She was a sex-trafficking victim, but Texas law labeled her a pimp

Yvette, 24, was convicted of trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2015. She is serving a 23-year sentence at a prison in Gatesville, Texas.
Yvette, 24, was convicted of trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2015. She is serving a 23-year sentence at a prison in Gatesville, Texas.

Laws the state uses to put sex traffickers behind bars can sweep up their prey, too. A few years in age can mean the difference between a chance at rehabilitation and a lengthy prison sentence, as Yvette learned.

Senate panel hears testimony on 3 abortion-related bills

Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown listens to questions asked by Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin during a February 15, 2017 Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown listens to questions asked by Sen. Kirk Watson D-Austin during a February 15, 2017 Senate Committee on Health and Human Services

Senate Health and Human Services Committee members heard emotional testimony from reproductive rights and anti-abortion advocates on Wednesday over Senate Bill 8, Senate Bill 415 and Senate Bill 258.

House budget proposal would defund Gov. Abbott's pre-K program

Gov. Greg Abbott signs House Bill 4, which adds funding for pre-kindergarten, into law at the Anita Uphaus Early Childhood Center in Austin on May 28, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott signs House Bill 4, which adds funding for pre-kindergarten, into law at the Anita Uphaus Early Childhood Center in Austin on May 28, 2015.

The House has proposed cutting all funding for a pre-K grant program that Gov. Greg Abbott has discussed as a priority this legislative session — setting the stage for a battle in the Legislature.

Trump team's alleged Russia ties get muted response from Texas Republicans

Donald Trump rallies a crowd of veterans at Drake University on Jan. 28, 2016, while other Republican presidential candidates hold a final Des Moines debate prior to the Iowa caucuses.
Donald Trump rallies a crowd of veterans at Drake University on Jan. 28, 2016, while other Republican presidential candidates hold a final Des Moines debate prior to the Iowa caucuses.

Texas Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for more Congressional oversight, amid news reports of Trump allies communicating with Russian officials. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hangs on politically as criminal trial looms

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a press conference to recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month on January 12, 2017.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a press conference to recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month on January 12, 2017.

In less than three months, Texans will watch as their attorney general stands trial on securities fraud charges, facing up to 99 years in prison. Yet Ken Paxton's Republican base is standing by him.

Menéndez failed to report $50,000 in donations

Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, reacts after his point of order to kill SB 4 the sanctuary city bill is denied during debate on Feb. 7, 2017.
Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, reacts after his point of order to kill SB 4 the sanctuary city bill is denied during debate on Feb. 7, 2017.

A Texas Tribune investigation found that two state senators failed to report almost $60,000 in donations from two PACs. Sens. Jose Menendez and Carlos Uresti, both San Antonio Democrats, vowed to file amended reports.

Texas Attorney General first in country to file brief backing Trump travel ban

Texas AG Ken Paxton during a press conference to recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month on January 12, 2017.
Texas AG Ken Paxton during a press conference to recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month on January 12, 2017.

Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an amicus brief Wednesday expressing his support of President Donald Trump's travel ban, effectively becoming the first state attorney general to back the controversial executive order. 

The Brief: New abortion fights in Texas start today

Protesters on both sides of the issue face off in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is argued inside, March 2, 2016. The case is focused on Texas law HB2, which if enforced would result in the closure of more than 75 percent of all women’s health clinics that provide abortion services in the state.
Protesters on both sides of the issue face off in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is argued inside, March 2, 2016. The case is focused on Texas law HB2, which if enforced would result in the closure of more than 75 percent of all women’s health clinics that provide abortion services in the state.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee is taking up three abortion-related bills today. Here's what you need to know. 

Texas couldn’t help this sex-trafficked teen, so authorities sent her to jail

17-year-old Lena waits to be released from the Harris County Jail, with a small bag of her possessions. Her mentor gave her a blue jumpsuit to wear over her skimpy clothes.
17-year-old Lena waits to be released from the Harris County Jail, with a small bag of her possessions. Her mentor gave her a blue jumpsuit to wear over her skimpy clothes.

No one wanted Lena behind bars. She was not a prostitute; she was a child who had been sexually exploited. But teenage sex-trafficking victims in Texas end up in jail for one simple reason: There's nowhere else for them to go.

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