TribWire

Voters poised to give TxDOT more money, but shortfalls persist

A state constitutional amendment is being sold as a way to give the revenue-strapped Texas Department of Transportation more money without raising taxes, issuing additional debt or building new toll roads. All three points are true. But even if Proposition 1 on next month’s ballot passes and voters send TxDOT up to $1.7 billion more a year, it won’t eliminate the need for some or all of those mechanisms.

Ebola isolation ending, but not fiancée’s grief

Relief was tempered by caution Sunday as the first Dallas-area residents exposed to the deadly Ebola virus emerged healthy from 21 days of seclusion. For Louise Troh, the relief was wrapped in mourning for her lost fiancé, Thomas Eric Duncan, and their long-awaited wedding that never occurred.

Conservatives fear John Roberts going soft

  • suggested by John Reynolds

When the high court issued orders last week blocking Wisconsin’s voter ID law and stopping enforcement of key parts of Texas’ new restrictions on abortion clinics, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito publicly dissented. Roberts was notably silent.

Texas congressional races run rich, but few in re-election fight

In Texas’ congressional races this fall, virtually every incumbent is expected to cruise to re-election. But that hasn’t stopped the lawmakers from collecting mounds of campaign cash. Already, 20 Texans in the U.S. House have taken in at least $1 million in the 2014 cycle. Seven are from the Dallas area.

Federal Hatch Act complaint surfaces in state House race

Rodney Anderson’s campaign has told federal investigators that his Democratic opponent for House District 105 is barred by law from campaigning, and should be fired from her day job for running. But as GOP mailers trumpeted the complaint before early voting starts Monday — “Did Susan Motley Violate Federal Law?” — lawyers from the last Republican White House defended the Democrat’s right to run.

Waldman: How the Supreme Court Made a Mess of Our Voting System

  • suggested by John Reynolds

The breakthrough? Facts. Two powerful judicial opinions—one from a Texas trial judge, another from an esteemed appeals court jurist—and a landmark government study have shed new light on the costs and consequences of restrictive voting laws.

Cruz: 'Biggest mistake' in Ebola response is letting flights continue

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday slammed President Obama for not instituting a travel ban on flights to and from West Africa. During an interview on CNN’s "State of Union" show, Cruz said the “biggest mistake that continues to be made is that we continue to allow open commercial air flights.”

Wendy Davis faces long odds without an ‘October surprise’

She has defied long odds before. But most analysts say her winning streak is about to end. As early voting begins Monday for the Nov. 4 election, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth is in the homestretch of an all-but-impossible task: persuading Texans to put a Democrat in the Governor’s Mansion after nearly two decades of Republican leadership.

Kennedy: Surprise in Rice study: Tarrant an R county, but not a deep shade of red

Tarrant County residents see ourselves as moderates, not even as conservative as voters in Bexar County (San Antonio) or Hidalgo County near the border, according to a new study from the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston. Tarrant County residents scored ourselves at 4.4 on a 1-4-7 scale of liberal-to-conservative, according to data from a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll in Rice professor Mark P. Jones’ study “Texas Most Liberal and Conservative Counties.”

First round of Ebola contacts to resume their lives

Fourteen of the 48 were cleared Saturday, and 34 more were to be released from control orders at midnight, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Sunday evening at a news conference in Dallas. That will leave more than 100 in Dallas and Ohio still being monitored.

Fraud inspector’s falsified work could cost state millions

Now, an alternative explanation for the inspector general’s low-ball settlement has arisen: The agency has determined that one of its own investigators cooked the books, a discovery that could end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars. According to documents obtained by the American-Statesman, a senior actuary for the Office of Inspector General was escorted out of the agency’s Austin offices on Friday afternoon, July 25, a day after he admitted falsifying data in the case against Trueblood Dental Associates.

Tinderholt visits club on campus

Tinderholt also talked about his pro-life stance as well as his support for Second Amendment rights. “I’m pro-life when it comes to babies, I’m pro-life when it comes to doctors deciding that they want to pull the plug on a patient,” he said. “For a conservative Republican, pro-life is a very easy thing to talk about because you can’t be in the middle of the road when it comes to pro-life.”

Rick Perry's Ebola test

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Ebola came to Texas. And Rick Perry went to Europe. Now the Republican governor, a likely presidential contender, is back in Austin and scrambling to avoid a damaging perception problem like the “oops” moment that doomed his first shot at the White House.

U.S. Supreme Court allows Texas’ voter ID law to stay in effect

A divided U.S. Supreme Court said Saturday that the Texas voter identification law should remain in effect for the upcoming election. A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the U.S. Justice Department and civil rights groups to block the state from requiring voters to produce one of seven forms of photo identification to cast ballots — considered one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country.

Central Texas man tests negative for Ebola; more tests pending

A Central Texas resident being held in isolation at an Austin hospital Sunday has tested negative for Ebola. The man, who has not been identified, was admitted into St. David’s Medical Center early Sunday. A preliminary test conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services on Sunday morning was negative for Ebola, spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.

HPM/KHOU Poll

  • suggested by John Reynolds

Conducted by Survey Research Center, University of Houston Center for Public Policy & Rice University Statewide survey of 781 likely voters | Harris County wide survey of 325 likely voters Statewide margin of error +/- 3.6% | Harris County margin of error +/-5.4% September 22 – October 15, 2014

Dozens Declared Free of Ebola Risk in Texas

At least one chapter of the Ebola saga neared a close Sunday, as most of the dozens of people who had direct or indirect contact here with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola, had been told by officials that they were no longer at risk of contracting the disease.

Fikac: Echo of past in ban on gay marriage?

When I said I wasn't clear if he was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, “Actually, the reason why you're uncertain about it is because I didn't answer the question. And I can't go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.” Asked about the similarities some see between the ban on gay marriage and past prohibitions on interracial marriage, Abbott said, “Well, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that” by holding that sexual orientation isn't due protected-class status in the way that race is.

EIA seeking to improve data collection

The agency thinks it has a solution: broadening an existing gas-focused monthly survey, which now is limited to about 240 producers in five states and the Gulf of Mexico. Under the proposed expansion, the survey would pull in production data about crude as well as gas from 19 states and the Gulf, with about twice as many respondents required to fill out the paperwork.

Finally time to cast ballots as early voting starts Monday

The state's embattled law requiring photo identification to vote will be in effect. Although the law has been held unconstitutional, it remains in effect this election while appeals continue. Election workers will be prepared to guide the public through the voter ID confusion, said Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen.

Ebola leaving little room for campaign politics

Statewide candidates took their biggest step yet Friday into the debate over how to stop the spread of Ebola, lending their voice to a story that has threatened to overshadow closing arguments to voters. To some political observers, the threat of the disease - centered on Dallas - has amounted to an October surprise, an unexpected issue competing for voters' attention at a crucial time.

Attorneys pledge battle over voter ID law 'isn't over'

The majority on the high court did not explain its decision to reject an emergency application by plaintiffs challenging the law, the toughest of its kind in the country. The Justice Department and civil rights organizations had asked the Supreme Court to overturn a stay issued by a federal appeals court that kept the statute, Senate Bill 14, in place through Election Day.