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VICE: Rick Perry's Current Defense Attorney Previously Wanted Him Investigated By The FBI


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 04:00 PM CDT

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but if someone tries to sic the FBI after you -- put them on the payroll.

A new investigative report by VICE reveals that the attorney now defending Governor Rick Perry during a grand jury investigation over possible coercion and bribery of a public official, also once tried to prompt an FBI investigation against him.

He may have worked against the governor in the past, but Perry recognized that David Botsford, at $450 an hour, just happens to be one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Travis County, according to his peers.

See what brought these strange bedfellows together and how much it's costing the taxpayers below the jump...

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Texas Among the States that Would Gain the Most from a Minimum Wage Increase


by: Emily Cadik

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

It's no surprise that, as one of the largest states in the nation, Texas has a high population of low-wage workers. But it turns out that Texas has a very high concentration of low-wage workers relative to the rest of the country too. These factors combined mean that Texas would gain tremendously from a minimum wage increase.

Oxfam America has mapped where low-wage workers are concentrated around the U.S. Based on that, they figured out how many workers would benefit by raising the minimum wage to $10.10.  The interactive map is broken out into congressional district to show members of Congress who could potentially make a difference in the lives of millions of low-wage workers just how much their districts would benefit.

Nationwide, more than 25 million workers would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10. In Texas, it would benefit almost 3 million workers - more than in any other state.  

Read about what Texas stands to gain from a minimum wage increase - and why Republican opposition to an increase is wearing thin - after the jump.

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What Miracle? New Study Finds 1 in 4 Texas Children Live in Poverty


by: Katie Singh

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

A new report released yesterday found that Texas is still one of the worst states in the U.S. to be a kid. The KIDS COUNT Data Book, a collection of data on child well-being put together by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has ranked Texas within the bottom 10 states for overall child well-being.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked Texas 43rd in the nation for overall child well-being. That's essentially the same spot Texas has been for the past two years (in 2012, it was 44th, and in 2013 it was 42nd). This means child welfare in Texas has only seen minimal improvement over the past two years, and still has a long way to go.

The report did find some slight short-term improvements in some areas of child welfare in Texas, "including more high school students graduating on time, lower teen birth rates, and greater access to health insurance." Nonetheless, Texas is still struggling to provide the resources to meet children's needs.

Most troublingly, the report found that over 1.7 million, or 26%, of Texan children are living in poverty. That is more than 1 in 4 children in Texas who are growing up impoverished.

Read a breakdown of how Texas ranks on child well-being after the jump.

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On Border Crisis, Rick Perry Decisively Leads Texas - and Troops - in the Wrong Direction


by: Genevieve Cato

Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

On Monday, Governor Perry announced his plan to address the humanitarian crisis at the border: send 1,000 National Guard troops as a "force multiplier" for the overwhelmed DPS.

Perry assured those listening that undocumented children and their families made up only a small percentage of those currently coming across the border, and that the vast majority were criminals taking advantage of our overwhelmed border security agents.

Despite the fact that local sheriffs and law enforcement officers from the border region do not support this move, Perry assured the state that he was acting in their best interest. He also spent little to no time discussing the plight of the tens of thousands of refugees who have crossed into Texas fleeing violence in their home countries. Perhaps sensing that sending armed troops to the border to face off against children could be seen as unpopular, each of the men who spoke at the press conference were quick to touch on their concern for these children before moving on to explain how sending National Guard troops to the border had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with crime.

Head below the jump to find out why folks are calling Perry's decision wrong.

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26 Consecutive Victories For Marriage Equality. It's Time For Texas To Drop The Appeal.


by: Chuck Smith

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 11:14 AM CDT

( - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Sign the petition26 consecutive victories. It's time to drop the appeal.

Subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Windsor,  26 consecutive court rulings have affirmed the freedom to marry,  including last week's ruling in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in an  Oklahoma case.

These rulings continue to affirm that state-level prohibitions on the  freedom to marry violate the equal protection clause of the United  States Constitution.

Here in Texas, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in our favor this past February in the DeLeon v Perry  case. However, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry  continue to appeal this decision in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in  New Orleans.

