Gay Rights Activists Find Unlikely Ally in Republican

Republican State Reps.  Byron Cook (l), R-Corsicana, Burt Solomons (c), R-Carrollton, and Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order on HB12 sanctuary cities bill on May 6, 2011.
Republican State Reps. Byron Cook (l), R-Corsicana, Burt Solomons (c), R-Carrollton, and Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order on HB12 sanctuary cities bill on May 6, 2011.

Corsicana Republican state Rep. Byron Cook, who has an adopted child, says both same-sex adoptive parents should be listed on a Texas birth certificate. He believes it's best for the children, though it puts him at odds with his party's stance on gay rights issues. 

Houston Suburb Looks to Bill for Water Fix

Leticia Ramirez, a cook at the Loving Care Learning Center in Castlewood, shows how staff use filtered water to wash their hands during the regular, random water shut-offs this unincorporated community eperiences.
Leticia Ramirez, a cook at the Loving Care Learning Center in Castlewood, shows how staff use filtered water to wash their hands during the regular, random water shut-offs this unincorporated community eperiences.

Residents of a small unincorporated community outside Houston hope legislation by state Rep. Armando Walle will help them get safe, reliable water service, and shine a light on parts of Texas with similar problems. 

Case of "San Antonio Four" Set to Enter its Final Act

Anna Vasquez was released from prison in November 2012, after 12 years in prison. She and three other women are attempting to get exonerated after one of the alleged victims recanted in 2012.
Anna Vasquez was released from prison in November 2012, after 12 years in prison. She and three other women are attempting to get exonerated after one of the alleged victims recanted in 2012.

Four San Antonio women were convicted of molesting two girls in the 1990s, but one of the girls has since said they were coerced to make false accusations. The women's case is getting a new look.

Cruz Wants to Upend Laws on Contraception, Gay Rights

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U.S. Sen Ted Cruz gives a speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 24, 2015.
U.S. Sen Ted Cruz gives a speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 24, 2015.

Ted Cruz has turned his attention to D.C. politics, introducing measures to keep religious colleges from having to fund gay and lesbian student groups and to upend a law on discrimination over reproductive health decisions.

Contracting Reform Bill Sails Out of Senate Committee

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Amid an ongoing scandal over how the state awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to a private company, the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved Senate Bill 20, which would overhaul the state’s contracting processes.

Houston’s Annise Parker Ponders Her Political Future

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker at the Texas Democratic Party's convention in Houston on June 8, 2012.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker at the Texas Democratic Party's convention in Houston on June 8, 2012.

Annise Parker, who is serving her final year as Houston's mayor, has left her mark on the nation’s fourth-largest city and become a national figure in LGBT politics. Doing both at the same time hasn’t always been easy.