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Join us for Burnt Orange Report's 11th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, May 2nd | 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Container Bar | 90 Rainey Street
Austin, Texas
Purchase Tickets Here


Oops! Greg Abbott Unveils Education Plan At School District Currently Suing The State Over Funding


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 04:30 PM CDT

Today Greg Abbott unveiled another portion of his education plan at a school in Spring Branch I.S.D. -- a district that is currently suing the state over funding cuts that Abbott is defending as Texas' Attorney General.

Awkward? It should be.

"Perhaps the problem is that Greg Abbott is having trouble locating a school district in the entire state of Texas that's not currently fighting him in a courtroom lawsuit," said Zac Petkanas the Communications Director for Wendy Davis.

Abbott has been on the defense after a weeks-long rocky rollout of his education plan, and today said he supported more "local control," yet his plan for Pre K called for more state assessment and mandates.

See what teachers' representatives are saying about Abbott's plan below the jump...

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Expanding Medicaid is Even Cheaper for States Than We Thought


by: Emily Cadik

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

A new study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that Medicaid expansion is an even better deal for states than previously thought.

The original estimates had the federal government picking up 90 percent of the tab for states expanding Medicaid. Now it appears that the federal government will actually cover closer to 95 percent of the cost.

That means that states will spend only 1.6 percent more on Medicaid if they accept the expansion than they would have spent without. It's fully one-third less than the earlier projections.

Read why, and what it could mean for Texas, after the jump.

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Laura Jane Klug, Texas Teacher Suspended For Being Trans, Speaks Out


by: Natalie San Luis

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

In mid-April, Laura Jane Klug was suspended from her teaching job in southeast Texas after students and their parents discovered that she is trans.

Last week on xoJane, she wrote her account of her suspension, the media frenzy that followed, the school board hearing on her reinstatement, and the support she received from across the globe.

"If any good can come out of my story I hope it is spreading the knowledge that transgender people are not people to be "feared" -- but rather, simply people who deserve the same rights as everyone else," she said.

Read more about Laura Jane Klug's story after the jump.

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Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins Creates Task Force To Prosecute LGBT Hate Crimes


by: Omar Araiza

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

Hate crimes committed against LGBT individuals in Dallas County will now be given the attention they justly deserve, under the Dallas County District Attorney's new LGBT Task Force.

District Attorney Craig Watkins, the first African-American DA in Texas, is committed to protecting the diverse communities of Dallas County. Reported by the Dallas Voice, after creating the LGBT Task Force, Watkins put his staff of nearly 300 prosecutors and investigators to undergo "Why Diversity Matters" sensitivity training. This, Watkins believes, to better understand and protect the communities they serve.

Read more about District Attorney Craig Watkins' efforts to better protect the LGBT community in Dallas County from hate crimes below the jump.

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CNN Wants You to "Meet the Woman Who Could Turn Texas Purple"


by: Genevieve Cato

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

In a thorough profile piece yesterday, CNN put the spotlight on a woman running statewide in Texas: Lieutenant Governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte.

From her impressive history as a powerful legislative force at the pink dome to her refreshingly down to earth demeanor despite her importance as a statewide candidate, the overarching point of the piece was clear: "The San Antonio state senator could accomplish what no Democrat has done in 20 years: win statewide office."

Find out why CNN thinks Leticia Van de Putte has what it takes to be our next Lieutenant Governor.

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You Are Paying for the Criminal Defense of Rick Perry


by: Progress Texas

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 03:33 PM CDT

(Progress Texas continues to track Rick Perry's latest legal scandal closely. Read up on BriberyGate below. - promoted by Burnt Orange Report)

This article contains content originally posted at Progress Texas.

By now you've heard that a grand jury has been seated to hear a criminal complaint against Governor Rick Perry. It all goes back to his making good on a threat to veto public funds if another elected official did not resign.

A writer at the Dallas Morning News calls this "hard-ball politics on the edge of illegality."

We're simply calling it #Briberygate

And in fact bribery is one of the reasons the complaint was filed by Texans for Public Justice. The organization believes Perry's threat and subsequent veto violates state law pertaining to criminal abuse of office, bribery, coercion of a public servant and official oppression.

