U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, talked with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2017.
<p>U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, talked with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2017.</p>

GOP health overhaul in jeopardy, but Al Franken "not assuming anything"

During the opening keynote session of The Texas Tribune Festival, U.S. Sen. Al Franken talked about the latest GOP proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act and whether there's room for bipartisanship in Washington. He also weighed in on both of his colleagues from Texas.

 
Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith (left) hosts a community forum on race and justice, featuring Jamelle Bouie (center) and&nbsp;Chris Hayes, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2017.
<p><span>Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith (left) hosts a community forum on race and justice, featuring Jamelle Bouie (center) and&nbsp;Chris Hayes, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2017.</span></p>

We can solve the problems of racism — but only if there's political will, panelists say

At the kickoff to the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival, Chris Hayes of MSNBC and Jamelle Bouie of Slate participated in a Community Forum on Race and Justice moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith.

A digger sits on top of a growing city-run debris pile filled with water-damaged items, from mattresses&nbsp;to sheetrock, in Port Arthur on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.&nbsp;
<p><span>A digger sits on top of a growing city-run debris pile filled with water-damaged items, from mattresses&nbsp;to sheetrock, in Port Arthur on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.&nbsp;</span></p>

Another challenge after Harvey: getting rid of mountains of trash

Even with help from the state and other Texas cities, Houston's massive post-Harvey debris piles will take months to remove, local officials say. 

We can solve the problems of racism — but only if there's political will, panelists say

Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith (left) hosts a community forum on race and justice, featuring Jamelle Bouie (center) and&nbsp;Chris Hayes, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2017.
<p><span>Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith (left) hosts a community forum on race and justice, featuring Jamelle Bouie (center) and&nbsp;Chris Hayes, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2017.</span></p>

At the kickoff to the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival, Chris Hayes of MSNBC and Jamelle Bouie of Slate participated in a Community Forum on Race and Justice moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith.

Another challenge after Harvey: getting rid of mountains of trash

A digger sits on top of a growing city-run debris pile filled with water-damaged items, from mattresses&nbsp;to sheetrock, in Port Arthur on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.&nbsp;
<p><span>A digger sits on top of a growing city-run debris pile filled with water-damaged items, from mattresses&nbsp;to sheetrock, in Port Arthur on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.&nbsp;</span></p>

Even with help from the state and other Texas cities, Houston's massive post-Harvey debris piles will take months to remove, local officials say. 

 

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Hell and High Water: How Houston is ill-prepared for a hurricane

Texas railroad commissioner wants AG to weigh in on board chair's actions

Texas Railroad Commissioners Christi Craddick, center, and Ryan Sitton, right, during a Sunset Advisory Committee hearing on Aug. 22, 2016.
<p>Texas Railroad Commissioners Christi Craddick, center, and Ryan Sitton, right, during a Sunset Advisory Committee hearing on Aug. 22, 2016.</p>

Two days after Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton and the board's chair, Christi Craddickclashed publicly at a state meeting, Sitton is asking Attorney General Ken Paxton to weigh in on his colleague's actions.

Are any Texans in Congress ready to retire in 2018? We asked them.

Members of the Texas congressional delegation from both parties&nbsp;hold a press conference to discuss Harvey relief efforts in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 7, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>Members of the Texas congressional delegation from both parties&nbsp;hold a press conference to discuss Harvey relief efforts in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 7, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

All but one of the 38 Texans in Congress are up for re-election next year. Two have already said they are giving up their seats. But many in Washington are bracing for a wave of Congressional retirements in the coming weeks.

Three hospitalized after wreck involving motorcade carrying state, federal officials

The remnants of an SUV wrecked in a car accident on Sept. 21, 2017 during a U.S. Department of Agriculture tour of Harvey-damaged agricultural production.&nbsp;
<p>The remnants of an SUV wrecked in a car accident on Sept. 21, 2017 during a U.S. Department of Agriculture tour of Harvey-damaged agricultural production.&nbsp;</p>

Two staffers for U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and one from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were sent to a hospital near El Campo on Thursday after a major car wreck that interrupted a government tour of hurricane damage to agricultural production. 

The Brief: Setting the stage for Texas' next showdown over "sanctuary cities"

Protesters march near the Riverwalk in San Antonio&nbsp;against&nbsp;Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" ban, on June 26, 2017. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is hearing opening arguments&nbsp;from Texas cities and counties challenging the measure, signed into law by Gov. Greg &nbsp;Abbott.
<p>Protesters march near the Riverwalk in San Antonio&nbsp;against&nbsp;Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" ban, on June 26, 2017. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is hearing opening arguments&nbsp;from Texas cities and counties challenging the measure, signed into law by Gov. Greg &nbsp;Abbott.</p>

Texas again is facing off with its opponents in court today — this time, it's over the state's new immigration enforcement law.

Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Texas "sanctuary cities" law

People demonstrating against Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" ban, march near the Riverwalk in San Antonio on June 26, 2017. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia heard opening arguments&nbsp;from Texas cities and counties challenging the measure, signed into law by Gov. Greg &nbsp;Abbott.
<p><span>People demonstrating against <span>Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" ban</span>, march near the Riverwalk in San Antonio on June 26, 2017. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia heard opening arguments&nbsp;from Texas cities and counties challenging the measure, signed into law by Gov. Greg &nbsp;Abbott.</span></p>

The stage is set for a Friday court battle in New Orleans between the state's attorneys and local governments over Texas' immigration enforcement law, Senate Bill 4. 

Facing federal confusion, Texas "Dreamers" prepare for looming DACA deadline

DACA supporters held a press conference in front of the Texas Attorney General's Office in Austin on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, after the Trump administration announced the program was ending.&nbsp;
<p>DACA supporters held a press conference in front of the Texas Attorney General's Office in Austin on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, after the Trump administration announced the program was ending.&nbsp;</p>

As the Trump Administration sends mixed signals about the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — or DACA — an upcoming deadline could determine the status of many of the program's recipients.

Analysis: X-factor in next year's elections might be Harvey, not Donald

John Sharp, Texas A&amp;M University chancellor and&nbsp;head&nbsp;of the new Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and&nbsp;Nim Kidd, Chief of Texas Emergency Management, get briefed on recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey at the FEMA Joint Field Office in Austin on Sept. 14, 2017.
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<p><span>John Sharp</span><span>, Texas A&amp;M University chancellor and&nbsp;</span><span>head</span><span>&nbsp;of the new Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and&nbsp;<span>Nim Kidd, Chief of Texas Emergency Management, get briefed on recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey at the FEMA Joint Field Office in Austin on Sept. 14, 2017.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

The tempestuous president has been trumped by a tempest: Texas politics and government is all about Hurricane Harvey now, and Donald Trump might not be the most important outsider in the state's 2018 elections after all.

Houston housing officials draw ire for evicting elderly residents

Sheila Anderson criticizes Houston Housing Authority officials on Sept. 21, 2017, after the entity issued eviction notices to elderly residents in a building flooded by Hurricane Harvey's rains.&nbsp;
<p>Sheila Anderson criticizes Houston Housing Authority officials on Sept. 21, 2017, after the entity issued eviction notices to elderly residents in a building flooded by Hurricane Harvey's rains.&nbsp;</p>

Public housing leaders say a high-rise along Buffalo Bayou is unsafe because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey. But folks who live in 2100 Memorial say officials have mishandled the situation.

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Hell and high water – Riding out Hurricane Harvey

New law seeks to prevent surprise medical bills from freestanding ERs

A freestanding emergency room provides 24-hour acute care in the Mueller neighborhood of Austin on July 10, 2017. As of Sept. 1, 2017, facilities like this one are required to post a notice of which health insurance networks they participate in, if any.
<p>A freestanding emergency room provides 24-hour acute care in the Mueller neighborhood of Austin on July 10, 2017. As of Sept. 1, 2017, facilities like this one are required to post a notice of which health insurance networks they participate in, if any.</p>

A new law requires Texas' freestanding emergency rooms to more clearly communicate what health insurance networks they're in, if any.

 

Along the Texas coast, food banks brace for post-Harvey need

Damon Smith helps unload a truckload of food and supplies at the Southeast Texas Food Bank in Beaumont on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.&nbsp;
<p><span>Damon Smith helps unload a truckload of food and supplies at the Southeast Texas Food Bank in Beaumont on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.&nbsp;</span></p>

Food banks, pantries and other food access advocates are bracing for increased need in communities that struggled with food insecurity even before Hurricane Harvey — and planning how to meet needs in the months of recovery still ahead.

Homeowners join lawsuit against Crosby chemical plant that burned after Hurricane Harvey

The Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas is covered in&nbsp;debris after a series of chemical fires that occurred as a result of floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.
<p><span>The Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas is covered in&nbsp;debris after a series of chemical fires that occurred as a result of floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.</span></p>

Eleven additional plaintiffs and a new defendant have been added to a lawsuit against the company whose manufacturing plant experienced a series of chemical fires as a result of floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.