Texas

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Update: The Senate Health & Human Services Committee public hearing on Senate Bill 1 wrapped up just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. Senators did not vote on the bill.

Original Story (July 8, 10 a.m.): The Senate Health & Human Services Committee is holding a public hearing today on a bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry – the longest serving governor in Texas history – has announced he will not seek reelection to a fourth term.

After first being elected to the Texas House in 1984 (as a Democrat), Perry ascended to Lieutenant Governor, and then moved up when George W. Bush left for the White House in December 2000.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement this afternoon that he will not seek another term in office has created an outpouring of reactions from Texas politicians  on both sides of the aisle.

KUT News is compiling those reactions, primarily from the Texas politicians Perry’s announcement is affecting deeply – those seeking higher office. 

Veornica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: A Texas House panel voted early this morning along party lines to pass a bill to put more restrictions on abortion in the state. While the committee heard hours of testimony, more than one thousand people who signed up to speak, weren’t given the opportunity.

KUT News

As Lawmakers take up a abortion measure this week – we review comments made by State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson aboutabortion measure Senate Bill 5 after it died at midnight at the end of the last special session. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

To keep you up-to-date on all the action going on at the Capitol today, we've created a Storify to monitor the protests on the first day of the special session. Click below to see the timeline.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Kimberley McCarthy was put to death via lethal injection Wednesday evening, becoming the 500th prisoner to be executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982, following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. McCarthy was condemned for the murder of her neighbor, 71-year-old Dorothy Booth, during a robbery.

Earlier: Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to die by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas this evening. Her upcoming death has caught national and international attention because – if the execution is carried out – she will be the 500th person executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated and the fourth woman.

As reported earlier this month, the Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of parks.

They liked what they saw: Today, the council unanimously voted to approve the design plan developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with little argument.

Sinclair Black & Andrew Vernooy

Update (June 20): This morning Austin City Council members decided to go ahead and approve a resolution supporting a I-35 National Environmental Policy Act study for a plan to reconnect East & West Austin by submerging it from approximately River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Council also directed the City Manager to develop an economic impact study and look at associated financing options.

flickr.com/gageskidmore

A new poll suggests the Tea Party movement is more than a flash in the pan in Texas politics. 

flickr.com/carlos

Paying for transportation infrastructure is big part of the special session underway now at the Texas Capitol. But, for some lawmakers, it's not a big enough part.

Senate Joint Resolution 2 would send some oil and gas tax money into a new fund, but everyone agrees that much more money is needed.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT

The Texas Legislature has just over a week left in its special session.

Today, House Committees will meet on a variety of topics including permanent election maps, oversight of the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion and the financial condition of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

The story of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones involves a controversial speech to the Federalist Society, calls of racism, last-ditch efforts to stop an execution and now a rare formal disciplinary review by the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit.

The case has been bubbling for the past couple of weeks. It's complicated, but interesting, so we'll tell you about it in chronological order.

flickr.com/bgottsab

Texas added almost 19,000 jobs last month, the most of any state in the country - according to a report by the payroll and benefits company ADP.

More than 1,800 jobs will be added to June’s total.

Gov. Rick Perry's outsized Texas swagger is coming to the heart of blue state America.

flickr.com/USDAGov

A new report spotlights the success and shortfalls of summer lunch programs for Texas students.

The Food Research and Action Center found that the number of lunch programs across the state grew by 17 percent last year. However, these programs only reach about 11 percent of low-income children receiving school lunches.

.texaswideopenforbusiness.com

Gov. Rick Perry is launching an ad campaign in Connecticut and New York, trying to lure businesses to the Lone Star State.

The move comes after Gov. Perry made similar efforts in California and Illinois. But this time, Perry’s taking his message to television screens instead of radio.

flickr.com/safari_vacation

Texas and its capitol city are increasingly touted as great retirement destinations. But according to a recent study, the state ranks 48th in money spent on senior healthcare and 39th overall, in a national survey by United Health Foundation.

The study from the health care giant found that 820,000 Texas seniors were physically inactive, which led to nearly 20 percent of seniors spending at least a week in intensive care in the final six months of their lives.

flickr.com/dawilson

A doctor who wants to determine a patient's health will gather all kinds of data - temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight, blood test results, and the like - to come up with an overall picture of how the patient is doing.

The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin kind of did the same thing to determine the civic health of Texas. Bad news: this patient's not in good shape.

The warnings aren't as ominous as they were eight days ago in the hours leading up to the tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., but the National Weather Service is predicting "another round of severe weather for the Central United States on Tuesday."

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The Texas House passed a bill Thursday that would increase the amount of charter schools across the state.

Right now, Texas caps the number of charters—or publicly funded, privately operated schools—to 215.  Senate bill 2 would increase the number of charter licenses allowed to 305 by 2019.

National Weather Service

Cleanup is underway in North Texas after devastating tornadoes claimed six lives and multiple injuries.

The National Weather Service’s preliminary count says 10 tornadoes stuck North Texas last night. The Fort Worth suburb of Granbury, Texas took some of the worst damage, with damage showing signs of wind gusts up to 260 MPH.

"A massive emergency response" is underway in North Texas, where tornadoes blew through Wednesday night, The Dallas Morning News says. A twister that hit Granbury, about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, left at least six people dead, more than 100 injured and even more homeless, The Associated Press adds.

Texas Democrats See Future in Mobilizing Latino Turnout

May 15, 2013
flickr.com/buckygail

No one doubts the growth of the Latino electorate in Texas. But its turnout at the polls is lower than in the rest of the country, leading some to question how to change that. Especially Democrats who say this is how to turn Texas blue.

State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, joined Julie Martinez Ortega of PAC Plus to discuss the challenge at a news conference today.

Hate Map

Language on social media is honest, instant and, sometimes, inappropriate.  And the Internet’s elephantine memory holds on to every last questionable comment.  

Researchers at Humboldt State University used Twitter’s geo-coding to tag over 150,000 tweets from the better part of the past year to map what they call the “Geography of Hate,” an interactive database of hateful language all over the US.

Photo courtesy of Wendi Aarons.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the right words to show Mom how much you appreciate her. Mother's Day is Sunday, and  a group of Austin writers and storytellers is taking to the stage this week with their personal stories of motherhood, mothering, and being mothered.

Eric Kayne for Texas Tribune

Cheerleaders at an East Texas high school who were told to stop displaying Bible verses on banners at school athletic events can resume such displays, after a state district judge ruled in their favor Wednesday.

The national headline-grabbing lawsuit arose last fall when Kountze Independent School District administrators ordered its high school cheerleaders to stop displaying religious messages during athletic events after a group advocating for the separation of church and state threatened to sue. 

Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Earlier today, law enforcement officers took part in a memorial for the 25 Texas police officers who died in service over the past two years.

Every two years, the Peace Officers Memorial Foundation of Texas hosts a candlelight vigil and a memorial ceremony and parade in May. The parade started at the Congress Avenue Bridge and ended at the Capitol, marched by a procession of color guard teams, police motorcycles, cyclists and pipe and drum corps. 

flickr.com/wallyg

There’s road closures in place this morning for the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Parade.

The South Congress Avenue Bridge will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon.  Congress Avenue will be closed from Cesar Chavez to 11th Streets from 10:30 to 11 a.m. , and Colorado Street from 11th to 13th Streets will be partially closed until 2 pm. Here’s a map of closures.

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