Aide to Ken Paxton calls investigation into attorney general “illegal,” says Paxton can’t be impeached
Chris Hilton, head of litigation in the attorney general’s office, told reporters that lawmakers can’t oust Paxton. His comments came as a House committee met behind closed doors about its investigation into the state’s top lawyer.
What to know about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s long-running scandals and legal battles
Less than a year into his first term, Paxton was charged with felony securities fraud. The Justice Department is currently investigating bribery allegations against him as a Texas House committee conducts its own probe into his behavior.
Listen: Through art, keepsakes and advocacy, families are making sure the 21 Uvalde victims are not forgotten
Wednesday marks exactly a year since a mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. The community continues to grapple with the trauma and pain, and for those who lost someone that day, they’re determined to keep the memories of their loved ones alive.
Gun safety advocates see signs of progress in first session after Uvalde shooting even though raise-the-age bill stalled
Emotions often ran high over a proposal to limit young adults’ access to some firearms. Lawmakers have largely prioritized school safety measures, but there was still progress for some gun-related legislation.
Texas House’s weekend off means key Senate bills die after missing a legislative deadline
Priority bills that died include a 10-year minimum sentencing for gun-related crimes, a ban on “critical race theory” at public universities and LGBTQ-related legislation. While the bills may be dead, lawmakers have a limited time to attach their ideas to legislation that are still alive.
Texas may soon have a process to remove local prosecutors who won’t pursue abortion, election cases
The bill would allow for the removal of prosecutors who adopt any policy to not pursue certain crimes, including some low-level theft and drug charges. The Senate’s version will need to be reconciled with the House, which had carved out some exemptions.
After Title 42’s end, Texas DPS pauses Austin patrols so officers can head to the border
Despite no major influx in border crossings, state troopers will be relocated to border cities. Austin and the Texas Department of Public Safety faced criticism for the racial disparities in state trooper arrests in the capital.
Bill striking unconstitutional state law that criminalized homosexuality fails to meet critical deadline in the Texas House
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ law banning sodomy in 2003. It took almost 20 years for Democrats to get a bill to repeal the defunct ban on the House calendar.
Texas House passes ban on devices that modify handguns, but averts vote on increasing age to buy semi-automatic rifles
A Texas lawmaker introduced an amendment that would have revived a proposal to raise the minimum age to buy certain semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 before it was ultimately withdrawn.
Daniel Perry is sentenced to 25 years for killing an Austin protester. Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to pardon him.
Perry’s case has become an explosive political stew of arguments over gun rights, self-defense and racist social media posts. The governor dived in early, saying he would pardon Perry even before a judge handed down the sentence.
In surprise move days after Allen mall shooting, Texas House panel OKs bill raising age to buy semi-automatic rifles
The legislation would raise the age requirement for purchasing certain firearms, but likely wouldn’t have been a hindrance to the Allen gunman obtaining a weapon. The bill still faces an uphill climb in the Legislature.
Progressive causes lose big in San Antonio and El Paso charter elections
San Antonio voters rejected by wide margins an effort to decriminalize abortion and require police to issue citations rather than make arrests for some nonviolent offenses. In El Paso, an effort to wean the city from fossil fuels fared similarly poorly.
Once again, tension builds after state police are deployed to a major Texas city
A month after the Texas Department of Public Safety began patrolling Austin streets, city officials have both praised a drop in violent crime and condemned the operation’s disparate impact on Latino and Black residents. In 2019, Dallas faced the same challenges.
“A way to throw kids away”: Texas’ troubled juvenile justice department is sending more children to adult prisons
Moving the most violent and troubled youths to adult prison makes it easier to help others in juvenile facilities, some prosecutors and lawmakers say. Youth justice advocates say Texas is giving up on the children who most need help.
In overnight testimony, Uvalde victims’ family members call on Texas lawmakers to raise age to buy semi-automatic guns
The families of Uvalde shooting victims waited hours to testify at a House committee hearing in support of House Bill 2744, which would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic guns from 18 to 21.
Texas House committee debates firearms bills filed in response to Uvalde shooting
The House Select Committee on Community Safety is scheduled to hear testimony on bills that would change how people buy firearms and how authorities report those purchases. One of these bills would raise the minimum age to 21 years old to purchase certain semi-automatic rifles.
After years of little progress, Texas gun control and safety advocates see some small openings for dialogue at the Capitol
Many bills that would limit access to firearms or ammunition likely won’t become law anytime soon. But people who advocate at the Texas Capitol see emerging signs that there’s appetite for finding some middle ground.
