Texas

A federal watchdog for pandemic relief funding is asking for information about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s efforts to change a loan program. Requirements of the program were altered soon after Cruz wrote to officials in charge. The changes benefitted major Cruz donors.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s failed lawsuit seeking to throw out election results in other states came originally from lawyers close to the campaign of former President Donald Trump, according to a report in the

Gov. Greg Abbott will give his State of the State address at 7 p.m. Central time Monday. You can watch it live here, courtesy of our partners at KXAN-TV in Austin.

Republican lawmakers, buoyed by a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court and the trouncing of state-level Democrats in the November election, are pushing to reclaim Texas’ role as the vanguard among states restricting access to abortion this legislative session.

A group of Republicans has launched a national campaign targeting Republican Senator Ted Cruz and others who they say need to be held accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

The group, called the Republican Accountability Project, is made up of leaders of Republican organizations and some former Trump administration staffers.

They've purchased billboards in cities across the country.

This summer, students called on the University of Texas at Austin to stop playing the “The Eyes of Texas,” the alma mater song that has historical minstrel show ties. Aggies petitioned Texas A&M University to take down the statue of Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, a former governor and Confederate general.

Texas will soon begin a program to test drinking water in thousands of elementary schools and child care facilities across the state following an update to federal standards on lead and copper exposure.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday voided rulings from lower courts that upheld a ban on most abortions in Texas early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Victor Arcos spent four months inside of a Houston immigration detention facility, where he said he routinely saw examples of medical neglect.

Arcos said he remembers a fellow detainee complaining about a bullet lodged close to his spine, who was denied treatment. He also watched his own kidney disease deteriorate from stage one to stage three because of what he said was a lack of treatment.

“There's a lot of stuff (nurses) get away with,” he said, “There's nothing you can do. You're a convict. You're a prisoner. You're nobody when you're inside.”

Hidalgo County Health Authority Ivan Melendez says coming into COVID-19 units nowadays feels like going through a nonlinear version of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“You cry,” he told the Tribune. “There’s a lady that I’m taking care of that I’ve known since I was a child. … We grew up together, and I know she’s going to die. … It’s the same thing: ‘We got together for Christmas.’ Now we’re seeing the ramification of it.”

Julia Trigg Crawford took the news that the Biden administration had canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline with a certain amount of skepticism. After all, she said, the pipeline is running oil every day under her North Texas farm.

"I see it from my window when I'm on the tractor. I have to mow around the markers in the pasture,” she said by phone a couple days after the administration officially “killed” the controversial project.

On the day Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris as the first woman of color to be vice president, Texas Republicans greeted the new administration with a mix of calls for bipartisanship and vows to vehemently oppose Biden’s agenda.

Yira Aldape said she “woke up with a little pep” in her step Wednesday morning. Tricia Cortez said it was “a party” in her house. Juanita Valdez-Cox breathed “a sigh of relief” as she watched President Joe Biden take the oath. But Marianna Treviño-Wright said she was “not yet celebrating.”

On a recent day, the parking lot at Pasquotank High School in Elizabeth City, N.C. was transformed into a kind of vaccine freeway, with four lanes of cars bearing drivers and passengers getting COVID-19 inoculations.

And several of those administering the shots were in camouflage.

President-elect Joe Biden says he's going to activate National Guard troops to help with the nation's lagging COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday said his health priorities for this year’s legislative session include expanding telemedicine across the state, increasing services for those dealing with mental health issues, and making sure Texas has an adequate supply of personal protection equipment.

His public comments came after a meeting in Houston with state health leaders and the president and CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital to brief them on his priorities for Texas lawmakers, who returned to the Capitol last week.

This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn new information. Details are gathered from federal court documents and research from the George Washington University Program on Extremism.

Updated Feb. 8, 2:04 p.m. CT

Two Texas realtors were arrested after allegedly entering the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 attack. At least 23 Texans are now facing charges.

A North Texas man has been arrested for alleged crimes in connection with his participation in this month’s riots at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI announced Monday.

Guy Reffitt of Wylie has been charged with unlawful entry and obstruction of justice. He’s at least the fourth North Texan to face charges related to the attack.

