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Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

President Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night. He's expected to deliver a bipartisan message themed around "choosing greatness," while outlining what the White House calls a "policy agenda both parties can rally behind."

The most important political issues of the past year will be on display Tuesday night, not only in what President Trump says in his State of the Union address but in who will be in the audience.

Furloughed federal workers, Border Patrol agents, immigrants, school shooting survivors and the first inmate to benefit from a new criminal justice law will be among those to gather in the chamber of the U.S. House.

On Monday, Nevada's statehouse begins its legislative session by marking a major milestone. It's the first time in our nation's history that any state legislature holds a majority of female lawmakers. Just like the country, the body is slightly more than half women.

"It's been a long, hard fight. I'm starting to see some of the fruits of not just my labor, but the labor of so many other people whose names I don't know," says Patricia Ann Spearman, a Democrat and Nevada senator who was first elected in 2012.

As lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday morning, they renewed calls for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign.

Northam has been silent since a Saturday news conference in which he said he did not take part in a racist yearbook photo from his days in medical school.

Monday morning, the Republican speaker of the House of Delegates called the controversy "a painful and heartbreaking moment for the commonwealth." Kirk Cox told reporters that "regardless of the veracity of the photo," the Democratic governor had lost the confidence of the people.

As calls continue for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over a racist photo on his page in a 1984 yearbook, Virginians who have supported him are wrestling with what to make of the controversy and his insistence on remaining in office.

A few dozen people protested outside the governor's mansion Monday morning. Many in the crowd were the same people who have been protesting the placement of a pipeline compressor station in a historically black community in Virginia. Northam has supported the pipeline.

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.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that executing people with intellectual disabilities is cruel and unusual punishment.
Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., The Texas Tribune

 

If you’ve ever aspired to get your face on public access TV, this guide to testifying before council members at City Hall should make it pretty easy.

Meet Your Candidates For Fort Worth Mayor

Jan 31, 2019
Shutterstock

So far, only two candidates have filed to run for Fort Worth mayor. Potential candidates have until Feb. 15 to file for the May 4 election. Let's meet the candidates.

With the government reopened — at least for now — following a 35-day partial government shutdown, President Trump's State of the Union address has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5.

In a letter sent to the president on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote that the two had agreed upon the new date next week, after she had postponed her original offer of Jan. 29 amid the shutdown.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited the president to give his State of the Union Address after the shutdown delay.
Associated Press

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has issued a new invitation to President Donald Trump to give his State of the Union speech on Feb. 5.

The civil rights group indicated the state could be putting tens of thousands of U.S. citizens on a pathway to be dropped off voter rolls
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

 

US Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D- El Paso, thanks the crowd of supporters as he leaves the stage during the Turn Out For Texas Rally with Willie & Beto held at Auditorium Shores in Austin on Sept. 28, 2018.
Rodolfo Gonzalez / The Texas Tribune

 

Facing wide encouragement to join the White House race, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso is taking his time, giving few outward clues and keeping even close allies and supporters in suspense. 

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, is stepping down from her two most powerful roles within congressional and House Democratic circles.
Associated Press

 

Democrats and immigrant rights groups were quick to oppose President Trump's proposal to end the government shutdown over the weekend because it includes $5.7 billion for an expanded border wall.

Now that they've seen the full language of the bill, they've found other reasons not to like it.

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.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, announced Tuesday his 2020 campaign manager will be John Jackson, who led Gov. Greg Abbott's successful re-election bid last year.
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

 

Cornyn announced Tuesday his campaign manager will be John Jackson, who led Abbott's successful re-election bid last year, an early hire that suggests the state's senior senator is not taking 2020 for granted.

A new report from BuzzFeed News accuses President Donald Trump of directing his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, and Joaquín and Julián Castro have called for impeachment proceedings or the president's outright resignation. 

Todd Wiseman

 

Lawmakers returned to Austin this month for the first time since the Santa Fe High School shooting, and they have repeatedly assured that school safety will take center stage during the legislative session.
Associated Press

 

Following a deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in May that left 10 dead and 13 others wounded, Gov. Greg Abbott released a 43-page school safety plan outlining suggestions for bills the Legislature could pass this session to reduce the threat of gun violence in Texas schools.

Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat, indicated he is traveling along U.S. Route 54 from his El Paso hometown, through New Mexico, across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, and into Kansas.
Associated Press

 

Beto O'Rourke is on the road again.

Facing calls to run for president after his closer-than-expected loss to Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, O'Rourke has embarked on a trip outside Texas, the first stops of which he detailed in a Medium post Wednesday. O'Rourke, a Democrat, indicated he was traveling along U.S. Route 54 from his El Paso hometown, through New Mexico, across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, and into Kansas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took his oath of office on Tuesday. In his speech he promised lower taxes and school funding overhaul.
Associated Press

Republican Greg Abbott began a second term as Texas governor Tuesday by promising lower taxes and a school funding overhaul but without mentioning a national policy dispute that weighs heavily on his state: President Donald Trump's demand for a border wall.

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Associated Press

President Trump's choice to lead the Justice Department, William Barr, is likely to enter a contentious scene when he answers questions from lawmakers beginning Tuesday morning.

If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe:

Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that are expanding into once-rural areas, add a booming oil and gas industry with a desperate need for new pipelines to move record-high volumes of hydrocarbons, and sprinkle in the new electric lines needed to power both of those trends.

Julián Castro, the former Mayor of San Antonio and the former Director of House and Urban Development announced Jan. 12 that he is a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Robin Jerstad / The Texas Tribune

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to serve as attorney general vowed to permit Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller to complete his work and said it was "very important" for the public and Congress to know the results.

As Beto O'Rourke mulls a much-hyped White House bid for 2020, he's doing anything he can to stay in the spotlight without formally starting a campaign.
Associated Press

You won't see Beto O'Rourke announce whether he's running for president in 2020 for a while. But you may see him do almost anything else in the meantime.

"So, I'm here at the dentist," the former Democrat congressman said with a giggle during a teeth-cleaning seen live on Instagram last week, before quizzing the dental hygienist about life along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — Julián Castro made it official Saturday: He is running for president.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has no remaining signs of cancer after her surgery last month, requires no additional treatment, but will miss oral arguments at the court next week to rest, the Supreme Court said Friday.

While odds for a recovery from the surgery she had are good, they go way up if the subsequent pathology report shows no cancer in the lymph nodes. On Friday, the court released a written statement saying there is no additional evidence of cancer.

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