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Politics

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

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

All week, we are looking at demographic changes in the currently very red, very Republican Lone Star state. Democrats hope the growing size and potential voting clout of the Latin population will turn Texas blue.

LeAnn Wallace / YNN

Less than a week after protesters and Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, ran the clock out on a tough new abortion bill, they were back Monday -- this time clad in orange.

But their opponents, too, returned for the start of the second legislative special session. And with an iron grip on the Capitol, Republicans vowed not to allow the bill to fail this time around.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Abortion activists are expected to be front and center as the battle over abortion restrictions resumes in Austin today.

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

It's no secret: Texas is big. And it's getting bigger.

The Lone Star State has added about 5 million people since the turn of the century, and its population is expected to swell by another 5 million by 2020.

This week, NPR examines the dramatic demographic shifts underway in the Lone Star State in our series Texas 2020. We'll look ahead to how the second-biggest state could change in the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of America.

State Sen. Wendy Davis (and her sneakers) got the headlines, but it took thousands more voices to shout down the Texas Senate's abortion restrictions this week. The Texas Tribune has an in-depth look at how the protests came together. And don't miss this nugget deep in the story: “I turned my hearing aids all the way down and I still got deaf from the noise,” said David Plylar of San Antonio, who attended the protests with his wife. “But it was a happy noise.”

Gov. Rick Perry is blaming an unruly "mob" and a senator's filibuster for killing a bill this week that would have further restricted Texas abortions. 

The governor found a receptive audience for his message Thursday at the  National Right to Life Convention in Dallas. 

The Senate approved a sweeping immigration bill Thursday, endorsing a bill that would put millions of immigrants who illegally entered the United States on a path to citizenship. The final vote tally on the bill was 68 in favor, with 32 opposed.

The bill also includes measures that would punish employers who take advantage of immigrant workers, as well as providing billions in spending to employ fences and high-tech tools to help secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

All 52 Democratic senators voted for the bill, along with 14 Republicans and two independents.

The online non-profit news service, a partner of KERA, emerged as the primary source for hundreds of thousands watching the live stream of Tuesday night's filibuster soap opera in Austin.

Texas Tribune

Those celebrating the legislative defeat of new abortion restrictions in Texas had a short-lived victory.  Governor Rick Perry has called a new, 30-day special session beginning Monday where legislators will likely vote again on the same measures.

Overnight, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis became a national political name and a hero to abortion-rights supporters around the country.

The hashtag #StandWithWendy took off into the social-media stratosphere: Even a certain White House tweeter joined the party. Buzzfeed takes a look at how Wendy-mania took hold.

State Senate/Texas Tribune

Update, 6:20 a.m.: Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis started it. A raucous, roaring crowd of spectators finished it. And when the dust finally cleared about 3 a.m., Texas Republicans admitted it: One of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the nation didn't get the required Senate vote by a midnight deadline.

Outnumbered Democrats declared victory after the daylong (and nightlong) drama. But their win could be shortlived: Gov. Rick Perry, who called the 30-day special session that ended at midnight, could do the same thing again. No official word came by early Wednesday morning on whether he would.

Jim Pitts, (R) of Waxahachie and the legislature's chief budget writer is preparing a resolution to impeach University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall. PItts believes Hall has improperly interfered with U-T Austin and its management.

North Texans will vote in several important local runoff elections Saturday. You can find links to sources of voting information here.

Frank Moss/Gyna Bivens

A long serving Fort Worth city council member is trying to hold on to his seat in this weekend’s run-off election.

Saturday’s vote will determine whether incumbent Frank Moss or first-time candidate Gyna Bivens wins east Fort Worth’s District 5.

Kent Wang / flickr.com

Voters decide two Dallas City Council seats in Saturday’s runoff election.  In Districts 5 and 14, the runoff rhetoric has swirled around personality and race. 

Gov. Rick Perry's outsized Texas swagger is coming to the heart of blue state America.

"That was a mistake," Ken Emanuelson says of his statement at a May 20 event organized by the Dallas County Republican Party. His full quote then: “I’m going to be real honest with you. The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”

“I truly understand the pain, confusion and feelings of betrayal my decision has brought you," city council member Delia Jasso wrote, "and I take complete ownership for causing these raw emotions.”

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Three out of four Fort Worth City Council incumbents are keeping their jobs. Another is in a runoff. So the council’s direction is unlikely to change.

BJ Austin / KERA News

After Saturday’s election, Hispanic representation on the Dallas City Council could take a step back at a time when the Latino population is growing. And, there will also be fewer women on the council. 

Kent Wang / flickr.com

Does it matter if there are fewer women elected to the Dallas City Council?  Two veteran councilwomen say it “may” in some ways.  Tomorrow’s council elections will end a female council majority.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Current leadership on Irving’s School Board may shift after this Saturday’s election. As a result, the new leaders could change the district’s direction.

Will voters want you back if you quit during your term in office?  Will they think you’re ineffective if don’t vote on big issues because of a family conflict? Those are two of the biggest questions in the Fort Worth District 8 council race between incumbent Kelly Allen Gray and the council member she replaced, Kathleen Hicks. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Former Fort Worth Council member Jim Lane wants his job back.  Sal Espino, the council’s only Hispanic, says he deserves to stay.

For Northside voters in  District 2 the election probably comes down to this: are you better off today with Sal Espino than you were eight years ago when Jim Lane stepped down after 12 years on the council?

BJ Austin / KERA News

It’s the end of an era in Dallas City Council District 14.  The outspoken Angela Hunt is stepping down because of term limits and seven candidates are lined up to take her place.  It’ll be a big job for the newcomer chosen to represent a diverse and demanding district. So, what do constituents want?

City of Dallas

Seven candidates are vying to replace Angela Hunt to represent a diverse district that includes portions of downtown and the arts district; lower Greenville Avenue;  Cedar Springs and East Dallas.   Here's what they had to say on taxes, gas drilling, the Trinity River Tollway, arts funding and more.

Joe Berti

State emergency officials say the West Fertilizer plant where an explosion killed 14 people was under no obligation to have an evacuation plan. A Homeland Security Hearing also revealed that other North Texas Counties store ammonium nitrate, a substance that was kept at the blast site.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told lawmakers there are more than 1,000 facilities statewide that store it in some capacity

Incumbent Gwen Craig will have to defeat Hispanic activist Manuel Benavidez and retired teacher Lee Mosty to keep her place on the Irving ISD School Board. Craig was elected in 2010 two months after the board hired Superintendent Dana Bedden away from a school district in Georgia, a controversial decision.

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