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.

A Kroger pharmacist explains how to administer the self-swab test at a COVID-19 testing site in the Fifth Ward in Houston on June 27, 2020.
Annie Mulligan / For The Texas Tribune

As Texas becomes a national hotspot for the new coronavirus, the state is still falling short on the governor’s months-old goal to employ up to 4,000 contact tracers — and the number of virus detectives dropped recently when the state health agency reassigned hundreds of state workers.

Fort Worth Police Officer Whose Uncle Died In Police Custody Hopes Departments Can Change

Jun 27, 2020
Christopher Lowe in 2018, helping his niece Tiffany Bunton plant flowers at her home.
Courtesy of Tiffany Bunton

When her uncle died in the back of a squad car two years ago, Fort Worth police officer Tiffany Bunton said she cried her eyes out in front of her department's leaders. Now that the police killing of George Floyd has sparked a moment of national reckoning around police violence, Bunton said she hopes officers will hold one another accountable so they can keep their communities safe.

Members of Austin's LGBTQ community gathered on the steps of the Texas Capitol in 2017 to celebrate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots.
Austin Price for The Texas Tribune

LGBTQ Texans marked a major victory Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal civil rights law prevents employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. But in Texas, which did not have such workplace safeguards, LGBTQ lawmakers and advocates say they are far from done fighting for other essential protections.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services offices in Austin.
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

On an April morning just two months shy of his fourth birthday, A.B., a toddler, was found unresponsive on the floor of his foster home, bleeding from his ear, with other injuries suggesting he may have been physically abused.

Jessica Rodriguez / The Texas Tribune

By April 27, when Gov. Greg Abbott announced that hair salons and barbershops would have to remain shuttered, Shelley Luther’s Salon a la Mode had long since opened for business.

exterior photo of apartment building surrounded by a fence
Loren Elliott / For The Texas Tribune

Evictions and debt collection proceedings can resume in Texas next week, the Texas Supreme Court has ordered, after the court temporarily put both on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ken Paxton speaking at lecturn.
Laura Buckman / For The Texas Tribune

Escalating tensions between Texas state officials and the leaders of some of the state’s biggest cities, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office warned officials in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio on Tuesday to roll back “unlawful” local emergency orders that impose stricter coronavirus restrictions than the state has issued — and hinted that there will be lawsuits if they do not.

Annie Mulligan / The Texas Tribune

Weeks ago, Texas officials were scrambling to expand the state’s hospital capacity, seeking out external facilities that could house coronavirus patients and banning all nonessential procedures in an effort to preserve resources. Now, with many major cities saying their facilities seem prepared for the outbreak, some of those restrictions will be rolled back and some backup plans may prove unnecessary.

Easter lilies in greenhouses.
Courtesy of Don Darby

A proper Easter lily is a long time in creation. The regal white flowers now in Don Darby’s New Summerfield greenhouses spent their first three years in the ground on the west coast, the bulbs planted, then dug up; planted, then dug up; planted, then dug up one last time when they'd grown big enough to sell.

Gov. Greg Abbott declares a statewide emergency amid new cases of COVID-19 in the state on March 13, 2020 at the state capitol.
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

A group of nursing home residents in Texas City who have tested positive for the new coronavirus are being treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.

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.

Shutterstock

 

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.”

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