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Burnt Orange Report is redeveloping our website for the first time in almost a decade.

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Local LGBT Community Holds Gay Pride Event In West Texas


by: Omar Araiza

Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

The city of Lubbock -- and the rest of West Texas for that matter -- is not exactly known as a safe haven for LGBT people. Yet, the local LGBT community here is making progress in order to change that. At least, make their presence known a little bit more.

The New York Times published a story this weekend concerning the Gay Pride event held in the conservative city of Lubbock, and the efforts and stories of those that were behind the event.

Read more about it below the jump.

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Poll Finds Answer to GOP Problem With Women Voters: Become Democrats


by: Genevieve Cato

Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

Republicans have a lady problem. In order to try and solve it, two groups, Crossroads GPS and American Action Network, commissioned a poll of 800 female voters across the nation this summer, Politico reports. The goal: identify opportunities to close the gender gap.

The report, entitled "Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities" encourages Republicans to, among other things, "pursue policy innovations that inspire women voters to give the GOP a 'fresh look.'" Unfortunately for the Republican Party, those "policy innovations" are often fundamentally at odds with their existing platform.

More on the outlook for the GOP and women voters below the jump.

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Final List of Candidates for November General Election Now Available


by: Joseph Vogas

Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

Last week, the Texas Secretary of State finalized the list of candidates who will appear on ballots across Texas for all statewide and legislative races for this November's general election. Readers should recall Burnt Orange Report has been tracking candidates who have filed for public office since last fall, keeping an open, public record for all to see on who is running for office. Those pages can be found below:

- Statewide Offices
- US Congress
- Texas Senate
- Texas House
- State Board of Education

In this final update, candidates were added to eight races and removed from seven. Burnt Orange Report has been tracking 223 races and only had to make changes to 14 races in total at the end. Most of these final changes made involved the Texas Green Party.

With this final update, two more candidates are running unopposed while two others no longer have opposition in November. Find out who these four candidates are and see what final changes were made in this final update.

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Obamacare Enrollment is Still an Option for the Millions Who Experience Life Events


by: Emily Cadik

Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

According to new research from Enroll America, nearly 7 million people may be eligible to enroll in health care coverage in the federal marketplace between open enrollment periods because of qualifying life events.

Qualifying life events include marriage or divorce, having a baby, moving to a different county, gaining citizenship, getting out of jail and involuntarily losing health-coverage, which can include losing health insurance as a result of losing a job, aging off a parent's plan, having COBRA coverage expire or losing eligibility for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). According to the report, moving is the most common qualifying life event among the uninsured, with 1.8 million uninsured Americans likely to move between open enrollment periods.

See how many people are eligible to enroll in Texas after the jump.

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Researchers Struggle to Measure Impact of Abortion Restrictions in Texas


by: Genevieve Cato

Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 05:00 PM CDT

Since House Bill 2 was introduced during a special session over a year ago, opponents of the law have been pointing to the devastating impact the law would have on access to abortion services. As the provisions of the law have gone into effect, many have focused on determining just how the law is changing abortion access for Texans.

The University of Texas Policy Evaluation Project found that the rate of abortions in Texas fell by 13 percent. Though this is a slightly more pronounced shift than the national average, it is not as large a drop as one might expect when over half of the clinics in a state have closed. Part of this is due to the difficulty of measuring the precise impact of the new law, FiveThirtyEight reports

More on the obstacles to tracking the impact of abortion restrictions in Texas below the jump.

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Three Texas Cities Among List Of Least 'American' Cities


by: Omar Araiza

Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT


Charro Days in Brownsville, Texas, 4th "least American" city
Personal finance social network, WalletHub, sought to find "which cities bleed the most red, white and blue" according to characteristics such as ethnic makeup, household size and median income. Their analysis resulted in a list of most "American" cities, and least "American" cities.

No Texas city was included among the top 10 most American cities. However, three of Texas' major cities were included among the nation's top 10 least American cities.

Take a look at their top ten most "American" and least "American" cities below.

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Left In Texas: Rick Perry in Freefall, Greg Abbott In Retreat


by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT

This is Episode 33 for the week of August 24th.

It's been a huge week for Texas politics folks! Imad and I review the latest news on Gov. Rick Perry's indictment and the unraveling of his 2016 bid before our very eyes.

We discuss why Greg Abbott backed out of a TV debate with Wendy Davis, and his 2 epic court loses that came back to back. The first was the school finance decision ruling current funding unconstitutional, and the second was that parts of HB2, the bill that Wendy Davis was made famous for filibustering, was also ruled unconstitutional.

That has to be pretty awkward for a guying running for Governor as as the current Attorney General. He seems to have issues with what is and is not constitutional -- but still always finds his way on the opposite side of the people.

The heat from the press and voters has him on the run, and his response has been to hunker down and try and ride the GOP advantage past the finish line.

Oh, and we also talk about some great and not so great advances in environmental policy.

Listen to the full episode below the jump!

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Stigma, Empathy, and TRAP Laws: Later Abortion Care and Reproductive Health


by: Genevieve Cato

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

On Friday, mere hours before Judge Yeakel issued the ruling finding the Ambulatory Surgical Center provision in House Bill 2 unconstitutional, The National Network of Abortion Funds, the National Abortion Federation, The Reproductive Health Technologies Project,  the Sea Change Program, and Backline held a tweet chat about later abortion care moderated by Steph Herold, Sea Change's Deputy Director.

