GOVERNMENT

House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, pulled down a school finance bill during the 84th legislative session on May 14, 2015.
House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, pulled down a school finance bill during the 84th legislative session on May 14, 2015.

Texas Lawmakers to Highlight Education Spending Divide

The state’s escalating dependence on local tax dollars to fund public schools — and, at least indirectly, other government services — is expected to be a focus during a joint hearing of two House committees Wednesday and Thursday.

A gas well is shown in 2014 sitting less than 400 feet from a home in Denton.
A gas well is shown in 2014 sitting less than 400 feet from a home in Denton.

Analysis: In Texas, You Can Fight City Hall

The Texas Legislature has become the court of last resort for companies and industries fighting local regulations in the state's cities and counties. And for those interests, Austin can be a very favorable venue for appeals.

Sculptor Ed Dwight talked with workers who were installing the Texas African-American History Memorial Monument at the Texas Capitol on Sept. 27, 2016.
Sculptor Ed Dwight talked with workers who were installing the Texas African-American History Memorial Monument at the Texas Capitol on Sept. 27, 2016.

African-American Monument Being Installed at Texas Capitol

After more than two decades of effort by lawmakers to install a monument at the Capitol celebrating African-Americans, the main components of a bronze and granite memorial were quietly lowered onto the south lawn on Tuesday.

Analysis: In Texas, You Can Fight City Hall

A gas well is shown in 2014 sitting less than 400 feet from a home in Denton.
A gas well is shown in 2014 sitting less than 400 feet from a home in Denton.

The Texas Legislature has become the court of last resort for companies and industries fighting local regulations in the state's cities and counties. And for those interests, Austin can be a very favorable venue for appeals.

African-American Monument Being Installed at Texas Capitol

Sculptor Ed Dwight talked with workers who were installing the Texas African-American History Memorial Monument at the Texas Capitol on Sept. 27, 2016.
Sculptor Ed Dwight talked with workers who were installing the Texas African-American History Memorial Monument at the Texas Capitol on Sept. 27, 2016.

After more than two decades of effort by lawmakers to install a monument at the Capitol celebrating African-Americans, the main components of a bronze and granite memorial were quietly lowered onto the south lawn on Tuesday.

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Texas Appeals Voter ID Rulings to U.S. Supreme Court

Attorney General Ken Paxton and Solicitor General Scott Keller after oral arguments on the voter ID case before the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans on May 24, 2016.
Attorney General Ken Paxton and Solicitor General Scott Keller after oral arguments on the voter ID case before the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans on May 24, 2016.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the justices to hear his arguments about why the state’s photo ID requirements for voting do not discriminate against Hispanics and African-American voters. 

 

Texas Not Budging on Rule Requiring Burial or Cremation of Fetal Remains

An exam room at ChoiceWorks, formerly Whole Woman's Health Clinic, on June 27, 2016, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of HB 2 restricting women's access to abortions in Texas.
An exam room at ChoiceWorks, formerly Whole Woman's Health Clinic, on June 27, 2016, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of HB 2 restricting women's access to abortions in Texas.

Despite intense outcry from the medical community and reproductive rights advocates, Texas isn't budging on a proposed rule to require the cremation or burial of fetal remains.

Miller Won't Face Charges For "Jesus Shot" Trip, Rodeo Visit

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in his office in Austin, Sept. 14, 2016.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in his office in Austin, Sept. 14, 2016.

Travis County prosecutors say “criminal intent would be difficult to prove," so they're not pressing charges against Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller for controversial state-paid trips to a Mississippi rodeo and to receive a "Jesus Shot" in Oklahoma.  

Judge Orders Texas to Rewrite Voter ID Education Materials

Attorney General Ken Paxton and Solicitor General Scott Keller after oral arguments on the voter ID case before the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans on May 24, 2016.
Attorney General Ken Paxton and Solicitor General Scott Keller after oral arguments on the voter ID case before the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans on May 24, 2016.

Texas must issue new press releases and other materials in its voter education campaign. That comes after the federal government and other plaintiffs accused state officials of misleading voters about identification requirements.

Hearings Will Address Criminal Justice Reforms in Sandra Bland's Name

Ayana Flewellen speaks to a large crowd assembled at The Texas Capitol for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sandra Bland on Thursday July 23, 2015.
Ayana Flewellen speaks to a large crowd assembled at The Texas Capitol for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sandra Bland on Thursday July 23, 2015.

Texas lawmakers will meet Tuesday to discuss the push for reforms in Texas jail standards, police training and care for mentally ill inmates in the wake of Sandra Bland's death in the Waller County Jail.

 

Analysis: "Smitty," a Texas Lobbyist for the Small Fry, Hanging It Up

Tom "Smitty" Smith is retiring from his longtime role as head of Public Citizen Texas, a nonprofit, left-leaning consumer rights advocacy group.
Tom "Smitty" Smith is retiring from his longtime role as head of Public Citizen Texas, a nonprofit, left-leaning consumer rights advocacy group.

Tom “Smitty” Smith, a colorful lobbyist and liberal activist who turned Public Citizen Texas into a strong voice on environmental, utility, consumer and ethics issues, is hanging up his spurs after 31 years.