children can hardly believe their luck as they enter Winton’s Island Candy, some smudging the glass as they peer into fudge-filled cases while others eagerly pile gummi worms and saltwater taffy into paper bags. But on the door at Winton’s, which has been a Port Aransas staple since 1995, a thigh-high waterline offers a somber reminder of the hurricane-induced flooding the shop...
In Austin-area House race, candidates’ party loyalties at question

In Austin-area House race, candidates’ party loyalties at question

State Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, has more than $143,000 in his campaign coffers and the endorsement of major conservative organizations, from Texas Alliance for Life to the National Rifle Association. Yet another leg-up for the District 47 lawmaker, Gov. Greg Abbott cast his early voting ballot on Tuesday alongside Workman, praising him as someone who would help keep “Texas on the right track...
PolitiFact: Patrick’s teacher raise idea didn’t actually supply money

PolitiFact: Patrick’s teacher raise idea didn’t actually supply money

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says in a campaign video posted in advance of the March primary that he’s championed a big bump in teacher pay. The Houston Republican, who seeks a second term as lieutenant governor, says: “Last year, I proposed directing more of the education budget to teacher salaries, a move that would have resulted in an average $10,000 raise for teachers.” That&rsquo...
EXCLUSIVE: Citing fatal flaws, Texas rewrites plan to save rare lizard

EXCLUSIVE: Citing fatal flaws, Texas rewrites plan to save rare lizard

In 2012, fearing that the federal government’s move to protect a small reptile could cripple the oil and gas business, Texas unveiled its own plan to look after the dunes sagebrush lizard and its habitat in the middle of the petroleum-rich Permian Basin. Unlike other states, in Texas species protection falls to the head financial officer. The Texas Conservation Plan, shepherded by then-Comptroller...
Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Gov. Greg Abbott agreed Thursday evening to spare the life of death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, announcing his decision less than an hour before the Houston-area man’s scheduled execution. Abbott said a number of factors distinguished Whitaker’s case from 30 other executions that had taken place under his watch as governor, including the pleas of the inmate’s father, Kent Whitaker...
After lawsuit threat, Texas agency changes voter registration policy

After lawsuit threat, Texas agency changes voter registration policy

Responding to a threatened lawsuit, the Texas Workforce Commission has agreed to offer voter registration help to Texans with disabilities who receive job training help from the agency. Disability rights advocates had accused state officials of violating the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which requires state agencies that help people with disabilities to also offer help with registering to...
Commentary: How the Texas tax pyramid stalls business growth

Commentary: How the Texas tax pyramid stalls business growth

Last month, President Trump traveled to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to deliver a message: America is once again open for business. That’s great news for Austin and the rest of the nation. Thanks to tax reform, foreign companies are giddy about expanding their operations in the United States. Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of Swiss robotics giant ABB, told President Trump the...
Abbott agrees to spare death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Abbott agrees to spare death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Gov. Greg Abbott agreed Thursday evening to spare the life of death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, announcing his decision less than an hour before the Houston-area man’s scheduled execution. Abbott said a number of factors distinguished Whitaker’s case from 30 other executions that had taken place under his watch as governor, including the pleas of the inmate’s father, Kent Whitaker...
4 Democrats vie for Congress in Williamson, Bell counties

4 Democrats vie for Congress in Williamson, Bell counties

Texas’ 31st Congressional District, which encompasses most of Williamson and Bell counties, hasn’t been friendly territory for Democrats since it was created after the 2000 census. U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, was first elected in 2002 and has won re-election seven times by at least 19 percentage points. President Donald Trump won the district by 13 points, more than the statewide...
Scott Milder’s run against Dan Patrick gets boost from education groups

Scott Milder’s run against Dan Patrick gets boost from education groups

Former Rockwall City Council Member Scott Milder is a long shot to win the Republican primary for lieutenant governor as he faces Dan Patrick, a powerful incumbent with a massive fundraising advantage. Milder’s best chance might be to capitalize on his alliance with teachers and education groups outraged by Patrick’s first term in statewide office, when the lieutenant governor delayed...
These Texas schools, including St. Edward’s, are ideal for B students, study says

