- Thursday July 26, 2017A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Heat index values as high as 106. South wind around 10 mph.
- Thursday July 26, 2017
- Texans 'Training Camp 2017' and 'Jeff Bagwell: Houston to the Hall' specials on KPRC2 July 26, 2017It's a big week for Houston sports fans as we look to the future of the Houston Texans while celebrating a past hero for the Houston Astros.KPRC Channel 2 has it all covered in Houston, at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and at Houston Texans Training Camp in White Sulphur Springs, […]
- Fisher, Morton lead Astros past Phillies 5-0 July 26, 2017Derek Fisher drove in two runs just hours after arriving in Philadelphia and Charlie Morton pitched seven innings to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-0 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night.Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak to 17 straight games with a sixth-inning double to help the AL West-leading Astros improve to an […]
- Venus Williams accuses 78-year-old man killed in crash of not wearing seat belt July 25, 2017Venus Williams is fighting back against a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the tennis star, claiming that she isn't responsible for the death of a 78-year-old man after a crash last month near her South Florida home.Fort Lauderdale attorney Robert E. Paradela, who represents Williams in the civil lawsuit, is demanding the autopsy report and medical […]
- Duane Brown not expected at beginning of Houston Texans Training Camp July 25, 2017The Houston Texans will hold the first practice of their 2017 training camp at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on Wednesday morning.They will do so without their longest-tenured player, left tackle Duane Brown, who is embroiled in a contract dispute with the team.Brown was officially placed on the reserve/did not report […]
- Why Texans fans need to remember this Thursday July 25, 2017Set an alarm. Tie a ribbon around your finger. Ask your mom to remind you. Texans fans have an important date and time to remember: Thursday at 10 a.m. That's when single-game tickets go on sale for the 2017 Houston Texans home games.The team says there is a limited supply of tickets for individual games […]
- Orioles beat Astros 9-7 July 23, 2017Zach Britton set an American League record by converting his 55th consecutive save opportunity, blanking the Houston Astros in the ninth inning the seal the Baltimore Orioles' 9-7 victory on Sunday.Britton struck out the first two batters and issued a walk before pinch-hitter George Springer bounced into a force play to end it.Britton broke the […]
- Texan Jordan Spieth wins British Open July 23, 2017Jordan Spieth is the British Open champion, just like expected, though not like anyone could have imagined.On the verge of another meltdown in a major, so wild off the tee that he played one shot from the driving range at Royal Birkdale and lost the lead for the first time all weekend, Spieth bounced back […]
- Gonzalez pinch-hit HR carries Astros to 8-4 win over Orioles July 23, 2017Marwin Gonzalez stepped in for injured Colin Moran and delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the sixth inning to propel the Houston Astros past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Saturday night.Moran fouled a ball off his left eye and had difficulty standing before being carted from the field. An update on his condition was not […]
- Wenger, Alex lead Dynamo to 3-1 win over DC United July 23, 2017Andrew Wenger had one goal and one assist, Alex Lima added three assists and the Houston Dynamo beat D.C. United 3-1 on Saturday night for their first road victory of the season.D.C. United (5-13-3) has lost five in a row, including a 4-3 loss to Seattle - in which United held a 3-0 second-half lead […]
- Astros end Orioles' 4-game winning streak with 8-7 victory July 22, 2017Rookie Yuli Gurriel had a career-high four hits, including a home run, and the Houston Astros received a gritty pitching performance from Mike Fiers in an 8-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.Colin Moran hit his first major league homer and first triple for Houston, and Brian McCann also went deep.The Astros took […]
- Texans 'Training Camp 2017' and 'Jeff Bagwell: Houston to the Hall' specials on KPRC2 July 26, 2017
- How's Your Love Life, Houston? July 25, 2017Are you willing to drive from Galveston to The Woodlands for a new relationship, or does love have its limits? Sound off on this question and more in ...
- Galveston Seawall could see lower speed limit after Thursday vote July 25, 2017Galveston tourists and residents alike should be advised that an upcoming vote could mean a lower speed limit on a large stretch of the island's ...
- Employee flown out from Beaumont restaurant for burns July 25, 2017A 30-year-old employee of Crazy Cajun's in Beaumont has been airlifted to the Galveston Burn Center following severe grease burns. The Beaumont ...
- Jill Lori (Mogridge) Wells July 25, 2017Always an adventurer, she attended Ryerson Nursing School in Toronto and at the age of 19 moved to Galveston, Texas to take her first nursing job.
- Mary E. (Lake) Hosier Faust July 25, 2017Mary graduated from Galveston High School and retired from Delco Electronics with several years' service. She was a member of Bible Baptist Church ...
- STGJ Enterprises LLC, others accused of misrepresenting insurance cost July 25, 2017Michael Peltier and Kelly Peltier filed a complaint on May 22 in the Galveston County District Court against STGJ Enterprises LLC, doing business as ...
- Vote this week could lower speed limit by 5 mph along Galveston Seawall July 25, 2017A vote set for later this week could lower the speed limit along a longer portion of Galveston's Seawall Boulevard than previously proposed. Under the ...
- TX San Angelo TX Zone Forecast July 25, 2017TX San Angelo TX Zone Forecast for Tuesday, July 25, 2017. _____. 348 FPUS54 KSJT 250838. ZFPSJT. Zone Forecast Product for Texas.
- TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast July 25, 2017TX Houston/Galveston TX Zone Forecast for Tuesday, July 25, 2017. _____. HGXZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 250712. ZFPHGX. FPUS54 KHGX 250712.
- Texas to lose Galveston and Hill Country children's therapy providers July 25, 2017Children in the Galveston and Hill Country areas are going to be without state-funded speech, occupational and physical therapy services as two more ...
- How's Your Love Life, Houston? July 25, 2017
Travel through time!
- Galveston Arts Center July 25, 2017Galveston Arts Center will present three exhibitions, featuring works from artists Bradley Kerl, Angel Oloshove and Christopher Cascio, opening on August 26.
- Obituary - Frank Trinidad Carmona July 25, 2017Retired State District Judge and former Galveston County Commissioner Frank Carmona passed away on July 20.
- Clear Creek ISD Board of Trustees July 25, 2017The Clear Creek Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday voted unanimously to approve the 2017-2018 District Compensation Plan for faculty and staff.
- Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves July 24, 2017The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today voted unanimously to approve the beginning annual salary of the Port of Galveston's Director of Engineering, Maintenance and Environmental Affairs.
- United States Coast Guard July 22, 2017The United States Coast Guard today reported that a good Samaritan rescued five people from the water after their boat capsized 12 miles east of Galveston.
- Galveston Community Gathers For Summer Band Concert July 21, 2017Texas A&M Sea Camp students, under the guidance of instructor Robert Mihovil, provided to Guidry News a special report on Galveston's much loved Beach Band Summer Concert.
- Galveston County District Attorney's Office July 21, 2017The Galveston County District Attorney's Office today announced that Billy Wayne Denison has been sentenced to 50 years in prison on charges of intoxication manslaughter.
- Galveston County District Attorney's Office July 21, 2017The Galveston County District Attorney's Office today announced that Charles Lynch has been sentenced to 45 years in prison on drug charges.
- Galveston City Council Workshop July 21, 2017Galveston City Council on Thursday held a workshop to discuss the city's proposed FY2018 Budget and its Capital Improvement Plan.
