Alexa Ura Reporter

Alexa Ura covers politics and demographics for The Texas Tribune, where she started as an intern in 2013. She previously covered health care for the Trib. While earning her journalism degree at the University of Texas at Austin, she was a reporter and editor for The Daily Texan. A Laredo native, Alexa is a fluent Spanish-speaker and is constantly seeking genuine Mexican food in Austin.

Recent Contributions

Spouses of Gay Public Employees Eligible for Benefits

A couple arranges a marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's office on June 26, 2015.
A couple arranges a marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's office on June 26, 2015.

As of Wednesday, public employers including Texas agencies and universities will allow current and retired gay and lesbian employees to enroll their same-sex spouses in the same benefit programs and services available to opposite-sex couples.

Gay Rights Activists: Fight is Only Just Getting Started

Gay rights activists held a demonstration on Monday, June 29, 2015, in front of the Texas Capitol. The event came a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Speakers at the event included (from left) Cleo DeLeon, Chad Griffin, Jim Obergefell, Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes, Rebecca Robertson and Kathy Miller.
Gay rights activists held a demonstration on Monday, June 29, 2015, in front of the Texas Capitol. The event came a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Speakers at the event included (from left) Cleo DeLeon, Chad Griffin, Jim Obergefell, Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes, Rebecca Robertson and Kathy Miller.

Now that same-sex marriage is legal, gay rights activists are setting their sights on pushing for more protections for LGBT people. In front of the Texas Capitol, activists on Monday vowed to target discrimination in areas including employment and housing.

 

Paxton: Clerks Don't Have to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media after keynoting a June 2015 event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to media after keynoting a June 2015 event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

County clerks who have religious objections to same-sex marriage can opt out of issuing such licenses — but they should be prepared to face fines or legal challenges, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written opinion.

 

Demand for Bilingual 911 Services Growing

Downtown El Paso at night.
Downtown El Paso at night.

While Texas continues its demographic march into diversity, only one city — El Paso — requires its 911 emergency call takers to be fluent in English and Spanish. Other cities are striving to keep up with the need to handle emergency calls in a wide range of languages.

Benefits Should Follow Same-Sex Marriages

A couple arranges a marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's office on June 26, 2015.
A couple arranges a marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's office on June 26, 2015.

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling establishing the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, public employers are now figuring out how and when spouses of married gay employees will start receiving benefits.

Supreme Court: Gay Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional

Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss of Plano at an LBJ Library press conference celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015. Holmes and Phariss had sued Texas over its same-sex marriage ban.
Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss of Plano at an LBJ Library press conference celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015. Holmes and Phariss had sued Texas over its same-sex marriage ban.

Handing gay rights advocates a monumental victory, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ruled that marriages between couples of the same sex cannot be prohibited by states, a decision that overrides Texas’ ban on gay marriage.

Paxton to County Clerks: Wait for Direction on Gay Marriage

TX Attorney General Ken Paxton, speaks to media following remarks at event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan on June 22, 2015
TX Attorney General Ken Paxton, speaks to media following remarks at event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation regarding impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan on June 22, 2015

If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants county clerks to hold off on issuing marriage licenses to such couples until his office has given them direction.

 

Feds to Curtail Use of Family Detention Centers

Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.
Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Wednesday that families that enter the country illegally to seek asylum will no longer be detained after they’ve established a legitimate claim for relief.