Houston House Race a Test Case of Identity Politics

Mexican flags wave along Harrisburg Ave. in Houston. Drawn in 1991 to reflect the area’s booming Hispanic population, the Houston-based 29th Congressional District has never had a Hispanic representative.
Mexican flags wave along Harrisburg Ave. in Houston. Drawn in 1991 to reflect the area’s booming Hispanic population, the Houston-based 29th Congressional District has never had a Hispanic representative.

The upcoming primary face-off between incumbent Gene Green and Adrian Garcia in Houston's 29th congressional district will test case the influence of identity politics in Texas Democratic races.

State Officials Investigating Rep. Dukes' Use of Staff

Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes is honored at the unveiling of the African American Portrait Project at the African American Cultural and heritage Facility in Austin, Texas. June 9, 2014.
Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes is honored at the unveiling of the African American Portrait Project at the African American Cultural and heritage Facility in Austin, Texas. June 9, 2014.

The State Auditor's Office is investigating whether state Rep. Dawnna Dukes improperly required her legislative staffers to participate in work for a nonprofit group that she founded, a Capitol source told The Texas Tribune on Friday. 

Houston Sheriff Still Shielding Killer's Record

Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office has decided to keep secret its investigative files on a Mexican national whose 2015 shooting spree in Houston left two people dead and three injured.  

 

Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates Emphasize Experience

Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).
Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).

Although the Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest criminal court in the state — and it deals with a number of hot-button issues including the death penalty — its nine judges don’t attract much attention. That can make campaigning for a seat on the court difficult.

Analysis: Primaries Could Hush Reps. Stickland, Martinez Fischer

State Reps. Jonathan Stickland (left), R-Bedford, and Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, are seen as gadflies by many of their colleagues in the Texas House. Both are locked in tough 2016 primary battles.
State Reps. Jonathan Stickland (left), R-Bedford, and Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, are seen as gadflies by many of their colleagues in the Texas House. Both are locked in tough 2016 primary battles.

Republican Jonathan Stickland and Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer, the noisiest pot-stirrers in the Texas House, are in tough March 1 primary contests. Each man is his own best argument, and his worst one.

Trooper in Sandra Bland Case Set for Arraignment

The booking photo (left) of Brian Encinia, the DPS trooper who pulled over and arrested Sandra Bland, on Jan. 7, 2016. Bland committed suicide in her Waller Co. jail cell a few days after her arrest.
The booking photo (left) of Brian Encinia, the DPS trooper who pulled over and arrested Sandra Bland, on Jan. 7, 2016. Bland committed suicide in her Waller Co. jail cell a few days after her arrest.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia's arraignment on a perjury charge related to his arrest of Sandra Bland will be held in March, the Waller County District Clerk's office confirmed.

Oil Thefts Persist Despite End of Drilling Boom

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Former police officer Mike Peters now works security for oil producers. He watches out for signs of oil laundering.
Former police officer Mike Peters now works security for oil producers. He watches out for signs of oil laundering.

Even at $30 a barrel, oil theft remains a problem in some of the state's drilling hotspots, particularly as local economies struggle to replace the jobs lost as the drilling boom fades.

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