TribWire

Investigation of Gov. Perry picks up momentum

Soon after Gov. Rick Perry threatened to withhold millions in state money from Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s office unless she resigned after her drunken driving arrest — and on the very day that Perry made good on that promise — Craig McDonald typed out a two-page criminal complaint and sent it to officials to investigate.

Want to Expand Abortion Rights in Texas? Better Talk About Immigration, Too

  • suggested by Evan Smith

If you follow the wave of anti-choice laws restricting abortion at the state level, you know things look bleak in Texas. Last month, the last two clinics in the Rio Grande Valley closed, leaving women in rural South Texas without access to services. Because of the hurdles providers now have to clear as a result of House Bill 2, which passed in July, the number of clinics in the state has dropped by nearly half—from 44 in 2011 to 24 today. By the fall, just six facilities providing abortion are expected to remain.

Anti-Corruption Unit Chief: No Davis Docs Passed to FBI

The agency charged with prosecuting state public corruption cases wrapped up an investigation into state Sen. Wendy Davis last year without finding any issues worth pursuing, its director said, and did not uncover anything it believed it should refer to the FBI.

Obama administration delays action on Keystone XL

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday confirmed it was giving eight federal agencies more time to weigh in on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely delaying a final decision on the controversial project until after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Burton, Shelton Face Off in Primary Runoff Battle

Former state Rep. Mark Shelton and Tea Party favorite Konni Burton are vying in a Republican runoff election for the state Senate seat left open by Wendy Davis. It's a swing district that both political parties are paying close attention to.

Analysis: A Betrayal Roils a Top Political Race

Politics is full of turnarounds, double-crosses and strategic misunderstandings. But a big business group's decision to switch sides in the race for lieutenant governor was a rare exhibition of political hardball. Texans for Lawsuit Reform left David Dewhurst in a runoff after supporting him in the primary and threw its support to Dan Patrick.

In Power Line Dispute, Rancher Questions Wiggle Room

After landowners sign off on power line routes, can transmission companies install them somewhere else? The Public Utility Commission is set to consider a rancher’s complaint that a 345-kilovolt power line that a transmission operator erected is 150 feet north of where it was originally mapped.

The Brief: Hall Seeks Support in Tough Re-election Bid

Hall seeks support in tough re-election bid; In power line dispute, rancher questions wiggle room; Burton, Shelton face off in primary runoff battle; Analysis: A betrayal roils a top political race; ICYMI: Texas seizes polygamist group's ranch in West Texas.

FBI probe of NTTA includes Wendy Davis file, Travis DA’s office says

Documents related to Sen. Wendy Davis’ work as a lawyer for the North Texas Tollway Authority are part of an FBI inquiry of the agency, Travis County officials say. It’s not clear whether Davis’ work for the tollway authority is a focus of the FBI or only part of the material collected in connection with its look into tollway agency operations.

Gang members soar past 100,000 in Texas

Street gang membership in Texas is passing the 100,000 mark, state and local law enforcement officials said Thursday, adding that agencies are detecting signs that rival criminal organizations are joining forces to make money.

UNT may have misstated finances by $23 million, officials say

The University of North Texas may have overstated its financial position by as much as $23 million because of misreporting, UNT System leaders said Thursday. The discovery was prompted by hotline complaints to the UNT System and state auditor’s office in 2012. One complaint alleged that UNT’s financial reporting office used an accounting trick to “hide thousands of unreconciled transactions” going back to 2004.

Donald Trump makes donation to Ted Cruz

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Hotel magnate Donald Trump donated $5,000 to Sen. Ted Cruz’s leadership PAC in January, according to new campaign records. Trump’s show of support for the Texas Republican's leadership PAC — the maximum allowed under the law per election cycle — is an indication that the men are becoming political allies.

Kennedy: In H-E-B schools, it’s not Good Friday without a good note

That’s the subject of the newest church-and-state dust-up, and as you might expect, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, is in the middle of it. Stickland, the undefeated Tea Party champion of Hurst-Euless-Bedford, went to bat Thursday for parents upset because school officials asked for a church program or documentation to excuse a Good Friday absence.

Cruz visits border, decries Obamacare

Rather than call for increased border security or strongly denouncing illegal immigration — as many conservative politicians do when stumping in South Texas — the Tea Party favorite gave his usual campaign-style speech. That meant decrying the White House’s economic policies and the healthcare law before about 500 people at an event sponsored by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce in the mess hall of local military academy.

UNT budget problems go back to at least 2011, report says

The report did not say how much UNT’s estimates were off. But it’s one of three issues to prompt what Jackson called “a major upgrade of our basic financial management practices.” Another issue deals with UNT using state money to pay for certain staff benefits when it should have used money from student fees. System officials aren’t sure what the total amount is, but it could be in the millions.

Texas Republicans to hold Dallas fund-raiser for Rep. Ralph Hall

The fund-raiser, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Park Cities Club, is hosted by former Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones and former Army Secretary Pete Geren. It also features U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, Kay Granger, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Pete Sessions and Roger Williams.

Texas DPS seizes polygamist group’s secluded ranch

The Texas Department of Public Safety said its agents took possession of the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado. In a statement, DPS said only eight adults were still living on the West Texas property and agreed to leave after meeting with agents. DPS said authorities helped them vacate the ranch and take an inventory.

In West, day of remembrance — and looking forward

The first anniversary of this town’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion was a day to remember lost lives and devastating damage – but also to commemorate the resilient spirit of a farming community that’s continuing to rebuild itself. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of healing to do today,” Mayor Tommy Muska said at an afternoon press conference.

Dallas judge reinstates privileges for two abortion doctors

A Dallas County district judge temporarily reinstated the hospital admitting privileges of two doctors who perform abortions after the hospital revoked them. University General Hospital in Dallas withdrew admitting privileges of Dr. Lamar Robinson and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia on March 31, citing in a letter that it was because the doctors perform abortions at separate facilities in Dallas.