Whew! All of this is starting to sound fairly serious...and apparently the Governor thinks so, too. Because he has since lawyered up by hiring the former president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
 

And Texas taxpayers are paying the bill at $450 an hour

Read more about why you're having to pay for Rick Perry's lawyers after the jump.

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Federal Judge Denies Temporary HB 2 Injunction for El Paso Clinic


by: Natalie San Luis

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

On Wednesday, Judge Lee Yeakel denied a request for a preliminary injunction against the HB 2 admitting privileges requirement for Reproductive Services in El Paso.

The clinic was forced to stop providing abortion services on Friday, April 11 after the Texas Department of State Health Services claimed that the licensed practitioner did not have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The abortion provider at Reproductive Services El Paso had previously been granted admitting privileges, which were later revoked without notice, forcing the clinic to cancel all future appointments.

Read more about the ruling after the jump.

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Charges Filed Against RiseUp Protesters From Last Summer At The Texas Capitol


by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Last summer the Texas Capitol erupted in protest after the lawmakers worked to pass some of the nation's strictest abortion legislation. Some of those protesters with RiseUp/Levanta Texas were arrested and over 9 months later some have been handed additional charges (while others were dropped) -- and at least a few feel that they were unfairly targeted by DPS.

Of the original 16 who were arrested 9 were summoned back to the court for additional charges levied Friday. Most were downgraded from Class B (disruption of a public meeting) to Class C (failure to comply with a lawful order). Protesters held a press conference outside of the Travis County Jail chastising DPS and the County Attorney to "drop the charges" -- still many questions were left unanswered.

Heather Busby of NARAL spoke at the press event and said, "What these people did was simply a non-violent act of civil disobedience by refusing to leave a public space...They are heros of Democracy and do not deserve to be strung along, punished for speaking out against a bill that hurts Texans, and that the people of this state did not want."

See what charges were dropped below the jump...

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Join Burnt Orange Report As We Celebrate Our 11th Anniversary!


by: Burnt Orange Report

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:40 PM CDT


Join Burnt Orange Report on Friday, May 2nd and Celebrate our 11th Anniversary!
What began in a UT dorm room in 2003 has since become one of the biggest and most widely read progressive state blogs in the country.

In the past year, Burnt Orange Report has grown our staff to its largest and most diverse in site history. Our coverage of Texas politics received over 1.6 million page views in 2013, and we've sustained a two-fold increase in traffic since last summer's filibuster.

Our successes are a direct result of the generous financial support we've received from our readers. Please join us for our annual fundraising event, and make sure BOR can keep even more eyes on Texas politics.

Burnt Orange Report's 11th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, May 2nd | 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Container Bar | 90 Rainey Street, Austin, Texas
Purchase Tickets Here
Thanks to our generous sponsors:
Stephen Adler ~ Hon. Sheryl Cole ~ Hon. Sarah Eckhardt ~ Hon. Jessica Farrar ~ Hon. Chuck Herring ~ Hon. Donna Howard ~ The Lone Star Project ~ Perry Lorenz ~ Hon. Mike Martinez & Lara Wendler ~ Hon. Elliott Naishtat ~ Hon. Jose Rodriguez ~ Hon. Senfronia Thompson
Hon. Rafael Anchia ~ Greg Casar ~ Gary Cobb ~ Karin Crump ~ Chantal Eldridge ~ Todd Hill ~ InFocus Campaigns ~ Hon. Ann Kitchen ~ Marco Mancillas ~ Hon. Chris Riley ~ Hon. Justin Rodriguez ~ Ed Scruggs ~ Jade Chang Sheppard ~ Randall Slagle ~ Matt Stillwell ~ Hon. Chris Turner ~ Brad Urrutia ~ Cliff Walker ~ Todd Wong

Sponsorships still available: contact Katherine@burntorangereport.com for details

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Austin City Council Gives Craft Beer a Boost


by: Genevieve Cato

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Austin City Council has beer on the brain - or at least they did at their meeting last Friday. Brought to the table by Councilmembers Chris Riley and Mike Martinez, the new measure could have a huge impact on local craft breweries and the Austin economy.

