KERA

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday touted the arrival of a new antibody treatment as progress in Texas' fight against the coronavirus, while again ruling out any new statewide business restrictions as the state experiences alarming growth in cases and hospitalizations.

"It is important for everybody in the state to know that statewide we’re not gonna have another shutdown," Abbott said during a news conference in Lubbock. "There's an overestimation of exactly what a shutdown will achieve, and there's a misunderstanding about what a shutdown will not achieve."

At El Paso's Perches Funeral Homes, manager Jorge Ortiz wheeled a body into his chapel. But not for a funeral service.

"The last two weeks, we have received more COVID cases than the past, I would say, months," said Ortiz.

So many bodies have come in, he said he had to create extra space. That meant converting the chapel into a makeshift storage cooler.

"When we hit the peak back in maybe the summer ... that’s nothing compared to what we’re living right now," Ortiz said.

Straight ticket voting had allowed Texans to vote for all the candidates in their chosen political party in one fell swoop.

But that option wasn’t on offer in the recent election, the result of a law passed by the 2017 state Legislature that went into effect for the first time this year.

Some thought even more people would only vote for the top of the ticket without the straight-ticket option. The drop-off still happened, but less than expected.

5 Reasons Why Republicans Won In Texas

Nov 12, 2020

Republicans retained total control of state government in last week’s election, which means leaders in the party will be able to re-draw state and Congressional district lines next year.

Here are five reasons they won:

1. Door-to-door canvassing

The foot soldiers, so to speak, were activists like Sue Reeves of Fairview, a precinct chair with the Collin County GOP.

Immigrant advocates are concerned that another round of asylum seekers from Cameroon may soon be deported from a North Texas detention center, a month after dozens of Cameroonian and Congolese migrants were already deported.

An Indian Affairs Task Force has been created to help solve the thousands of cold cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center is using its forensic crime laboratory to try and help figure out what's happening and investigate hundreds of cases.

Originally published by The 19th:

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With early election results rolling in, it appears the upswing in Latinx voter turnout that political operatives were eyeing came to fruition — and Latinas likely led some of that charge.

Democrats entered Election Day hopeful that Texas had changed enough politically and demographically in recent years for Joe Biden to win the state’s 38 electoral votes and disrupt the national political landscape.

It didn’t turn out that way.

Republicans Maintain Majority On Texas Education Board

Nov 6, 2020

Democrats are gaining one seat on the Republican-dominated State Board of Education, while Republicans held on in the other races that Democrats had hoped to flip in the 2020 general election.

At a senior staff meeting one Thursday morning in May, with much of the Texas attorney general’s office working from home and morale seeming low, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton arrived at the Price Daniel Sr. State Office Building in downtown Austin with a surprise honor for a top deputy: a copy of "Scalia Speaks," the late conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice’s book.

Paxton had inscribed it with a congratulatory note for Blake Brickman, and presented it personally at the meeting of about 20 people.

Texas House Appears To Remain In Republican Control

Nov 4, 2020

It would be the biggest political shakeup in Texas in nearly two decades – snapping Republicans’ long control of the House, Senate and governor’s office. And it seemed like it might be within reach.

Democrats needed to hold the 12 seats they picked up in 2018 – and win nine more. They poured money into races around the state.

"Democrats gave it a really good try," Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said. "The difficulty is they’re still in a Republican state and a majority of the voters in many of these districts are still Republican-leaning."

John Cornyn is headed back to the U.S. Senate. He beat Democrat MJ Hegar by about 10 points. He thanked his family and said he’s committed to serving all Texans, whether or not they supported his re-election.

"My goal as your United States Senator is simple," Cornyn said. "Continue to make Texas a place of exceptional opportunity for all. In the next six years I look forward to our visits, our celebrations and working together to overcome whatever challenges comes our way."

As soon as Kamala Harris took the stage outside a bustling church here, she made her intentions for the audience clear.

“So listen, today is the last day of early voting in Texas and you all have been doing your thing,” she said after taking off the face mask she wore on stage, nodding to the state’s record-breaking early turnout so far this year and polls suggesting that the state is in play.

“Now we know this is no time to let up on the pedal though, right?”

There have been eight new polls of Texas likely voters released in the last five days — and on the presidential level, the results are decidedly mixed: Six show Donald Trump in the lead, and three have Joe Biden in front.

