Report: New Law Led to Statewide Drop in Abortions

The number of abortions in Texas decreased by about 13 percent statewide and 21 percent in the Lower Rio Grande Valley following the passage of strict abortion regulations that went into effect last November, according to a report that academic researchers released Wednesday.

Francis Wilkinson: Obama Alone Will Decide the Immigration Debate

President Barack Obama doesn't control Vladimir Putin, climate change or an opposition party dedicated to thwarting his every move. But he has extensive influence over the status of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and the course of the political battle about their fate.

Drinking Water Systems Draw Federal Concerns

More than 310 public drinking water systems in Texas — nearly 4.5 percent of the state's regulated public water systems — have quality issues that haven’t been adequately addressed, federal officials told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this year. That is the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Message to Simpson on border crisis: ‘Constituents come first’

Thomas Rolland of White Oak reminded Simpson of his historical support from much of the audience, some of whom had worked for his campaigns. “Don’t take what we say personally,” Rolland told Simpson. “We need our borders protected. We need a lot of things, but what we don’t need is more people at the trough. These people are not coming in with a good, Christian heart. Most of them are criminals, anyway.”

Analysis: A Border Plan — and a Political One

Gov. Rick Perry said a plan to send National Guard troops to the state's border with Mexico was necessary because the federal government isn't paying enough attention there. The move could also address a political weak spot he discovered in his 2012 presidential run.

Flight carrying Guatemalan families reverses the tide

A group of 13 children and their mothers deported for entering the U.S. illegally were flown back to this nation Tuesday, another marker of the Obama administration's effort to speed up the removal of Central American immigrants and send a discouraging signal to others who might attempt the journey.

League City migrant resolution opposed

League City's recent resolution rejecting refuge for Central American migrant children violates two landmark civil rights acts, a complaint to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development alleged this week. Other Houston-area jurisdictions may face similar opposition as their elected officials fight potential federal efforts to house undocumented minors in their communities.

County drops challenge of HCAD valuations

Less than two months after formally challenging the way the local appraisal district calculates the value of vacant commercial land, Harris County has backed down. Commissioners Court on Tuesday OK'd the withdrawal of a petition filed in early June by the county attorney challenging the Harris County Appraisal District after the two sides reached an information-sharing agreement.

Feds reviewing Perry’s border troops dispatch

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday that federal officials are reviewing Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico. “The governor feels as though it’s necessary,” Johnson said Tuesday. “We’re reviewing the options just because we want to review all appropriate and lawful options when dealing with this.”

Legal fees in House investigation of embattled regent total $500,000

A House investigation of University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall will cost the state $500,000, a representative in the Texas Legislative Council confirmed. The legal fees for Houston-based firm Rusty Hardin & Associates racked up to nearly $600,000 for services related to the Hall inquiry, but the state and firm negotiated a deal that reduced the fees to $500,000, the representative said.

Homeland Security secretary won’t take position on National Guard troops in border crisis

A day after Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said federal officials are reviewing the matter. “The governor feels as though it’s necessary,” Johnson said at a news conference Tuesday. “We’re reviewing the options just because we want to review all appropriate and lawful options when dealing with this.”

Plan for Young Migrants at Impasse in Congress

Senate Democrats’ plan, which they will formally introduce Wednesday, calls for roughly $2.7 billion to stem the crisis — nearly $1 billion less than President Obama requested but enough, they said, to get through the end of the year. Republicans in the House and Senate rejected it out of hand, saying that it amounted to giving the president a blank check because it did not include any changes to immigration law to address the overall problem.

New Questions on Health Law as Rulings on Subsidies Differ

The contradictory rulings will apparently have no immediate impact on consumers. But they could inject uncertainty, confusion and turmoil into health insurance markets as the administration firms up plans for another open enrollment season starting in November.

Boehner: Dems ‘jeopardizing’ border bill

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Boehner said House Republicans will hear from their border working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), at their conference meeting Wednesday. Granger’s group has been tasked with coming up with policy recommendations to accompany any increased funding for the border, but their report, originally expected out last week, has been delayed.

Dems to chop Obama’s border request

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Senate Democrats will chop $1 billion from President Obama’s emergency spending request to secure the Texas border but have rejected Republican demands to change legal protections for child immigrants from Central America. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told colleagues Tuesday that she will move a bill with $2.7 billion in emergency spending for the border, substantially less than the $3.7 billion requested by Obama, according to Democratic sources.

A Rundown of the 2014 Lieutenant Governor Races

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Texas While the gubernatorial candidacy of Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis has attracted national attention due to her lengthy filibuster on an abortion bill, many observers see the LG race as more important -- and more competitive.

Kennedy: For Perry, border policy seems like a 2006 replay

His glasses look very 2014. But behind them, Gov. Rick Perry is all 2006. That was the year when Perry vowed to “never wait for Washington” to seal the border, posed glaring across the Rio Grande for campaign ads and promised a multi-million-dollar “virtual border watch” security camera system.

Can brush control program enhance water supplies?

A state program meant to encourage old-school range management and new-school water saving methods has become the subject of a peculiarly Texas controversy. The State Soil and Water Conservation Board will decide Monday how to disburse millions of dollars to clear brush from ranches in the name of boosting water supplies.