Austin's craft beer scene is booming. The city, which is among the best beer cities in the country,  has upwards of eighteen breweries within the city limits and surrounding areas. Until the vote on Friday, many of Austin's local craft brewers were unable to take advantage of new laws coming out of the 2013 session - changes that increase breweries' ability to impact the local economy as thriving and expanding small businesses.  

More on this development for lovers of Austin beer and local businesses below the jump.

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Greg Abbott Campaign Now Accepting The Cryptocurency Bitcoin


by: Joe Deshotel

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT


Image: rollingalpha
In an odd move adopted from the even stranger Congressman Steve Stockman, Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott announced last week that he would now accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as campaign contributions.

For tax and reporting purposes Bitcoins are treated as an asset or an "in kind" contribution, but the FEC is expected to release an advisory with guidelines in the next couple of days. Two drafts have been posted and the second would limit Bitcoin donations to $100 in value.

Abbott says the move is part of his "cutting-edge digital strategy" and he welcomes the Bitcoin community to this team. According to the Wire that team is predominantly young, White, male and libertarian.

Abbott says "The spirit of Bitcoin embodies the free market principles that make Texas a leader," but there are many reason to be skeptical of the volatile decentralized digital currency.

See what is so concerning below the jump...

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Ted Cruz has Spent More Time in Iowa than South Texas


by: Katie Singh

Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

It's no April Fools' Joke -- since becoming Senator, Ted Cruz has visited Iowa more times than he's visited the Rio Grande Valley.

Cruz took his second trip to the Rio Grande Valley as Senator this week, giving stump speeches in Harlingen and Laredo. During the speeches, he did not discuss immigration or border security, claiming that residents of the border region care about the same issues as Texans in other parts of the state. Instead, Cruz's stump speeches focused on criticizing the President and the Affordable Care Act.

By this point, Ted Cruz's presidential ambitions are no secret, and even Cruz himself seems to have given up the pretense. He's visited several key presidential primary states more than he's been to South Texas, preferring to advance his own personal ambitions over helping some of his most vulnerable constituents.

See where Ted Cruz has been spending his time after the jump.

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President Barack Obama Visits With Texas Families Helped By The Affordable Care Act


by: Katherine Haenschen

Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 03:30 PM CDT

When President Obama was in Austin recently for the Civil Rights Summit, he spent time speaking with Texas families who had received health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. These families had previously written the President about how the ACA had helped their lives.

"You saved our son's life," stated a clearly emotional man whose son was able to stay on his policy through age 26 thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

A video of the gathering was posted on the White House YouTube channel as part of their "Letters to the President" series.

The video is a poignant reminder of how much President Obama actually cares about providing regular American folks with health insurance, and the tangible benefits people have received from quality, affordable coverage.

Watch it below the jump and hear what President Obama had to say about the Texas legislature.

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Friday Wrap: Houston ISD Changes Offensive Mascots, and More...


by: Burnt Orange Report

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 04:00 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 DNC put together this video:

Our new video 'Law and Disorder: Republican Governors Unit' questions the Republicans' promises of "leadership" while being plagued by scandals - from Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" and Scott Walker's "John Doe I & II" to former Governor Bob McDonnell's indictment, Nathan Deal's ethics investigation and Rick Perry's case before a grand jury.

Below the jump, Brittany Griner reflects on Baylor, Manischewitz's new owner, and more...

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Wichita Falls to Recycle Toilet Water into Drinking Water


by: Natalie San Luis

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

Nope, it's not a two-weeks-late April Fools' joke: The city will be recycling 5 million gallons of "potty water" into (hopefully) clean and (fingers-crossed) drinkable water.

The decision to reuse the wastewater comes after existing restrictions have reduces waster usage by half.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality tested the water for 41 days to ensure that it is safe.

Read more about potty water after the jump.

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Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Joe Deshotel
Michael Hurta
Ben Sherman

Staff Writers:
Omar Araiza
Emily Cadik
Genevieve Cato
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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