In an affidavit, an FBI agent said Reffitt was part of the large crowd that gathered outside the Capitol.

O'Rourke Slams Cruz For Attending Inauguration

Jan 18, 2021

The office of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has confirmed the Texas Republican plans to attend the inauguration of President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this week in Washington D.C.

Cruz's 2018 democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke tweeted that he doesn't think Cruz should be invited after what O'Rourke called sedition and incitement of violent insurrectionists at the nation's Capitol earlier this month. O'Rourke also said Cruz's actions should result in him being expelled from the Senate.

From Texas Standard:

In this first week of the 2021 Texas legislative session, lawmakers weighed in on some practical matters like how to vote remotely during the pandemic and picking the new House speaker. But members of the Texas Senate also voted to change a rule to give Republicans an advantage.

A year ago, Dhaval Babu flew to India to visit his sick parents. It was supposed to be a short trip; the San Antonio resident planned to fly home in February.

But the U.S. consulate in Mumbai asked him for more documents before it could approve his return to the U.S. As a result, his flight home was postponed. Then came the pandemic and in March, the American consulates in India and around the world closed.

Voting groups say redistricting plans the Texas Senate laid out in a resolution passed Wednesday do not reasonably accommodate public input.

The resolution says lawmakers "shall give public notice at least 72 hours in advance of a meeting for a regional hearing during the regular session or in the interim between sessions, and 48 hours in advance during a called session." Voting advocates say that is not enough of a heads up.

The Texas House on Tuesday elected state Rep. Dade Phelan as the next House speaker, ushering into office a new leader who will oversee a chamber facing its toughest set of legislative challenges in years against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The House voted 143-2 for Phelan, with four members not voting. The two members who voted against Phelan were GOP freshmen Bryan Slaton and Jeff Cason.

The Texas legislature kicked off a new session on Tuesday, a mere six days after a violent mob breached the U.S. capitol. What the 87th legislative session lacked in action on the floor, it made up for with a large police presence.

More than a hundred state troopers in full tactical gear stood outside the entrances. Some officers monitored the capital grounds, and many more roamed inside.

Less than a week after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol, San Antonio Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said the day was much more somber than usual.

A Beginner's Guide To The Texas Legislature

Jan 12, 2021

Texas lawmakers begin the 87th legislative session Tuesday. While you may know the body's main objective is to pass laws – especially the next state budget – you might not know much else.

That's not a criticism! The legislative process can be complex, so let's go over the basics of what the Legislature is and how it works.

Why does the Legislature meet for only 140 days every other year?

The chairman of the Republican Party of Texas is asking Republican legislators to ignore “fairness” in the next round of legislative redistricting this year, adding to the state’s history of gerrymandering.

“They must realize this strategic opportunity and not concern themselves with ‘fairness’ to the progressive socialist left,” said Allen West, in an email to supporters Monday.

Texas Announces Sites For Next COVID-19 Vaccine Shipment

Jan 11, 2021

Texas health officials on Sunday released a list of coronavirus "vaccination hubs" that will receive the state's next shipment of vaccines.

The 28 hubs will get 158,825 doses of the vaccine this week, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Another 38,300 doses will go to other providers across the state.

The number of doses that each provider is getting is based on its own estimate of how many people it could vaccinate in a week, DSHS said.

Gov. Greg Abbott had a message for healthcare providers on Monday: Give out all the COVID-19 vaccine you have. Don’t hold on to it to make sure people get their second dose.

Abbott visited the mass vaccination site at the Arlington Expo Center for a press conference about how vaccine rollout is going, exactly one month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first vaccine for emergency use.

A group of state lawmakers wants major changes to the plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines in Texas, including changing the order of priority for who can get the vaccine.

This comes after more than a week of confusion and frustration among Texans who are unsure if they qualify to get the vaccine — and if they do, where they’re supposed to get it.

Seventeen Texas Republicans were among the eight U.S. senators and 139 representatives who voted to sustain objections to the electoral vote counts of at least one state this week.

Those totals weren't nearly enough to change the Electoral College count, which showed President-Elect Joe Biden with a clear victory.

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