- Galveston Arts Center July 25, 2017
- Trump, on Twitter, announced a ban on transgender service members. Now the military has to figure out what he means 26 Jul 2017 20:44 Los Angeles Times President Trump surprised even the Pentagon Wednesday morning by his unexpected announcement, via Twitter, of a ban on transgender service members. The military has not had a chance to decide how to put such a ban into effect, acknowledged Trump's …
- Malloy Responds To Trump Declaration Regarding Transgender People In The Military 26 Jul 2017 20:43 CT News Junkie Courtesy of the governor's staff Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signing the executive order Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is doing everything within his power to ensure Connecticut’s military doesn’t discriminate against gender identity or expression by signing an …
- Donald Trump’s transgender ban announcement is met with swift backlash 26 Jul 2017 20:42 Salon Immediately after President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was barring transgender Americans from serving in the military, the head of the U.S. armed forces was met with stunned disbelief over the slap in the face to thousands of service members. …
- Turns out Lana Del Rey is responsible for Trump’s stalled agenda 26 Jul 2017 20:42 Salon Whatever one thinks of President Donald Trump’s brutal policies, race-baiting rhetoric and ongoing depopulation of the entire Executive Branch of the U.S. government, it’s pretty clear that he’s actually gotten very little of what he promised (threatened) …
- Following healthcare vote, Trump singles out Murkowski with critical tweet 26 Jul 2017 20:42 Alaska Public Telecommunications U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks with reporters in Juneau in February. (File photo by Skip Gray/360 North) This afternoon, the US Senate voted against an amendment to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act in a 55-45 split. It was one of several …
- Republicans in Congress quick to criticize Trump’s ban of transgender people in the military 26 Jul 2017 20:42 Salon After President Donald Trump announced his intent to ban all transgender Americans from serving in the military, Republicans were quick to speak out and distance themselves from the president’s decision. “I don’t think we should be discriminating against …
- Log Cabin Republicans president stunned by Trump’s transgender ban: “I don’t think anyone anticipated this” 26 Jul 2017 20:42 Salon Gregory T. Angelo, the president of an influential pro-LGBT group known as the Log Cabin Republicans, has expressed disappointment about President Donald Trump’s new policy banning transgender individuals from the military. Earlier today he released a …
- American Muslims see Trump as unfriendly but find support from non-Muslim compatriots, survey shows 26 Jul 2017 20:38 Los Angeles Times What has life been like for Muslims in the U.S. since Donald Trump became president? A wide-ranging survey released Wednesday highlights growing worries within the community, but also points to a fundamental faith in the American dream. Almost …
- Celebrities, politicians take aim at Donald Trump in transgender military ban backlash 26 Jul 2017 20:37 The New Zeland Herald By Victoria Craw Politicians and celebrities have lined up to take aim at President Trump's controversial ban on transgender people serving in the US military after he announced the sweeping policy change on Twitter. Actress Mia Farrow called the …
- White House unsure if trans troops will get boot under Trump policy 26 Jul 2017 20:36 Washington Blade White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders pointed to upcoming guidance on whether transgender troops can stay in the armed forces. (Screenshot via CSPAN) White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed uncertainty on Wednesday on whether …
- Senate votes to start debate on health care bill
- Trump’s New Immigration Lockup Draws Local Opposition in Conroe
- Set for execution, death row inmate alleges legal fraud in hopes of a stay
- Concerns raised over new Harris County bail system
- Crooks return to rob dentist office after police leave
- 2 throw drugs out window during high-speed chase, police say
- 5 arrested after drugs, gun, money seized from Magnolia home
- 15 years later, Clara Harris remains in state prison for husband’s murder
- Woman, 91, kicked out of Sunnyside home
- Congressman: If female GOP senators were South Texas men, I’d challenge them to a duel
- Turning Tail
- Death toll in San Antonio immigrant-smuggling case rises to 10
- Ex-Mexican drug cartel leader gets 30 years in US prison
- Kushner’s statement on Russia: What to know
- Analysis: In special session, Texas Senate’s the hare, House is the tortoise
- Texas Senate panel targets mail-in ballot fraud after high-profile case
- Drunk Driver Sentenced to 50 Years for Fatal Crash
- Tanker Crew Rescues 5 In Capsized Boat
- Man Sentenced to 45 Years on Drug Charges
- After Texas “human trafficking crime,” Lt. Gov. Patrick lauds sanctuary city law
- Charges possible in disturbing Florida drowning case
- Texas Senate committee OKs bill to outlaw city cellphone restrictions
- Texas Senate panel approves teacher bonuses, retirement benefits
- Carjacking suspect opens fire on officer during chase in SW Houston
- Man, 2 children killed in crash in NE Houston
- Katy woman arrested for DWI after man follows, records her erratic driving
- Mickey Mouse mask-wearing burglar caught on camera breaking into 2 stores
- Houston pastor Victoria Osteen says she does not endorse skin care product
- Senate committee passes bills on private school choice and school finance study
- Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control
- Woman, 93, dragged during carjacking at church, police say
- Trans Texans, Advocates Swarm Texas Capitol to Oppose ‘Bathroom Bills’ (Again)
- Man admits to killing 14-year-old half-brother, authorities say
- Monkey on the loose in south Houston after attacking girl, police say
- ‘Million Dollar Ho’ arrested in Florida prostitution sting
- Turner reopens bids for recycling contract to 4 companies
- District attorney to pursue death penalty against 4 suspects
- Houston woman charged in connection with ransom scheme
- Pastor in The Woodlands accused of prostitution
- Academy Sports + Outdoors laying off 100 employees
- 1 dead after shooting at NW Harris County apartments
- Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador
- Conroe horse-riding trainer accused of sexually assaulting child
- Environmental groups sue EPA over lax Texas air pollution permits
- Abbott adds school finance, retired teacher benefits to special session
- Bodycam allegedly shows Baltimore cop planting drugs
- Key events in OJ Simpson’s fall from sports hero, movie star
- Heat is part of life at Texas prisons, but federal judge orders one to cool it
- Growing health trend bypasses doctors’ offices for diagnosis, treatment
- HPD chief answers questions about Josue Flores murder case
- Sarah Davis wants more information about “misconduct” at TABC
- Texas Bill Would Revoke Medical License of Doctors Who Perform Abortions
- Senate gives early OK to must-pass “sunset” legislation
- Lead singer of The Suffers featured in national campaign
- Man wanted in 2016 fraud case
- Couple arrested for second time for impersonating Adele’s manager, police say
- Mexico says electronic device checks on US flights begin
- Dancing with Denial
- Teen shot at high school party at AirBNB house in southwest Houston
- Toll road drivers getting fed up with erroneous charges
- Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending
- Baby dies after being infected with cold sore virus through kiss, parents say
- 24 firearms stolen after Texian Firearms robbed twice in one day
- Texas Republicans in Congress process health care bill’s collapse
- Florida man arrested after reporting cocaine stolen, deputies say
- Teens arrested after Facebook Live video of 23-year-old woman’s assault
- Girl, 17, fires shot at intruder while chasing him out of her house
- Police: Aunt charged after leaving young neice, nephew in hot car outside grocery store
- Texas Senate moves to fast-track special session agenda
- President Trump: ‘Let Obamacare fail’
- Why the murder charge against the Texas police officer who killed Jordan Edwards is rare
- What happens if Congress fails to repeal Obamacare?
