Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

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.

A Nov. 16, 2018, meeting of the Legislative Budget Board included then-state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
Bob Daemmrich/BDP Inc.

A group of state leaders with huge influence over what public services receive funding said Friday they were prepared to make a significant withdrawal from the state’s savings account.

Associated Press

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke will head to New York next month for a live interview with Oprah Winfrey as he continues to mull a 2020 presidential run.

O'Rourke will be part of "Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square" on Feb. 5. He'll speak to Winfrey one-on-one as part of an event featuring others, including actors Bradley Cooper and Michael B. Jordan.

O'Rourke, 46, rose to national Democratic prominence while nearly unseating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in deep red-Texas last November.

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

 

Under the Texas Capitol dome in the Rotunda.
State of Texas

Texas lawmakers are expected to look at a range of criminal justice issues during the 2019 legislative session. Criminal justice reforms have been a bipartisan bright spot for a decade in Austin, as conservative and liberal lawmakers have sought to reduce the number of people behind bars, increase public safety and cut costs.

President Donald Trump gestures after arriving at McAllen International Airport on Thursday.
Associated Press

President Donald Trump arrived in on the Texas border in McAllen to make the case for his long-promised border wall after negotiations with Democrats blew up over his funding demands.

Trump traveled on Thursday on the 20th day of a partial government shutdown. He is seeking to use the trip to bolster his argument that a wall is needed on security and humanitarian grounds.

As the U.S. continues with a partial government shut down over the funding of a border wall, President Trump took his case straight to the American people. But some believe Trump’s argument for the wall is at odds with the realities of the southern border.


From Texas Standard

President Donald Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night. It was rumored that he would declare a national emergency as a means of moving ahead with construction of a border wall, despite Congress' unwillingness to provide the funding – that conflict is what led to the current partial government shutdown. But in his address, though he did argue for the importance of constructing a wall, he not declare an emergency.

Democratic U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar represents Texas' 28th District, which runs from South San Antonio into the Rio Grande Valley, and covers a large stretch of Texas' border with Mexico. Cuellar says the president's arguments about the need for a border wall are wrong.

Southlake City Council member and Tarrant County Republican Party vice-chair Shahid Shafi.
Facebook page

 

Shahid Shafi identifies as a Republican because of his firm belief in small government, lower taxes and secure borders. But his commitment to core GOP values hasn’t shielded him from ire within his own party.

A group of Tarrant County Republicans will vote Thursday evening on whether to remove Shafi as vice-chairman of the county party after a small faction of members put forth a formal motion to oust him because he's Muslim.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen hold a joint press conference on the lawn of the Governor's Mansion on Jan. 9, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

Texas' top three elected leaders are looking to show a united front as the 2019 legislative session begins — and start fresh after the drama of last session.

President Trump used his first prime-time address from the Oval Office to make the case for his controversial border wall. The president's demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding — and Democrats' opposition — has led to a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Here we check some of the arguments made by the president and top Democrats in their response.

Trump's Speech

Claim 1: Humanitarian and security crisis

"There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our Southern border."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., pose for photographers after speaking on Capitol Hill in response President Donald Trump's address, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Washington.
Associated Press

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave the Democratic response to President Donald Trump's remarks to the nation Tuesday night on his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington.
Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP

President Donald Trump made a somber televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, seeking an edge in his shutdown battle with congressional Democrats as he declared there is "a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."

A listener wrote: "What ethical calculus has been used to decide that NPR will broadcast POTUS live?"

He was referring to President Trump's Oval Office address tonight, his first from that venue. It is expected to be on the topic of immigration and his demand, as part of the negotiations to end the partial government shutdown, for funding for some kind of barrier on the southwest border.

Border Wall Money Would Be Better Spent On U.S. Infrastructure, Colin Allred Says

Jan 8, 2019
Rep. Colin Allred is among nine Texas freshmen in Congress. He represents the 32nd Congressional district in North Texas.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

It’s a fraught time for these newly-elected members of Congress to come to Washington, including for Dallas Democrat Colin Allred.

Updated at 10:38 p.m. ET

Democrats again rejected President Trump's demand for a wall on the Southern border following an Oval Office address Tuesday night in which Trump insisted the wall is the only solution to an influx of migration from Mexico and Central America.

The Texas State Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

A gray fog descended on Austin Tuesday morning, but the scene inside the Texas Capitol was all colorful and festive to mark the first day of the 86th biennial legislative session.

And perhaps the loudest celebration took place in the Texas House, where lawmakers whooped and hollered after the unanimous election of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen as House speaker.

President Donald Trump arrives at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston on Oct. 22, 2018. Trump is in Texas to attend a rally at the Toyota Center.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump is headed to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the trip Monday morning, saying Trump will visit the border "to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis."

No additional details were available, including whether Trump would visit the part of the border in Texas. But the Federal Aviation Administration has issued an alert for "VIP movement" near McAllen on Thursday.

Miguel Perez / KERA News

When the Texas Legislature gavels into session next week, Julie Johnson will make history. She'll be one of Dallas County's first two openly gay legislators — and the first state House member with a same-sex spouse.

Updated at 9:25 a.m. ET

As the federal government enters the second full week of its partial shutdown, federal workers aren't the only ones affected.

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