These Texas schools, including St. Edward’s, are ideal for B students, study says

You know what they say: C’s get degrees. But wouldn’t you feel a little better getting a B instead? U.S. News & World Report compiled a list of “A-Plus Schools for B Students,” ranking universities and colleges that “accept a significant number of students with nonstratospheric transcripts.” Each college on the list had to admit a “meaningful...
Amid privacy concerns, ‘virtual’ wall brings powerful spy tech to Texas border

Amid privacy concerns, ‘virtual’ wall brings powerful spy tech to Texas border

In the future imagined by the Department of Homeland Security, an army of small drones will hover over the southwestern border, outfitted with facial recognition technology that can cull criminal histories of people on the ground. Advanced cameras will instantly identify drivers and passengers as they cross international bridges into Mexico. Artificial intelligence software will comb through...
Marvel or DC? Texas wants it both ways on comic book favorites

Marvel or DC? Texas wants it both ways on comic book favorites

The most boring question in all of geekdom: Are you a DC or a Marvel fan? Hold on a second, I need to push my glasses up on my nose. DC and Marvel are the world’s two dominant comic book companies, the ones that have published the adventures of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (on the DC side) and Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men (on the Marvel side) for decades. Asking which company...
UPDATE: Senate Democrats urge Uresti to resign his position

UPDATE: Senate Democrats urge Uresti to resign his position

7 p.m. update: State Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman José Rodriguez of El Paso said the group is urging Uresti to step down: “In light of today’s jury conviction of Sen. Carlos Uresti, the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is calling upon Sen. Uresti to resign his position.” Earlier: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick removed state Sen. Carlos Uresti from his committee assignments after...
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?

Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?

Whether Gov. Greg Abbott spares death row inmate Thomas Whitaker from Thursday evening’s scheduled execution could hinge on how much trust the governor places on the group of advisers who recommended mercy in the case. Spurred by the father who Whitaker tried to have killed in 2003, all seven members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles supported clemency for Whitaker in a vote taken Tuesday...
Hundreds of Austin-area students walk out in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of Austin-area students walk out in wake of Florida shooting

Nearly 500 students at schools across Central Texas staged walkouts Wednesday to demand safer campus policies, call for stricter gun laws and show their solidarity with students in Florida after a high school shooting there that left 17 people dead. The demonstrations came one week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and amid a nationwide call for stronger...
Graham forged deep friendships with Texas political giants

Graham forged deep friendships with Texas political giants

Billy Graham swam naked with Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House, prayed with LBJ at Camp David and said words over the late president’s casket alongside the Pedernales River. He joined George W. Bush for a 1985 dip in the chilly Atlantic Ocean at Kennebunkport, Maine, an unknowing and unofficial baptism for a man close to giving up the bottle and taking on a deeper faith and maturity that...
State of the City: Adler pledges to make Austin a global leader

State of the City: Adler pledges to make Austin a global leader

Calling this year “a new Austin moment,” Mayor Steve Adler vowed to make the city a global leader in politics and culture in spite of what he sees as a wider environment of political turmoil. “It seems our country is losing its way in the world,” Adler said during his State of the City address Tuesday evening. “Here in Austin, though, we know who we are. And if we remain...
Public figures from Texas react to Billy Graham’s death

Public figures from Texas react to Billy Graham’s death

Public figures from Texas reacted on social media to evangelist Billy Graham’s death. Here’s what they said: “The Rev. Billy Graham left an indelible mark on America and the world. His passion to serve God and share His love touched countless Texans over the years. From his first major event in Fort Worth in 1951 to his final event in Dallas in 2002, Billy Graham brought the message...
Will Abbott take advice, reduce Whitaker’s death sentence?

Will Abbott take advice, reduce Whitaker’s death sentence?