Abbott  and Perry are standing in the way of freedom for all Texans, and every  day that the appeal continues is a day in which Texas couples and their  families are harmed.  We must show Abbott & Perry that thousands of  people across Texas want them to drop their harmful appeal.

Find out what you can do below the jump.

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We're In This Together: Reflections On My Seventh Netroots Nation | #nn14


by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

A lot has changed for Texas -- and for Burnt Orange Report -- since last year's Netroots Nation.

As you may recall, last year's event took place in San Jose, and wrapped up a few days before Wendy Davis would begin her 13-hour stand that has already changed the electoral trajectory of Texas.

This was actually my seventh Netroots Nation. I missed the first one because I wasn't yet reading DailyKos -- but I saw Joan McCarter on CSPAN's televised portion late one night, checked out the website, and soon started commenting, posting diaries, and eventually blogging about the 2008 primary in Texas, all of which would eventually lead to my joining the Burnt Orange Report staff.

It was this spirit of bringing in new people while strengthening bonds within the existing progressive online community that I was most struck by this weekend.

More below the jump.

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Planned Parenthood Texas Votes PAC Will Spend $3 Million on Statewide Elections


by: Natalie San Luis

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

Planned Parenthood Texas Voters, a PAC created four months ago, has announced plans to spend $3 million on efforts to get women voters to the polls in November.

The PAC, which recently received a $1 million contribution from Planned Parenthood Chair Cecilia Boone, will use the money to target 300,000 women, both known Democrats and moderate Republicans.

According to a statement released by Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, "This new organization builds upon the historic grassroots support for women's health care that was shown last summer" and intends to play a major role in the November elections.

Read more about Planned Parenthood Texas Votes after the jump.

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"We Can't Win What We Won't Fight For:" For Texas Progressives, It Is Time to Believe


by: Genevieve Cato

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

This year, I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to Netroots Nation, thanks in no small part to many of you. I went all the way to Detroit to meet activists from around the country, and found myself reminded now more than ever why this election is so important to our state.

Here at Burnt Orange Report, we have a narrowly defined and purposeful focus: Texas politics. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the hard battles we're fighting here everyday that we start to feel alone, but at Netroots Nation, I was reminded by none other than Elizabeth Warren that we are all a part of something bigger.

More on Elizabeth Warren's keynote address and the importance of progressive belief below the jump.

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Anti-Immigrant Protesters Express 'Compassion' For Refugee Children By Demanding Their Deportation


by: Omar Araiza

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Protesters against, and in favor of providing shelter to refugee Central American children held a large rally this past weekend in downtown Dallas.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced last month the city would help in the humanitarian crisis by taking in 2,000 refugee children. Jenkins received large praise from Democrats for his commitment to helping those in need, but conservatives in Dallas were quick to criticize him.

As evident by the picture on the right, anti-immigrant protesters showed up visibly angry at the thought of their city providing shelter to these young children. Claiming to also have a genuine concern for these young kids, protesters in favor of deporting the refugees held posters that read "No Amnesty" and "Secure Our Border," their idea of "compassion" for these children.

"There is a great amount of lawlessness in this country, and it comes from misguided administrators like Mr. Jenkins," said one resident from Garland.

More below the jump.

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New Site Offers Outlet for Women to Share Abortion Experiences


by: Natalie San Luis

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

Three Texas women recently launched a website that aims to take abortion conversations in a new direction by focusing on women's lived experiences.

Not Alone (notalone.us) was founded to help share the stories of women who have had abortions, "an experience shared by millions of American women is still too often surrounded by secrecy and shame," the website says.

The site hosts videos and written testimonies by women who decided to terminate pregnancies, as well as resources for individuals who need healthcare support or want to become involved in the reproductive justice movement.

The goal of Not Alone is to destigmatize abortion by encouraging women to speak openly about their experiences, to "make it clear that abortion is neither shameful nor uncommon."

Read more about Not Alone after the jump.

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Texas Lieutenant Governor's Race Rated Most Interesting In The Country


by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT


The race for Lieutenant Governor in Texas -- which just happens to be the contest for the most powerful position in state government -- is making headlines.

