Ashley Lopez, KUT

Ashley Lopez moderates a panel on federal immigration policy in July 2018.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Ashley Lopez joined KUT in January 2016. She covers politics and health care, and is part of the NPR-Kaiser Health News reporting collaborative. Previously she worked as a reporter at public radio stations in Louisville, Ky.; Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., where she won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.

Ashley was also part of NPR’s Political Reporting Partnership during the 2016 presidential election. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ways to Connect

Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas
Paul Arps via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Fredericksburg residents will be asked to weigh in on a city charter amendment banning the city from adding fluoride to the public water system.

Census 2020 sign
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The U.S. Census Bureau has opened offices in Austin and Leander ahead of the 2020 census, a constitutionally mandated count that happens every 10 years.

Protesters stand outside the Governor's Mansion at a rally in support of refugee resettlement services in November 2015.
Pu Ying Huang for KUT

Texas’ refugee resettlement programs are bracing for what could be a huge blow – one that stakeholders say could weaken the state's support system for years to come.

Julia Reihs / KUT

There are vast differences when it comes to life expectancies between neighborhoods in Austin, according to new research from the Episcopal Health Foundation.

UT Austin students line up to vote
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The next presidential election may be more than a year away, but groups working to get young people in the state civically engaged have been beefing up their operations for a while now.

One of those groups, MOVE Texas, has experienced a massive growth in staff, organizers and investments.

An ambulance in front of a hospital entrance.
Spencer Selvidge for KUT

Nearly 1 in 3 Texans in neighborhoods of color have medical debt, according to a new study from the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin.

KUT Austin

Former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in a Travis County district court Wednesday challenging the city's effort to fund logistical services for low-income women obtaining abortions.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren
Julia Reihs / KUT

Despite the threat of a storm, thousands of people descended on Vic Mathias Shores on Tuesday for a rally for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of 20 Democrats vying for the presidential nomination in 2020.

Warren talked about child care, student loans, her tax plan and her anti-corruption plan, which she dubbed “the biggest since [anti-corruption laws enacted after] Watergate.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas House Redistricting Committee held its first public hearing Tuesday to gather input on how to draw the next round of political maps ahead of 2021.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 5 million Texans didn’t have health insurance in 2018, according to figures released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. The year before, about 4.8 million Texans lacked coverage.

Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro
Michael Minasi for KUT

Former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro, the only Latino seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is struggling among likely Latinx voters in Texas.

Castro, the mayor of San Antonio from 2009-2014, had just short of 8% support among the voting bloc, according to a Texas Lyceum poll released Thursday.

Voters line up to cast ballots
Salvador Castro for KUT

Younger Texans are less likely to view democracy positively and more likely to want to significantly and structurally change American government, according to a Texas Lyceum poll released today.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Among the hundreds of new laws that took effect in Texas on Sunday, several are related to health. Here are a handful that took the legislative spotlight. 

Voting signs
Salvador Castro for KUT

Minorities and elderly voters will likely be the most affected by the elimination of straight-ticket voting in 2020, according to a new report from the Austin Community College Center for Public Policy and Political Studies.

The International High School in East Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Large and small cities in Texas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to measles outbreaks as more parents exempt their children from required vaccinations, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Four Austin City Council members want the city to help low-income women obtain abortions – without the city actually paying for the procedure.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

Until somewhat recently, being a Texas Democrat was kind of a bummer.  

Jason Stanford, a longtime Democratic operative in the state, says he got data on the scope of that political melancholy in 2006 while running a gubernatorial race.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration is closer to banning some low-income, legal immigrants who are relying on public services like food stamps from legally entering the United States.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, held an event in downtown Austin during the Pride parade Saturday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A new study says Texas' system of levying fines and fees to restore formerly incarcerated people's voting rights prevented nearly 333,000 people from voting in 2016.

The Texas Capitol
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A U.S. district court has ruled Texas doesn't need federal oversight of its 2021 redistricting efforts.

Wednesday's decision is part of a larger lawsuit from voters who challenged the state’s 2011 political maps. Courts have found Texas officials intentionally discriminated against racial minorities when they drew those maps and ordered parts of the maps to be redrawn.

The 2018 Texas Democratic Convention in Fort Worth.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Democrats are hoping to flip six congressional seats in Texas in 2020. On Monday, Wendy Davis announced she’s running for one them.

Migrants under a bridge
Lynda M. González for KUT

Almost 40 child welfare and medical groups in Texas sent a letter to federal and state leaders Thursday expressing concern about the treatment of child migrants on the state’s southern border. They say poor living conditions are causing trauma among these children, which could have lasting effects.

June Conway helps Eric Hood register
Qiling Wang for KUT

Advocates say they're hoping to register more Texans with disabilities ahead of the constitutional amendment election in November and the presidential primaries next year.

Across the country, voter turnout among people with disabilities is lower than those without disabilities.

U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau is having a tough time hiring workers in Texas for the 2020 Census, because the unemployment rate is so low – which means nonprofits and local governments may have to step in to make sure there's an accurate count.

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

Texas still has a lot of work to do to improve how it tracks deaths in the state, public health experts say.

Death certificates "give us snapshots of the health of the community and really helps us with our public health and health care priorities,” Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health, said.

Michael Minasi for KUT

Two days after Democratic presidential candidates Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke squared off over immigration on a debate stage in Miami, the Texans held simultaneous campaign events less than a mile from each other in downtown Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Two Texas doctors are suing the state over a law prohibiting them from selling prescription drugs to their patients.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s been three years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of Texas’ controversial abortion law – and yet, most of the clinics forced to close after it first passed haven't reopened.

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