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

Judge Throws Out Attempt To Cap Paxton Prosecutors' Fees

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is shown at a news conference in Austin on Jan. 13, 2016, to announce a new unit of the attorney general’s office dedicated to combating human trafficking.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is shown at a news conference in Austin on Jan. 13, 2016, to announce a new unit of the attorney general’s office dedicated to combating human trafficking.

A Collin County court tossed out an attempt to stop payments to the special prosecutors appointed to pursue the financial fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Thursday. 

How Is Ken Paxton Paying For His Criminal Defense?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at a press conference in Austin on Jan. 13, 2016.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at a press conference in Austin on Jan. 13, 2016.

How Ken Paxton is paying for his high-octane legal defense team is one of the ongoing puzzles in the criminal case against the Texas attorney general. Paxton has said he is not using public money or government funds, but that leaves more questions than answers.

Texas Sheriffs, Jails on Immigration Front Line

The badge of Captain Jaime Magaña in Webb County Jail in Laredo, TX, on Nov. 5, 2015. Photo by Martin do Nascimento
The badge of Captain Jaime Magaña in Webb County Jail in Laredo, TX, on Nov. 5, 2015. Photo by Martin do Nascimento

The federal government stands poised to deport immigrants who commit serious crimes in the United States — provided someone else catches them first. The success of federal efforts to detain criminal immigrants depends largely on local sheriffs.

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.