State News

Texas Politics
4:29 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Analysis: After the elections, fundraising quickens

Credit NPR

The elections are over. Campaign fundraising is not.

If anything, it is surging.

State officeholders — the re-elected and the newly elected — are raising money before a Dec. 13 deadline that prohibits them from accepting political contributions until June 22, a period that includes the regular legislative session every other year and a three-week veto period that follows it.

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Texas Politics
3:47 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Perry stepping up his Presidential game

Governor Perry wants to make sure that if he runs again, he is well-prepared.
Credit NPR

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

If he opts to run for president again, Gov. Rick Perry wants to ensure that his entry into the field bears little resemblance to 2011, when he jumped into the Republican presidential primaries with little preparation or forethought.

He is entertaining potential donors and backers at the Governor's Mansion this week, and planning long meetings with policy experts over the next few weeks.

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Texas Government
3:28 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Perry to require state agencies to use E-Verify

Governor Perry's executive order comes two weeks after the President made one on the same issue.
Credit KUT

Nearly two weeks after President Obama announced an executive order on immigration, Gov. Rick Perry announced an order of his own.

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Texas Health
3:32 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

HHS Committee releases interim recommendations

Credit kut.org

Texas should pursue a waiver from the federal government for more flexibility to administer Medicaid, heighten the "visibility" of the state's mental health programs to "ensure adequate leadership and accountability" and consolidate its three major women's health programs, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services said Monday.

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Texas Government
4:01 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Officials debating how to spend Prop 1 money

Toll Road opponents rallied in Greenville on October 14th. Proposition 1 authorized the use of additional funds for transportation projects. Supporters of the measure drew on increasing public opposition to toll roads.
Credit Mark Haslett

Eighty percent of Texas voters approved a measure this month to increase transportation funding without raising taxes or fees. Proposition 1 is expected to add billions to the state highway fund by dedicating some of the tax revenue being collected from the oil boom to road construction and maintenance.

The first payment, an estimated $1.7 billion, is likely to be deposited in the state highway fund in December.

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Texas Government
3:48 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Texas leaders adopt spending cap for next budget

Credit NPR

The Legislative Budget Board voted unanimously Monday to set the state’s growth rate at 11.68 percent for its next two-year budget, about 1 percent higher than the spending cap for the current budget.

The decision comes as state officials expect to enter the next legislative session in January with a multibillion-dollar surplus and competing factions are pushing to ramp spending growth both down and up.

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Texas Transportation
3:00 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

In Texas, a new kind of space race emerges

Credit KUT

Someday capsules sent aloft from a New Mexico desert will whisk celebrity passengers on flights into suborbital space.

And someday rockets taking off from a sandy beach in Texas will carry colonists to Mars.

What is the point of space, after all, if it cannot be filled with grandiose dreams?

At least that is what city, county and Texas officials were betting on when they offered millions of dollars in incentives to lure SpaceX to Brownsville.

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Texas Government
9:15 am
Fri November 28, 2014

GOP leaders divided on immigration crackdown in Texas

Credit Republican Party of Texas

Though they appear to be universally outraged by President Obama’s executive order affecting millions of undocumented immigrants, Texas Republican leaders are far from united on how to use their own power to police unauthorized workers and the employers who hire them.

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Texas Environment
7:10 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

EPA proposed ozone crackdown, rankling Texas officials

Credit Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Over the objections of Texas officials, the Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a long-delayed rule to slash levels of ozone – a smog-forming pollutant known to worsen asthma, lung disease and heart conditions.

The regulation is the latest example of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's use of the Clean Air Act to crack down on the pollution wafting from factories, power plants and tailpipes.

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Texas Environment
8:37 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Northern leg or not, KXL already active in Texas

The Keystone XL pipeline is already rolling Canadian tar sands crude through Texas.
Credit StateImpact Texas

Congress’ attempts to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline have re-ignited debate over the project, which would allow more crude oil to flow from the tar sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.  It’s also re-ignited debate over what could happen to that oil once it gets to Texas.

President Obama and opponents of the pipeline say it will be used as a funnel to export Canadian crude to international markets. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, has been unequivocal when asked about that.

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Texas Government
8:31 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Audit: Texas school districts indiscriminate with tax breaks

“Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers,” said Greg Abbott in response to the audit.
Credit Shelley Kofler / KERA

Texas school districts have given out nearly $1 billion in property tax breaks to businesses without verifying those firms' claims about jobs they created, according to a harsh state audit released Friday. 

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Texas Government
4:48 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Abbott: Texas will sue feds over immigration policy

Greg Abbott
Credit NPR

Minutes after President Obama doubled down on his promise to change the country’s immigration system through executive action, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott made a vow of his own: Expect a lawsuit from Texas. 

But some legal experts doubt that Abbott, the governor-elect, could successfully challenge the president's order, which he says he plans to do in federal court. 

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Texas Transportation
4:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Reaction to train plan less rosy in rural Texas

These are the two track options the Texas Central Railway will study for its high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston.
Credit KERA

Steve Drake regularly makes the nearly four-hour drive from this city to Houston to visit his fiancée’s family. So he was excited about the news that a private company intended to build a bullet train that would cut that trip to 90 minutes.

“I’m passionate about this. I hope it happens,” Drake said at a recent public meeting. “I don’t want to be driving to Houston for the next 30 years.”

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Texas Politics
3:43 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Van de Putte resigning to run for San Antonio mayor

Credit TPR

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

Two weeks after losing her bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte on Wednesday night announced that she was running for mayor of San Antonio and would not finish her term at the Texas Capitol.

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Texas Energy
4:14 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Report: EPA power plan would save Texas water

Credit StateImpact Texas

As state regulators fret about how President Obama’s effort to combat climate change would affect the Texas power grid, a new study says the rules would be simpler to adopt than those regulators suggest – and that it would save the state billions of gallons of water annually.

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