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.

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Pu Ying-Huang for KUT News

Over the next four months, Texas officials will be offloading programs aimed at helping newly arrived refugees. Last week, the state announced it was leaving the federal refugee resettlement program after four decades in the program.


Qiling Wang for KUT

In less than a month, the window for registering for this year’s presidential election will close. That’s why on Tuesday's National Voter Registration Day groups were helping folks all over the city get registered – and that includes people who are blind.


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Late last week, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit about whether decreasing Medicaid reimbursements for programs providing therapies to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays in Texas is legal, which means cuts are likely imminent.


Pu Ying Huang for KUT News

The way refugees are resettled in Texas could be in for a big shakeup.

Yesterday, state officials threatened to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program if the feds don’t approve the state’s plan, which has some controversial elements — including a cap on the number of refugees the state takes in and a stricter screening process for refugees.


Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

The state of Texas is threatening to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program, if the feds don't accept the state's proposal for continuing the program in the next fiscal year. 

Dell Medical School, via YouTube

Questions were raised during a Travis County Commissioner’s Court yesterday about how UT Austin’s Dell Medical School spends taxpayer money.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For about a month now, Texas has provided mosquito repellant to low-income women and children. It’s in an effort to prevent the spread of Zika – just in case the virus infects local mosquito populations. 


Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A federal judge sided again today with plaintiffs in the long legal battle over Texas' voter ID law.

This time, the U.S. Department of Justice joined the group of Texas voters challenging the state’s law, arguing Texas election officials were misleading voters about court-ordered changes to the law.

KUT News

State lawmakers are discussing today what to do about a plan to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for groups that provide therapy to young children with developmental issues.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

We are about a month away from early voting in Texas for this year’s presidential election and vital information regarding recent changes to the state’s controversial voter ID law are largely absent from county websites.


Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Throughout this month, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is hearing public comment on its proposed changes to licensing standards, which advocates say are missing an important item: better caretaker to child ratios in day cares.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Attorneys are headed back to court because of the state’s voter ID law. This time it’s over how Texas election officials are explaining the changes they were forced to make to the law.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country. Until recently, teenage girls had a hard time getting access to affordable contraceptives through state health programs, and that’s an issue the state is tackling as it reboots its troubled Women’s Health Program.


Miguel Gutierrez, Jr. / KUT

Bill Gravell keeps a pair of camouflage boots in the backseat of his white pickup truck. They've been through pastures and farmlands, in the middle of plane and train crashes, he says.

Once, Gravell didn't chance to change out of dress shoes on his way to a body and ended up ruining those shoes. Now, he makes ready at a moment's notice.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Yesterday, Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos visited an undergraduate American history class at UT Austin to talk about voting, as part of the state's voter outreach effort following a court battle over the state's voter ID law. 


Veronica Zaragovia / KUT

A legal battle over some of the state’s political districts still isn’t over. About half a decade ago, a group of Texas voters sued the state claiming the legislature’s 2011 redistricting maps discriminated against minorities. About two years ago, there was a trial, but since then nothing has happened.


Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Texas elections officials have a big task ahead of them. After a federal court ruled the state’s voter ID law was discriminatory, Texas now has to explain its tweaks to the law ahead of Election Day in November.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Within a two-year period between 2010 and 2012, the rate of pregnant women dying in Texas doubled – and it’s not entirely clear why.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine stopped in Austin yesterday and met with local volunteers and supporters to thank them for their work.

While the focus of his visit was mostly to let Texas Democrats know they are important to the national party, Kaine also had to address – and strongly denounce – Donald Trump’s latest comments aimed at Hillary Clinton.


Cheryl Gerber / Texas Tribune

A federal judge is hearing possible fixes to the state’s voter ID law today.

The state was forced to make some changes because the law was ruled discriminatory. While some proposed changes have been agreed upon by both sides, the judge will still have to settle some disputes about just what voters will have to do to cast a ballot in November. Both sides have proposed expanding the list of IDs voters can use at the polls.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The Zika virus will be front and center as public health officials meet in Austin Monday to discuss infectious disease preparedness in the state. Besides funding issues, though, pockets of high uninsured rates in Texas could make monitoring for the mosquito-transmitted virus more complicated.


KUT News

If you dropped your child off at day care this morning, you likely left them with a regulated provider. That means they have to follow a bunch of state rules created to make day care centers safer. But advocates say the state is not doing enough to improve one of those standards – specifically, the ratio of caretakers-to-children in each facility.


Pu Ying-Huang/KUT News

UT Austin officials say there shouldn’t be much of a difference for anyone on campus now that concealed handguns are allowed on school grounds. In fact, officials have said that if you see a gun on campus, you should call the police.

UT Austin president Greg Fenves had a simple message for students and staff on campus Monday.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

This Friday is the last day state health officials are taking public comment on an updated informational booklet they put together. It’s given to abortion providers, who are then required to give it to women seeking the procedure. Abortion rights advocates have long criticized the booklet because it contains medically inaccurate information.

Cheryl Gerber / Texas Tribune

Last week, a federal appeals court ruled Texas’ voter ID law makes it harder for minorities to vote. The state was told it could no longer enforce the law as is.

Early voting in the first election since that ruling is now underway, so that special election in Bexar County is following a new set of rules.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

There was a little-noticed lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

Lawyers representing six Latino voters in Texas argue the way we elect judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court violates the Voting Rights Act because it denies Latino voters an equal opportunity to elect judges of their choice.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested the cuts were imminent and would be going into effect July 15. Due to a Texas Supreme Court ruling, those cuts are temporarily on hold. We regret the error.

Groups who provide therapy to children with developmental issues are slated to receive less money from the state for those services. That’s thanks to a slew of cuts approved by the Texas legislature last year. For now those cuts are temporarily on hold, thanks to a Texas Supreme Court ruling last week.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

A number of health care leaders and advocates want Texas to include mosquito repellent in pharmacy benefits for people on Medicaid and other government health programs.  


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

The deadline for a federal appeals court to rule on the state’s controversial voter ID law is fast approaching. The U.S. Supreme Court gave the court until July 20 to make a decision about whether the law violates federal civil rights law. But, no matter what happens, this likely isn’t the end of this legal battle.

First of all, the fact that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals even has a deadline on this is the first indicator that this case is pretty unique.

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

After weeks of pressure from civil rights attorneys, the Texas Department of State Health Services has released abortion data for 2014 – the first year the state's controversial law, House Bill 2, was in effect. 


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