- Four Texas Republicans in Congress were just outraised by Democratic challengers
- Angleton mulls proposal for RV park next to Stephen F. Austin statue
- Trump administration awards $2.3 million to Texas for border security
- Texas Democrats lay out their own special session priorities
- Gov. Abbott says property taxes are his top issue for special session
- Small Government Crusader Wants $35 Million to Fix a Battleship in His District
- OJ Simpson faces good chance at parole in Nevada robbery
- It’s a Trump Miracle! There are Signs of Life Among Texas Democrats
- IBM ups the ante in fight against Texas bathroom bill
- At some Texas universities, students accused of rape can transfer without a record
- Gas pump overcharges customers in League City
- Father survives after van crushed by 7,000-pound scrap metal
- Two killed in crash during police chase in NE Houston, police say
- At tail end of Texas redistricting trial, judges skeptical of state’s defense
- After dissident’s death, Ted Cruz hopeful about changing Chinese Embassy address
- Harris County Toll Road Authority faces lawsuit over fees charged to drivers
- 1 killed in shooting at Bella Terra shopping center in Fort Bend County, deputies say
- On day 5 of redistricting trial, Texas refutes claim that current political maps discriminate
- Trump Administration Preparing Texas Wildlife Refuge for First Border Wall Segment
- Second arrest made in death of 79-year-old Hedwig Village woman
- Greg Abbott’s Latino Problem
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott formally launches 2018 re-election bid
- Licensing director is seventh official out at troubled Texas liquor agency
- Sketch released of man wanted in shooting that wounded 1-year-old
- Critics say Abbott catering to donors with special session priorities
- Former deputy constable facing sexual assault charges; other victims sought
- Man on Jet Ski catches goliath grouper off coast
- DPS trooper accused of prostitution
- Two arrested in connection with prostitution spas near The Woodlands
- MEET JOY: Baby elephant born at the Houston Zoo
- Revised Senate health care bill draws Cruz’s support but still short votes
- Heartbreakers in Dickinson and Jackie’s Brickhouse in Kemah Sued by Victim of Drunk Driver
- Galveston Yacht Captain Who Used Phony ID To Hide After Mysterious Deaths Is Sentenced
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick proposes millions for teacher bonuses and retirement
- Texas Republican congressman calls on Trump to keep his kids out of White House
- Trump meeting with France’s Macron in Paris
- Beto O’Rourke posts $2 million in fundraising in bid against Ted Cruz
- As congressional races draw big interest, Democrats still filling out statewide ticket
- Lawmakers failed to end troubled Driver Responsibility Program
- Man sues city, HPD, officer after excessive-force arrest, lawsuit says
- Family escapes SUV after it catches fire, days after purchase
- In court, redistricting battle puts sharper focus on 2013 Legislature
- Push made for change in evaluation of parolees after repeated crimes
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission names lone finalist for new executive director
- U.S. Rep. Al Green joins California Democrat’s effort to impeach President Trump
- Police seek father suspected of causing brain injury to child
- 4 arrested during home invasion in north Harris County, deputies say
- NYC launches $32 million plan to reduce rat population
- Houston public works director placed on leave amid bribery case involving HCC trustee
- Prying Eyes: Border Sheriffs to Use Iris-Scanning Tech in Push for ‘Virtual Wall’
- Trump defends embattled son after Fox News interview
- Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti to get further competency review
- Firefighters demanding pay raise in line with police officer salaries
- Former housekeeper’s son accused in Hedwig Village woman’s murder
- Two women accused of attacking woman with a hammer
- Woman, children left devastated after husband murdered by ex
- New executive director appointed to troubled Texas liquor agency
- U.S. Sens. Cornyn and Cruz sidestep questions about Trump and Russia
- Don’t throw rocks in glass cars? Glass concept car unveiled
- Community removes basketball hoop from park due to profanity
- Tow truck driver finds father of 4 shot to death outside SW Houston apartments
- Susan Combs, Fierce Critic of Endangered Species Act, Tapped for Agency in Charge of its Implementation
- Harris County will not join suit over state’s ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Report: Shopping for electricity is getting cheaper in Texas
- Jenna Bush Hager goes through astronaut training at NASA’s JSC
- Trump Jr. tweets email chain on meeting with Russian lawyer
- Beachgoers form human chain to rescue family in water
- Five New Laws that Will Likely Get Texas Sued (Or Already Have)
- Sketch released of woman sought in northwest Houston shooting
- Video shows police officer violently beating homeless woman
- Voting rights battle in Pasadena could have Texas-wide legal ramifications
- Trial over Texas political maps starts in San Antonio
- 2 charged with capital murder after shooting man during drug deal, dumping body, police say
- Astros reach All-Star break in midst of historic season
- Willie Nelson on the road again, coming to Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre
- Texas Lawmaker Files Bill to Repeal SB 4 During Special Session
- Woman sought in shooting near Missouri City
- Shots fired at officers in southeast Houston, police say
- Man arrested after alleged road rage incident
- Report: Loopholes Allow Polluters to Get Away With Worsening Air Quality
- Corvette-driving North Carolina priest arrested in Florida road-rage incident
- Prosecutors: 12 people rescued after being locked in sweltering truck
- Abbott officially calls special session, allowing lawmakers to begin filing bills
- SWAT standoff at southeast Houston lounge turns out to be misunderstanding, police say
- Acting director of Texas liquor agency abruptly quits
- With 2018 election looming, Texas back in court over political maps
- This Texan’s daughter needed medical marijuana, so he moved to Colorado
- 11 teens hospitalized after eating drug-laced gummy bears
- Upcoming Area Live Music Shows thru August
- Man catches 1,033-pound hammerhead shark in Texas City fishing tournament
- Handcuffs couldn’t stop man from proposing to girlfriend
- Austinite and former intern for House Speaker Straus killed in Greece
- Counterprotesters outnumber, confront Klan supporters at Virginia KKK rally
- Sen. Ted Cruz speaks with CVA at town hall meeting in Houston
- Woman pleads guilty to voting twice for Donald Trump in US election
- Biker gang member added to Texas Top 10 fugitives by DPS:
- Mother charged with child endangerment after leaving 4 children in hot car, police say
- Harris County judge suspended without pay amid drug, prostitution allegations
- Blue bullfrog reported in Iowa
- Texans to be allowed to carry swords, machetes in public places:
- Cop accused of robbing dead man had other troubles…
- Inmate’s escape: Phones, wire cutters, a drone and $47,000
- Federal judge throws out effort by UT professors to overturn campus carry
- US economy rebounds, adding 222,000 jobs in June
- Warren Buffett unveils deal to buy big piece of Texas electric grid
- Celebratory gunfire enters child’s room at Oak Forest home
- Back home in Texas, Cruz confronts health care politics
- Two more liquor regulators leaving troubled TABC
- Ex-Texas City police officer facing theft, drug charges
- Trump administration: New Texas voter ID law fixes discrimination
- Lawmaker urged Abbott to veto bill legalizing hot air balloon hog hunting
- ‘Habitual offenders’ caught during theft, arrested, police say
- City threatens veteran with fine for flag in front yard
- Abandoned puppy found in airport bathroom with note from owner
- ‘Recipe for Discrimination’: Legal Battle Brews Over New ‘Religious Refusal’ Child Welfare Law
- Paxton’s “friends” are still helping attorney general pay for his legal defense
- US intelligence: North Korea launched new kind of missile
- Trump at odds with many G20 nations on several issues
- Father drowns saving son, 5, at San Luis Pass
- Female NYPD officer shot in the head, dies in hospital
- La Porte firefighter accused of driving drunk, crashing truck into child’s bedroom
- My grandfather was a death row doctor. He tested psychedelic drugs on Texas inmates.
- Residents concerned over dangerous intersection after 4 crashes in 1 month
- Small dog survives after being thrown from moving vehicle on I-10
- Body found in Lake Livingston during search for missing man, 1 day after wife’s body found
- Man catches massive 964-pound shark during Texas City fishing tournament
- Woman, 79, ‘brutally murdered’ in Hedwig Village home put up fight, officials say
- Menacing monkeys video shows animals charging family
- Gator’s Rant: Trump to meet with Putin
- Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4
- Video: ‘Freedom’ Rally Brings Alt-Right Groups to Austin for Fourth of July Weekend
- Why one of the largest counties in Texas is going back to paper ballots
- Man arrested, accused of impersonating police officer
- Embattled Texas liquor agency announces third high-level departure
- Christie defends use of beach closed to public amid shutdown
- Man pretends to be FBI agent after crash, police say
- Illegal Immigrants Returning To Mexico For American Jobs
- Texas City commissioner charged in Galveston Causeway crash that killed 2
- Some counties question need of special courts for law enforcement
- Texas is putting troubled nursing homes on notice
- Gurriel, Astros win 8-1, Yanks’ 14th loss in 19 games
- As Baylor regent, top Austin lobbyist called drinking female students “perverted little tarts”
- Man sits on gun, shoots self in genitals, police say
- Hey, Texplainer: Is Texas handing over my voting data to the federal government?
