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Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

Krystina Martinez / KERA

The Texas Legislature is keeping the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) busy this session.

YouTube/PBS NewsHour screengrab

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies Tuesday — on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Russia's use of "active measures" — before the House Intelligence Committee. Brennan is also expected to be questioned about the many leaks regarding national security issues since President Trump took office.

Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open session.

"The Committee looks forward to receiving testimony from the former Director on his role in the development of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, and I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media," Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement released Friday evening.

Hours after a news report that President Trump had asked the FBI director to back away from an investigation, Democrats seized on the information to accuse the White House of a serious crime.

"We are witnessing an obstruction of justice case unfolding in real time," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a former state attorney general.

From U.S. House Floor, Texas Democrat Calls For Trump's Impeachment

May 17, 2017
Official House portrait

Amid multiple Trump-related scandals rocking the Capitol, U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump from the House chamber on Wednesday morning. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Law enforcement groups call civil asset forfeiture a vital tool in the war on drugs. Critics on the left and the right say it’s a practice prone to abuse, and it needs to be curtailed. The process allows law enforcement agents to take property and cash they suspect is related to criminal activity.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Incumbents ruled the day in Tarrant County when voters hit the polls in Saturday's municipal elections. Voters weighed in in municipal elections, choosing mayors, city council members and other local positions. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Saturday is Election Day for cities and school districts across North Texas. In Fort Worth, there will be at least one new face on the City Council. 

Clock Ticking Toward 2018 As Court Mulls Redistricting Questions

Apr 27, 2017
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A pair of federal court rulings that Texas leaders purposefully discriminated against minority voters in rejiggering congressional and state House boundaries have triggered a slew of pressing questions among politicos.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Across North Texas, early voting is underway for the May 6 municipal elections. Members of city councils and school boards will be elected. They’ll direct how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars. There’s also a host of bond and tax issues on the ballot. But if the past is any indication, most people who can vote, won’t.

Steven Martin via flickr

Another election day is fast approaching. Cities, school districts and other local governments across North Texas are gearing up for municipal elections on May 6. Early voting starts next Monday. In Tarrant County, there are some crowded races for dozens of open seats, and a whole host of questions about taxes and bonds that voters across the county will decide.

Dan Flynn

A Texas House pensions committee advanced a bill to the full House this week aimed at fixing the Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund. The key figure in Austin for the troubled pension funds in Dallas and Houston is a small town-Republican.

Rachel Osier Lindley / KERA News

One of the most heated debates in Austin this legislative session is over Senate Bill 6. Introduced as the Privacy Protection Act, the "bathroom bill" would bar people from using restrooms or locker rooms in schools and other government buildings that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates.

Midland Congressman To Lead House Investigation Into Russian Hack

Apr 6, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway will lead the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian influence over the 2016 elections, the committee chairman announced Thursday morning. 

In Shake Up, Rick Perry Moves Into Trump's National Security Inner Circle

Apr 5, 2017
Carlos Barria / Reuters

WASHINGTON -  A new memorandum Wednesday revealed that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will be added to President Donald Trump's National Security Council, the chief executive's main advisory group on intelligence and defense matters.   

Courtesy of the Joyful Heart Foundation

When you go to the Department of Public Safety office to apply for a driver’s license, the application asks if you want to donate a buck or more to support veterans or organ donation or people who are visually impaired. If Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, has her way, you’ll be asked if you’d like to help the state pay to test DNA evidence from sexual assault cases.

From Texas Standard:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has drawn his first election challenger. Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso announced his intention to run for the Democratic Senate nomination in 2018, after which he would likely face Cruz in the general election. O’Rourke spent the weekend holding rallies around the state to announce his candidacy.

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke Promises 'Big Announcement' On Friday

Mar 29, 2017
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke has scheduled a major political event on Friday, prompting speculation that the third-term Democratic congressman will launch a bid to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. 

Women make up half of the U.S. population, but hold less than 20 percent of the seats in Congress. Cindy Simon Rosenthal spent much of her career studying this issue, and then got involved herself. She was the first female elected mayor of Norman, Oklahoma - and now runs the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at The University of Oklahoma. 

Rob Crow

A bill aimed granting more defendants release from jail without paying bail would require judges to use a risk assessment system before making bail decisions — and to make those decisions within 48 hours of an arrest.

Linah Mohammad/KERA News

The Republican leadership in Congress will spend next week hammering out details in their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Some of that will happen in the committee chaired by Pete Sessions.

flickr user rep.louiseslaughter

When Congressman Pete Sessions opens his town hall at Richardson High School on Saturday, he’s likely to face the same kind of raucous reception his fellow House Republicans have seen in recent weeks. More than 2,000 people have signed up for the town hall, and submitted more than 1,200 questions for the man who represents Texas’ 32nd Congressional district.

From Texas Standard:

Remember the Takata airbag scandal? The company’s actions – though they took lives – were not criminal; Takata’s offenses were civil. Nobody went to jail. But the company was fined $1 billion.

 

Laura Skelding / Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Wednesday that House Speaker Joe Straus is "out of touch with the voters" for opposing the so-called bathroom bill that passed the Texas Senate a day earlier.

U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional Republicans this week rolled out their alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Though some on the right have criticized it as “Obamacare 2.0,” U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling says he’s on board with the proposed legislation – with a few tweaks.  

Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo

A major effort to overhaul the bail system in Texas was rolled out Thursday, and the reforms have some powerful backers. The target is a system that releases people held in jail before trial based in part on their ability to pay their bail or a fee to bond out. It’s a system that leaves many of the state's poorest residents to wait in jail until their court date arrives, which advocates say wastes taxpayer dollars and unnecessarily upends lives.   

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A state senate committee takes up Senate Bill 6, the so-called bathroom bill Tuesday. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has long favored legislation that would require people in public schools and government buildings to use the restroom according to the sex on their birth certificate.  

Brandon Wade / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

There’s not much Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on in Austin these days, but criminal justice reform is one area that has found bipartisan support over the past decade. 

Rosa Say / Flickr

State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) filed legislation today to gut Dallas County Schools. The agency provides transportation services to 12 North Texas school districts.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Two North Texas lawmakers took a break from the legislative session to share a stage in Dallas Friday. Republican Senator Don Huffines and Democratic Representative Rafael Anchia debated a range of hot button issues being considered in Austin. Neither Huffines nor Anchia shied away from the controversial topics swirling under the Capitol dome.

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