Whether Gov. Greg Abbott spares death row inmate Thomas Whitaker from Thursday evening’s scheduled execution could hinge on how much trust the governor places on the group of advisers who recommended mercy in the case. Spurred by the father who Whitaker tried to have killed in 2003, all seven members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles supported clemency for Whitaker in a vote taken Tuesday...
Commentary: As you vote, remember Barbara Jordan’s ethical wisdom

Commentary: As you vote, remember Barbara Jordan’s ethical wisdom

“Being honest, telling the truth, and doing what you said you would do,” Barbara Jordan said was the definition of ethical behavior. This week is Barbara Jordan Freedom Week, as designated by the 82nd Texas Legislature, and marked annually. She lived as a patriot and teacher, served as a public official, and she was my dear friend. I was honored to publish a book of Jordan’s speeches...
Inside Billy Graham’s friendship with LBJ

Inside Billy Graham’s friendship with LBJ

After news of the Rev. Billy Graham’s death broke Wednesday morning, the LBJ Library paid tribute to the pastor by sharing pictures of him alongside “close, personal friend” former President Lyndon B. Johnson.  According to the library, Graham not only spoke at every prayer breakfast during Johnson’s presidency but often conducted religious services at Johnson&rsquo...
Texas Democrats see big jump in turnout on first day of early voting

Texas Democrats see big jump in turnout on first day of early voting

In the state’s 15 counties with the most registered voters, 51 percent more Democrats voted Tuesday, the first day of early voting for the party’s March 6 primary, than voted on the first day of early of voting for the 2014 Democratic primary. Meanwhile, the number of Republican primary voters on Tuesday increased by just 16 percent in those 15 counties, compared with the first day of...
Commentary: Why Texas classrooms aren’t silent about Florida shooting

Commentary: Why Texas classrooms aren’t silent about Florida shooting

I hate lying to kids. I hate watching a naiveté they think they’ve long outgrown die in their tearless eyes. Most of all, I hate the idea that kids’ lives are worth less than an adult’s political expediency. Because I value kids’ lives, I refuse to lie to them about adults. Hence the end of innocence. It started with the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School...
Abbott orders flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Billy Graham

Abbott orders flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Billy Graham

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas flags lowered to half-staff Wednesday in honor of iconic Christian evangelist Billy Graham, who died Wednesday at 99. Here’s Abbott’s statement on Graham: “The Rev. Billy Graham left an indelible mark on America and the world. His passion to serve God and share His love touched countless Texans over the years. From his first major event in Fort Worth...
UT student claims pistol left in bathroom as a second pistol turns up

UT student claims pistol left in bathroom as a second pistol turns up

A holstered pistol left Tuesday in a women’s bathroom at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business has been claimed by a student who has a license to carry a handgun, according to UT police. Meanwhile, the police said Wednesday that they received another report of a pistol found unattended in a women’s bathroom, this time at the Commons Learning Center on UT’s Pickle Research...
Abbott picks former San Angelo mayor for transportation board

Abbott picks former San Angelo mayor for transportation board

The suddenly short-handed Texas Transportation Commission Tuesday gained a new member, business investor, rancher and former San Angelo Mayor Alvin New. New, a life-long West Texan who was born in Brownfield and has lived in or near San Angelo since 1981, will replace Tryon Lewis of Odessa. Lewis, who until September had been chairman of the five-member transportation commission, was relegated by...
Abbott looks to address shootings, doesn’t mention changing gun laws

Abbott looks to address shootings, doesn’t mention changing gun laws

In the wake of the Florida school shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members, Gov. Greg Abbott called for ensuring Texas schools are safe, fixing the federal background check database and addressing mental health as a cause of some shootings. Asked whether changing gun laws should be considered, Abbott did not mention it as a solution on Tuesday as he fielded media questions shortly...
Parole board supports father’s bid to save condemned son

Parole board supports father’s bid to save condemned son

In a rare move, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted Tuesday to recommend clemency for death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, whose father has waged a desperate campaign to halt Thursday’s execution despite his son’s role in the murder of his wife and only other child. After a tense half-hour wait in a room at the Capitol while reporters and supporters looked on, lawyer Keith Hampton...
Herman: Hey gov, who’d you vote for?

Herman: Hey gov, who’d you vote for?