- Religious rituals, sex, revenge led to Alvin man’s murder, court documents say
- Police shoot dogs while responding to burglary call in SW Houston
- Federal government wins right to seize Houston’s Islamic Education Center
- Woman charged with murder after shooting live-in boyfriend to death in Brazoria County
- Dozens of Houston shelter puppies get a chance at life in Ohio
- Texas liquor agency rebuked after investigation of Spec’s
- Sketch released of woman believed to have been dumped at Bayland Park
- State Rep. Dukes pleads not guilty to abuse-of-office charges
- Texas Supreme Court rejects Tea Party challenge to campaign finance laws
- Texas Supreme Court sends same-sex marriage benefits case back to lower court
- MSNBC’s Brzezinski, Scarborough: ‘Donald Trump is not well’
- Attorney General Ken Paxton shows up in Houston court on security fraud charge
- Shooting leaves 2 San Antonio police officers, gunman critically wounded
- The Weirdest News from Far-Flung Texas, June Edition
- 98-year-old woman arrested at fuel pipeline protest
- Trial date still uncertain as new judge holds first hearing in Paxton case
- Trump taps Kay Bailey Hutchison to serve as NATO ambassador
- Texas leads 10 states in urging Trump to end Obama-era immigration program
- Trump tweets assault on MSNBC hosts
- Authorities vow no more ‘slaps on the wrist’ for Houston-area violent criminals
- Perjury charge dropped against officer in Sandra Bland case
- Man sought for questioning in fatal League City shooting
- Woman fatally shoots boyfriend in YouTube stunt
- The Texas solar industry is growing. Some fear an international trade case could end that.
- Pregnant woman faces aggravated assault with deadly weapon charge after running over purse-snatcher
- New FDA-approved drug reduces risk of cancer progression, death
- 3rd suspect in connection to 10-month-old’s death in jail on unrelated charge
- MS-13 gang member facing 2 murder charges
- Perjury charge dropped against trooper who arrested Sandra Bland
- Man discovers son is alive after he thought he buried him
- Chris Paul to be traded to Houston Rockets, sources say
- Prosecutors: Woman ran over neighbor twice while he mowed his lawn
- Trump has left 17 legal vacancies in Texas
- Sid Miller doesn’t rule out joining Trump’s Agriculture Department
- Clear Lake community at odds over proposed homeless shelter
- Bikini hiring contest for nuclear plant interns gets toxic reaction
- Man marries foreign exchange student, sexually assaults teen sister, police say
- Woman arrested, accused of choking dog to death
- 2nd man charged with capital murder in shooting death of 10-month-old boy
- Tarantulas, scorpions found in abandoned apartment
- Mother baffled after son is injured when slide explodes at park
- Former Friendswood officer charged with indecency with child
- How the GOP Health Plan Would Give Governor Abbott Power Over Your Coverage
- Teens accused of stealing man’s life savings, guns, Porsche
- Woman suffers stroke, left paralyzed after sex with husband
- Houston among top 10 cities for vehicles with open recalls
- Memorial Hermann laying off 350 employees
- McConnell to delay health bill vote until after recess
- Man behind Fisher affirmative action case files new lawsuit against UT-Austin
- Police: Trio beats armored truck guard during West University Place robbery
- Man accused of sexually assaulting underage girl for at least 3 years
- Over the Wall: How Texas Border Communities Are Gearing Up to Fight Trump
- Officer, prisoner injured when taxi hits police cruiser
- White House warns Syria’s Assad against chemical attack
- ‘America’s deadliest drug’ found on streets of Houston
- Hey, Texplainer: Do I still have to get my car inspected every year?
- New Texas GOP chair starts tenure with big platform push
- State Attorneys: Senate Bill 4 Is ‘Moderate’ Compared to Arizona’s ‘Papers, Please’ Law
- Attorneys spar over Texas immigration law in federal court
- Magnolia man accused of impersonating officer in Tomball neighborhood
- What the latest U.S. Supreme Court rulings mean for Texas
- Texas’ new immigration law is in court Monday. What’s happened so far?
- ‘I used my mommy voice,’ says officer who subdued unruly Southwest passenger
- Exotic animals and Texas law
- U.S. Supreme Court tosses cross-border shooting case back to lower court
- Texas death row inmate loses at U.S. Supreme Court, could face execution date
- Supreme Court reinstates President Trump’s travel ban
- Protesters Surround Courthouse as First Major SB 4 Hearing Begins
- Philando Castile’s family reaches $3 million settlement
- Court to hear arguments in lawsuit over state’s ‘sanctuary cities’ law
- Why a Colorado case over “religious refusals” could matter to Texas
- 15-year-old driver crashes into SUV, telephone pole in Bacliff, authorities say
- Takata, brought down by airbag crisis, files for bankruptcy
- House education leaders won’t budge on school finance, private school choice
- GOP senators call for more time to debate, change health care bill
- Houston-bound Southwest flight diverted to Corpus Christi
- Man dead after shooting in northwest Harris County gym parking lot
- Baby boy found dead in hot car in northwest Houston
- Police: Security guard shoots robbery suspect at northwest Houston restaurant
- Suspected drunk driver causes crash in northwest Harris County; woman dies
- Blues musician’s equipment stolen after Houston show
- Pipe shatters driver’s windshield while driving on I-45
- California’s Texas travel ban creates confusion in college sports
- Sears to close another 20 stores
- Wrongful death lawsuit filed against former Rockets player Marcus Camby
- Wife of Haverstock Hill shooting suspect also charged in case
- Ugly dogs compete for who looks ruffest
- Teen hit, killed by car in Spring
- Trump administration weighs in on sanctuary cities court battle
- Yellowstone grizzlies now off endangered species list
- JCPenney hiring 500 associates in Houston area
- Crews search for missing fisherman in San Luis Pass
- How Senate health care bill would change Obamacare
- Man dies after shots fired through northwest Harris County door
- Analysis: You can fight City Hall — if you’re governor of Texas
- Man claims girlfriend’s death is suicide; investigators suspect murder
- Amber Alert issued for abducted 15-year-old girl believed to be in danger
- Citing religious refusal of adoption rule, California bans state travel to Texas
- Houston passenger pushed by employee claims United threatened him to deter lawsuit
- Who Really Gets Government Benefits In Texas?
- Fort Bend County officials search for missing teen
- Convicted sex offender moves next door to his victim
- Man charged with hate crime in burning of Victoria mosque
- Pair arrested after girl claims she’s been married since she was 13
- Judge denies bail for man charged with capital murder in death of 10-month-old boy
- Cruz declines to support Senate GOP health care bill, while Cornyn defends it
- Trump says he didn’t tape his conversations with Comey
- Surfers take advantage of churning seas in Galveston
- Tropical Storm Cindy: Houston memes note storm’s limited impact
- Woman hospitalized, husband found dead after couple reported missing
- Mike Fiers wins 4th straight decision as Astros beat A’s 5-1
- Texas Hispanics behind half of state’s growth since 2010
- Texas A&M reigns, UH gets a boost in Texas college sports revenue
- Southeast Texas coast braces for Tropical Storm Cindy
- Nearly 1,000 animals found in old moving truck
- Amid Texas nuclear waste site’s financial woes, judge blocks merger
- ‘I can’t do it,’ Florida woman tells couple after trying to give son away
- Boy killed in freak Tropical Storm Cindy incident
- Man wanted for pressuring juvenile to have sex, investigators say
- How the Texas Legislature Reached a Dangerous Stalemate on Vaccines
- Man shot to death in Stafford motel parking lot
- Look out Texan ranchers, Nebraska Longhorn rides shotgun on highway
- Texas group that fueled Trump voter fraud claim scales back 2016 election audit
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As state lawmakers return to Austin for legislative overtime, tech giant IBM is stepping up its fight to defeat legislation it says would discriminate against children and harm its Texas recruiting efforts.