Watch: While lawmakers consider legalizing fentanyl test strips, this volunteer isn’t waiting to distribute them to his West Texas community
Michael Prado, with the grassroots organization West Texas Harm Reduction, is on a mission to distribute fentanyl test strips, syringes and overdose-reversing drugs like naloxone to his community.
Lawmakers’ attempts to tighten drug laws would saddle crime labs with an unsustainable workload
Texas lawmakers want tougher criminal penalties for possession of delta-8 and fentanyl. But that would mean much more work for the crime labs handling most of the drug testing for the state’s 254 counties.
Texas House budgets $545 million for prison air conditioning. The Senate hasn’t offered anything.
Sweltering heat has killed inmates, driven away prison workers and cost taxpayers millions in lawsuits. The House budget would provide air conditioning for 46 prisons, but it’s unclear if the Senate will sign on.
Texas Republicans quickly blast Donald Trump indictment, calling it “catastrophic” and politically motivated
Trump became the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges, in his case over alleged hush money payments made to an adult film star. Many of his fellow Republicans in Texas lambasted the legal development.
Texas bill requiring 10-year prison sentences for gun felonies faces opposition from criminal justice and firearm advocates
Under Senate Bill 23, all felonies involving a gun would incur a mandatory 10-year prison sentence. It’s meant to curb crime, despite the lack of correlation between harsher sentences and crime rates.
Texas executes Arthur Brown Jr. for Houston slayings despite claims of innocence, intellectual disability
Brown’s appeals ran out after almost 30 years on death row. Defense attorneys claim Harris County prosecutors hid evidence pointing to another suspect in the 1992 shooting deaths of four people in a Houston drug house.
Ken Paxton’s whistleblowers ask Texas Supreme Court to take up their case as $3.3 million settlement in jeopardy
Lawyers for four former employees who accused the attorney general of firing them for reporting alleged crimes to authorities say Paxton won’t agree to finalizing the deadline by the end of this legislative session.
Texas experts dive into the state of public defense 60 years after Gideon decision
In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to a lawyer applies to criminal defendants. Together with the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, The Texas Tribune hosted a series of conversations Friday on public defense in Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott starts state task force on street takeovers
During a recent street racing incident, Austin residents faced long 911 wait times. City officials say they need to increase staffing for 911 call takers, but state license and background check requirements make it difficult to fill positions.
In a Central Texas county, high schoolers are jailed on felony charges for vaping what could be legal hemp
Police often can’t tell if a cannabis vape pen is derived from marijuana or legal hemp, like the delta-8 products on display in gas stations across Texas. That doesn’t stop them from from making felony arrests in high schools.
Uvalde’s state lawmakers face an uphill battle raising the age limit for semi-automatic guns. They’re trying anyway.
Many relatives of Uvalde victims back bills that state Rep. Tracy King and Sen. Roland Gutierrez are pushing in the Legislature. But limits on gun access don’t fare well at the Capitol.
“We are humans back here”: As Texas hunger strike wanes, prisoners speak out against solitary confinement
After 21 days, the last of many Texas prisoners to consistently refuse food ended his hunger strike. In letters to The Texas Tribune, two prisoners spoke out on the dire solitary confinement conditions that led them to starve themselves.
In a Texas federal courtroom, families of those killed in Boeing 737 MAX crashes finally have their voices heard
The airplane manufacturer was accused of fraud for misleading federal regulators about the safety of its jets, but stayed out of court by making a deal with prosecutors. Victims’ families say they were cut out of the process.
Texas death row prisoners spend decades in solitary confinement. A lawsuit wants to end that “cruel” treatment.
Men sentenced to death in Texas are held in isolation until their execution dates, with little human contact, medical care or legal help, according to a lawsuit filed to improve treatment of the condemned.
After fumbled Uvalde shooting response, Texas senator wants to make it easier to sue law enforcement officers
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat, introduced a package of legislation that includes a bill that would end qualified immunity, which shields government officials from liability for constitutional violations.
After alleged sexual assault of two children living in state care, another foster shelter closes
Two girls in the care of Child Protective Services were allegedly sexually assaulted in October after sneaking out of a facility run by the state agency. Advocates say it’s a symptom of the Texas foster care systems’ problems.
The fringe ideology of “constitutional sheriffs” is attracting believers within Texas law enforcement
Some 50 Texas sheriffs and numerous elected officials have attended trainings on the unsupported notion that sheriffs can single-handedly overrule state and federal law. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which offered state peace officers credit for the seminars, is now investigating.
Uvalde DA gets initial state police report on school shooting but doesn’t expect full investigation for months
The preliminary report has not been made public by either the district attorney’s office or the state. The Texas Rangers are conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting at Robb Elementary.