Kamala Harris’ trip to Texas on Friday will include three stops across the state, including in the Rio Grande Valley, according to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.

Biden’s running mate is set to visit to Fort Worth, Houston and McAllen.

Texas has been home to several high-profile mass shootings over the past decade. And after each deadly event, like clockwork, there's a debate about the types of legislation that can be passed to prevent the next tragedy. But for some reason, the issue has hardly been spoken about during the 2020 election cycle.

Republicans in Texas are overwhelmingly behind President Trump’s reelection, as are statewide officials like Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton.

But a few past GOP leaders support Democrat Joe Biden, including former Congressmen Alan Steelman and Steve Bartlett.

Texas native Chuck Rocha knows a lot about how to reach Latino voters.

The former senior adviser for Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign was pivotal in helping garner an unexpected amount of Latino support. That success has lead to him being seen within the political world as an expert in engaging Latino voters.

Voters are seeking as little human contact as possible for this risky election. But there’s a low-contact method that’s getting less publicity than mail-in ballots — curbside voting.

Right after early voting started in Dallas, the line in front of Fretz Park Library stretched hundreds of yards. Mask-wearing voters stood patiently waiting their turn.

But not everyone is able to stand. A car pulled up at a sign that reads “curbside voting.” Lisa Jackson was inside.

All but one of the 10 Democrats running to flip nationally targeted U.S. House seats in Texas raised more than their Republican opponents over the past three months, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

In six of those nine races, the Republican ended the quarter with more cash on hand, a financial advantage heading into the last full month before Election Day. But the Democratic fundraising shows serious momentum as the national party reaches the finale of its drive to make Texas the top congressional battleground nationwide this November.

Upon resigning from his job as college preparatory coordinator at Pflugerville High School last month, Daniel Dawer wrote two letters. The first explained to his employer that he would have gladly continued teaching remotely from his home but did not feel safe returning to the classroom as he had been ordered.

The second was to his students, begging them to stick with virtual learning for their families’ safety and expressing his lack of faith in Pflugerville Independent School District’s plan for bringing students and teachers back into classrooms.

In Texas, the pool of potential voters is dramatically different now than it was just a decade ago.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and his Democratic opponent, MJ Hegar, butted heads Friday evening in a debate over a host of timely issues — the coronavirus pandemic, race and policing, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Immigrant advocates are demanding U.S. immigration officials not deport a group of Black migrants being held at Prairieland Detention Center south of Fort Worth.

Instead, they want federal officials to investigate allegations from eight men who say they were physically abused and threatened while previously detained at Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi.

A tremendous amount of attention is now on the U.S. Supreme Court and the confirmation process for Amy Coney Barrett.

Meanwhile, starting with early voting on Oct. 13, voters in Texas will be able to make important judicial choices of their own, including who will sit on the Texas Supreme Court. It’s the highest state court for all civil cases.

Four seats will be on the ballot, including chief justice.

Why The Court Matters

After thousands took to the streets this summer to protest police brutality and racial injustice, galvanized by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, some Texas law enforcement agencies faced stiff criticism for their responses.

Allegations of excessive force prompted Austin to slash its police budget and other jurisdictions to adopt a series of reforms, from prohibiting the use of certain “less-lethal” weapons to requiring officers to intervene when they see another use extreme measures.

Senior officials in the Texas Attorney General's Office have asked federal law enforcement to "investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes" by their boss, the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE-TV first reported Saturday.

The senior staff members, including Jeff Mateer, who resigned from his post as Paxton’s top aide this week after several years leading the agency, notified the agency’s human resources director that they sought the investigation.

Voting rights advocates and civic groups have rushed to the courthouse in a bid to block Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's Oct. 1 order allowing Texas counties no more than one drop-off location for voters casting absentee ballots, calling the directive an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote that will disproportionately impact voters of color in the state’s biggest cities.

A number of pharmaceutical companies have entered the home stretch in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine: human trials.

One of those trials is being conducted at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and Ashley Agura is the perfect candidate. As a Physician Assistant, she spends 12 hours a day taking care of COVID-19 patients. A typical day for Agura starts around 7 a.m.

Texas voters will not be able to select every candidate of a major political party with one punch, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, upholding a 2017 state law that ends the popular practice of straight-ticket voting for this year’s general election.

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