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

Justice & Government

Texas Remains Reluctant to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

Texas has had a puzzling past with marijuana. While the state refuses to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana, it has made small strides in recent years to legalize CBD, hemp and medical marijuana. As the laws become more confusing, some cities — like Austin — have chosen to decriminalize misdemeanor amounts of marijuana. Of the 50 bills pertaining to marijuana introduced during Texas’ 87th legislation — only HB 1535 made it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. This bill expands the number of people eligible for medical marijuana as well as the concentration amount they can have. Bills dealing with penalty reduction or recreational legalization died.

A Historical Look at Jim Crow Laws in Texas

Charles Zelden, history professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, sat down with Reporting Texas to discuss the unfortunate history of Jim Crow in Texas.

Texas Lawmakers Want to Make Single Eyewitness Testimony No Longer Grounds for Death Penalty

A state representative wants to make it impossible to hand down a death sentence in Texas based on the testimony of a single witness without corroborating evidence. Supporters of the change say it’s dangerous to sentence someone to death row based on eyewitness testimony alone. Prosecutors, meanwhile, say they doubt  it’s actually a problem and that the proposal could be a slippery slope that leads to micromanaging their work. 

Advocates: Austin Must Shift to Financially Responsible, Long-Term Approach to Homelessness

At the corner of Goodness Way and Peaceful Path sits a garden, park and dozens of chickens within a permanent housing community for those experiencing chronic homelessness. The hills are covered in colorful tiny homes with decorative flags and lights hanging from welcoming entryways. Formerly homeless men and women gather around a singer playing the […]

Apr 23, 2021

Foster Parents: Texas Child Welfare System Remains Broken

Kathleen Ender was just 21 when she began the process of becoming a foster parent after the idea of parenting foster children appeared in her dreams again and again. Enders, chief program officer at National Angels, well equipped emotionally and armed with experience, deeply believed in the beauty of being able to love a child […]

Apr 20, 2021

COVID-19 racial retribution impacts UT’s Asian community

When the Atlanta spa shootings happened last month, one of the first things Winston Hung did was call his Taiwanese parents. As his parents’ concern for their son studying at the University of Texas at Austin heightened, his father gave him a warning of caution.  “Be careful, you never know what’s going to happen.”  In […]

Apr 01, 2021

Hays County’s Indigenous Community Continues Struggle for Recognition

Hays County Commissioners Court raised the ire of critics by failing to reappoint members of its historical commission during a meeting earlier this year, a move that effectively dissolved a committee that represented the interests of Tejano and Indigenous groups.  The criticism came from citizens after the court did not reappoint members of the Hays […]

Apr 01, 2021

Austin Braces for 2021 Legislative Outcomes

As the 87th Texas Legislature approaches mid-session, Governor Greg Abbott’s battle with Austin City Council over police funding is reaching a boiling point as a number of bills take aim at local governments’ control over police funding.  Last August, Austin City Council members unanimously passed the city’s 2021 budget, cutting one-third of the Austin Police […]

Nov 05, 2020

A Week With Some of Austin’s Most Vehement, Revolutionary Protesters 

The Mike Ramos Brigade, or MRB, formed the night Mike Ramos, an unarmed 42-year-old Black and Mexican-American man, was shot and killed by Austin police in April. The brigade’s demands started with justice for Ramos. They quickly started calling for justice for all victims of police brutality and the abolition of the criminal justice system, capitalism and the destruction of what they call the ruling class.

May 21, 2020

Pandemic Upends Latino Lives

El que no nada se ahoga. He who does not swim drowns.

Growing up in a traditional immigrant household, this six-word declaration proved fundamental. My parents, both Salvadoran natives, imparted its wisdom on their children in response to misfortune— at times as a warning and at others as encouragement. It’s a lesson they learned from years of working long hours at one blue collared job or another, scraping together enough money to renew heftily priced work visas and keep the lights on, and finding a way to remain afloat as immigrants in the U.S.

May 20, 2019

As Hemp Bill Nears Passage, Expert Warns of Potential Pitfalls

Prohibition of the plant has made scientific work on best cultivation practices impossible, and taking market share from growers outside the state could be a challenge.

May 20, 2019

Answering Five Questions Texans Have About Hemp and Marijuana

They’re both illegal, for now, and they’re both cannabis, but the similarities just about end there.

May 08, 2019

Texas Pundits Ponder the Importance of the BriLab Scandal 40 Years On

Billy Wayne Clayton, the figure at the center of the scandal, remade the office of Texas House speaker.

May 06, 2019

Civil War Battle Rises Again in East Texas

The annual Battle of Blackjack Grove, a mock Civil War battle, started in 2017 in the East Texas town of Groveton and has attracted more and more attendees each year.

Apr 07, 2019

Poet Javier Zamora to Speak During Summit on Race

On April 10, New York-based poet and immigration activist Javier Zamora will join a panel discussion at the LBJ Presidential Library.

Apr 04, 2019

U.S. House Democrats Target Six Texas Districts for 2020, Face Uphill Battle

National Democrats are targeting six congressional districts in Texas in 2020. Despite Democratic gains in the 2018 midterms, some political scientists say the party faces an uphill battle in the Lone Star State.

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