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Backlog of Immigration Cases Fueled by Republicans


by: Progress Texas

Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:48 PM CDT

(Thanks to Progress Texas for continuing to highlight the role that Republicans' refusal to fill our courts is playing in the current refugee crisis. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

undefinedA massive backlog in immigration courts, fueled by years of Republicans refusing to approve funding for more judges, is complicating the government's decision of what to do with 57,000 child refugees who have come to America seeking asylum.

Whether it was sequestration, refusing to approve an immigration bill, or not agreeing to White House budget requests, Republicans have repeatedly refused to approve enough funding for more judges to hear immigration cases, creating an 18-month backlog for certain cases.

Read more below the jump.

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Texas Congressman Pete Gallego Saves Choking Child on Airplane


by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 04:00 PM CDT


He's not just the only Democratic incumbent in Texas with a tough race this year, he's also a hero.

Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego (TX-23) was flying back to Alpine on Friday night when the child sitting next to him began choking on a chicken nugget.

Gallego was able to clear the child's airway, much to his mother's relief. However, I wouldn't recommend the Heimlich as a method of direct voter contact other than when the situation demands it.

Read the thankful Mom's grateful Tweet to Pete below the jump.

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Greg Abbott Takes Thousands from Farmers Insurance PAC As State's Lawsuit Against Them Continues


by: Katie Singh

Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Greg Abbott may have been representing Texas in a suit against Farmers Insurance for the past decade, but that hasn't stopped him from taking over $125,000 from Farmers Insurance PAC since 2005--including over $75,000 since 2013.

The donations have led to charges that Abbott has "not fairly represented homeowners in Texas" in the suit, reaching a settlement that allows Farmers to charge homeowners too much and not pay interest on millions in excessive premiums.

Abbott's campaign told the Texas Tribune that, "he does not treat donors differently when it comes to applying the law and that accepting the campaign money is not a conflict of interest." But as Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch told the Tribune, "It was a sweetheart deal when it was struck in 2002, and it's only gotten sweeter since then."

Read more about Abbott's "sweetheart deal" with Farmers Insurance after the jump.

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Over 1,000 Wendy Davis Volunteers Gather For Leadership Summits Across Texas


by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 00:30 PM CDT

This weekend, something big happened.

The Wendy Davis campaign held 11 leadership summits in cities across Texas for more than 1,000 volunteers who have taken a leadership role in organizing for the campaign.

Volunteers gathered in Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Laredo, El Paso, Tyler, Lubbock, Austin and Dallas. They heard from not only Senator Wendy Davis, but also Senator Leticia Van de Putte and local officials such as Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

These volunteers are the reason that Wendy Davis has such an impressive voter contact operation, so it is great to see them working together to develop their skills to do even more good work.

Check out some great photos from these events below the jump!

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In Abortion Messaging Bootcamps, Conservatives Learn Not to Talk About Rape


by: Genevieve Cato

Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

Republicans have a problem when it comes to female voters. Not only did they lose the presidential election in 2012 in large part because of a voting gender gap, but an April ABC/Washington Post poll found that Democrats have a 30 point advantage when it comes to issues that particularly pertain to women.

Now, the New York Times reports, they are holding bootcamps to help coach women on abortion messaging for the midterm election. One key piece of advice? "Rape is a four-letter word. Purge it from your lexicon."

More on the right's abortion messaging bootcamp - and what it could mean for midterm elections - below the jump.

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Texas Ranked 10th Most Expensive State For Energy, 1st For Greenhouse Gases


by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

Texas has the largest carbon footprint of any state by far and now a new study shows that counter to intuition Texans are also paying more than most other American for their energy.

The cost of energy is higher for Texan's for the same reasons the state leads the nation in production of greenhouse gases -- a lack of investment.

We haven't invested in transportation infrasture to reduce traffic congestion or programs that lower pollution and its long term health costs, on top of the fact that our state leaders actively deny climate change and fight any attempts by the federal government to mitigate the problem.

See what's going on below the jump...

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Left in Texas: Wendy Goes Whataburger, Greg Abbott Gets The Boot, And Rick Perry Goes Rambo


by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

In this episode Imad and I review Texas politics for the week of July 21st.

We discuss the border crisis and how you can help the refugee minors. We talk about the top stories we covered this past week on our respective outlets The Daily Dot and Burnt Orange Report, and why Ted Cruz is tweeting about vampires.

We also talk about the state of the races especially that of Senator Leticia Van de Putte against Tea Party Senator Dan Patrick. And, you can find out who is mulling building the country's largest oil refinery next door to the currently largest in the country -- you may want to hold your breathe for that one!

Listen below the jump!...

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Religious Exemptions and Public Policy: Freedom to Discriminate


by: Genevieve Cato

Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Religious exemptions have gotten a lot of attention recently, thanks to the constructed controversy around the contraceptive coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act. Not only has the Obama administration made multiple concessions to religious organizations to remove their responsibility for providing certain forms of contraceptives, but the Supreme Court's recent decision about Hobby Lobby extended that religious exemption to privately-held companies whose owners hold certain religious beliefs.