In an internal memo sent Monday to thousands of employees around the world, IBM’s human resources chief outlined the New York-based company’s opposition to what the letter described as discriminatory proposals to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans. IBM sent the letter to employees the same day it dispatched nearly 20 top executives to the Lone Star State to lobby lawmakers at the state Capitol. A day earlier, it took out full-page ads in major Texas newspapers underlining its opposition to legislation that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a cadre of far-right lawmakers have deemed a top priority.
“Why Texas? And why now? On July 18th, the Texas legislature will start a thirty-day special session, where it is likely some will try to advance a discriminatory ‘bathroom bill’ similar to the one that passed in North Carolina last year,” wrote Diane Gherson, IBM’s senior vice president for human resources. “It is our goal to convince Texas elected officials to abandon these efforts.”
State lawmakers are set to reconvene in Austin on Tuesday as part of a special session forced by Patrick after legislation he deemed as must-pass — including various proposals to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans — failed during the regular session that concluded in late May.
Despite a fervent push by social conservatives, religious groups and some Republicans, the controversial proposals fizzled out in the Texas House where House Speaker Joe Straus made clear he opposed the legislation.
But similar proposals that would nix trans-inclusive bathroom policies enacted in recent years by Texas cities and school boards have already been filed for consideration during the special session that will end in mid-August.
The fate of such policies could once again come down to Straus who has long rooted his opposition to them in economic concerns like those expressed by IBM. But more recently he has framed them as concerning because of the detrimental effect they could have on transgender children who he has acknowledged as especially vulnerable.
Last week, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty spoke with Straus directly over the phone about the issue.
IBM’s renewed efforts are part of a months-long campaign by the business community against Texas’ so-called bathroom bill. At the tail-end of the regular legislative session, the company was among several prominent corporations, including Apple and Facebook, that penned a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott expressing staunch opposition to legislation they described as discriminatory and bad for business.
Abbott has said a statewide rule “protecting the privacy of women and children” is necessary to avoid “a patch-work quilt of conflicting local regulations.”
“At a minimum, we need a law that protects the privacy of our children in our public schools,” the Republican said in June.
Large corporations waged a similar defensive campaign in North Carolina when that state passed its own controversial bathroom bill. Lawmakers there retooled the law earlier this year after it sparked cancellations of business expansions and high-profile sporting events.
The memo IBM sent to employees on Monday echoed concerns businesses voiced in their letter to Abbott earlier this year, saying the company — which has more than 10,000 employees in Texas — is focused on defeating the bathroom proposals because they’re detrimental to inclusive business practices and fly in the face of “deep-rooted” values against discrimination targeting LGBT people.
“A bathroom bill like the one in Texas sends a message that it is okay to discriminate against someone just for being who they are,” Gherson, the company’s HR chief, wrote.
IBM executives are expected to join several other business leaders on the steps of the Capitol Monday morning to protest the bathroom proposals.
PASADENA — Cody Ray Wheeler has a cowboy’s name.
It’s a product, he says, of being born the son of a North Texas refinery worker. In some ways it’s emblematic of a changing Texas: Wheeler, who is Hispanic, represents a city council district with a majority-white voting constituency in this Houston suburb.
It’s also a name that has put him at the center of a voting rights battle over whether city leaders here pushed changes to the council map to undercut the electoral power of a booming Hispanic majority.
“A Hispanic wasn’t supposed to win that seat,” Wheeler said over barbecue on a recent steamy afternoon. He’s convinced his non-Hispanic last name made the difference in his narrow 33-vote margin of victory in 2013.
“I could not run as a Hispanic candidate,” he said. “I would’ve lost.”
His victory marked a milestone for a city with a racially acrimonious past. Though most Pasadenans are Hispanic, it was the first time two Hispanics served together on the eight-member council.
Wheeler’s election also brought longtime Mayor Johnny Isbell’s majority on the council down to one vote. Joined by two white city council members who represented majority-Hispanic districts on the north side of town, the two Hispanic members fell into a voting bloc that often pitted them against Isbell and the four council members who represented the southern, mostly white side of Pasadena.
After the 2013 elections, many Pasadenans believed the balance of power was about to shift, with hopes hinging on one of the districts represented by an Isbell ally that was predominantly made up of Hispanic voters. But that summer, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the portion of the federal Voting Rights Act that had prevented dozens of jurisdictions with a history of discrimination against voters of color — including Texas and its municipalities — from changing their election laws without federal approval.
Texas had been subject to those federal controls for decades. About a month after the state was freed from that electoral guardianship, Isbell introduced a proposal to redraw the city council map — and replace two of the districts with at-large seats elected by the entire city.
A group of Hispanic voters challenged the new map in court, setting into motion a case that could have implications across Texas — and could even become a test of whether the federal Voting Rights Act can still serve as a safeguard for minority voters nationwide.
But that’s only if parties on both side of the case keep it alive in court.
Pasadena’s voting rights fight is largely a result of changing demographic winds and the political tide that comes with them.
Lined by refineries to its north, the city of nearly 154,000 residents is a sprawling stretch of suburbia southeast of Houston in Harris County. Decades ago, the city charter imposed segregation and banned Spanish-language instruction. In the 1980s, it was home to the Ku Klux Klan’s Texas headquarters.
But by the time the 2010 census rolled around, white residents were in the minority and almost two out of every three residents were Hispanic. Carnicerias, panaderias and quinceañera party stores followed; in one pocket of town, two dozen businesses catering mostly to Hispanics filled an entire shopping center.
This population boom among Hispanics was largely confined to the older north end of town where many residents have long pointed to deteriorating streets and shoddy drainage systems as evidence that the city neglects their neighborhoods in favor of the newer neighborhoods south of Spencer Highway where wealthier, white residents predominantly reside. “Seventy percent of the (city’s) money is spent south of Spencer,” Wheeler says.
As older, white voters die off and young Hispanics reach voting age, Pasadena’s electorate has been changing even faster than Harris County as a whole, said Bob Stein, a Rice University political scientist who monitors elections in Harris County.
Hispanics’ growth was translating to political clout on the city council, and their representatives saw the 2015 city election as their best chance to achieve a majority on the council that could help push for improved conditions on the north side.
Then came the Supreme Court decision that wiped clean the list of states and localities needing federal “preclearance” to change election laws and Isbell’s “6-2 map” proposal. In addition to turning two council seats into at-large seats, it merged two council districts with Hispanic majorities into one.
Isbell, who did not respond to the Tribune’s request for comment, told voters at the time that the proposal was meant to make the council more representative and responsive to the concerns of all residents. In late 2013, Isbell told SCOTUSblog he pushed for the change “because the Justice Department can no longer tell us what to do.”
Wheeler and the other Hispanic-backed council members fiercely opposed Isbell’s proposal, which required voter approval. Historically, turnout among Pasadena’s Hispanic residents has been lower than white residents, particularly in local elections. Because voting blocs are often aligned along racial lines, Pasadena Hispanics would likely be outvoted by whites when it came to electing the new at-large council members.
When the map proposal went before the council, Isbell cast the deciding vote to break a 4-4 tie, and the issue was placed on the November ballot. Pasadena voters approved the new map by a 79-vote margin out of 6,500 votes cast.
Then came the lawsuit. Civil rights attorneys representing Hispanic voters sued the city, claiming the new council districts unlawfully diluted the voting strength of Hispanics and intentionally discriminated against them.
After a seven-day trial in Houston, a federal judge earlier this year found that Pasadena had violated the Voting Rights Act and ordered the city back under federal supervision under a different section of the law — the first ruling of its kind since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision.
“In Pasadena, Texas, Latino voters under the current 6-2 map and plan do not have the same right to vote as their Anglo neighbors,” Judge Lee H. Rosenthal wrote in a scathing opinion, which reinstated the city’s eight single-member districts.
