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Austin Could Be First Texas City To Make All Single-Person Public Restrooms "Gender Free"

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

On August 28th the Austin City Council will consider a resolution to make all single occupancy restrooms "gender free." In practice this means goodbye to the traditional gender binary signage on restrooms intended for individuals -- no changes will be made for restrooms with multiple stalls.

Austin would be the first major city in Texas to make the change that has already made its way on to some Texas University campuses including the University of Texas.

See what this means for the transgender community and small businesses below the jump...

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Texas Republicans are Warming to Medicaid Expansion

by: Emily Cadik

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Rick Perry's indictment isn't the only story about Texas Republicans realizing the error of the governor's ways. They're also starting to realize that we need to expand Medicaid in Texas.

According to Forbes, "Last week, while a grand jury indictment against Gov. Rick Perry grabbed much of the nation's political attention in Austin, Texas lawmakers in the capital were making headlines of their own in an unrelated, but highly publicized hearing on how to expand Medicaid and deal with a nation-leading number of uninsured."

Recognizing (better late than never) that something must be done to address Texas's astronomical uninsured rate, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee met this month to "start a conversation that will give us an accurate picture of who the uninsured are, what services are available to them and what we can do to help them." While there was not necessarily an interest in embracing Obamacare with open arms, there does seem to be openness to "market-based alternatives" like Medicaid block grants and waivers.

Though nothing conclusive emerged from the seven-hour hearing, it's a sign that Republican lawmakers are starting to realize how bad Texas looks - and is - by not expanding Medicaid.

There's more after the jump.

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Who Indicted Rick Perry? (Hint: Not Democrats)

by: Joseph Vogas

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

On Friday, Governor Rick Perry was indicted on two counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official. Perry came out on Saturday to defend himself and his veto, which is not related to the indictments. Some have claimed this indictment is political and Democrats are out to get Perry, however, Democrats can not take credit for this indictment.

Before the investigation ever started, every Democrat in Travis County, including District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, recused themselves from the case. No matter how much Rick Perry and other Republicans want to claim this is an indictment from liberal Austin Democrats, the facts say otherwise.

Find out who actually indicted Governor Rick Perry after the jump.

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At Least Five Children Deported Back to Honduras Have Been Killed

by: Genevieve Cato

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 00:30 PM CDT

Despite reports showing violence in their home countries is a key factor to the flight of minors to the United States, many lawmakers are calling for swift court cases and deportation.

The first plane of deported children and mothers was sent back to Honduras last month. At least five of the children deported to Honduras have since been killed in the violence they attempted to escape, the L.A. Times reports

More on this horrifying development below the jump.

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For Over 6,000 Public School Employees Laid Off in 2011, Back to School Doesn't Mean Back to Work

by: Genevieve Cato

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

It has been three years since the Texas Legislature voted to cut $5.4 billion from education funding, and despite attempts at restoration, our schools are still 6,500 positions short of where they were before 2011. If you lost your job due to a lack of funding, back to school doesn't necessarily mean back to work.

This doesn't only impact teachers - all positions in schools, including support staff, are still hurting from the impact of these cuts. And if these numbers are any indication, this won't be changing any time soon.

More on the impact of a continued lack of funding and its implications for the 2014 elections below the jump.

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Playing Politics: Only DA Rick Perry Called on to Resign After a DWI was the One Investigating Him

by: Katie Singh

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 04:00 PM CDT

Since being indicted for abusing his office last Friday, one of Rick Perry's main defenses has been that the indictment is nothing more than a political witch hunt against him. It's an unsurprising defense, especially given Perry's lofty political ambitions.

But the truth is, if there's anyone playing politics, it's Rick Perry.

The judge and special prosecutor responsible for the indictment are both Republicans, not Democrats. What's more, Perry's record very clearly shows that he's the one who has tried to abuse his office for political gain.

During Perry's time in office, three District Attorneys have been found guilty of drunk driving. Of those, the only one he threatened if they didn't resign was Rosemary Lehmberg, the only Democrat and the one who just happened to be investigating him.

There have also been several state legislators on both sides of the aisle who have been arrested for drunk driving on Perry's watch, and none of them have been publicly asked to resign, or had a veto threat on their bills either. Suddenly, Perry's claim that he was simply taking a stance against Lehmberg's drunk driving conviction doesn't really seem that valid.

The hypocrisy is so bad that even Rick Perry's own lawyer had no defense for his client's actions.

Watch Rick Perry's lawyer fail to defend Perry's hypocrisy and learn more after the jump.

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Setting The Record Straight: It's The Veto Threat That Matters in Rick Perry's Indictment

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

The national press has largely failed to understand the nuance in the indictments of Rick Perry.

The crime is not that Rick Perry vetoed the Public Integrity Unit funding -- it's that he used the threat of a veto to try and force the Travis County District Attorney to step down.

That's coercion of a public official and it's against the law.

