Morgan Smith Reporter

Morgan Smith reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for "Death of a District," a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas. A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.

Recent Contributions

"Cop-Stop" Language Stripped From Open Carry Bill

Don Huffines, candidate for Texas Senate, hosts a reception at the Omni Hotel at Republican Party of Texas Convention June 5, 2014.
Don Huffines, candidate for Texas Senate, hosts a reception at the Omni Hotel at Republican Party of Texas Convention June 5, 2014.

A controversial provision, which law enforcement officials have said would allow criminals to carry firearms without repercussions, has been removed from a key gun bill, lawmakers confirmed Thursday.

Campus Carry Headed to Conference Committee

State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, during a debate over his campus carry bill, SB 11, on March 18, 2015.
State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, during a debate over his campus carry bill, SB 11, on March 18, 2015.

Significant changes limiting the reach of legislation requiring Texas universities to allow concealed handguns on campus may be in danger as House and Senate lawmakers work out their differences on the bill. 

 

Police Chiefs: Open Carry "Handcuffs" Law Enforcement

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday speak with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, right, on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday speak with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, right, on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.

Texas police chiefs are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to veto legislation repealing certain handgun restrictions in Texas if lawmakers do not remove a controversial provision the chiefs fear would allow criminals to carry firearms without repercussions. 

 

After Day of Rules Warfare, Both Sides Claim Some Wins

House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel is handed another stack of bills during debate on S.B. 19 Tuesday evening May 26, 2015 in the Texas House.
House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel is handed another stack of bills during debate on S.B. 19 Tuesday evening May 26, 2015 in the Texas House.

A daylong parliamentary battle ensued Tuesday as the Texas House faced a crucial deadline to pass many major bills before they died. Democrats succeeded in killing an abortion bill, while Republicans managed to pass ethics reform legislation and a version of campus carry.

After One More Gun Fight, Open Carry Passes Senate

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita, Falls, center, and Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speak to Karina Davis the Senate Parliamentarian on March 16th, 2015
Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita, Falls, center, and Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speak to Karina Davis the Senate Parliamentarian on March 16th, 2015

Legislation moving Texas closer to allowing open carry of handguns finally cleared the state Senate late Friday evening after the chamber was thrown into hours of tense debate over a controversial amendment limiting the power of police to stop people visibly carrying guns.