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Username: Katie Singh
PersonId: 8162
Created: Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM CDT
Katie Singh's RSS Feed
Web Page: https://twitter.com/kasingh19
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.

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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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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Rep. Louie Gohmert Urges Texas to Declare War, "Use Whatever Means" to Stop Child Refugee Invasion

by: Katie Singh

Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

To no one's surprise, Texas Republican congressman Louie Gohmert is back in the news after making some ridiculous, racially offensive comments on the House floor last week. This time, he provided his opinion on how Texas should address the humanitarian crisis at the border.

Last Friday in the House, Gohmert spoke out against the $3.7 billion in emergency funds President Obama requested to address the border crisis. He called Texas "a state that is being invaded [by]...more than twice as many than invaded France on D-Day," and urged Rick Perry "to use whatever means, whether it's troops, even using ships of war," to stop the invasion.

Most of the children who have been apprehended at the border are under ten years old. According to Louie Gohmert, these young children are comparable to soldiers invading the beaches of Normandy, and Texas should send warships to fight them.

And this wasn't even the worst of Louie Gohmert's invasion rhetoric.

Read Gohmert's full suggestion to declare war after the jump.

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More Facts on How CD-23 Republican Candidate Will Hurd will Hurt Texas Veterans

by: Katie Singh

Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

After the false ad the Koch brothers released last week attacking CD-23 Congressman Pete Gallego's record on veterans issues, details came to light on how Gallego's opponent, Republican Will Hurd, has a budget plan that would decimate services for veterans.

Will Hurd's budget plan calls for indiscriminate cuts of 16% across the board, including for veterans' services. The list of services that would be harmed by Hurd's plan is immense, from medical care to career counseling.

In total, there are over 46,000 veterans in CD-23 who have served this country but would have their access to services like disability compensation and housing assistance slashed by Will Hurd's budget plan.

Read what services would be cut, and watch Pete Gallego's response, after the jump.

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Texas Lawmakers Discuss Foster Care As Foster Child Deaths Rise

by: Katie Singh

Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Last week, the newly-formed House Select Committee on Child Protection convened for the first time to discuss how to improve the state's foster care system. The committee was created in the spring by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, and is chaired by Austin Democrat Dawnna Dukes.

The House Select committee is working to examine how to improve Child Protective Services in light of a recent spike in foster care abuse and deaths. In 2013, the number of foster child deaths rose to 10, which is five times more than the previous year. Just days after the committee meeting, the need for foster care oversight was tragically reinforced as two foster children in Georgetown drowned. Georgetown police are investigating the incident, and Providence Kids, the Austin-based child-placing agency responsible for placing the two children, has had its placements suspended.

It's important to note that these deaths are not just deaths from child abuse, which are of course tragic. These are foster children, who were removed from their parents to keep them safe, and then died in these new homes. The deaths highlight the severe problems with the state's chronically underfunded Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the foster care system.

Read more about the challenges facing the state's foster care system after the jump.

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CD-23 Republican Candidate Will Hurd Wants to Slash Benefits for Texas Veterans

by: Katie Singh

Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT

The Koch brothers may have tried to push false attacks against CD-23 Congressman Pete Gallego's record on veterans' issues, but it turns out the candidate who's really going to hurt veterans is Republican Will Hurd.

You may remember Hurd as the SUV enthusiast who beat out former Representative Quico Canseco in the May runoff election to be the Republican candidate for CD-23. Turns out Will Hurd doesn't just want to drive around the 23rd District in his SUV--he supports Republican budget policies that will slash benefits for veterans.

At a Tea Party Forum during the campaign, Hurd said that, "Congress needs to cap federal spending to 'a percentage of GDP- 18% is a good number' because that was the number when the budget was last balanced. 'That would translate to cuts of 16% across the board.'" That includes vital veterans services that are used by thousands of people in CD-23.

Read how Pete Gallego has supported veterans in Congress after the jump.

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Rick Perry Snubs Obama, Refuses to Greet Him When President Lands in Texas

by: Katie Singh

Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Governor Rick Perry, who has been leading the charge to blame President Obama for the current border crisis, has extended his petty behavior to the President's upcoming trip to Texas this week.

President Obama invited Perry to greet him upon his arrival at the Austin airport on Wednesday--but Perry refused. Said Perry:

"I appreciate the offer to greet you at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, but a quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue."

The Obama administration has not been taking Rick Perry's concerns very seriously, with good reason, since most are just political talking points without substance. It seems like Perry thought the administration would continue to ignore him, and he could score political points with future 2016 primary voters by making a fuss about refusing to shake hands with Obama.

Instead, the Obama administration called his bluff.

Read how the President called out Rick Perry after the jump.

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Rep. Joaquin Castro Proposes "Pre-K for USA" to Give Nation's Youngest Students a Shot at Success

by: Katie Singh

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 03:00 PM CDT

Following the success of his brother's signature "Pre-K for SA" program in San Antonio, US Rep. Joaquin Castro introduced a bill last week dubbed "Pre-K for USA," to expand access to early childhood education for millions of American children.

Early childhood education is one of the most sound educational investments one can make to ensure a child's future success. As Rep. Castro pointed out in an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News, "students who have a top-notch prekindergarten education are more likely to read at grade level, less likely to repeat a grade or drop out, and more likely to succeed in their careers. Studies have also shown that children who attended preschool are less likely to develop alcohol or drug problems, commit a felony or end up in prison." In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services has reported that, "a public dollar spent on high quality early childhood education can return $7 through increased productivity and savings on public assistance and criminal justice programs."

Despite this, as Congressman Castro noted, "the reality is that less than 3 out of 10 4-year-olds are enrolled in pre-K."

In order to remedy this, Castro introduced the "Pre-K for USA Act" in the House last week. It is designed to give American children the chance to start their education off on the right foot. As Rep. Castro explained, "Opening access to prekindergarten to all our children gets our country one step closer to ensuring that all American children have the opportunity to get ahead in life, achieve their dreams, and boost our nation's prosperity."

Learn how the Pre-K for USA act works and watch Rep. Castro's remarks on the House floor after the jump.

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Greg Abbott: Texans Should "Drive Around" and Ask Facilities if They're Storing Dangerous Chemicals

by: Katie Singh

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

After ruling last month that the locations of dangerous chemicals can be kept hidden from the public (so that terrorists don't get a hold of them), Greg Abbott came forward this week to clarify his stance. As the Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday, Abbott "said Texans still have a right to find out where the substances are stored - as long as they know which companies to ask."

Greg Abbott's proposal for those who want to know whether they're living next to a storage facility for dangerous chemicals is simple:

"You know where they are if you drive around. You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not. You can ask them if they do, and they can tell you, well, we do have chemicals or we don't have chemicals, and if they do, they tell which ones they have."

That's right, Greg Abbott believes that instead of having the government release chemical storage records to the public, citizens should just drive up to facilities and ask nicely if they're holding stockpiles of any potentially dangerous chemicals.

It's completely ludicrous, and shows no concern for public safety whatsoever. And it's not even the worst of what Abbott said.

Read the rest of Greg Abbott's statements after the jump.

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