Morgan Smith reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for "Death of a District," a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas. A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.
Bedford state Rep. Jonathan Stickland's challenger in the GOP primary for Texas House has dredged up more than 3,000 of Stickland's old posts on a fantasy football forum. It ain't pretty.Full Story
Continued uncertainty over the provisions of a new state law allowing the open carry of handguns may prompt future legislative tinkering, Texas lawmakers said Tuesday.Full Story
Supporters and opponents of two controversial new gun laws passed last year — open carry and campus carry — will update Texas lawmakers Tuesday on how the measures are working so far.Full Story
More than 18,000 times over the last two years, local jails across the country — including in almost three dozen in Texas — failed to hand over deportable immigrants to federal authorities.Full Story
Zoos that want to limit firearms on their property are walking a legal tightrope under a pair of new Texas gun laws.Full Story
The state’s handgun license holders, who previously had to keep their firearms concealed, can now carry them openly. Across Texas, law enforcement officials, city leaders and business owners are bracing for lawsuits.Full Story
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has edged closer to cementing his frontrunner status in the crucial early state of Iowa after claiming the top spot in a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll.Full Story
In a 19-page court filing, the special prosecutors pursuing the financial securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton delivered a scathing response to Paxton's latest efforts to dismiss his three felony charges.Full Story
If Texas sheriffs do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, they will face losing state grant money, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday.Full Story
Local officials find themselves at ground zero of the immigration debate as battles over “sanctuary cities,” a loose term for cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, brew in a handful of Texas counties.
The forum, which had drawn opposition from the local county GOP, touched on topics like same-sex marriage, red light cameras, school choice and border security.Full Story
Critics of his leadership should look at the conservative record of the Texas House under three terms of his speakership, Joe Straus told an audience at the Texas Tribune Festival Saturday.Full Story