Rosenthal invoked Texas’ dark, discriminatory legacy against voters of color — poll taxes, all-white primaries, eliminating interpreters at the polls — and outlined how it has endured through modern day-elections in a town where voters told a Hispanic candidate campaigning for a council seat that they “weren’t going to vote for a wetback.”
The judge also wrote there was credible evidence that Pasadena changed its map “precisely because Pasadena Latinos were successfully mobilizing and recently electing more of their candidates of choice.”
The city has since appealed the case to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, contending that the city had no intent to dilute Hispanic votes and that the 6-2 map had no discriminatory effect.
Bob Heath, the city’s lead lawyer in the case, contends that Rosenthal’s consideration of the number of majority-minority districts in Pasadena and whether that’s proportional to the city’s voting age Hispanic population runs contrary to two recent opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court.
And that’s where the case comes back to Wheeler’s name.
Heath points out that four candidates preferred by Hispanic voters prevailed in the 2015 elections — the only contests held under the 6-2 map. Among them was Wheeler, who was re-elected in a district that’s not majority-minority but is still “effective for Hispanics,” Heath said.
“That’s 50 percent (of the council seats) and Hispanics made up about 50 percent of the citizen voting-age population, so that was proportional representation,” Heath added.
But Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund — the attorney representing the Hispanic plaintiffs against the city — has repeatedly pointed out in court that Wheeler was assisted in his 2015 victory by “special circumstances” — his incumbency and his last name. Meanwhile, the number of Hispanic-majority districts was reduced to three under the 6-2 map.
The case could reverberate beyond Pasadena’s city limits. Legal experts contend that a decision by the 5th Circuit could guide other courts around the country that are considering similar voting rights cases.
The Pasadena ruling also has the potential to help build a case against the state, which faces its own voting rights challenges in court, said Richard Murray, a political science professor at the University of Houston who has studied voting rights cases for decades.
In lifting federal electoral oversight for Texas and other jurisdictions in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that conditions for minority voters had “dramatically improved,” but the justices left open the possibility that political jurisdictions could be placed back under preclearance if they committed new discriminatory actions.
Earlier this year, Texas faced a barrage of federal court rulings that found the 2011 Legislature intentionally discriminated against voters of colors by passing a stringent voter ID law and re-drawing the state’s political maps. Those cases are still making their way through federal courts in Corpus Christi and San Antonio.
The Pasadena ruling — “particularly because it was so thoroughly stated and so strong and by a judge that has no history of favoring blacks or Latinos in redistricting cases” — could serve as “another brick in building this case that Texas has a recent history of discriminatory action,” Murray said.
In a sign that Texas leaders also see Pasadena as a potential problem for its own cases, state attorneys filed an amicus brief in support of the city’s appeal, arguing that preclearance “must be sparingly and cautiously applied” to avoid reimposing “unwarranted federal intrusion.”
Judge Rosenthal’s preclearance ruling in the Pasadena case was improper, the state contends, because it was imposed for a single incident of discrimination instead of pervasive and rampant discrimination.
If the results of the May election are any proof, the city’s voters seem unwilling to upend the status quo in Pasadena.
Even with court-ordered single-member districts back in place, Pasadena voters elected a city council that’s expected to generally break the same way it did before the redistricting fight.
The Hispanic-voter backed voting bloc lost their coveted fifth city council seat by just seven votes. With Isbell stepping down because of term limits, voters elected council member Jeff Wagner — considered an Isbell ally on the council — as the new mayor.
With the city’s new slate of leaders sworn in last week, the future of the city’s appeal of Rosenthal’s order remains unclear.
Wagner was the only mayoral candidate who would not vow to drop the city’s appeal, Wheeler pointed out over lunch.
Wagner, who did not respond to a request for an interview, previously told the Tribune he would consult with council members about the appeal and make a decision based on whatever consensus emerged.
Dropping the appeal and letting the lower court ruling stand would prevent an appeals court ruling that could set a precedent for the state — and eliminate the chance that it could reach the Supreme Court and become a test of the strength of the Voting Rights Act.
Perales, the MALDEF lawyer, said the plaintiffs are focused on eliminating voting discrimination in Pasadena. “That’s what this case is about, and that’s what we care about,” she said.
Pasadena’s Hispanic leaders also know that higher courts could rule against them and wipe out their victory that overturned the 6-2 map and put the city back under federal preclearance. Wheeler also points out that the city has already spent more than $2 million defending the case.
He will have a few more years on the council before term limits require him to step aside, but he wonders what the power balance will look like when someone else represents his district.
Wheeler wants to make sure his time on city council helps ensure that the system won’t be rigged against Hispanic voters in the future — and pursuing the appeal puts that at risk.
“Why take the chance?” he says.
Disclosure: Rice University and the University of Houston have been a financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here.
SAN ANTONIO — Embarking on the latest chapter to the years-long battle over the state’s political maps, Texas and its legal foes on Monday faced off in federal court over minorities’ voting rights and the district boundaries the state should use in the 2018 elections.
Focusing first on the state’s House map, minority rights groups suing the state began the trial by slogging through 10 hours of dense expert testimony, election analyses and state lawmakers’ methods of redrawing political boundaries in an effort to convince a panel of three federal judges that the state’s existing map is illegal and must be redrawn.
It was the first day of what’s expected to be a week-long trial before a court that earlier this year found that Texas Republicans intentionally discriminated against Texans of color in previous mapmaking.
With Texas becoming less white each day, lawyers for minority rights groups opened their push for new maps by parsing the state’s demographic growth, which shows that the population of eligible white voters has significantly declined since 2010.
When asked by federal district Judge Orlando Garcia how this relates to the 2013 maps, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus’ lawyer, Jose Garza, indicated it was proof that Texans of color don’t have proportional representation under the maps currently in place.
“Even today … minorities are underrepresented when measured against population data and population figures,” Garza said.
MALC also presented an alternative map to demonstrate that the state House boundaries could have been drawn in a way that minimized the slicing of municipalities and created additional “opportunity districts” where minority voters are able to select their preferred candidates.
Creating that type of district was not a legislative priority when the House took on redistricting in 2013; lawmakers only made “cosmetic changes” that didn’t “improve the overall map for minority opportunity,” former state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer testified before the court.
In 2011, state lawmakers drew legislative and congressional maps following the 2010 census, but they were immediately challenged in court on the basis that they diluted the voting strength of Hispanic and black voters. The court drew interim maps amid an election scramble, and the Legislature in 2013 moved to adopt them.
Martinez Fischer argued that efforts to improve those maps for minority representation were rebuffed by the Republican majority.
“It was almost all upon deaf ears,” Martinez Fischer said.
While they’re challenging the existing map as a whole, lawyers with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund specifically focused on House District 90 as a district that should be invalidated, making the case that the redrawing of the district unconstitutionally diluted the strength of Hispanic voters.
One long-time Fort Worth resident involved in local politics told the court that the new boundaries of HD 90 “made it harder for a Hispanic to win.”
Late in the day, a lawyer for the NAACP started making its case against the state House map, opening with testimony on coalition districts in Bell County — one of several claims they’ve raised against house districts across the state. The NAACP is expected to continue its arguments that the state only adopted the court’s interim maps to avoid additional scrutiny and never planned to fix the discrimination that’s “deeply steeped” in the maps.
The political stakes are high. A ruling from the court could result in legislative and congressional boundaries that are less ideal for Republican candidates. And the state’s opponents are also hoping the legal wrangling could lead to Texas being placed back under federal electoral oversight years after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling freed them from that guardianship.
The state is expected to make its case and present its own witnesses later in the week. In legal filings, state attorneys have argued that the court-drawn maps the Legislature adopted in 2013 adequately addressed their foes’ claims. They’ve also asserted that the state is not liable for any intentional discrimination in the 2013 maps because the courts were behind the mapmaking.