These aren't the only examples where religious belief has trumped legal responsibilities, and they won't be the last.

More on the rise of religious exemptions below the jump.

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Steve Brown Pushes For Reform Of Texas Railroad Commission, His Opponent Ryan Sitton Not So Much


by: Joe Deshotel

Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Steve Brown is the Democratic nominee for Texas Railroad Commissioner, the agency that oversees the state's oil and gas industry. Brown is facing Republican Ryan Sitton who was an outlier in a primary otherwise dominated by the Tea Party.

Sitton was able to buck the Tea Party trend in large part because of his support from the very industry he would be tasked to regulate.

According to campaign finance filings the Texas Tribune reports Sitton received $152,000 from the oil and gas industry, more than half of his total money raised.

See why SItton may want to avoid talking about reform below the jump...

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Friday Wrap: Ted Cruz vs. Vampires, Weird Al's Successful Week, and More...


by: Burnt Orange Report

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 05:00 PM CDT

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

First up this week, Wendy Davis cemented her place in our collective hearts after posting this picture of herself enjoying Texas' favorite fast food chain. (Special props for wearing a white dress while eating a meal that we can only assume included spicy ketchup!)

Below the jump, see which very conservative man Congressman Joaquin Castro ran into, good news for Ted Cruz, Austinites who don't understand heterosexuality, and more...

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Taking the Race for Comptroller on the Road: Mike Collier is Coming to a City Near You


by: Genevieve Cato

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 03:30 PM CDT

Mike Collier is running to be your next Comptroller, and he is coming to your city to talk about why he is the best choice in November.

Collier, also known as The Watchdog, is facing off against State Senator Glenn Hegar, who you may remember as the Senate author of House Bill 2. Hegar isn't just awful on women's health. He has a shady history when it comes to taxes, which takes center stage in Collier's new spot: The Tax Man.  

More on the importance of Mike Collier's tour and his new spot featuring Hegar in full below the jump.

 

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Greg Abbott Encourages Texans To Talk and Text During Movies. Wendy Davis Gets The Last Laugh.


by: Katherine Haenschen

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

If you're an avid filmgoer in Texas, you're probably aware of Alamo Drafthouse founder and owner Tim League's all-out crusade against people who talk and text during films.

So when Greg Abbott released a pre-film ad encouraging people to text in the theater, it's no surprise that the Drafthouse folks fired back.

Proving that she too has a sense of humor, Wendy Davis even chimed in, and got the last laugh.

It's no surprise that Davis and Abbott are on opposite sides of this issue. Texans deserve a governor who doesn't text in movies -- and doesn't encourage others to do so, either!

Catch up on the textroversy below the jump.

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NCLR President Warns GOP On Child Refugees: Latino Voters Will Judge You Too Come Election Day


by: Omar Araiza

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

National Council of La Raza (NCLR) President Janet Murguía ripped the Republican Party apart this week with harsh criticism over their unchristian and un-American attacks towards child refugees seeking shelter in our country. While in Los Angeles during the NCLR's annual conference, Murguía publicly shamed numerous politicians for their outrages remarks concerning these kids -- warning they carried third world diseases and plagues.

Murguía did not forget to mention Gov. Rick Perry, criticizing his recent theatrical attempt of sending troops to the border in order to garnish points for a future 2016 presidential run.

"Soldiers with guns confronting children seeking refuge," said Murguía. "What is wrong with these people? How can they talk about children like this? Who treats children this way? Every one of the elected officials I just quoted consider themselves people of faith, but there is nothing godly in their words. It is disgraceful."

Murguía sent a very clear message to Republicans: Latino voters are watching how you treat these small, defenseless members of our community at large. And we won't forget come election time.

More below the jump.

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When Well-Meaning Activism Goes Horribly Wrong: Stop Patriarchy and the Texans Who Oppose Them


by: Genevieve Cato

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

If you follow Texas reproductive justice activists online, chances are you've heard of Stop Patriarchy and their Abortion Freedom Ride.

Stop Patriarchy appears to have similar goals to those of the grassroots reproductive justice movement in Texas: to bring attention to the devastating cuts to abortion access resulting from the omnibus abortion bill that passed last summer.

So, why are vocal advocates for reproductive justice in Texas and across the country speaking out against them, and asking them to just stay home?

More on the criticisms of Stop Patriarchy below the jump.  

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Conservative Estimate: Gay Marriage Would Add $182 Million to Texas Economy


by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

The Williams Institute released a report that gay marriages in Texas would add $181.6 million dollars to the Texas economy.  Up to 1,500 jobs would be created.

So I guess that's what they mean by the gay agenda!

If marriage equality was legalized, 23,000 Texas couples would marry, and spend an average of more than $6,000 per wedding.

Meanwhile, recent polling has found record levels of support for marriage equality. 48% of Texans support marriage equality, which breaks down along traditional party lines: 72% of Democrats and 57% of independents support it, while only 28% of Republicans agree with it.

Read more about the study and what one State Senator has to say about it below 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
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