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Username: Katie Singh
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Created: Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM CDT
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Email: katie@burntorangereport.com

Katie Singh grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She worked at OFA in Chicago in 2012, but her first love has always been Texas progressive politics. She's passionate about public policy, public health, and Tex-Mex.

Texas is One of the Worst States for Women's Equality

by: Katie Singh

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

Tomorrow, August 26, is Women's Equality Day, a day commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution that granted women the right to vote. Though it's clear that women have made many strides since 1920, when the 19th Amendment was passed, there's still a long way to go--and nowhere is that more evident than here in Texas.

It's long been apparent that the United States as a whole is far behind when it comes to women's equality. Last year, the World Economic Forum released its Gender Gap Index, ranking nations' performance on a variety of equality indicators, such as economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. The US ranked 23rd on this list, behind countries like Denmark, Cuba, and Lesotho.

Now, a new study has found that Texas is one of the worst states in the country for women's equality, coming in at 47 out of 50. Texas women are falling further behind men in a number of categories, from pay to health to education.

Read how bad the gender gap is in Texas after the jump.

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Wendy Davis Proposes Eliminating Statute of Limitations for Rape

by: Katie Singh

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

State Senator Wendy Davis has long been a champion for victims of sexual assault, and this week she continued her dedication to protecting victims by unveiling a powerful new policy proposal--eliminating the statute of limitations for rape.

The current statute of limitations for rape in Texas is 10 years, though there is no statute of limitations for cases of sexual assault against a child or for cases where DNA tests do not reveal a match in the criminal system. This often leads to rapists not being prosecuted, because the statute of limitations has passed. In Texas, and many other states, the problem is exacerbated by the huge backlog of rape kits in the system that have sat untested for many years (another issue Wendy Davis has been a leader on)--by the time they are tested, it's likely the statute of limitations to prosecute the crime has passed.

In a press conference in Dallas, Davis stressed the importance of her new proposal, referencing Lavinia Masters, a rape victim who has campaigned with Wendy Davis in the past. Said Davis, "Eliminating the statute of limitations for rape will help to right that wrong by making sure that survivors like Lavinia will never again will have to forgo justice just because someone stood back and let the clock run out on their case."

Read more about how Wendy Davis plans to protect victims of sexual assault after 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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Greg Abbott Doesn't Want Texans to Have Clean Water

by: Katie Singh

Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

In the Texas gubernatorial race, it has become clear by now that Greg Abbott is the candidate for anyone who opposes basic public safety regulations. He made that clear once again this week with his latest declarations against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its efforts to update the Clean Water Act.

On Monday, Greg Abbott threatened to sue the EPA and the Obama administration unless they back down from proposed changes to the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA, the proposals are designed to "close loopholes that leave more than half of America's streams and around 20 million acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development." The changes are also in line with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the law.

Nonetheless, that hasn't stopped Greg Abbott from coming out against the EPA's proposal, calling it "unlawful" and a threat to property rights.

This latest threat of a lawsuit adds to Greg Abbott's growing crusade against the EPA and the federal government--a crusade that has been largely unsuccessful thus far. But Greg Abbott is still making every effort to ensure that pesky safety regulations don't stand in the way of big business.

Read more about Greg Abbott's lawsuits against clean water, clean air, and more after the jump.

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On Tax-Free Weekend, a Reminder Republican Comptroller Candidate Glenn Hegar Will Raise Sales Taxes

by: Katie Singh

Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

 Today is the last day of this year's Tax-Free Weekend, the three-day statewide sales tax holiday that allows families to buy clothes, backpacks, and school supplies without paying sales tax for their back-to-school purchases.

The sales tax-free weekend is often a reminder that Texas' 8.25% sales tax is one of the highest in the nation. Democratic candidate for Comptroller Mike Collier is also using the weekend to remind voters of Republican Glenn Hegar's plan to make that rate even higher.

Earlier this year, Hegar said he "never liked the property tax," and proposed replacing it with a "consumption based tax," or another sales tax. Eliminating the property tax would mean that sales tax would have to double, or even triple to replace the lost revenue.

