Emma Platoff, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

The attorney general's office is charged with defending state agencies when they are challenged in court. But Paxton will not defend a commission sued after it issued a public warning for a Waco judge who refuses to perform same-sex marriages.

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will not defend a state agency being sued for its decision to sanction a Waco judge who refuses to perform same-sex marriages.

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.

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.”

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.

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.


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.”

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.”

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.

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

 

The two have been tussling over committee assignments in recent days.

The 86th Legislature runs from Jan. 8 to May 27. From the state budget to health care to education policy — and the politics behind it all — we focus on what Texans need to know about the biennial legislative session.

HOUSTON — President Donald Trump, speaking Monday evening here at an uproarious rally, cast his 2016 battle with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as a thing of the past and blasted Cruz’s Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, as a “stone cold phony.”

In an effort to restore public trust, all of Texas’ Catholic dioceses will release the names of clergy who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors, stemming back at least to 1950, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops announced Wednesday.

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