Governing Magazine rated the Texas race as the most interesting Lite Gov contest in the nation, citing the negative impact of Republican Dan Patrick's Tea Party extremism on functioning government.

The article also cites the credibility of Democratic nominee, Senator Letiticia Van de Putte, and the historic role of the Senate in promoting compromise and consensus -- two words Dan Patrick would have to look up in a dictionary.  

This is a race every Texan needs to care about. Van de Putte out-raised Patrick on the July 15th fundraising report. Moderate Republicans quietly prefer the Democrat. She has the potential to really fire up the Latino electorate in Texas. And, she released the best convention video of all time. All time!

Read what Governing had to say about the race below the jump!

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I Attended Upworthy's Training At This Year's Netroots Nation, You Won't Believe What Happened Next


by: Joe Deshotel

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

A few thousand progressive bloggers, journalists, activists and politicos gathered in Detroit, Michigan over the weekend for this year's Netroots Nation. The annual conference is host to trainings and panels on how to increase your web presence, become a better organizer and has become the go to event for progressives across the U.S. to network and share best practices.

Given how the right has painted Detroit as a referendum on Obama I thought it was apropos that we take our own look and get a different view of the city, or at least more complete one.

See what we saw below the jump...

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Left In Texas Podcast Covers Week In Texas Political & Culture News


by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:30 PM CDT

Left In Texas is a weekly podcast that covers the latest news in Texas politics and culture.

For the week of July 14th, co-host Imad Khan, special guest Lola Bakare of the Daily Dot and myself discuss Netroots in Detroit, the continued situation with the Central American minors at the Texas border, Rick Perry's surge in GOP polls, Wendy Davis' fundraising efforts, the invasion of Palestine, and the best way to fight off internet trolls.

It's our longest episode yet, but totally worth it!

Check it out at on twitter at @LeftinTexas and we hope you will like, share, subscribe and give us feedback on the show.

Listen below the jump!

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Republicans Block Congressman Pete Gallego's Efforts to Expand VA Healthcare


by: Katie Singh

Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives shut down an effort by Texas congressman Pete Gallego to expand VA facilities around the country. Gallego's motion narrowly failed, by a vote of 201-213. Thirteen Republicans supported the measure, while two Democrats voted against it.

Gallego had introduced a motion that supported Senate language from a bill known as the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act, which previously passed the House and is now in negotiation between the two chambers. The motion would have directed the House to accept a Senate provision that would expand and create new VA facilities around the country.

Gallego's motion would have expanded or added 26 VA facilities nationwide, including 4 in Texas. The motion would have expanded VA facilities in San Antonio, and add new facilities in Lubbock, Tyler, and Houston.

Expanding VA facilities would have helped address one of the biggest problems facing the VA by reducing veterans' wait times to access medical care. As Gallego's office pointed out in a statement, "Currently, the system attempts to move large numbers of veterans through a very limited number of facilities and results in inadequate care, especially for rural veterans." This is especially true in Gallego's 23rd District, which is geographically spread out, making it tougher for veterans to access care.

Watch Pete Gallego stand up for veterans on the House floor after the jump.

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Rick Perry's Criminal Defense Has Cost Texas Taxpayers Thousands, And the Bill Keeps Growing


by: Katie Singh

Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Last week, the San Antonio Express-News reported that Texas taxpayers "have picked up a tab topping $40,000 so far for the defense lawyer hired to represent Gov. Rick Perry in a grand jury investigation over whether he misused his power with a veto threat."

Rick Perry is currently under investigation for potential bribery, coercion, and abuse of office. What's being investigated is his attempt to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her DUI last year.

When the grand jury investigation began, Perry hired the former president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, David Botsford, to defend him. Botsford charges $450 an hour--luckily for Perry, he's not the one paying the bill. Instead, that has fallen to Texas taxpayers.

That's right, taxpayers are the ones responsible for footing the $450 an hour bill to defend Rick Perry from possible corruption charges.

Read more about Rick Perry's criminal investigation after the jump.

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Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Genevieve Cato
Joe Deshotel
Michael Hurta
Ben Sherman

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

Founder:
Byron LaMasters

Blogger Emeritus:
Karl-Thomas Musselman

Read staff bios here.

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