Texas Tribune

The state of Texas will continue to incur irreparable financial harm if an Obama-era immigration program isn't halted immediately, attorneys for the state argued in Houston on Wednesday.

A special Texas Senate committee devoted to fighting school violence has recommended improving mental health resources for students and increasing funding for a program that arms some members of school staff, but shied away from any measures aiming to limit access to guns.

When the state of Texas successfully halted a proposed 2014 federal immigration program to aid adult immigrants, the state's attorneys were able to convince federal courts Texas would be irreparably harmed by the implementation of the sweeping initiative.

But as the Texas attorney general’s office goes to court next week in an attempt to shut down the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that argument won’t be as strong because the program has been in place for more than half a decade, attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said Tuesday.

After teaching for 36 years in the Rio Grande Valley, Rosalva Reyna looked at her pension and health plan in July 2016 and decided she could live a comfortable life and finally retire.

Reyes thought "no more work." But that quickly changed, she said.

“At this point. I’m seriously considering going back to work," Reyna said. "A retired teacher going back to work — so I can pay my medical [bills].”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has challenged Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke to five topical debates before Election Day, about three months after O'Rourke challenged Cruz to six.

With a heat wave sweeping the state, Texans' demand for power broke records two days in a row this week, prompting the state’s electric grid operator — which predicted the scenario months ago — to offer assurances that the electric sector “is doing what they can to keep the power on for consumers.”

FORT WORTH — Even before Texas Democrats’ convention officially got underway here this weekend, its top candidates were chomping at the bit to seize on the biggest story in the country: thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border.

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

As part of his school and gun safety plan, Gov. Greg Abbott wants to explore a law that would allow local officials to take guns away from people if a judge declares them a danger — while also protecting Second Amendment rights. It's an issue that has previously gone nowhere in the Texas Legislature.

It’s become a common refrain after each new mass shooting: “There were red flags.”

James Dickey Wins Re-election As Chairman Of The Texas GOP

Jun 17, 2018

SAN ANTONIO — Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey has won re-election, beating back a challenge from longtime activist Cindy Asche after a long and bitter fight on the convention floor Friday.

A new mobile app launched after a southeast Texas high school shooting last month will allow Texans to report on suspicious activity happening in their own communities and schools. 

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus are suing the Trump administration in hopes of blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the once-a-decade census of every person living in the United States.

The legal fight over whether Texas is disenfranchising thousands of voters by violating a federal voter registration law is on its way to federal appeals court.

Texas And 6 Other States Sue To End DACA

May 3, 2018

Following through on a months-old promise, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit Tuesday to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leading a seven-state coalition against an Obama-era immigration measure that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants nationwide from deportation, including more than 120,000 in Texas.

A federal appeals panel on Friday OK'd state lawmakers' efforts to rewrite Texas' embattled voter ID law to address discriminatory faults previously identified by the courts. 

As the White House continues to expand deportations and push measures to curb illegal immigration, many Texas immigrants are forced to navigate the immigration system without the help of an attorney.

When U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced his latest fundraising haul earlier this month – a stunning $6.7 million – it was widely expected to surpass what his rival, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, brought in over the same period. Now it's clear by how much: roughly $3.5 million.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors on the southwest border to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy against anyone who enters or attempts to enter the country illegally, a mandate he said “supersedes” any prior directives.

A federal judge has ordered Texas officials to comply with the National Voter Registration Act and motor voter laws.

The order could affect an estimated 1.5 million Texans.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Water Development Board is crafting the state's first-ever flood plan, which will take a comprehensive look at flooding vulnerabilities across the state and the projects that might mitigate them.

The Texas Tribune reports: 

For 60 years, the Texas Water Development Board has been the keeper of a master list of projects that are supposed to meet the state's water needs for the next half century. But the latest list the agency is compiling is not about supplying water — it's about managing it.

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

The differences between the state's top legislative leaders will inform the coming Republican primaries, because Dan Patrick and Joe Straus reflect different wings of the Texas GOP.

The guns of August are blazing.

Emily Albracht / Texas Tribune

Last year HPPR reported on The Texas Tribune’s five-part documentary series God and Governing.  The series provided a fascinating look at how the decisions of Texas lawmakers are dictated by their faith. Now the documentary has been given one of the country’s highest journalism awards. This week the Tribune was honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award for God and Governing.

Texas Tribune

In Texas, all state agencies must win legislative permission every 12 years to remain open. But who decides if these agencies stay alive? The task is handled by what’s known as the Sunset Advisory Commission, reports The Texas Tribune. It’s the commission’s job to periodically recommend changes in how agencies operate.

Thomas Bougher / Texas Tribune

Texas has lost its bid to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, reports The Texas Tribune. A federal appeals court has denied the Lone Star State’s request to put a stay on the environmental emissions legislation. The judge’s ruling leaves the controversial climate change rules in place as a legal challenge continues to make its way through the courts.

Looking to the Gulf to fill the Gap

Apr 16, 2015
Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

As the population of Texas continues to grow, the water level is dropping fast. Recently state lawmakers discussed the feasibility of utilizing the Gulf of Mexico as a water source for the state.

An alternative that is costly and fraught with controversy, however saltwater desalination could catch on in ways that groundwater desalination never did.