You know what’s kind of weird, I mean in addition to the fact that there’s a fruit called the grape and an unrelated fruit called the grapefruit? It’s kind of weird when our elected leaders tell us for whom to vote but won’t tell us for whom they voted. It happened again Tuesday at the Randalls at Slaughter and Brodie lanes in South Austin where Gov. Greg Abbott cast his ballot...
Alvin New, former San Angelo mayor, named to transportation board

Alvin New, former San Angelo mayor, named to transportation board

The suddenly short-handed Texas Transportation Commission Tuesday gained a new member, business investor, rancher and former San Angelo Mayor Alvin New. New, a life-long West Texan who was born in Brownfield and has lived in or near San Angelo since 1981, will replace Tryon Lewis of Odessa. Lewis, who until September had been chairman of the five-member transportation commission, was relegated by...
Texas State poised to adopt new standards for fraternities, sororities

Texas State poised to adopt new standards for fraternities, sororities

Texas State University is poised to adopt new standards for fraternities and sororities following the death of a pledge who had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the limit for driving. The new standards, recommended by a university task force that conducted a review of the Greek system, have been accepted by President Denise Trauth, university spokesman Matthew Flores said Tuesday. After...
Abbott: In wake of Florida shooting, we need better background checks

Abbott: In wake of Florida shooting, we need better background checks

In the wake of the Florida school shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members, Gov. Greg Abbott called for ensuring Texas schools are safe, fixing the federal background check database and addressing mental health as a cause of some shootings. Asked whether changing gun laws should be considered, Abbott did not mention it as a solution on Tuesday as he fielded media questions shortly...
Parole board supports father’s request to spare condemned son

Parole board supports father’s request to spare condemned son

In a rare move, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted Tuesday to recommend clemency for death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, whose father has waged a desperate campaign to halt Thursday’s execution despite his son’s role in the murder of his wife and only other child. After a tense half-hour wait in a room at the Capitol while reporters and supporters looked on, lawyer Keith Hampton...
Poll: George P. Bush and Sid Miller ahead but could face runoffs

Poll: George P. Bush and Sid Miller ahead but could face runoffs

Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller are both facing fluid races heading into the March 6 Republican primary, raising the possibility of being forced into runoff elections, according to the results of a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday. While poll results showed that Bush and Miller had more than the 50 percent support needed to avoid a May...

Texas Digest: San Antonio man shot by DPS trooper dies

SAN ANTONIO Man shot by DPS trooper dies A man who shot and wounded a state trooper before a trooper shot him has died. Sgt. Deon Cockrell, a Department of Public Safety spokesman, said 33-year-old Ernest Manuel Montelongo of San Antonio died Monday at a hospital. Cockrell said the trooper who was wounded Sunday should recover. Authorities said that a trooper stopped Montelongo’s car in Guadalupe...

Police: Child, 4 adults shot outside San Antonio restaurant

A masked shooter opened fire on a family waiting to be seated at a San Antonio restaurant, wounding a 6-year-old boy and four of his relatives, police said Monday. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said shortly after the Sunday night shooting that the boy had been shot in the leg and was expected to survive but that two of the adults’ injuries were life-threatening. He said investigators...
In crowded race to replace Lamar Smith, Cruz makes his pick plain

In crowded race to replace Lamar Smith, Cruz makes his pick plain

When U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith announced in November that he was calling it quits after 30 years in Washington, he left Republicans with scarcely four months to throw together campaigns and figure out how to stand out in what quickly became a field of 18 candidates with no clear front-runner. State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, unveiled a slogan, “Make America Like Texas.” William...
Democratic candidates compete to run against U.S. Rep. Bill Flores

Democratic candidates compete to run against U.S. Rep. Bill Flores

A political newcomer and a former Texas legislative staff member are facing off in the March 6 Democratic primary with hopes of unseating incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan. Rick Kennedy, a software engineer from Austin, is running against Dale Mantey, who previously worked for former state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, as a health policy analyst. Kennedy, 55, and Mantey, 28, are...
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