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

San Antonio Democrats In Rematch For Senate Seat

State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.
State Reps. José Menéndez (left) and Trey Martinez Fischer, both Democrats from San Antonio, are seeking the Texas Senate seat vacated by Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for mayor of San Antonio.

Trey Martinez Fischer and José Menéndez will once again battle over Texas Senate District 26 — a rematch of their special election runoff earlier this year, when the latter prevailed. 

Prosecutors: Paxton Engaged in "Pre-Trial Shell Game"

Texas Attorney Gen.  Ken Paxton, speaks at The Texas Response: Pastors, Marriage & Religious Freedom event at the First Baptist Church in Pflugerville, Texas on September 29, 2015
Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton, speaks at The Texas Response: Pastors, Marriage & Religious Freedom event at the First Baptist Church in Pflugerville, Texas on September 29, 2015

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.

Abbott: No Grants for Sheriffs who Don't Work with ICE

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks with reporters after voting early in the constitutional amendment election Wednesday at the Travis County Courthouse. Abbott discussed the state's recent move against Planned Parenthood and whether he plans to endorse any candidate in the Republican race for the White House.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks with reporters after voting early in the constitutional amendment election Wednesday at the Travis County Courthouse. Abbott discussed the state's recent move against Planned Parenthood and whether he plans to endorse any candidate in the Republican race for the White House.

If Texas sheriffs do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, they will face losing state grant money, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday.

Ken Paxton Repeats Call for Christians in Politics

Texas Attorney Gen.  Ken Paxton, speaks at The Texas Response: Pastors, Marriage & Religious Freedom event at the First Baptist Church in Pflugerville, Texas on September 29, 2015
Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton, speaks at The Texas Response: Pastors, Marriage & Religious Freedom event at the First Baptist Church in Pflugerville, Texas on September 29, 2015

Urging Christians to “be bold” in standing up for religious freedom, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton touted his work as the state’s top lawyer on Tuesday, championing causes dear to social conservatives at a Baptist church. 

In North Texas, McCarty and Tea Party Flourish

Julie McCarty during the 'What Does The Tea Party Want?' keynote session of The Texas Tribune Festival on Sep. 28, 2013.
Julie McCarty during the 'What Does The Tea Party Want?' keynote session of The Texas Tribune Festival on Sep. 28, 2013.

What began as an almost accidental plunge into politics for Julie McCarty has evolved into what is arguably the state’s most influential Tea Party group, supplanting some of the power held by traditional Texas centers of conservative gravity.

Paxton Goes to Church, Extols Christian Voices in Politics

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

In a rare public appearance since his indictment in late July, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made an appeal for more Christian involvement in politics as he addressed the congregation at First Baptist Grapevine Sunday.

Paxton Pleads Not Guilty; Lawyer Quits Case

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arrives at court in Fort Worth to plead not guilty to felony charges.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arrives at court in Fort Worth to plead not guilty to felony charges.

Attorney General Ken Paxton's first courtroom appearance as a criminal defendant was a 30-minute affair during which Paxton's lead lawyer quit for unspecified reasons, the attorney general insisted no cameras be allowed at his trial and the judge admonished everyone to limit public statements about the case.