State News

2014 Elections
3:26 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Contested races within GOP reflect broader rift

Republican Gary VanDeaver is running against incumbent George Lavender to represent Texas House District 1, which includes Franklin and Lamar Counties..
provided photo

In 2012, Steve Toth of The Woodlands won election in House District 15 after a so-called RINO hunt. He beat state Rep. Rob Eissler in the Republican primary, campaigning in part on the idea that Eissler was insufficiently conservative for HD-15’s suburban voters. Two years earlier, and several counties to the north, David Simpson of Longview beat Rep.

Read more
Texas Health
8:34 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Texas third nationally in ACA enrollment

Enroll America outreach worker Rosy Mota (right) talks about the federal health care law with a CVS customer in Houston.
NPR

Texas enrollments in the online insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act rose nearly eightfold in December, according to 2013 figures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Monday. 

Texas ranks third in the number of 2013 enrollments following the troubled launch of healthcare.gov on Oct. 1. As of Dec. 28, nearly 120,000 Texans had purchased coverage in the federal marketplace, up from 14,000 one month before.  

Read more
Texas Health
8:21 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Pregnant woman on life support stirs political debate

Erick Munoz stands by a photo of his wife, Marlise Munoz, at home in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 3. She is being kept on life support in a local hospital against the family's wishes.
NPR

A pregnant North Texas woman being kept on life support against her family's wishes is stirring political debate in a state immersed in competitive primary races, and fresh off a legislative session in which lawmakers had tense debates over when life begins and how it can end. 

“We recognize the tragic and painful situation the family faces,” Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said in an email. “We must also remember a young life is at stake here and that state laws protecting that life must be followed.” 

Read more
Texas Labor
8:54 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Unemployment drug-testing delayed

NPR

Texans applying for unemployment benefits will be subject to a new drug screening procedure in a program scheduled to take effect Feb. 1. But the Texas Workforce Commission said it will not be able to start the program on the state’s timetable because the United States Labor Department has not set the required parameters.

As proponents of the program raise concerns about the Labor Department’s progress, the Workforce Commission is preparing for the testing without knowing who will be tested.

Read more
Texas Politics
8:43 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Cruz ends year as he began, with no apologies

Ted Cruz
NPR

Ted Cruz wasn’t the only politician who promised to shake up Washington when he was sworn in earlier this year. 

But he delivered like no other. 

By the time the brash Houston lawyer and Republican firebrand completes his first year in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 3, he will arguably have become the most recognizable face of the GOP’s unapologetic far right — not bad for a guy with no previous experience in elective office.  

Read more
Texas Crime and Corrections
1:00 am
Thu December 26, 2013

New law protects pets in domestic disputes

NPR

The holidays are a time for gift-giving and celebration but, for some, it's also a time of increased family and financial pressure. Some mental health health professionals say this pressure can lead to a spike in domestic violence. 

In Texas, domestic violence victims who find the courage to leave an abusive situation can now have their pets included in protective orders.

Read more
Texas Environment
5:20 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Report: EPA followed rules in North Texas drilling case

NPR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was legally justified in issuing — and later withdrawing — an emergency order against a Fort Worth-based driller following a 2010 complaint of groundwater contamination in North Texas, the agency’s internal watchdog said in a report released Tuesday. But questions linger the about the source of the contamination, it added. 

Read more
Texas Politics
10:06 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

'Undecided' an early leader in primary season

NPR

The first problem with the 2014 primaries is that almost everybody is a nobody. 

The standard and somewhat lazy view is that the Democratic candidates do not have the prominence they need to get the attention they require to compete with Republicans in Texas elections. It’s not altogether wrong — it’s just that it’s not really confined to the Democrats. 

The biggest bloc of votes in polls for most Republican primaries is don’t know/undecided. Voters don’t know most of these people. 

Read more
Texas Education
12:46 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Memo: Perry pushed new adviser position at A&M board

Rick Perry
NPR

On the afternoon before the Texas A&M System Board met to select an interim president — a selection that found Gov. Rick Perry backing one candidate and Chancellor John Sharp backing another — Perry contacted regents with a proposal for a new position "on par with [the] chancellor." 

For its title, the governor suggested "Executive President (Director) of the Board of Regents or President of the Office of the Executive Board of Regents (or something similar)." 

Read more
Texas Crime and Courts
8:38 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Suit cites 'randomly chosen' body cavity search of woman

NPR

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents subjected a U.S. citizen to unwarranted searches, including vaginal probes and a CT scan, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union in a U.S. district court. 

The woman, who is referred to as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit, is a New Mexico resident and was stopped while entering the United States at the Cordova Bridge in El Paso on Dec. 12, 2012, according to court records. 

Read more

Pages