State News

News pertaining to the state of Texas.

Supreme Court to Take Up Challenge to Texas Abortion Law

Nov 13, 2015

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Setting up what could be a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up a legal challenge to Texas’ 2013 abortion law, which could shut down about half of the state’s 19 remaining abortion clinics.

TCU Opts Out of Campus Carry

Nov 13, 2015
TCU Commons
Texas Christian University

Students at Texas Christian University still won't be able to carry their guns on campus next year, the university announced Friday.

The Fort Worth private school's board of trustees voted to opt out of the state's new campus carry law, which allows students with concealed handgun licenses to carry their guns on campus. The law applies to all public universities, but allows private colleges to decide whether they want to follow it.

No Evidence Yet of Backlash to Houston HERO Vote

Nov 12, 2015
Prop 1 signs posted along the Adaptive Sports and Recreation facility on West Grey in Houston, TX for the November 2015 election.
Shelby Knowles - The Texas Tribune

Just hours after it became clear that Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance, HERO, would be trounced at the polls last week, Houston Mayor Annise Parker predicted a “direct, economic backlash” for the city, akin to criticism and boycott threats in Arizona and Indiana following similar controversies.

But so far, any visible backlash has yet to materialize, and Houston appears at no risk of losing two upcoming major sporting events.

Abbott Calls for Improved Veteran Health Services

Nov 11, 2015
Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Calling on the federal government to improve health care services for veterans, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said that decreasing the wait times for veterans seeking medical attention should be a national priority.

Patrick Calls on Miller to Halt Fee Hikes

Nov 11, 2015
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller

Add Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to the growing list of those calling on Sid Miller to halt his plans to hike fees for a wide range of licenses, registrations and services the Texas Department of Agriculture provides.

"I have called on Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to put the brakes on these proposed fees increases," Patrick said in a statement Wednesday. "The senators and I have more questions than answers."

EPA Head: Texas Should Want Its Own Clean Power Plan

Nov 10, 2015
EPA head Gina McCarthy speaking recently in Atlanta, Georgia.
United States Environmental Agency

Texas leaders should play along with President Barack Obama's sweeping Clean Power Plan, if only to avoid more rigid federal rules for cutting carbon pollution if it doesn't, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested Monday.

“I’m confident that Texas would much prefer to have a state plan than to have EPA dictate a plan," Gina McCarthy told a small gaggle of reporters. “But having said that, I have not spoken to any of the political leadership.”

Feds to Ask High Court to Consider Immigration Program

Nov 10, 2015
Protesters hold signs reading "End family detention now!" and "Detention is not healthy for families."

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a controversial immigration program the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down on Monday.

The program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, would shield more than 4 million undocumented immigrants in the country from deportation proceedings and allow them to apply for a three-year work permit.

In Next Debate, Cruz Faces the Expectations Game

Nov 10, 2015
Texas Senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz at the GOP debate in Cleveland, Ohio on August 6, 2015.
Screenshot/Fox News

Ted Cruz entered the first three Republican presidential debates amid modest expectations, a middle-of-the-pack candidate just hoping to say his piece as other candidates duked it out. And he was largely successful, delivering no-frills performances that nudged his poll numbers while rivals' fortunes gyrated.

At GOP Confab, the Focus is Squarely on 2016

Nov 9, 2015
U.S. Senator and GOP Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz could barely get the words out before the audience sprang to its feet and drowned him out with applause.

"For the first time in a long, long time, Texas is going to play a central role," the U.S. senator from Texas started to say Saturday, drawing perhaps the strongest reaction to anything else he uttered before this friendly audience.

In Texas, Minorities Less Likely to Own Homes

Nov 9, 2015
Common Use

While minorities occupy about half of the state’s housing units, they are less likely than white Texans to own their homes, and the state’s largest metro areas have some of the most substantial racial disparities among homeowners, according to recently released U.S. Census data.

A shortage of affordable housing, credit problems and lack of savings for down payments are among the main barriers blamed for creating the demographic divide.

Texas Gets a D- in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

Nov 9, 2015
The Texas Capitol Building
Wikipedia Commons

In his first State of the State address to the Texas Legislature in early 2015, newly elected Gov. Greg Abbott challenged lawmakers to dedicate their unfolding 140-day session to ethics reform, asserting that “the most important commodity that we have as elected officials is the bond that we share with our constituents.”

Deficient Police Psych Reviews Prompt Revamp

Nov 5, 2015
The Hunt County Detention Center
Hunt County Detention Center

*Correction appended

After discovering that a Houston psychologist was vouching for the mental health of future police officers without meeting them face-to-face, the state's law enforcement licensing agency is revamping its entire system of screening police, jailers and dispatchers to prevent those with apparent mental issues from joining any Texas police force.

Cuellar: New Border Crossing Stats Don't Tell Whole Story

Nov 4, 2015
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar
Courtesy Photo

The number of unaccompanied children who were apprehended or surrendered to law enforcement on the southwest border dropped by more than 40 percent in the fiscal 2015 year, according to updated federal statistics.

But one border lawmaker says that figure doesn't tell the whole story, as the total number of children surges to more than 60,000 when those who crossed with at least one parent are added to the totals.

Abbott: No Grants for Sheriffs who Don't Work with ICE

Nov 4, 2015
Texas Governor Greg Abbott
StateImpact Texas

*Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a response from Dallas County.

If Texas sheriffs do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, they will face losing state grant money, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday.

Ahead of 2017 Session, Straus Issues Directives for House

Nov 4, 2015
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Fourteen months ahead of the next legislative session, House Speaker Joe Straus issued more than 150 interim charges Wednesday, directing committees to study a diverse list of topics like the effectiveness of the state's role in border security and the effect of the plummeting cost of oil on the local economy.