Paul Beckham and Gary Giffen leave Zilker Elementary School in Austin after casting ballots for the primary election on March 4.
Paul Beckham and Gary Giffen leave Zilker Elementary School in Austin after casting ballots for the primary election on March 4.

Exit Polling to Return Amid High-Profile Gubernatorial Contest

Two years after national polling consortium opted to scale back its survey of Texas voters, the group plans to increase its exit polling in the state during this year's November elections. It's good news for academic researchers, who say the data helps them study shifts in Texas politics.

 
A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.
A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.

Report: New Law Led to Statewide Drop in Abortions

Abortions in Texas decreased by about 13 percent statewide and 21 percent in the Lower Rio Grande Valley after strict abortion regulations went into effect last November, according to a study released Wednesday.

Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.
Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.

Drinking Water Systems Draw Federal Concerns

Several public drinking water systems in Texas have quality issues that have not been adequately addressed, the Environmental Protection Agency told the state in recent correspondence obtained by the Tribune. 

Report: New Law Led to Statewide Drop in Abortions

A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.
A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.

Abortions in Texas decreased by about 13 percent statewide and 21 percent in the Lower Rio Grande Valley after strict abortion regulations went into effect last November, according to a study released Wednesday.

Drinking Water Systems Draw Federal Concerns

Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.
Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.

Several public drinking water systems in Texas have quality issues that have not been adequately addressed, the Environmental Protection Agency told the state in recent correspondence obtained by the Tribune. 

 

Amid Lawsuit, Farmers Insurance PAC Gives Thousands to Abbott

Texas attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks to a small crowd of supporters at Lavazza Coffeehouse on Congress Ave. in Austin.
Texas attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks to a small crowd of supporters at Lavazza Coffeehouse on Congress Ave. in Austin.

Critics of Attorney General Greg Abbott say he has not fairly represented Texas homeowners who were charged too much by an insurance company whose employees' PAC has given generously to his campaign. 

The Brief: July 22, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry announces the deployment of National Guard troops along the Texas border as Texas Guard Adjutant General John Nichols listens at the Texas Capitol on July 21, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry announces the deployment of National Guard troops along the Texas border as Texas Guard Adjutant General John Nichols listens at the Texas Capitol on July 21, 2014.

The words of the day on Monday were "force multiplier," as in what Gov. Rick Perry said the activation of up to 1,000 National Guard troops would do for the border surge effort already underway by the Department of Public Safety.

Analysis: A Border Plan — and a Political One

Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton,  and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announced the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announced the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry said a plan to send National Guard troops to the state's border with Mexico was necessary because the federal government isn't doing enough there. The move could also address a political weak spot he discovered in his 2012 presidential run.

The Brief: July 23, 2014

DPS chief Steve McCraw outlines plans for the National Guard role securing the Texas border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and Guard Adjutant General John Nichols listen on July 21, 2014.
DPS chief Steve McCraw outlines plans for the National Guard role securing the Texas border as Gov. Rick Perry, l, and Guard Adjutant General John Nichols listen on July 21, 2014.

Story lines continue to spin out from Gov. Rick Perry's Monday announcement that he was activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to back up existing DPS border operations. 

State Slams EPA Website That Compares Pollution Enforcement

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This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.

Compared with other states, Texas performs far fewer comprehensive inspections of polluting facilities, according to a database run by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. But Texas officials call the database misleading.

Report Sheds Light on Workers Losing Out on Health Coverage

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Texas fast-food workers are planning to join a nationwide strike on Thursday to call for $15-an-hour wages. Recently, there have been similar strikes in cities across the country. This one was in Milwaukee.
Texas fast-food workers are planning to join a nationwide strike on Thursday to call for $15-an-hour wages. Recently, there have been similar strikes in cities across the country. This one was in Milwaukee.

Of the roughly 1.5 million more people who would have health insurance if Texas expanded Medicaid, more than half of them work in the state's booming service industry, according to a new report.

Border Surge Prompts Perry to Scale Back Governors Conference

Criticizing a lack of federal response on border issues, Governor Rick Perry announces deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border on July 21, 2014.
Criticizing a lack of federal response on border issues, Governor Rick Perry announces deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border on July 21, 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry’s office said on Tuesday that because of the surge of illegal immigration on the southern border, a planned binational border governors conference will be scaled back to only a dinner with the elected officials.

Report: Texas Lags on Child Well-Being

School children at Arnoldo Cantu Sr. Elementary School in San Juan, Texas, enjoy their free breakfast, April 24, 2013.
School children at Arnoldo Cantu Sr. Elementary School in San Juan, Texas, enjoy their free breakfast, April 24, 2013.

Texas ranks among the 10 worst states on a variety of indicators of child well-being, according to a new national analysis out Tuesday.

Perry Sending Guard Troops to the Border

Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton,  and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announced the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and Texas Adjutant General John Nichols, announced the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border on July 21, 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday that he is sending up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help beef up security along the Texas-Mexico border. The operation will cost an estimated $12 million a month.

Sheriffs Consider Selling E-Cigarettes at Jails

While traditional cigarettes are banned from most jails, vendors of e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation, see a big market in Texas.
While traditional cigarettes are banned from most jails, vendors of e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation, see a big market in Texas.

In Texas, very few jails allow electronic cigarettes, but some say that could change as sheriffs begin to warm up to the smokeless technology as a way to supplement revenue and help inmates suffering from withdrawal.