Texas Tribune Brief

By The Texas Tribune

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Get the latest news on Texas politics and policy from The Texas Tribune now on Amazon Alexa. With reporters based in Austin, Washington, D.C., and on the U.S.–Mexico border, we are your go-to source for news on statewide issues.

Episode Date
“Where’s this money going?” Millions donated after Uvalde shooting still haven’t reached victims and families
The largest fund for those affected by the May 24 massacre is still months away from distributing most of the $16 million it has raised. Some families are turning to smaller donations to get by.
Aug 17, 2022
After the Robb Elementary shooting, some Uvalde parents are choosing private or online education
Following a state report showing that almost 400 law enforcement officers showed up at the school on May 24, some Uvalde parents are doubtful over whether their kids will be safe in the district.
Aug 15, 2022
Beto O’Rourke swears at Greg Abbott supporter who heckled him over Uvalde shooting
O’Rourke confronted a heckler at a campaign event Wednesday who laughed while he was talking about the Uvalde school shooting, telling the person, “It may be funny to you, m*****f*****, but it is not funny to me.”
Aug 12, 2022
Phone bills are about to go up for some in Texas. Here’s why.
The rate increase will help replenish a state fund to maintain and operate cellphone networks in rural Texas. A court determined the state’s Public Utility Commission needed to restore $200 million in overdue money to the fund.
Aug 11, 2022
FBI search of Trump home was likely vetted carefully, despite Texas Republicans claims of a witch hunt
Federal authorities would have needed to meet an extraordinarily high threshold for probable cause to sign off on such a high-profile, politically explosive operation, legal experts say.
Aug 10, 2022
Soldiers are more likely to be held before trial for drug charges than for sexual assault, an analysis of court data shows.
A first-of-its-kind analysis reveals that soldiers in the Army are more likely to be locked up ahead of trial for drug offenses than for sexual assault under a system that gives commanders control.
Aug 09, 2022
ACLU calls on feds to investigate Abbott’s border policy transporting migrants back to border
In July, Abbott authorized state law enforcement to transport migrants to ports of entry. It’s unclear how and why migrants are being detained, raising civil rights concerns and questions about whether the state is overstepping its authority.
Aug 08, 2022
Abortion is considered basic health care in Mexico City. Its clinics are open to U.S. women.
Private clinics offer abortions at a fraction of the cost in the United States. City public health clinics may be more difficult to navigate but offer abortions free of charge, including for noncitizens.
Aug 06, 2022
The EPA has identified 23 U.S. facilities that are emitting toxic air pollution that puts people at risk
One of them is in Laredo, which has elevated rates of cancer, according to a recent state analysis. The findings come after reporting by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune.
Aug 05, 2022
With rural Texas watching, Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke dig in on school vouchers fight
O’Rourke is hammering Abbott over vouchers on the campaign trail in rural Texas, where Democrats know they need to do better and where vouchers are a political hot potato for Republicans.
Aug 04, 2022
Author of “critical race theory” ban says Texas schools can still teach about racism
State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said his intention was never to gloss over American history or have negative effects on teachers and administrators. His comments to the State Board of Education come as members consider new social studies curriculum.
Aug 03, 2022
Almost 600 Texas youth are trapped in a juvenile prison system on the brink of collapse
The agency is so understaffed that teens have reported spending up to 23 hours locked in their cells, using water bottles to go to the bathroom. A staggering number have hurt themselves or been placed on suicide watch.
Aug 02, 2022
Bucking other Texas Democrats, Cuellar and Gonzalez vote against U.S. House bill that would ban semi-automatic weapons
Aug 01, 2022
Texas troopers are causing car chase fatalities and racially profiling drivers under Abbott’s border crackdown, complaint claims
Two civil rights groups have expanded their request for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Operation Lone Star, citing evidence of risky pursuits and more frequent traffic stops of Hispanic drivers.
Jul 29, 2022
Ted Cruz says Texas should repeal its now-defunct law banning gay sex
The law was made unenforceable by the Supreme Court in 2003, but Justice Clarence Thomas recently suggested that the court should reconsider it.
Jul 28, 2022
New Texas law increasing penalties for abortion providers goes into effect Aug. 25
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgment Tuesday in the Mississippi case that revoked a constitutional right to abortion. That means Texas’ “trigger law” severely limiting the procedure will soon take effect.
Jul 27, 2022
Ken Paxton bans staff lawyers from speaking at state bar events, escalating feud sparked by 2020 election
The bar, which licenses lawyers and offers training sessions, is suing Paxton in an attempt to sanction him for trying to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.
Jul 26, 2022
Lawyers preparing for abortion prosecutions warn about health care, data privacy
While people consider deleting period tracking apps and worry about interstate travel restrictions, most pregnancy-related criminalizations start in a much simpler way: with a report from a health care provider.
Jul 25, 2022
Offshore wind farm proposed for Gulf of Mexico near Galveston could power 2.3 million homes
Two proposed wind farms off the Texas and Louisiana coasts would join offshore oil drilling rigs in the gulf as the Biden administration tries to boost the country’s clean energy supply.
Jul 22, 2022
Uvalde superintendent recommends firing police Chief Pete Arredondo
The school board plans to meet Saturday to vote on the proposal, days after a Texas House committee report highlighted widespread failures in the police response to the Robb Elementary shooting.
