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.

 
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.

Amid Lawsuit, Farmers Insurance PAC Gives Thousands to Abbott

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

During 40-Year Run, College President Has Made His Mark

Sam Monroe, the president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, is shown on July 8, 2014. The state's longest-serving college president is stepping down in August after 40 years at the helm.
Sam Monroe, the president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, is shown on July 8, 2014. The state's longest-serving college president is stepping down in August after 40 years at the helm.

When Sam Monroe steps down next month as president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, a two-year school in Southeast Texas, he will conclude the state’s longest tenure for a president of a higher education institution.

Feeling "Invisible," Black Residents Leave Austin

Natalie Madeira Cofield, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, in her South Congress Avenue neighborhood in Austin.
Natalie Madeira Cofield, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, in her South Congress Avenue neighborhood in Austin.

Among large, fast-growing cities, Austin is the only one with a shrinking African-American population, according to a report from the University of Texas at Austin. 

The Brief: July 18, 2014

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gives his concession speech after loosing his reelection bid to Sen. Dan Patrick on May 27th, 2014
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gives his concession speech after loosing his reelection bid to Sen. Dan Patrick on May 27th, 2014

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is on his way out in a few months, but on Thursday he moved to fill some key Senate leadership slots to help the chamber prepare for the coming legislative session in January.