State News

Texas Government
3:51 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Dan Patrick and the two-thirds rule: A primer

Credit NPR

In 2007, a Republican state senator from Houston chose the first day of his first legislative session to mount a charge against one of the Texas Legislature’s most storied traditions.

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Texas Government
9:00 am
Sat January 10, 2015

By the numbers: The inauguration celebration

Credit NPR

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

Every four years, a big party is thrown in Austin to celebrate the inauguration of the state's recently elected governor and lieutenant governor. This year, for the first time in a while, neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will be in the spotlight.

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Texas Education
3:19 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Wasting little time, McRaven plots his course

Vice Adm. William H. McRaven commanded the unit that killed Osama bin Laden. He is also a graduate of UT's journalism program.
Credit U.S. Navy

Retired Admiral William McRaven, the former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, has only been chancellor of the University of Texas System for four days, but already has a lot on his plate. The legislative session opens in less than one week, a search is underway for a new president for the system’s flagship university and there are years worth of conflicts to resolve.

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Texas Government
3:06 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Appeals judges grill lawyers over abortion law

The controversial law was passed during the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature.
Credit NPR

In a long line of tough questioning Wednesday over a new Texas abortion law, federal appeals judges here questioned whether part of a provision requiring abortion facilities to meet hospital-like standards should be struck down.

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Texas Government
8:40 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Court to weigh Texas policies on abortion, gay marriage

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will review Texas laws concerning abortion and marriage this month.
Credit provided image

Lawyers for Texas are headed to federal appeals court this week to defend two Republican-backed state policies — on gay marriage and abortion — that were struck down by lower courts last year. 

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is set to consider a legal challenge to strict abortion regulations that could lead to the closure of most abortion clinics in Texas. On Friday, a different three-judge panel of the same court will hear a case seeking to overturn the state’s longstanding ban on same-sex marriages. 

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Texas Government
3:32 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Gun rights advocates to build weapons at Capitol

An planned armed rally at the Capitol will now include a 3-D printer that makes AR-15s.
Credit NPR

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout and clarifies the capabilities of the Ghost Gunner machine.

Second Amendment advocates plan to manufacture guns at the Texas Capitol during an armed rally set for the opening day of the 2015 legislative session.

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Texas Politics
3:18 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

With new Land Commissioner, a new era for Bushes

Credit NPR

It's official: Texas is once again Bush country.

Big names in state and national politics gathered in the Texas Senate chamber Friday to watch Republican George P. Bush — son of Jeb, nephew of George W. and grandson of George H.W. — take the oath of office as the state's twenty-eight land commissioner, kicking off a new era for what Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett called “one of the most revered families in American history.”

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Texas Politics
3:34 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Sitton leaving consulting firm to avoid conflicts

Credit State Impact Texas

Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas railroad commissioner, says he is following through on a campaign promise to step away from his oil and gas consulting firm and place its assets in a blind trust – an effort aimed at reducing the appearance of a conflict of interest.

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Texas Politics
3:28 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Analysis: Skill or luck, it has worked for Perry

Credit KUT

Rick Perry is very good at politics.

It does not matter if he made you crazy, if you disagreed with him, if you thought he was the best person ever to serve, whatever.

He has been in state office since he was elected to the Texas House, as a Democrat, in 1984. But here he is, three decades later, the longest-serving governor in state history, a hero to cranky conservatives who want to overthrow the state’s political establishment.

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Texas Politics
1:59 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Former President Bush spends Christmas in hospital

Credit NPR

Former President George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized in Houston on Tuesday because of shortness of breath, received visitors on Christmas Day at the hospital and will remain there Thursday evening, according to a statement from his spokesman.

"President Bush had another terrific day and is in great spirits," spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement Thursday. "He was visited by Mrs. Bush as well as his son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria Bush, and has received well wishes from family, friends and fellow citizens."

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Texas Politics
5:25 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

LBJ Library Director objects to MLK film's portrayal

'Selma' will open in wide-release on January 9, 2015.
Credit Paramount Pictures

Despite its critical acclaim — including Golden Globe nominations for best drama, best director and more — the new movie Selma, which depicts the relationship between Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson, is getting pushback from some in the latter's home state.

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Texas Geography
1:03 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Disappearing Rio Grande: A look back at 10 stories

Credit State Impact Texas

Six months ago, on June 19, Colin McDonald set out to explore the Rio Grande from its source in Colorado. From Stony Pass, he has followed the river by boat and, when the water got too shallow or vanished entirely, by foot. Along the way, he’s talked to ranchers, farmers, fishermen, public officials — anyone who can help tell the story of the river. He’s been joined by photographers who bring the river to life.

The Rio Grande is an incredibly important river, yet in many places very little is known about it. Colin is working to change that.

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Texas Government
5:05 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Health Chief says he was misled on no-bid deal

Credit Texas Health and Human Services Commission

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

Texas Health and Human Services Commission chief Kyle Janek said Tuesday he was misled in briefings on a no-bid, $110 million deal handed to an Austin company for unproven software to detect Medicaid fraud.

Janek said the Office of Inspector General, the commission’s audit arm, should have alerted him that its contract with 21 Century Technologies Inc., also known as 21CT, “proceeded outside the normal channels” for approval.

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Texas Government
2:40 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Analysis: Picking Straus, taking names

House Speaker Joe Straus, left, faces a challenge from Frisco state Rep. Scott Turner.
Credit Todd Wiseman / Laura Buckman / The Texas Tribune

Lawmakers love and hate voting on issues because they hate to be pinned down.

That makes no real political difference most of the time, as when legislators plow through resolutions honoring constituents and commemorating historical events.

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Texas Government
3:07 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

As statewide smoking ban stalls, cities go it alone

Credit NPR

A decision by the Paris City Council in March to ban smoking in public places, including restaurants, angered Brent McKee. A restaurant owner, McKee was thinking about the customers who enjoyed a cigarette or two while nursing their morning coffee.

“I built this with my blood and sweat, and then they come in and they tell me what I can and cannot do? That upset me,” he said of the ban.

Now, McKee reluctantly acknowledges a change of heart.

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