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Michael Mooney
18 hours ago - News

Advocacy group wants to expand Texas abortion law

Illustration of a gavel coming down on a pill
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The anti-abortion advocacy group Texas Right to Life will lobby for new legislation that would expand aspects of 2021's Heartbeat Act, which incentivizes individuals to sue anyone who assists in an abortion, a spokesperson for the organization tells Axios.

Why it matters: The proposed bill would allow anyone to file a civil lawsuit against someone allegedly violating the state's abortion laws, no matter the age of the fetus.

  • It would include an option to sue out-of-state organizations that mail abortion-inducing drugs directly to Texas patients.

The big picture: Texas has been a leader in anti-abortion legislation, passing the uniquely structured Heartbeat Act — which doesn't have exceptions for rape and incest — and a trigger law that makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by fines up to $100,000 and life in prison.

  • The Heartbeat Act has been mimicked in other states, including Florida and Ohio.
  • California recently passed a gun control bill modeled on the Texas law.

Of note: A majority of Texas voters — 54% — oppose a total ban on abortions, per polling earlier this year from the Texas Politics Project at UT.

Details: The proposed legislation doesn't have a name yet, but Texas Right to Life has been calling it "Hold Abortionists Accountable."

Flashback: Texas' law allowing people to sue was the subject of copious litigation in multiple jurisdictions — there's an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it — but the bill was ultimately allowed to stand.

What they're saying: "We're still in the stage of having conversations with legislators, but there is an interest in making sure the abortion industry is held accountable and assessing different legislative strategies for accomplishing that goal," Kimberlyn Schwartz, Texas Right to Life's media director, tells Axios.

Asher Price
18 hours ago - News

National progressive political organization targets Texas Latinos

Illustration of a pattern of “I voted” stickers in Spanish and English.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Determined to mobilize Latinos, a national progressive political organization is entering the Texas fray.

Driving the news: Organizers at Mijente tell Axios they plan to spend as much as $1.2 million in Texas in the coming months as part of their "Fuera Abbott" campaign.

Asher Price
Aug 18, 2022 - Sports

San Antonio Spurs will play NBA games in Austin

Coyote, the Spurs' mascot, prepares to dunk.
The Spurs Coyote could be the most recognizable current member of the team when they visit Austin next spring. Photo: D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA action is headed to Austin.

Driving the news: The San Antonio Spurs will travel up the interstate to Austin for a pair of games on April 6 and April 8 at the Moody Center, the franchise announced Wednesday.

Nicole Cobler
Aug 17, 2022 - News

Texas lawmaker urges rural schools to wade into book wars

Illustration of a bookshelf with rainbow-colored books wrapped in "do not enter" yellow tape.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

State Rep. Cody Harris, an East Texas Republican, wants rural schools to speak out against "pornographic content" in public schools, using Austin ISD as an example of a school district "actively engaged in exposing students" to explicit material.

Why it matters: The move by Harris is the latest effort by GOP lawmakers to wage a war against content in schools and libraries that they deem inappropriate, including books examining race, gender and sexuality.

Asher Price
Aug 17, 2022 - News

Some Texans departing the state over social laws

Illustration of the state of Texas with the LGBTQ Pride Flag colors in it, and black blinds covering them.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Finding new laws limiting LGBTQ+ rights intolerable, some Austinites are now leaving the state.

The big picture: There are still vastly more people moving to Austinand Texas generally — than leaving it, but interviews conducted by Axios suggest a new wave of migration may take hold as people desperate or well-off enough aim for states they deem more welcoming.

Austinites dive into plunge pool trend

An Austin yard designed by Yardzen, featuring a plunge pool with a sliding deck. Photo: Courtesy of Yardzen

Plunge pools — those tiny, rectangular pools at the trendiest hotels — are becoming a staple in Austin backyards.

Why it matters: It's hot here, and Texans love a pool.

Asher Price
Aug 16, 2022 - News

Texas county elections administrator resigns after death threats

Illustration of a large shoe about to step on a tiny voting booth. 
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The elections administrator of a Hill Country county west of Austin has resigned, following threats and stalking.

Driving the news: Tuesday marks the last day for Gillespie County elections administrator Anissa Herrera, who told the Fredericksburg Standard she's resigning due to the dangers — including death threats — she faces.

Asher Price
Aug 16, 2022 - News

Amid drought, water flow into key Texas reservoirs reaches zero

Docks high and dry in Texas
Docks are left high and dry as Lake Buchanan recedes amid drought. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Central Texas' major lakes are starting to feel pond-like.

Driving the news: The amount of water flowing from key rivers and creeks into lakes Travis and Buchanan, the chief reservoirs of Central Texas, is now zero.