The panel of judges presiding over this week’s trial ruled in April that Texas lawmakers intentionally in 2011 undercut the political clout of voters of color with its 2011 maps and created House districts that resulted in “even less proportional representation” for minority voters.
They found that Texas lawmakers either violated the U.S. Constitution or the Voting Rights Act by intentionally diluting the strength of minority voters with those House districts — echoing their earlier ruling that many of the congressional districts did the same thing.
Some of those issues were addressed in the temporary, court-drawn maps the Legislature adopted. But some lines remained the same.
The trial is expected to conclude on Friday or Saturday. The court will also hear arguments over the state’s congressional map.
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lower court ruling that favored of government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits and sent the Houston case back to trial court for reconsideration.
The case was part of Texas Republicans’ ongoing fight against the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and led to the enactment of benefits policies for married same-sex couples.
At the center of the Houston case is whether that ruling — known as Obergefell v. Hodges — requires city and other governmental agencies to extend those taxpayer-subsidized benefits to same-sex spouses of government employees. Following that ruling, public employers in Texas, including state agencies and public universities — quickly extended such benefits.
But in an attempt to re-litigate the high court’s decision, two taxpayers — represented by same-sex marriage opponents — are suing Houston over its policy.
They’ve argued that the interpretation of Obergefell is too broad and that the right to marry does not “entail any particular package of tax benefits, employee fringe benefits or testimonial privileges.” (In a separate case against the state’s now-defunct ban on same-sex marriage, the Texas attorney general’s office actually argued that marriage is a right that comes with benefits the state is entitled to control.)
Lawyers for the city of Houston argued, in part, that opponents are without a legal avenue to even pursue their claims because the city’s policy is protected under Obergefell, which they pointed out explicitly addressed “marriage-related benefits.
During a March hearing, Douglas Alexander, the lawyer who defended Houston’s benefits policy, told the court that the case was moot under Obergefell’s guarantee that all marriages be equally regarded.
Jonathan Mitchell, the former solicitor general for the state and the lawyer representing opponents of the Houston policy, argued that marriage benefits are not a fundamental right and that Obergefell did not resolve questions surrounding such policies..
But throughout the hearing, the justices instead focused on jurisdiction and standing.
The decision by the Texas Supreme Court to take up the case was regarded as an unusual move because it had previously declined to take it up last year. That allowed a lower court decision, which upheld benefits for same-sex couples, to stand.
But the state’s highest civil court reversed course in January after receiving an outpouring of letters opposing the decision. They also faced pressure from Texas GOP leadership — spearheaded by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — who asked the court to clarify that Obergefell does not include a “command” to public employers regarding employee benefits.
That request to the court came more than a year after state agencies moved to extend benefits to spouses of married gay and lesbian employees just days after the high court’s ruling. As of Aug. 31, 584 same-sex spouses had enrolled in insurance plans — including health, dental or life insurance — subsidized by the state, according to a spokeswoman for the Employees Retirement System, which oversees benefits for state employees.
The state’s population is still booming, and Hispanic Texans are driving a large portion of that growth.
New population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show that just over half of Texas’ population increase since 2010 can be attributed to a rapidly growing Hispanic community and its expanding presence in nearly every corner of the state.
As of July 2016, the Texas population nearly reached 27.9 million — up from 25.1 million in 2010. More than 1.4 million of that 2.7 million increase was among Hispanic Texans. Meanwhile, the white population only increased by about 444,000 people.
Put another way: Since 2010, Texas has gained more than three times as many Hispanic residents than whites.
White Texans remain the largest demographic group in the state, making up almost 43 percent of the population. But their growth rate since 2010 is easily trumped by growth among Texans of color.
Asians make up a small share of the state’s population — almost 5 percent — but the Asian community in Texas is growing rapidly. In recent years, demographers identified new immigration patterns to the state that are driven by an increase in the rate of immigrants moving here from Asia.
The black community continues to grow in Texas, but their share of the population has remained mostly unchanged, hovering just below 12 percent. Meanwhile, white Texans’ share of the state’s population has continued to drop since 2010 as Hispanics’ share has increased, reaching 39 percent in 2016.
This growth is also reflected at the county level where Hispanics’ share of the population has increased in all but 11 counties since 2010. Meanwhile, whites’ share of the population has dropped in all but a handful of Texas counties.
The estimated population growth among Texans of color, particularly Hispanics, sets up the state to face significant political and economic repercussions in the coming years.
The rapid growth among Hispanics and Asians comes as the state is inching toward its next redistricting cycle when, after the 2020 census, state lawmakers will be required to rejigger boundaries for congressional and legislative districts in response to population growth.
The growing diversity in the state, particularly among younger Texans, will also play into the development of the future workforce. A large majority of the youngest Texans are people of color who also make up most of the student population in the state’s public schools.
But the educational achievement gap between students of color and white students persists. Demographers have warned that the state’s failure to close those gaps could hurt the competitiveness of the state’s workforce as those students become of age.
Nationally, Texas is also leading in terms of Hispanic growth even among states with the biggest Hispanic communities.
While California still easily bests Texas for the largest Hispanic population in the country, Texas had the largest numeric increase among Hispanics since the last census. That trend also held from 2015 to 2016, when Texas gained the most Hispanics — 233,100 residents — compared to 176,198 in California.
Home to Houston, Harris County gained more Hispanic residents — 39,600 — than any other county in the country.
Unsurprisingly, Texas was also home to counties with some of the highest shares of Hispanic residents. Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley had the highest Hispanic share of the population — 96.3 percent — in the country.
Amid last-minute efforts to overhaul the state’s voter identification law in light of an ongoing legal fight, the Texas Legislature gaveled out without addressing another embattled election law that’s now moving forward in federal court.
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday will take up a legal challenge to an obscure provision in the Texas Election Code that requires interpreters helping someone cast a ballot to also be registered to vote in the same county in which they are providing help.
That state law has been on hold since last year after a federal district judge ruled it violated the federal Voting Rights Act under which any voter who needs assistance because of visual impairments, disabilities or literacy skills can be helped in casting a ballot by the person of their choice, as long as it’s not their employer or a union leader.
“There’s nothing that’s being imposed. The state just needs to get out of the way,” said Jerry Vattamala, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s democracy program.
AALDEF brought the lawsuit against the voting law on behalf of the Greater Houston chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans and the late Mallika Das, a Williamson County resident who was unable to get help from her son to cast her ballot in 2014.
A U.S. citizen born in India, Das had brought her son, Saurabh, to help her vote. She spoke Bengali, an Asian dialect, and her limited English proficiency had made it difficult in the past. But when Saurabh told poll workers he intended to interpret the ballot for his mother, an election official determined he didn’t meet the state’s voter registration requirements because he was registered to vote in neighboring Travis County.
Das’ voting dilemma, which jumpstarted the legal challenge, illustrates the complexities behind Texas’ election requirements that language-minority voters are left to navigate.
One provision of state election code allows voters to select an “interpreter” to help them communicate with an election officer and “accompany the voter to the voting station for the purpose of translating the ballot to the voter.” A separate provision governs “assistors” and says voters can receive help reading or marking a ballot and states that assistance “occurs while the person is in the presence of the voter’s ballot.”
The interpreter, unlike an assistor, must be registered to vote in the same county.
The state has argued the interpreter provision of state law is constitutional and “supplemental” to the minimum requirements set forth by the Voting Rights Act.
Attorneys for the state have also acknowledged that Williamson County erroneously “conflated the two provisions.” Had Saurabh said he was assisting his mother — not interpreting the English ballot for her — he would have been allowed to join her in the voting booth to help her cast a proper vote, state attorneys have conceded.
That distinction “arbitrarily” restricts voters with limited English proficiency and is “illustrative” of “why particular words matter,” U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman said in an August ruling against the state. And the Texas interpreter restrictions “flatly contradict” the Voting Rights Act, he added.
