McLennan County Courthouse in Waco.
McLennan County Courthouse in Waco.

In Waco, Checking on Criminal Defendants' Claims of Poverty

The assignment of a detective to investigate requests for court-appointed lawyers in McLennan County has drawn criticism from defense experts, who warn that low-income defendants are being intimidated into waiving their right to counsel.

 
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.

Border Surge Prompts Perry to Scale Back Governors Conference

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.

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.

 

The Brief: July 21, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry and DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at a June 23, 2014, news conference following a tour of a federal facility housing unaccompanied minors in Weslaco, Texas. The state is providing $1.3 million per week to step up border patrols.
Gov. Rick Perry and DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at a June 23, 2014, news conference following a tour of a federal facility housing unaccompanied minors in Weslaco, Texas. The state is providing $1.3 million per week to step up border patrols.

Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will make a border security announcement at 2 p.m. at the state Capitol. The two are expected to announce the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley.

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.

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.

Lost in a Pressing Crisis at the Border: Perpetual Immigration Issues

U.S. Border Patrol agents say that illegal traffic on public and private land in the Rio Grande Valley has triggered the need for additional resources in the region this year.
U.S. Border Patrol agents say that illegal traffic on public and private land in the Rio Grande Valley has triggered the need for additional resources in the region this year.

As attention centers on the thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas-Mexico border, activists in the Rio Grande Valley are working hard to ensure that their ongoing campaigns continue to gain traction after the current crisis subsides.