Jul 21, 2022
Universities in Texas grapple with how to provide reproductive health care information to students amid new abortion laws
Texas’ abortion ban will go into effect around the start of the fall semester. The changing legal landscape is raising questions for public colleges about how to talk to students about reproductive health care options and creating hesitancy among students about whether they can trust their universities’ health centers.
Jul 20, 2022
Texas Department of Public Safety investigating how 91 of its troopers and Rangers responded to Uvalde school shooting
The department’s officers made up nearly one-fourth of the 376 law enforcement members who responded to Texas’ deadliest school shooting. Announcement of the inquiry came one day after a report criticized police response to the massacre.
Jul 19, 2022
“Systemic failures” in Uvalde shooting went far beyond local police, Texas House report details
In total, 376 law enforcement officers descended upon the school, according to the most extensive account of the shooting to date. It says that better-equipped departments should have stepped up to fill a leadership void after the Uvalde schools police chief failed to take charge.
Jul 18, 2022
Uvalde police officer criticized for checking his phone was waiting to hear from his dying wife
“I couldn’t say nothing seeing this man, who’s lost everything, maligned as if he was indifferent or actively malicious,” state Rep. Joe Moody, a member of the Uvalde House Investigating Committee, said on Twitter.
Jul 15, 2022
Texans asked to conserve energy to protect the power grid for the second time in a week
Texans have been asked to turn up their thermostats and avoid using large appliances from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. The power grid operator said it does not expect rolling blackouts.
Jul 14, 2022
House committee to release Uvalde shooting video to public on Sunday
State Rep. Dustin Burrows will lead a private briefing for victims’ families in Uvalde on Sunday morning, allowing them to see the hallway video from a Robb Elementary School surveillance camera and discuss the committee’s preliminary report. Later, the footage will be released for anyone to watch.
Jul 13, 2022
State grid operator urges electricity conservation as heat wave drives up demand
The state’s grid operator asked that Texans voluntarily reduce their power use on Monday as the blistering heat continues — and said no rolling blackouts are expected this week.
Jul 12, 2022
Texans have been slow to vaccinate their youngest against COVID-19, but they’re slightly ahead of the national average
For some parents of kids under 5 who want to vaccinate them, the wait has been excruciating, fraught with delays and close calls. Others are hesitant to have their young children vaccinated.
Jul 11, 2022
Gov. Greg Abbott empowers state authorities to return migrants to border crossings
Immigration law enforcement is a federal responsibility. Abbott appears to be testing the limits of state authority by empowering state law enforcement to bring migrants to the ports of entry — stopping short of using state resources to expel migrants from the country.
Jul 08, 2022
Uvalde officer asked permission to shoot gunman outside school but got no answer
The report by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center says authorities missed other opportunities to stop the gunman before he killed 19 students and two teachers in Robb Elementary.
Jul 07, 2022
Uvalde shooting victims aren’t getting compensated from state fund as intended, officials say
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin are asking Gov. Greg Abbott to remove the Uvalde County district attorney from overseeing the Uvalde Together Resiliency Center.
Jul 06, 2022
State of Texas can enforce 1925 abortion ban, state Supreme Court says
The ruling Friday night exposes abortion providers to fines and lawsuits even before the state’s trigger law goes into effect.
Jul 05, 2022
Supreme Court rules Biden administration can end “remain in Mexico” policy, sending case back to a Texas court
The Trump administration created the Migrant Protection Protocols, also called the “remain in Mexico,” program in 2019 before the Biden administration canceled it in 2021. The ruling sends the case back to a Texas federal court.
Jul 01, 2022
53 people who died in human smuggling tragedy came from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador
Texas will increase checkpoints for trucks crossing from Mexico
Jun 30, 2022
DPS Director Steve McCraw says officers in Uvalde could have taken down gunman within 3 minutes had commander not hesitated
McCraw testified before a Texas Senate committee, laying blame on local police officers in Uvalde for not acting faster to save children in school shooting.
Jun 22, 2022
Senate Democrats in Texas call again for a special session on gun safety in response to Uvalde shooting
The senators said they would support proposals like raising the age to legally own an assault weapon from 18 to 21, creating red flag laws and regulating private gun sales.
Jun 21, 2022
The race for governor between Abbott and O’Rourke tightens, according to first poll since Uvalde shooting
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Gov. Greg Abbott’s 15-point lead has shrunk to 5 points over Beto O’Rourke as more Texas voters now say gun policies are a top priority.
Jun 16, 2022
Greg Abbott’s handwritten notes raise fresh questions over who “misled” him about Uvalde shooting response
The nine pages of blue ink on white lined paper, first published by the Houston television station KTRK, show how the governor prepared his remarks for a news conference May 25, the day after the shooting — presumably based on information being given to him.
Jun 15, 2022
Texas House Speaker pitches spending more than $100 million for mental health, school safety programs
House Speaker Dade Phelan is also asking for more money for mental health and school safety programs.
Jun 14, 2022
U.S. senators reach deal on gun legislation in aftermath of Uvalde shooting
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was one of the lead negotiators for the proposal, which would expand background checks for people under 21 and encourage states to enact “red flag” laws. Biden and House Democrats had wanted to go further.
Jun 13, 2022