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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is headed back to Capitol Hill today to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

This post has been updated.

WASHINGTON — Texas' two U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, on Monday withdrew their support for Roy Moore, the embattled GOP nominee for Senate in Alabama. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — Texas' two U.S. senators found themselves under intense pressure Thursday after explosive allegations surfaced that a candidate both men have endorsed pursued underage teenage girls decades ago. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Voters added seven amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday. The mostly noncontroversial propositions won by wide margins of up to 70 points.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

In her first public appearance since being cleared of criminal charges, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, said Tuesday she had been maligned by the Travis County district attorney, other Austin-area Democratic lawmakers and the news media.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is retiring from Congress, two sources close to the congressman told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.

"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," he wrote in an email obtained by the Tribune. "... With over a year remaining in my term, there is still much to do. There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold and hundreds of votes to cast."

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President Donald Trump is nominating former state District Judge Ryan Patrick, son of Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to be the next U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, the White House announced Wednesday.

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Lawmakers are expected to grill representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter today on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who announced his retirement in a withering speech aimed at President Trump, tells NPR that he is "deeply saddened" to leave the Senate, but that lawmakers must take a stand now against the administration's behavior or "lose that chance."

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Travis County prosecutors have dropped their criminal charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, saying Monday that a felony case against the state lawmaker should never have been brought.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

November’s election ballot is packed with lots of local items – from city council races to school bonds – but there are also seven proposals to amend the Texas Constitution.

Donald Trump remains highly popular with Texas Republicans nearly a year after his election as the 45th president, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

“Trump’s overall job approval numbers continue to look good with Republicans,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “His base is still very secure.”

Screenshot via PBS NewsHour

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on Capitol Hill this morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's expected to brief lawmakers on Justice Department efforts to crackdown on immigration and so-called sanctuary cities.

But the committee's nine Democratic senators have made it clear they intend to question their former colleague's involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign – and whether he had any contact with Russian officials. 

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

Former Vice President Joe Biden made an appearance at the LBJ Presidential Library on UT Austin’s campus Tuesday night. Among other things, he talked about his long tenure in the U.S. Senate and how politics have changed since his time there.

“Today it’s gotten mean and visceral,” Biden said. “And it’s always about your judgment. If you disagree with me you are in the pocket of big business, or you are in the pocket of this, or you are unethical.”

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

The deadline for DACA recipients to renew their status is this Thursday and in Austin there are local efforts to help recipients get their paperwork done in time.

 

Frank Wolfe

Fifty years ago today — Oct. 2, 1967 — Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. A former White House aide says President Lyndon B. Johnson knew he was going to nominate Marshall from the moment he became president in 1963.

“Both of them knew it would be a really vicious battle in the confirmation process,” said Joseph A. Califano Jr., Johnson’s Chief Assistant for Domestic Affairs from 1965 to 1969.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

President Trump and GOP congressional leaders have outlined their plan for the most sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code in more than three decades.

They're proposing deep cuts in both individual and corporate tax rates, saying that will help supercharge a slow-growing economy.

"We want tax reform that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-family, and yes, tax reform that is pro-American," Trump said Wednesday during a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed paperwork to run to be the next speaker of the Texas House.

"Over the past several months, many of my colleagues have encouraged me to consider running for Speaker," King said in a statement. "In order to have an open discussion concerning the future of our Texas House, I have filed the required paperwork to declare my candidacy for Speaker."

Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office who President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" and argued same-sex marriage would open the floodgates for "disgusting" forms of marriage, according to CNN.

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President Donald Trump will speak before the United Nations General Assembly this morning. It's the first time Trump will speak before the body, which he made a point of criticizing on the campaign trail. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Texas hasn’t been enforcing compliance with a 30-year-old law requiring public and private high schools to hand out voter registration applications to eligible students at least twice a school year, civil rights groups say.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

In high school, being involved was important to Andrea De La Vega. She was editor of the school newspaper. She was the lead attorney on the mock trial team. She was in the top 10 percent of her class at Edinburg High School, which all but guaranteed entry into UT Austin, one of her top schools, when she applied in 2009.

That’s when she realized her immigration status could hold her back.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — Texas House Speaker Joe Straus urged business leaders Tuesday to keep up the fight following the failure of legislative efforts this year to pass a "bathroom bill" that many of them opposed.

"Texans rejected name-calling and scare tactics, and as a result, we avoided a major mistake that would’ve cost our economy greatly and divided us unnecessarily," Straus, R-San Antonio, said in a speech to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. "Now is not the time to walk away from the table. Going forward, working together we can do more than just avoiding mistakes."

Immigrants who need to renew their DACA permits can get free legal help through a local nonprofit at a clinic Sept. 17.

Texas Here To Stay is hosting the clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mexican Consulate on Ben White Boulevard to help people fill out and send in their renewal forms.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The U.S. Supreme Court did something out of the ordinary last week: It responded to an appeal when there was technically nothing to appeal.  

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democratic congressional leaders announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal with President Trump in an Oval Office meeting to pass hurricane relief funding this week, along with measures to push off pressing fiscal deadlines to December — over the apparent objections of Republican leaders.

Karen Reyes, was brought to the U.S. as a child and is covered under DACA.
Martin do Nascimento

Demonstrators gathered outside Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office Tuesday to protest the White House decision to get rid of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration said today it plans to phase out the Obama-era program that protects from deportation people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

But in an announcement this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Congress could officially authorize the program known as DACA before it expires in March.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

In the past two decades, congressional maps in Texas have changed six times. Those changes have often been felt here in Austin.

“Well, our congressman went from being [Lloyd] Doggett, to being [Michael] McCaul, and now we're in Bill Flores’ district,” says Eric Calistri, a resident of North Austin who has lived in the same house for about two decades.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Parts of the Texas House map must be redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections because lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities in crafting a handful of districts, federal judges ruled on Thursday. 

A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously invalidated some of the state’s 150 state House districts, which will force lawmakers to correct violations. Specifically listed are districts in Bell, Dallas, Nueces and Tarrant counties.

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