After Pitman scolded the state, two Democratic lawmakers sought to simplify the issue earlier this year by nixing the interpreter section of state law altogether — a proposal that picked up endorsements from the Texas Association of Election Administrators, the League of Women Voters, MALDEF and the Texas Democratic Party.
But their peers showed little appetite to address the issue.
“I don’t see how we could in legislative action place a criteria that would limit it more than a constitutional standard,” said state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, who filed one of the measures during this year’s regular legislative session that would’ve only left in place the assistor provision. “I just don’t think the state is serious about the right to vote or access to the election box. We just seem to bend over backwards to place barriers instead of working to increase voter turnout.”
Her legislation to bring the state in line with federal law languished in the Senate State Affairs Committee after colleagues raised concerns that it would allow voters to obtain help at the polls from noncitizens, Garcia said. The voter registration requirement by default requires the interpreter to be a U.S. citizen and 18 years old.
But sometimes voters ask their minor children to help them cast their ballots, Democratic state Rep. Ramon Romero of Fort Worth told the House Elections Committee during an April hearing. His proposal was similar to Garcia’s and also did not advance out of committee.
Despite the intricacies between interpreters and assistors, the case could ultimately come down to a question of standing if the state has its way.
The Texas Attorney General’s office, which is representing the state in the lawsuit, declined to comment on pending litigation. But in a brief filed with the 5th Circuit, state attorneys argued that the lower court erred in its ruling by allowing the lawsuit to move forward despite Das’ death before there was a judgment in the lower court.
The remaining plaintiffs in the case — the Greater Houston chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans — “rode the coattails” of the former lead plaintiff, Das, “by arguing that her alleged injuries, accrued in Williamson County, may befall its members in Harris County,” the AG’s office wrote in its filing.
They also contend that the state shouldn’t be a party in the case because local authorities — and not the Secretary of State whose office oversees elections — implemented the interpreter provisions.
The New Orleans-based appellate court will take up the case in its morning session on Thursday.
Among the Elder family’s dinnertime conversations last year was nailing down which sports their son Ben wanted to try out over the summer.
This time around, with school out for the summer — but state lawmakers set to come back to Austin for an overtime round — they’ll be left to wonder whether their 11-year-old transgender son will lose the ability to use the boys’ bathroom.
“My fear is that if the special session happens and some law passes, that’s going to take the decision out of their hands,” said Ann Elder, who has spent the past year meeting with school administrators to make sure Ben’s accommodations are all set up when he starts middle school in the fall.
District officials and Ben’s elementary school teachers and counselors have worked with the Elder family throughout his transition by calling him by whatever name he wanted and treating him like “he wanted to be treated,” Ann says. They first allowed him to use a bathroom in the nurse’s office but then signed off on letting him use the boys’ bathroom when Ann Elder realized he had been holding it in for the entire school day.
With Ben moving on to the sixth grade, Ann Elder was relieved to find that his middle school was “beyond supportive,” and she got a temporary reprieve from concerns that the Legislature would get in the way of that when efforts to regulate which bathrooms transgender Texans can use fizzled out amid a legislative stalemate at the end of their regular session.
But Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced he was calling lawmakers back for legislative overtime in a special session beginning July 18 — and bathroom restrictions are on the agenda.
It’s unclear whether any bathroom regulations will make it out of a special session, where lawmakers have a much shorter window to send proposals to the governor’s desk. But the governor’s decision to extend a divisive, months-long debate on the issue and give lawmakers a second chance to pass a “bathroom bill” has pushed a dark cloud of uncertainty back over transgender Texans and their families.
“That’s going to put [school officials] in a really awkward situation because they’re going to have to enforce this even if they don’t want to,” Ann Elder said in a recent interview. “And then it’s going to force Ben and I to figure out how we’re going to handle it or do we just exit the public school system.”
Abbott’s special session announcement and the inclusion of bathroom restrictions comes after months of legislative bickering and an unprecedented show of force at the Capitol by transgender Texans and their allies.
The controversial bathroom proposals easily dominated the legislative session: Folks on both sides of the issue gathered at the Capitol for protests, lobbying days and rallies on the issue. Lawmakers held two overnight hearings during which transgender Texans and their families pleaded with them to not pull back established protections against discrimination and accommodations they’ve obtained. And the proposals even led to Republican infighting — including two sets of dueling press conferences — about legislative inaction.
All of that is likely to pick back up in July for round two.
Soon after Abbott’s announcement, Republican state Rep. Ron Simmons of Carrollton confirmed he would once again push his proposal from the regular session — House Bill 2899 — to outlaw municipal and school districts’ trans-inclusive bathroom policies.
“The main concern is our schools and making sure that privacy is protected in those arenas,” Simmons said.
A spokesman for state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who authored the Senate’s more restrictive measure, Senate Bill 6, did not respond to a request for comment on whether she would file a bill with similar language.
Both measures died in the House under Speaker Joe Straus, who has made clear he opposes bathroom restrictions and offered up a watered-down compromise that some groups said would’ve likely allowed school officials to continue allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. That put Straus in direct opposition to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who contends the measure is needed to improve privacy — and the Senate, which refused to accept anything less than a restrictive, broad measure that would eliminate trans-inclusive bathroom policies.
The impasse could carry over into the special session that Patrick forced Abbott into calling by holding hostage crucial legislation needed to continue some state agencies.
On Tuesday, Abbott said the sunset legislation was used for “political fodder” but still added bathroom restrictions to the list of things he expected lawmakers to address during the 30-day special session.
He also reiterated his support for HB 2899, endorsing it as a way to “establish a single statewide rule protecting the privacy of women and children,” but he indicated he’d settle for restrictions focused on public schools.
“At a minimum, we need a law that protects the privacy of our children in our public schools” Abbott said.
A united front of opposition
After largely staying out of the bathroom debate, Abbott echoed social conservatives who for months have used privacy as the main argument for why bathroom restrictions are necessary. Though they’ve provided virtually no evidence, they’ve claimed that trans-inclusive bathroom policies allow individuals to enter bathrooms of the opposite gender for nefarious reasons.
That’s been met by loud opposition from LGBT advocates, civil rights groups, school groups, business groups and major corporations who offered a mostly united front during the legislative session in labeling the proposals as discriminatory and hurtful to an already vulnerable population.
The debate has also helped galvanize a community of Texans that until recently largely stayed out of the political arena but are now showing no signs of retreating during the special session.
Two years ago, about 80 people traveled to Austin to visit with lawmakers as part of Texas Trans Lobby Day, according to organizers. This year, almost 400 people — including transgender adults and children — traversed the halls of the Capitol as part of their lobbying efforts against bathroom restrictions and other legislation they deemed harmful to transgender Texans.
“I never thought I’d see that many people show up in Texas on a topic specifically related to trans people,” Lou Weaver, transgender programs coordinator for Equality Texas, said of the hundreds of individuals who packed the Capitol for the first committee hearing on the Senate bathroom bill. “It continued to happen over and over again…These people are continuing to show up.”
Among them will be the parents of transgender children who expressed mixed feelings of relief, gratitude and frustration after the regular session ended without passage of a “bathroom bill.”
“To be very honest with you, this legislative session has been really hard for me,” Ann Elder said after the Legislature adjourned. “I just feel like I’m fighting a losing battle, and I don’t think anybody cares other than the other families. I’m feeling very bleak about the situation.”
Others are using the defeat of the proposals during the regular session to rejoice and regroup on their efforts to fight similar efforts by continuing to personalize the issue.
“We’re regular families. I drive a minivan and listen to country music. My husband is the president of our church. We’re just like you,” said Amber Briggle, the mother of transgender fourth grader named Max. “I think we’ve made it relatable, and more and more transgender Texans like my son are standing up and speaking up, and it shifts your understanding of what it means to be transgender when it’s someone you know, when it’s so personal … I think that made a difference.”