Politics

Political news

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State senators are considering a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Texas from 18 to 21. 

Ben Brewer / Reuters

Beto O'Rourke raised $6.1 million for his presidential campaign in his first 24 hours as a candidate, beating every other 2020 Democrat who has disclosed first-day figures, according to his campaign.

The haul surpasses that of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who raised $5.9 million in the 24 hours following his campaign launch.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Beto O’Rourke has begun the long process of introducing himself to potential voters in Iowa.

The former congressman from El Paso, who officially announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, made several stops throughout the state over the past few days. Candidates often give Iowa special attention because it's the first state in the nation to hold a presidential-nominating contest.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

WASHINGTON, Iowa — Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke acknowledged his involvement with a hacking group during a campaign trip in Iowa on Friday.

It was something “that I was part of as a teenager, not anything that I’m proud of today,” O’Rourke, 46, told reporters in Iowa. “That’s the long and short of it.”

Julia Reihs (left) and Montinique Monroe for KUT

With former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s announcement today, two Texas Democrats are now seeking the presidential nomination in 2020.

“It is surprising,” said longtime Democratic strategist Colin Strother. “It’s the first time, I believe, it’s happened in my lifetime.”

Beto O'Rourke addresses supporters in El Paso on election night in November.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke is running for president, he announced in a video with his wife, Amy.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Following the state’s effort to remove alleged noncitizens from voter rolls, recent polling shows many Texans believe noncitizens are voting – even though studies have shown that rarely happens.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

What started as seemingly simple state legislation hailed as good for Texas businesses is drawing skepticism from legal experts and outrage from advocates worried it would strike employment protections and benefits for LGBTQ workers.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A bill that would create more uniform policies on speech at Texas colleges and universities passed unanimously out of a Senate committee Monday.

Over the weekend in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest became a major presidential forum. More than half a dozen candidates showed up to the annual music, arts and technology convention. Democrats competed with each other to be the tough-on-tech candidate, a development in line with the party's move to the left but at odds with its reliance on tech donors.

The House on Friday approved a sweeping measure that would, among many others things, expand voters' access to the polls. But Senate Republican leaders say that chamber will not take up the bill, calling it a power grab.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Lloyd Doggett
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a visit to East Austin on Tuesday to promote sweeping voting legislation currently before Congress.

Julia Reihs / KUT

With Texas House lawmakers unveiling their long-awaited school finance proposal Tuesday and the Senate's version likely close behind, teacher pay appears to be emerging as one of the biggest sticking points between the two chambers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill that would provide $5,000 annual pay raises for full-time classroom teachers and librarians, at a cost of $4 billion over the next two years.

Gabriel C. Pérez for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro's camp released a statement early Friday morning making clear that the San Antonio Democrat is mulling whether to forgo re-election next year and instead challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, two days after Beto O'Rourke made clear he won't be vying for the seat.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The day after a federal judge in San Antonio criticized Texas Secretary of State David Whitley’s effort to remove alleged noncitizens from voter rolls, a state Senate committee approved his nomination.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Beto O’Rourke says he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, but signaled a possible run for president.

Robin Jerstad / The Texas Tribune

In a major victory for voting rights groups, a federal judge has ordered that no Texas county should purge suspected noncitizen voters from the rolls or issue letters demanding that they prove their citizenship “without prior approval of the Court with a conclusive showing that the person is ineligible to vote.”

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The '

After a contentious three-hour public hearing Monday, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed a bill that would provide annual $5,000 pay raises for all full-time classroom teachers in the state.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As the nomination of Texas Secretary of State David Whitley faces tough prospects in the Senate, two Republican senators filed bills raising the stakes for his effort to remove suspected noncitizens from voter rolls.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

All 12 Democrats in the Texas Senate have publicly confirmed they are opposed to confirming embattled Secretary of State David Whitley, giving them more than enough votes to block his nomination if they’re all in the chamber when the vote comes up.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump endorsed the re-election bid Thursday of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is seeking his fourth term in 2020.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

For the second time, the Senate Nominations Committee met this week to approve the governor’s appointees — and for the second time, the Republican-dominated committee did not call a vote on David Whitley, the governor’s embattled pick for Texas secretary of state.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Groups that help register new voters in Texas are challenging the state's effort to remove noncitizens from voter rolls, claiming it's an attempt to intimidate people of color, a growing demographic in the state.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Almost 68 percent of voters in Texas voted straight ticket during the 2018 general election, according to a new report from the Austin Community College Center for Public Policy and Political Studies.

The 86th Texas Legislature is underway, and one group of state lawmakers say they are determined to make sure public safety needs in rural areas are better met, especially when it comes to the state’s backlog of rape evidence kits.  

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s been nearly two weeks since Texas officials released a list of 95,000 people on the state’s voter rolls who they suspect might not be citizens. Since then, election officials in Travis County have been vetting the state’s list. The process has been tedious and complicated – and there's no telling when it will end.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

From the campaign trail to election night victory speeches to promises in the halls of the Texas Capitol, property taxes are the top priority for lawmakers. Depending on which metric you use, the state generally ranks in the top 5 nationally for having the highest property taxes. Lawmakers say they have to do something to lower those bills.

But what is that something?

Julia Reihs / KUT

A bill in the Texas House of Representatives would make it a crime for telecommunications companies to impair mobile internet service in declared disaster areas. It comes after firefighters in California had their data plans “throttled” by Verizon during wildfires there.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered the majority of National Guard troops deployed at her state's Southern border to withdraw, condemning what she called a "charade of border fear-mongering" by President Trump, who has warned of an immigration emergency in the region.

"I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border," Lujan Grisham said, adding that the area has "some of the safest communities in the country."

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