Fresh off his Texas Watchdog Tour, Collier launched a new ad campaign this weekend in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to bring attention to Hegar's plan to raise sales tax for Texas families on this tax-free weekend.

Watch Mike Collier's ad and read what he has to say about Glenn Hegar after the jump.

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Rick Perry Launches Federal PAC, Brings Himself One Step Closer to Presidential Campaign

by: Katie Singh

Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

By now it's pretty clear that Rick Perry is going to run for president again. He's gone to Iowa so much that the Des Moines Register is reporting on it, his uninformed comments are a fixture on Sunday news shows, and of course, he's got new glasses. And last week, he took yet another step towards a 2016 campaign--he formed a federal PAC, called RickPAC, to help elect Republicans nationwide.

Luckily for Perry, he's not the one responsible for counting the money himself. Joining Perry's all-star team as RickPAC's treasurer is another veteran from an unsuccessful 2012 presidential bid, Stefan Passantino, who served as counsel to Newt Gingrich's campaign.

According to a Perry spokesman, the PAC's goal is to, "elect Republicans to office who share the governor's philosophy of low taxes, limited government, border security, and job creation." However, it's pretty clear that forming the PAC is a step that conveniently happens to line up with Perry's own personal advancement.

Read more about Rick Perry's presidential ambitions after the jump.

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State Bar Ethics Grievance Filed Against Republican Attorney General Candidate Ken Paxton

by: Katie Singh

Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

This week, a grievance was filed with the State Bar of Texas against State Senator Ken Paxton.

Paxton already faces a criminal complaint for soliciting clients while failing to register as an investment advisor, violating the Texas Securities Act--a law he voted for as a state Legislator. The current State Bar grievance comes from the Texas Coalition on Lawyer Accountability (TCLA). They  allege that Paxton,  "committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer."

If the State Bar finds that Paxton did violate state ethics rules, Paxton could face serious punishment, including being disbarred.

Ken Paxton has already admitted to acting as an unregistered investment advisor, and paid a fine to the Texas State Securities Board. In doing so, he essentially admitted to facts that clearly constitute a felony. Having a felon who cheats clients as Attorney General is clearly the wrong choice for Texas.

Read more about Ken Paxton's legal troubles after the jump.

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CD-23 Republican Candidate Will Hurd's Budget Plan Would Force Massive Medicare Cuts

by: Katie Singh

Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Republican Will Hurd is running to replace incumbent congressman Pete Gallego in the 23rd District, and we've written extensively about how his proposed budget plan would be devastating for many important programs for Texas veterans.

It turns out that Hurd's proposed across-the-board, indiscriminate 16% budget cuts would put yet another program at risk--Medicare. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a budget plan like Hurd's would "inevitably force enormous cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and possibly Social Security."

The types of cuts proposed by Hurd would jeopardize the traditional Medicare guarantee, leaving CD-23's seniors without the medical coverage they need.

Read more about how Hurd's plan puts Medicare at risk after the jump.

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CD-23 Republican Will Hurd Plans to Cut Veterans' Benefits as Rep. Pete Gallego Passes VA Reform

by: Katie Singh

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

The centerpiece of Republican candidate Will Hurd's challenge to incumbent congressman Pete Gallego is his call for across-the-board, indiscriminate budget cuts. These cuts would be devastating for many Texans, but especially for Texas veterans.

As we've written, Hurd's plan puts many vital services for veterans at risk. These include VA medical care, disability services, and small business loans. In total, there are over 46,000 veterans who live in CD-23 whose access to services would be jeopardized by this part Will Hurd's budget plan.

It turns out there is yet another place Will Hurd's budget would cut support for veterans--education support provided through the GI bill. This program is used by 30% of veterans nationwide, including tens of thousands of Texans, and it would be endangered if Will Hurd's budget succeeded.

Meanwhile, Pete Gallego spent this week once again showing his commitment to helping Texas veterans as two of his proposals for VA reform were incorporated into the final version of a bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

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