Later abortion care is not usually a part of reproductive justice talking points, especially not in the political arena. The twenty week ban on abortion procedures in the omnibus abortion bill is arguably the least-contested provision in House Bill 2. For Texans seeking abortion procedures later in their pregnancies, this means that stigma prevents them from accessing legal healthcare in their own state.

More on the tweet chat, later abortion care, and what it means for Texans below the jump.

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At Least 50 Troops Relying On Food Bank After Gov. Perry Sent Them To Border Without Pay


by: Joe Deshotel

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

After Governor Rick Perry's controversial move to send National Guard troops to the border, new broke that many were not paid and at least 50 were relying on a local food bank to eat.

It's not the kind of news the Governor needs after a long two weeks that included 2 felony indictments and a mugshot, but his reckless policies and refusal of accountability is starting to catch up at warp speed.

The Governor has been out visiting early primary states as he flirts with the idea of another run at the White House, but back at home along the border his highly politicized and extremely costly moves are beginning to unravel any chance that he may have had.

See more below the jump.

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Ambulatory Surgical Center Provision Ruled Unconstitutional


by: Genevieve Cato

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 07:06 PM CDT

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the state's requirement that abortion facilities meet the requirements for Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC). This provision of House Bill 2 was slated to go into effect on September 1st, and would have left the state with as few as seven abortion providers - approximately one per million women of reproductive age in Texas.

The ruling in the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey also addressed the admitting privileges provision as it applies to two specific clinics: one in the Rio Grande Valley and one in West Texas. Yeakel found that in these areas requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the facility untenable and unconstitutional.

Together, the court ruled, the ASC and admitting privileges "create an impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion."

More on the ruling, and reactions to the decision, below the jump.

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Friday Wrap: A #TacoOrBeer Challenge Update, Beer Takes on Fracking, and More...


by: Burnt Orange Report

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

It's Friday! Time for your Burnt Orange Reporters to close some browser tabs and touch on the issues of the week.

First up this week, the great Bacon-Kale map, showing, via Twitter data, which states show stronger affinity for bacon vs. kale. Texas registers a weak bacon preference.

Below the jump, find out how many white people have only white friends, why the beer industry is taking on fracking, and more...

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Greg Abbott Backs Out Of Only TV Debate With Wendy Davis After Hiring New Debate Consultant


by: Joe Deshotel

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 03:12 PM CDT

UPDATED 8/30/14: Apparently Greg Abbott has "agreed" to a different televised debate after complaining about the format and backing out of the previously planned TV debate with WFAA. Davis and Abbott will appear on the same day (Sept. 30th) on KERA. One of Abbott's major concerns in his original acceptance letter was the presence of a live audience.

Original Story:

Back in May Wendy Davis proposed 6 debates with Greg Abbott across the state of Texas, he agreed to do two, but today he backed out of the only one that was planned to be broadcasted on statewide television.

The move is another mark in a disturbing trend of Abbott moving away from transparency and the public spotlight just as the traditional campaign season kicks-off this Labor Day weekend.

It seems all the heat Abbott has been taking regarding his policy positions and connections to the Rick Perry indictment is starting to make him a little uncomfortable and he has decided to take his ball and go home.

The backlash has been swift and from all side -- see what people are saying below jump...

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Think You Know Texas Political Trivia? Get Ready to Prove It!


by: Burnt Orange Report

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 01:07 PM CDT

If you're a Texas political trivia buff, get ready to compete for the title of BOR Quiz Champion!

Can you name every Texas Governor? What about every Speaker Pro Tem of the Texas House? We're holding our first annual Texas Political Trivia Pub Quiz on Monday, September 8. RSVP on Facebook and join the fun!

It's only $10 at the door to compete, with all funds raised going towards the redevelopment of Burnt Orange Report so that we can keep blogging about Texas politics.

Make a team! Join the fun! Prove your worth as the top Texas trivia team in 2014!

Fine Print:

    Teams must consist of 4 to 8 players
    There will be three rounds of 10 questions each
    Categories will be released 48 hours beforehand
    Winners and losers will receive prizes
    Everybody benefits!

RSVP on Facebook and we'll see you on September 8!

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Greg Abbott Exaggerates His Record on Sexual Assault


by: Emily Cadik

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM CDT


Greg Abbott's campaign claimed last week that he awarded over $1 billion to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Turns out it was only $782 million.

"Victims of sexual assault in Texas have no greater advocate than Greg Abbott," said Amelia Chasse, Abbott's deputy communications director, "who as attorney general has spearheaded the arrests of over 4,500 sex offenders and awarded over $1 billion to victims of crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence."

When Wendy Davis pointed out the significant disparity, Abbott's campaign claimed she was "grasping at straws." But the Davis campaign believes he is deliberately overstating his record in an area that he is clearly vulnerable.  

There's more after the jump.

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Texas Students Win, Greg Abbott Loses: School Finance Funding Unconstitutional


by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 06:59 PM CDT

The long-awaited ruling over the 2011 Republican Legislature's $5.4 billion cuts to public education came out today, and Texas students and teachers were victorious.

Judge John Dietz ruled the school funding scheme unconstitutional because it failed to adequately provide for students' needs and provide equal opportunity.

The ruling is a direct blow to Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office defended the cuts in the courts. He could have ended the case at any time, and instead waited for today's decision to come down. Abbott can now appeal the decision to the Republican State Supreme Court.

Read more about the ruling below the jump.

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Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Genevieve Cato
Joe Deshotel
Ben Sherman

Staff Writers:
Omar Araiza
Emily Cadik
Phillip Martin
Natalie San Luis
Katie Singh
Joseph Vogas

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