Morgan Smith Reporter

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.

Recent Contributions

In Bastrop, Jade Helm Begins With a Whimper

Operation Jade Helm 15, a military training exercise, begins Wednesday in 12 Texas counties: Bastrop, Burleson, Brazos, Edwards, Howard, Hudspeth, Kimble, Martin, Marion, Real, Schleicher and Tom Green. It will also take place at Camp Bullis in San Antonio and Camp Swift in Bastrop County.
Operation Jade Helm 15, a military training exercise, begins Wednesday in 12 Texas counties: Bastrop, Burleson, Brazos, Edwards, Howard, Hudspeth, Kimble, Martin, Marion, Real, Schleicher and Tom Green. It will also take place at Camp Bullis in San Antonio and Camp Swift in Bastrop County.

The predictions included martial law, mass citizen roundups and widespread gun seizures. So what really happened as Jade Helm 15 started Wednesday in Bastrop County was pretty damn boring.

Paxton an Investor in Company Under SEC Probe

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

The name of Attorney General Ken Paxton, already facing a potential indictment by the state for first-degree felony securities fraud, has surfaced in a federal probe of a company in which he is an investor.

Despite Legal Woes, Paxton Emerges as Culture Warrior

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

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, under scrutiny for his financial dealings, stayed out of sight and coasted into office last fall as part of the new Republican leadership. Now his legal troubles are back, just as he's emerging as the hero for social conservatives who fueled his candidacy.

Campus Carry Bill Heads to Gov. Abbott

State Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, during gun bills debates on April 17, 2015.
State Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, during gun bills debates on April 17, 2015.

Legislation requiring the state’s public universities to allow handguns in dorms, classrooms and campus buildings is now one step away from becoming law after a final vote to approve it in the Texas House on Sunday.

Campus Carry Gets Final Approval in Texas Senate

State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, during a debate over his campus carry bill, SB 11, on March 18, 2015.
State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, during a debate over his campus carry bill, SB 11, on March 18, 2015.

The Texas Senate took a final vote Saturday to approve legislation requiring the state’s public universities to allow handguns in dorms, classrooms and campus buildings. The House is scheduled to vote on the issue on Sunday.