Over the last four days, Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer has been making the rounds on TV, speaking to almost a dozen media outlets about why it's the veto threat that matters.

Watch the TDP's Will Hailer set the record straight on indicted governor Rick Perry on MSNBC below the jump!

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Congressman Pete Gallego Recognizes Back-to-School Month, Congratulates Presidio Rocket Team

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

August is National Back-to-School month. Congressman Pete Gallego marked the occasion with a video about his commitment to public education and making learning available for all Texans.

He also gave a shout-out to the Presidio Rocket Club, a high school group in the 23rd District that teaches kids about science and how to succeed.

They're currently the fourth best rocketry team in the nation -- and proof positive that no matter your circumstance, a strong education and dedicated teachers can make all the difference.

Below the jump, watch the video!

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Will Texas Taxpayers Pick Up Rick Perry's Legal Tab? What Does Greg Abbott Think?

by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 04:00 PM CDT

So here's a question for all of you fiscal conservatives out there: should Texas taxpayers foot the bill for Rick Perry's increasingly costly legal defense?

When Texas can't afford to keep our roads paved and must grind them into gravel, and when the $5 billion in cuts to public education in 2011 still have not been restored, can taxpayers really afford Rick Perry's criminal defense?

In the meantime, Greg Abbott has been asked for an official Attorney General opinion on whether or not taxpayers are required to foot the bill -- and he hasn't answered yet.

Catch up on the timeline and how much YOU'RE paying for Rick Perry's criminal defense below the jump.

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Republican Pollster Thinks Rick Perry's Glasses Will Save Him

by: Emily Cadik

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

Rick Perry's new glasses might just save his presidential ambitions, according to Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson.

On ABC News this Sunday, Anderson remarked that "the second incarnation of Rick Perry - hipster glasses Rick Perry, instead of cowboy Rick Perry" has helped him get a "second look" from Republican activists after his disastrous 2012 presidential run.

Asked if he still has a shot despite his recent indictment, Anderson said, "Yes, he does. As does anyone on his side who throws his hat in the ring. I mean, the polls consistently show all of these guys hovering somewhere between 5 and 10 percent depending on which day it is."

See how Donna Brazile called her out - and why his glasses won't cut it - after the jump.

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Last Chance to Get a Sneak Peek at Our New Logo

by: Burnt Orange Report

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

Today is the last day to take advantage of our special offer.

Donate to the redevelopment of Burnt Orange Report and we'll send you a koozie, mug, or tee shirt as a show of thanks.

We'll also give you a sneak peek at the new Burnt Orange Report logo. We think you're going to love it.

Click here to help build a bigger, better Burnt Orange Report.

Thanks for your support. This project is only possible because of the generosity of our readers -- and it will guarantee that BOR can continue to keep our eyes on Texas politics.  

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Leticia Van de Putte Puts Texas First and Proposes Free Community College

by: Genevieve Cato

Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 04:00 PM CDT

In an announcement last week, Leticia Van de Putte addressed an issue that is on the minds of many Texans and their families: the increasingly steep price of a college education. According to the Project on Student Debt, students in Texas graduate with an average of $24,000 in student loans. This number can be even higher for students attending some of the state's most well-known public institutions, like the University of Texas at Austin, where the average student debt is over $26,000.

Van de Putte has a plan to make college affordable for Texas students, and to ensure that all students see college as a possibility in their future.

More on Van de Putte's vision for higher education below the jump.

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Progress Texas Radio Ad Holds Texas GOP Accountable for Attacks Against DREAMers

by: Omar Araiza

Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

A 60-second ad by Progress Texas hit the radio waves this weekend. The liberal progressive organization launched a radio ad in Spanish on Friday, entitled "Deporten a Todos" (Deport them All), that has now begun airing in the city of El Paso.

The radio ad criticizes Republicans for voting to deport over 585,000 currently approved DREAMers living in the country -- young undocumented residents brought to the U.S. as children.

See the ad, made available with English subtitles, below the jump.

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Left In Texas Podcast: Gov. Rick Perry Indicted, Vows Payback

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:36 AM CDT

This is Episode 32 for the week of August 11th.

Normally we discuss several top news stories from around the state and even some national news, but today we completely focus on the 2 felony counts of abuse of power against Governor Rick Perry and his response.

The Texas Democratic Party and some elected officials are calling for his resignation, but the GOP is starting to line up behind their man and Perry has vowed payback saying those responsible for this "farce...will be held accountable."

Listen to the entire episode and see the latest breaking news below the jump!

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VIDEO: Rick Perry Breaks Silence On Felony Indictments

by: Joe Deshotel

Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:15 PM CDT

On Friday Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on 2 felony counts of abuse of power and today he broke his silence.

The first count charges him with "abuse of official capacity" which is a 1st degree, and the second charges him with "coercion of a public servant" a 3rd degree felony.

The Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum said that next week Perry will be arraigned and have to take a mug shot.

See Gov. Perry's response 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:
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Emily Cadik
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Katie Singh
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