State News

Texas Health
3:53 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Feds withholding $75 million over hospital funding question

Credit kut.org

The federal agency that oversees Medicaid is reviewing arrangements between private Texas hospitals and local government entities to ensure they did not violate a rule that allowed the state to draw down federal dollars to cover health care for the uninsured.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is withholding $75 million that the state used to reimburse private hospitals for care they provided to poor patients without a means to pay.

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Texas Government
3:51 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

TABC drops plan to allow alcohol sales with gun sales

A customer checks out a shotgun at a store in College Station, Texas.
Credit AP

Following unexpected opposition from gun rights organizations, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission this week dropped a proposed rule change that would have allowed alcohol sales at the same venues where guns are sold, indicating it would leave such such decision-making to the Legislature instead.

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Texas Politics
3:56 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Analysis: Contenders' dreams of political buzzer shots

Former Texas Governor Ann Richards in 1992.

Before every election, trailing candidates often start talking about winning campaigns of the past — from Abraham Lincoln to Ann Richards — that were running behind at this point and surged to victory. The candidates in front have the opposite view: Those turnarounds are nightmare material.

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Texas Agriculture
3:52 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Staples to head Oil and Gas Association

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is leaving his office early to head the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
Credit State Impact Texas

Updated Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m.:

The Texas Oil and Gas Association has named Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples its next president.

"It will be my honor and privilege to work with this dynamic industry at a time when Texas energy production is anchoring our state's economy and bolstering our nation's energy security," Staples said in a statement.

Staples will be leaving office early — within the next two months — to take on the new position. His tenure was supposed to wrap up by January.

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Texas Education
3:57 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

A&M system launches think tank with eye on state policy

The Texas A&M University system plans to use the think tank to work on solutions for some long-range problems that Texas faces.
Credit KUT

Earlier this month, the Texas A&M University System's board of regents approved the establishment of the cryptically named Area 41 Institute.

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Texas Politics
4:00 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Perry touts legacy to toll road group

Governor Perry was the keynote speaker at the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike annual conference.
Credit KUT

Calling Texas “the mecca of innovation on transportation infrastructure,” Gov. Rick Perry touted the state’s approach to expanding roads without raising taxes in Tuesday morning remarks to the toll road industry.

Perry was the keynote speaker at the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) annual conference, held this year in Austin.

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Texas Agriculture
3:48 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Farmers ask officials to stop rail yard

Railroad tracks into Mumford, a city northwest of College Station.
Credit State Impact Texas

Rows of cotton that have been picked by the same family for generations sit in the shadow of a railroad track in Mumford, a small farming community about 22 miles northeast of College Station in the Brazos River Valley. The cotton is starting to bloom and Frank DeStefano, who farms the land along with three brothers, said it will be a beautiful sight in a few weeks.

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Texas Politics
3:36 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Davis agrees to new Sept. 30 debate with Abbott

Credit KERA

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

There will be a late September debate after all between gubernatorial hopefuls Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis.

Davis' campaign announced Wednesday that it had agreed to a Sept. 30 debate in Dallas with Abbott, an event that will be sponsored by KERA, NBC5/KXAS-TV, Telemundo 39 and The Dallas Morning News.

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Texas Infrastructure
4:04 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

ERCOT: Grid should meet upcoming electricity demands

ERCOT Control Center
Credit KUT

Texas should have more than enough electricity to keep its lights on this fall and winter, the operator of the grid covering most of the state says.

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State Government
4:56 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Taxpayer tab grows for Perry's defense

Governor Rick Perry
Credit KUT

Gov. Rick Perry has billed taxpayers $133,000 to hire several lawyers to defend him against public corruption allegations, his office confirmed Friday.

That’s more lawyers and more state money spent than previously disclosed.

After Perry was criticized about the taxpayer expenditures, the governor’s office announced he would use campaign funds from now on to compensate his legal team.

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Texas Education
3:35 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Judge: Texas school finance system unconstitutional

Judge John Dietz of Austin, Texas.
Credit KUT

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

Nearly three years after more than 600 Texas school districts filed litigation challenging the state's school finance system, a Travis County district judge has ruled in their favor.

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Texas Government
3:53 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

In trial lawyer, Perry finds a tenacious advocate

Credit State Impact Texas

As Tony Buzbee accompanied Gov. Rick Perry last week on a short walk from the Governor’s Mansion to a downtown Austin courthouse, there was little in Buzbee’s demeanor suggesting that his client was about to be booked on felony charges returned by a grand jury four days earlier.

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Texas Tribune
7:17 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Grand Jury Indicts Perry Over Integrity Unit Veto

Credit NPR

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

A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on Friday on two felony counts, alleging he abused his power by threatening to veto funding for the state's anti-corruption prosecutors unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who had pleaded guilty to drunk driving, stepped down from office. 

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Texas Energy
3:27 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

State struggles to launch energy efficiency program

Credit State Impact Texas

About five years ago, Texas regulators ordered the three largest electric transmission providers – Oncor, CenterPoint and AEP Texas – to budget $18.5 million for a program that would provide poor Texans with “home and business area networks” (HAN), tools to help them interact with "smart" meters installed at their homes.

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Texas Politics
3:33 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Van de Putte calls for reducing high-stakes testing

Credit TPR

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, is calling for reducing high-stakes testing in Texas public schools by doing away with the end-of-course exams that the state requires for graduation.

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