Emma Platoff / The Texas Tribune | KERA News

Emma Platoff / The Texas Tribune

Emma Platoff is a breaking news reporter at The Texas Tribune. She previously worked at the Tribune as a reporting fellow and is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she studied English literature and nonfiction writing. She has also worked as the managing editor of the Yale Daily News and as an intern at The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Hartford Courant.

Inmates on a cell block in the Harris County jail.
Caleb Bryant Miller for The Texas Tribune

As the new coronavirus continues to spread in Texas’ two biggest county jails, Gov. Greg Abbott has made it harder for thousands of inmates to get out of local lockups.

An attorney approaches a Travis County courtroom for bail reduction hearings in Austin.
Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Steven Hopwood, a 61-year-old man with a history of pneumonia and scarring on his lungs, was all but set to get out of jail this week. He planned to plead guilty to bail jumping charges at his scheduled court hearing on Thursday in Lavaca County, and his attorneys expected he’d be able to go home and get probation.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

The pastor could not be present for Sunday morning services, and yet there he was — in spirit, of course, but also in the comments.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a Texas-led challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the justices said Monday, marking the third major case in which former President Barack Obama's landmark health law has earned the scrutiny of the country’s highest court.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Royce West was not on the ballot in 2006, the year Democrats swept Dallas County and wrested a GOP stronghold into Democrats’ firm grip. But the longtime state senator still earned a spot onstage at the Adam’s Mark Hotel for the victory party, memorably mimicking a Johnny Carson golf swing and serving as hype man for the members of his party who joined him that night in elected office.

Ken Paxton
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to strike down a 2016 California law that bans state-funded travel to states with discriminatory laws — a list Texas landed on nearly three years ago after the Legislature approved a religious-refusal law for adoptions in the state.

Enrique Iglesias
Marco Ugarte / Associated Press

After more than four years, McAllen taxpayers finally learned this week that for his performance at their city’s 2015 holiday parade, pop star Enrique Iglesias was paid $485,000 and provided with a chartered flight from Guadalajara, Mexico; two dozen hotel rooms; and an assortment of sushi and sashimi.

Jill Ramirez, the Director of Outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the American Care Act (ACA) to Jesse Zavala at a carshow and picnic at the Promiseland Church in Austin, Texas on Oct. 5, 2013.
Spencer Selvidge / The Texas Tribune

The individual mandate, a critical provision of President Barack Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act, is unconstitutional, a three-judge panel on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Judge Dianne Hensley
Screenshot via KXXV-TV Waco / The Texas Tribune

A Waco judge who received a public warning last month for refusing to officiate same-sex marriages filed a lawsuit against the state agency that issued the warning, claiming the governmental body violated state law by punishing her for actions taken in accordance with her faith.

"Overbroad rules stymie innovation, raise consumer prices, and limit economic opportunity," Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in the letter.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered state agencies to review and overhaul their licensing requirements, with an eye toward providing Texans “the opportunity to earn a living free from unnecessary state intrusion.”

Gov. Greg Abbott
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / For The Texas Tribune

Top Texas Republicans have directed the state’s child welfare agency to investigate whether a mother who supports her 7-year-old child’s gender transition is committing “child abuse” — a move that has alarmed an already fearful community of parents of transgender children.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

When Crystal Mason got out of federal prison, she said, she “got out running.”

By Nov. 8, 2016, when she’d been out for months but was still on supervised release, she was working full-time at Santander Bank in downtown Dallas and enrolled in night classes at Ogle Beauty School, trying, she said, to show her children that a “bump in the road doesn’t determine your future.”

Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats are suing over a June 12 meeting House Speaker Dennis Bonnen had in June with one of his top lieutenants and Michael Quinn Sullivan, a hardline conservative activist, saying the three were engaged in serious campaign finance violations and demanding that Sullivan produce a full recording of the gathering that he has shared with only a small group of Republicans.

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Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

Last year, after a federal judge in Texas declared the entirety of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, throwing into question millions of Americans’ health coverage, the state’s Republican leaders promised they would come up with a plan to replace it.

State Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Carollton, speaks to the press in Austin to announce the new LGBTQ Caucus on Feb. 5, 2019.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

In every session since she was elected to the Texas House, state Rep. Celia Israel has taken aim at the controversial practice of conversion therapy for minors, proposing to penalize state-licensed counselors and therapists who attempt to change children’s sexuality or gender identity.

Pu Ying Huang / For The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — By the time U.S. Sen Kamala Harris, D-California, took the stage here Saturday, the message was clear.

A long line of voters wait to cast their ballots at the Wonderland of the Americas Mall in San Antonio late Friday afternoon, Nov. 2, the last day of early voting.
Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

In a major victory for voting rights groups, a federal judge has ordered that no Texas county should purge suspected non-citizen voters from the rolls or issue letters demanding that they prove their citizenship “without prior approval of the Court with a conclusive showing that the person is ineligible to vote.”

Judges of the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals Court at the state Capitol. Jan. 11, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

In a major blow to the state’s government transparency laws, Texas’ highest criminal court has struck down a significant provision of the Texas Open Meetings Act, calling it “unconstitutionally vague.”

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

In what state Sen. Angela Paxton describes as an effort to safely expand Texas’ burgeoning financial tech industry, the freshman Republican from McKinney has filed a bill that would empower the office of her husband, Attorney General Ken Paxton, to exempt entrepreneurs from certain state regulations so they can market “innovative financial products or services.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton attends an investiture ceremony at the Texas Capitol on Jan. 11, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

As he begins his second term, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is looking to expand the prosecutorial power of his office, asking the Legislature for more resources and expanded jurisdiction to go after crimes related to abortion and voter fraud.

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo
Associated Press

State Sen. Kel Seliger has been stripped of his post as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in an escalation of a feud with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the upper chamber.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attends a Donald Trump rally on Aug. 23, 2016, in Austin.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, sits next to Gov. Greg Abbott as he speaks during a press conference at the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

The “bathroom bill” won’t be back this session, its loudest champion suggested Wednesday morning.

At a Governor’s Mansion press conference on the second day of this year’s legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who last session was the top state leader championing the measure, which would have regulated the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans — suggested there’s no need to bring back the divisive proposal that headlined the last legislative year in 2017, but failed to reach the governor's desk.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks at the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio on Friday, June 15, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick missed the first day of the Texas Legislature on Tuesday to attend a border security meeting at the White House.

Patrick, who attended a pre-session social event Monday evening in Austin and is scheduled for two public addresses on Wednesday, “is not going to be able to join us today,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, a Flower Mound Republican, who took the dais in Patrick’s stead.

Left to right: Outgoing House Speaker Joe Straus, presumptive House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a Legislative Budget Board meeting in Austin on Nov. 16, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

This time two years ago, the stage was already set for a political rumble.

Months before the 85th legislative session even began in January 2017, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had started laying out a hefty list of priorities, perhaps most notably the “bathroom bill,” a measure that would have restricted the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans.

Reynaldo Leal for The Texas Tribune

In a ruling that could throw the nation’s health care system into chaos, Fort Worth-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on Friday ruled that a major provision of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional — and that the rest of the landmark law must fall as well.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

In the end, there were two, and neither was in Texas.

Campaign websites

Republican Deanna Metzger is something of a rarity this election cycle.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Months before he was arrested on allegations of mailing bombs to several prominent Democrats, Cesar Sayoc sent threatening messages over Facebook to U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, a spokesman for O'Rourke's U.S. Senate campaign confirmed Wednesday.

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