Ashley Lopez | KERA News

Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez joined KUT in January 2016. She covers politics and health care, and is part of the NPR-Kaiser Health News reporting collaborative. Previously she worked as a reporter at public radio stations in Louisville, Ky.; Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., where she won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.

Ashley was also part of NPR’s Political Reporting Partnership during the 2016 presidential election. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

MJ Hegar has been the front-runner throughout Texas' Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate. Hegar, who first ran for office during a wave of women seeking office following the Me Too movement, won 22% of the vote in the crowded March primary.

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No hay razón para entrar en pánico por el reciente aumento de hospitalizaciones debido al COVID-19 en el estado, dijo este martes el gobernador Greg Abbott.

A pesar de que Texas ha tenido un número récord de personas hospitalizadas por COVID-19 en los últimos días, Abbott dijo durante una conferencia de prensa que el estado todavía tiene "miles" de camas de hospital disponibles.

The Texas Democratic Party filed applications with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday asking justices to rule on whether the state should be forced to open up its vote-by-mail program during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Texas Equal Access Fund, which provides financial support for low-income women seeking an abortion, sued anti-abortion activists in Dallas County on Thursday for accusing the group of criminal activity.

Texas health officials are launching a study to look into why COVID-19 could be having a greater impact on vulnerable populations in the state.

In an effort to keep voters safe, states of all political complexions are finding ways to expand access to mail-in ballots as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Then there's Texas.

The state has some of the most restrictive laws limiting vote by mail in the country. Under Texas law, the program is open only to people who are 65 or older, people who will be out of the county during the election, people who are in jail and not convicted, and people who are disabled.

Elizabeth Hernandez moved to the United States from Mexico almost 30 years ago and was days away from becoming an American citizen when her March 15 naturalization ceremony was canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It made me sad," said Hernandez, who lives in New Mexico. She hadn't thought much about becoming a citizen until this year because of the upcoming election. "I want to vote for a president who will improve the country."

Many long-time election workers across Texas have indicated they don’t plan to be poll workers during the pandemic, voting groups say.

For anyone with a weak immune system, the stakes of the COVID-19 pandemic haven’t changed.

As state leaders relax stay-at-home orders, a vaccine is likely still more than a year away. That means it’s still too dangerous for people with compromised immune systems to come into contact with others.

The Texas Civil Rights Project has asked a court to order state officials not to interfere with a previous court order that opened up mail-in voting in the state.

A version of this story was first posted by member station KUT in Austin.

A Texas judge said Wednesday he will clarify that voters fearful of contracting COVID-19 will be allowed to use mail-in ballots during elections in July and November.

Voter groups are scrambling to figure out how to continue registering young people during the COVID-19 pandemic, since Texas is among a minority of states that don't allow online voter registration.

A federal court has – yet again – temporarily halted Texas’ ban on abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued on order last month banning procedures that are “not immediately medically necessary” during the outbreak, which he said includes abortions.

The Texas Secretary of State’s office sent local election officials an advisory Thursday that was meant to give them guidance on how to handle elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mental health care providers in Austin say they're finding it hard to provide telemedicine services to a big chunk of their patients – particularly those with large employer health plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily halted a lower court ruling that stopped Texas officials from banning abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas say they have canceled 261 abortions since Tuesday, after the state effectively banned the procedure.

State officials say they are trying to get protective gear to medical staff at hospitals across Texas as quickly as possible, as the coronavirus continues to spread.

The Texas Democratic Party filed a lawsuit Friday aimed at increasing access to vote by mail as the coronavirus spreads in the state.

Telemedicine laws in Texas got revamped this week as the coronavirus spreads through the state.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday he was waiving a slew of regulations that made it harder for doctors to treat people remotely, also known as telemedicine or telehealth.

As the coronavirus spreads in Texas, older people and people with underlying health issues are being asked to isolate themselves, which could make voting in upcoming elections tricky.

Tiffany Conner, 43, has spent a large chunk of her life without health insurance. There was a brief period, she said, when she made so little money she was eligible for Texas' Medicaid program.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has agreed to repay consumers after state regulators found the health insurance company was mishandling out-of-network emergency claims and providing incorrect information.

For Texas Democrats, the state's Super Tuesday primary could help define the shape of a party that's on the rise after more than two decades of being shut out of power.

During the Trump administration, the party has experienced a surge of new voters — ranging from suburban voters in areas of Texas historically dominated by Republicans to a new crop of young, racially diverse voters.

Health care remains a top concern for voters in Texas, but they are split on whether to completely upend the country’s current health care system, a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll finds.

An effort to make hospitals safer for women giving birth in Texas has been underway for more than a year now. Doctors and hospital administrators say Texas AIM, which was launched in the summer of 2018, has led to big shifts in how medical staff treat women facing medical complications while having a baby.

Texas health officials are evaluating whether to accept a block grant from the Trump administration to expand the state's Medicaid program to more low-income adults.

The Trump administration has agreed to give roughly $350 million over five years to Healthy Texas Women, a state family-planning program that excludes Planned Parenthood.

The percentage of minors unable to get a judge's approval for an abortion in Texas has fluctuated in the past two decades, according to a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Gov. Greg Abbott has told the U.S. State Department Texas will not accept refugees in the 2020 fiscal year.

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