Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism


Mexican Actor Says Latinos Can Change Texas Politics If They Vote

Latinos in Texas have the power to change the state’s political landscape if they vote in greater numbers, Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta Mejía told a group of about 200 Central Texas residents Monday. 
“Somos un chingo,” Huerta Mejía said, referencing the fact that Latinos are a large part of the Texas electorate.
Huerta Mejía, who starred in the movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” was invited to speak on the University of Texas at Austin campus by NextGen America, an organization working to promote progressive public policy and increase voter turnout.

One State Representative is Fighting to Stop Texas from Executing People With Mental Illness

House Bill 727, by Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas, would end the death penalty fo people with “severe mental illness.” Rose filed similar measures during the last three legislative sessions, but none have made it to the governor’s desk. However, each time her bills were voted on they gained more bi-partisan support, including Representative Jeff Leach, R-Plano, who joint-authored the bill in 2021.

Texas Republicans Look to Expand Restrictions on Trans Athletes to College

Texas Republicans — who passed a law in 2021 banning transgender athletes from competing on K-12 sports teams that match their gender identity —  are working to extend restrictions on transgender athletes to college sports.

House Bill 23, by Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, would prohibit transgender public college students from joining college sports teams that align with their gender identity. The bill stipulates that athletes participate on teams based on the “biological sex” listed on their birth certificate. The measure would allow women to compete on men’s teams if there is no corresponding women’s team available.

Chinese Americans March in Austin, Call for Withdraw of Bills

“Stop racism! Stop fascism! Stop Chinese hate! Stop Asian hate!” protesters yelled, shouted and chanted. Almost 300 people speaking English and Chinese from Austin, Houston, College Station and from across the state gathered in front of the State Capital Sunday.  “We are angry and disappointed at a series of bills, such as SB147 and SB552, […]

Apr 28, 2023

LGBTQ+ Parents: “Don’t Say Gay” Bills Threaten Families

House Bill 1155, by Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, would ban teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through eighth grade. 

Dec 11, 2022

How Asian Texans Are Working to Improve Their Community’s Political Engagement, Representation

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Texas, increasing by 68% to 1.6 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census. But Asians remain underrepresented in the Texas Legislature and other state offices. 

Nov 17, 2022

Issues, Voting Challenges Made Midterms Personal for Highly Engaged Students

Young voters across a divided nation are being credited by political analysts for preventing a Republican-dominated midterm from coming to life. Yet, that “red wave” did come to shore in the Lone Star State. Every statewide Republican candidate won by double percentage points, and a frustration from the large majority of UT students the day after the election was palpable. Still, at UT Austin, the lead-up to the 2022 midterm election was marked by a strong passion from students getting out the vote and campaigning for ideas and candidates they believed in.

Nov 06, 2022

Political Action Groups Battle for Texas School Board Power Amid Fights Over Book Bans and Race

Battles over removal of LGBTQ-themed books from libraries and the teaching of race in Texas schools are moving to the ballot boxes in hotly contested school board elections. 

Nov 04, 2022

Poll Watchers Gearing Up for Midterms With New Texas Election Law in Effect

Growing political distrust fueled by former President Donald Trump’s unsupported claims of election fraud in 2020 has increased interest in Texans becoming poll watchers this year. The Texas secretary of state office says 4,480 Texans completed a new poll watcher certification training program that launched Feb. 1.

May 05, 2022

Conservative UT-Austin Students Say They Often Feel Marginalized by Peers

A number of conservative students at the University of Texas at Austin say they feel marginalized for their political beliefs. In the era of growing intolerance, where labels such as “woke politics” and “culture wars” makes “political correctness” seem almost polite, conservative students on college campuses, including UT-Austin, also say they often find themselves branded […]

Mar 05, 2022

Therapists: Calling Health Care for Trans Kids ‘Child Abuse’ Is Hateful and Dangerous

Central Texas counselors and psychologists who work with transgender adolescents say Texas politicians’ recent statements about trans therapy are an attempt to rile up voters at the cost of an extremely vulnerable community.   

Mar 02, 2022

As Texas Republicans Attack Gender-Affirming Health Care, Moms of Trans Children Say They’re Not Backing Down

Parents of transgender children in Texas say they are “freaking out.” They are unnerved by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive on Feb. 22 telling the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate reports of transgender youth in Texas receiving gender-affirming health care. Abbott’s letter contends that procedures such as hormonal treatments, gender-aligning surgery or the use of puberty-blockers is child abuse under state law. 

On March 2, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said it had filed a lawsuit to block Abbott’s directive. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a DFPS employee who is a parent of a transgender teenager and has already had an investigator come to their home.

Feb 13, 2022

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greg Casar Rally Progressive Voters in Austin 

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, urged Austin voters to rally behind congressional candidate Greg Casar Sunday. 

Feb 10, 2022

During Rally in Austin, O’Rourke Denounces Abbott Over Jan. 6 and Electric Power Grid

O’Rourke is traveling around the state and hosting a series of rallies dubbed the Keeping the Lights On: A Statewide Drive for a Brighter Texas campaign.

Feb 06, 2022

Rally Urges Texas Republicans to Ban Vaccine Mandates, Critical Race Theory

Saying that Republican leaders failed to complete their conservative agenda, hundreds rallied at the Texas Capitol on Saturday to call for another special session of the Legislature.

With wind blowing, crowd chanting and signs raised, the Save Texas Peaceful Rally and Prayer featured speakers decrying vaccine mandates and “critical race theory” in schools.

“We do not co-parent with the government,” read one sign in the crowd. Others said, “End medical tyranny,” “Freedom not force,” and “Mandate personal liberty.”

Jan 29, 2022

Texas Politicos Praise Trump at First Rally in Texas Since Presidential Defeat

Texas’ top GOP elected officials heaped praise on the former President and used incendiary political rhetoric. Speakers included Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. The scene reflected Trump’s vise-like grip on the Texas GOP and the prominent role his supporters will play in the upcoming Republican primary elections. 

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