POLITICS: Special Interests

Advocates Call for Release of Some LGBT Asylum-Seekers

Supporters of LGBT asylum-seekers rally at a church in Austin.
Supporters of LGBT asylum-seekers rally at a church in Austin.

A growing number of asylum-seekers are asking for safe haven based on a factor that isn't usually associated with a need to flee one's homeland: gender identity. In the days before the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark gay marriage case, immigrant rights groups were drawing attention to the plight of LGBT immigrants.

At Shooting Range, Abbott Signs "Open Carry" Bill

Gov. Greg Abbott signs an open-carry bill passed by the state Legislature at Red’s Indoor Range, a gun store and shooting range in Pflugerville, Texas, on June 13, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott signs an open-carry bill passed by the state Legislature at Red’s Indoor Range, a gun store and shooting range in Pflugerville, Texas, on June 13, 2015.

In a bill-signing ceremony at a popular Central Texas gun store, Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday praised pro-gun groups and lawmakers for helping Texas ensure that the Second Amendment is alive and well in the Lone Star State. 

Church Offers Haven to Lesbian Facing Deportation

Sulma Franco, 31, talks to reporters at her make-shift shelter at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin, Texas.
Sulma Franco, 31, talks to reporters at her make-shift shelter at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin, Texas.

An Austin church has offered sanctuary to an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who said returning to her homeland means violence, abuse or even death. As a lesbian, Sulma Franco said she is fighting for herself and others at risk because of their sexual orientation. 

Despite Early Momentum, Immigration Bills Fall Flat

Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond, speaks in favor of HB 1403 which was passed in 2001 and grants all Texans in-state college tuition regardless of immigration status on April 13th, 2015
Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond, speaks in favor of HB 1403 which was passed in 2001 and grants all Texans in-state college tuition regardless of immigration status on April 13th, 2015

Though campaign promises to enact immigration-enforcement measures and repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students didn't see the light of day, Republicans who championed the measures said they'll be back next session to try again. 

Residency Requirement for Statewide Elected Officials Could Change

House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Chair John Otto explains a budget amendment to a colleague during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

Statewide elected officials would no longer be required to live in Austin under a constitutional amendment that could be headed to voters on a general election ballot. The House tentatively backed the measure on Monday.