• Greg Abbott announces plans to run for Texas governor

    Attorney General Greg Abbott pauses for applause at the pro-choice rally on the south steps of the Texas capitol on July 8, 2013. Abbott officially won the Republican gubernatorial primary on March 4 and will face off against state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.
    Attorney General Greg Abbott pauses for applause at the pro-choice rally on the south steps of the Texas capitol on July 8, 2013. Abbott officially won the Republican gubernatorial primary on March 4 and will face off against state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced his campaign for governor in San Antonio today.

    "I'm asking the people of Texas to elect me as your next governor," Abbott said to the crowd. He was meant with appluase.

    Abbott pleadged to focus on small businesses, reduce goverment spending and secure the border. He also said he would encourage children to go to college.

    "We have 21st century economy...now we need education system to match it," Abbott said. "Higher education must be a priority...together we can make sky-rocketed tuition a thing of the past."

    Abbott, who has served as the attorney general since 2002, has reportedly raised more than $20 million for this campaign so far. He has sued the Obama administration 30 times and has made headlines for his stances on redistricting, voter ID laws and the affordable care act.

    “We always takes on the tough fights, and that’s what I’ve been doing as your attorney general,” Abbott said while addressing a crowd in San Antonio. “I didn’t invent the phrase ‘don’t mess with Texas’, but I have applied it more than anyone else has.”

    In his speech opening up to the announcement, Abbott commented that he has lived all over Texas.

    “I have literally lived and breathed the soil and the soul of what makes Texas unique," Abbott said.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced last week he would not be running for reelection in 2014.

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  • LIVEBLOG: Texas Senate considers abortion legislation

    For constant live updates on the Texas Senate's consideration of abortion legislation on Twitter, follow Bobby Blanchard on Twitter @bobbycblanchard and Laura Wright on Twitter @wrightlauras. 

    11:11: Texas Senate still in final discussion of bill, with the estimated time of completion for the night unknown.

    10:14: Pro-aborion rights activists are now marching downtown.

    9:45: A total of 20 amendments have been tabled, all of which have been turned down by the Senate.

    Several protesters in the gallery have been removed after chaining themselves to the railing. The Senate moves on to final statements, amidst shouting from the gallery and calls from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, to allow the process to continue.

    Pro-abortion and anti-abortion crowds have begun to form around the south steps of the Capitol, as the rotunda is currently at capacity and no more protesters or observers are being let in.

    8:43: So far, 12 amendments have been turned down by the Senate.

    At least 19 amendments were filed on the abortion legislation. The majortiy of votes against amendments have been 19-11.

    Bobby Blanchard and Laura Wright, who have been live-tweeting and live blogging from watching the Texas Senate's live stream,  will be leaving The Daily Texan office to go to the Capitol as the debate winds down. Rallies are expected outside the Capitol. Follow them on Twitter @bobbycblanchard and @wrightlauras for live updates and live tweeting. 

    7:45 p.m. — Senators began to consider amendments shortly after 6:30 p.m.

    The first amendment was relating to abortion clinic's standards. The second amendment was relating to exceptions to the 20-week rule for the case of rape or incest.

    Both of the amendments were tabled. The second amendment, filed by Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, resulted in a fierce debate between Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston and Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy. The two are known to be close friends.

    Whitmire became frustrated when Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, asked if an amendment would endanger passage of the bill.

    "If this amendment is not accepted, it is pure politics and that makes me sick," Whitmire said.

    5:50 p.m. — Lawmakers have spent the better part of the afternoon questioning Sen. Glenn Hager, R-Katy, who filed the abortion legislation in the Texas Senate.

    The debate is expected to go into the night. If the Texas Senate passes the bill without any amendments, it would go to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature. 

    The abortion legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks, place additional restrictions on abortion clinics and increase restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs. Supporters of the bill claim it makes abortion safer, and opponents of the bill claim it would make abortion more difficult to obtain. 

    Protestors and supporters of the abortion legislation have stormed the Texas Capitol to watch the debate. Earlier today, the Department of Public Safety released a press release claiming that it had claimed 18 jars of feces from people attempting to enter the Capitol. DPS got some angry backlash on Twitter for also confiscating tampons.  DPS eventually reversed its policy and started letting tampons into the building.

  • DPS confiscates suspected jars of poop at Texas Capitol

    Following weeks of debate and national attention, the Texas Senate convened at 2 p.m. to begin debating abortion legislation, pulling in crowds to watch the final stage of the bill.

    Before entering the Capitol, however, people's personal bags and belongings were searched. In a press released, DPS said they have confiscated jars of feces, urine and other items. 

    "During these inspections, DPS officers have thus far discovered one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint," the statement said. "All of these items – as well as significant quantities of feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti possessed by individuals – were required to be discarded; otherwise those individuals were denied entry into the gallery."

    According to the press release, the Texas Senate authorized the enhanced searches.

    The abortion legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks, place additional restrictions and rules on abortion clinics and increase restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs. 

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  • Nineteen UT-Austin faculty members sign letter against Texas abortion legislation

    Updated at 5:36 p.m.: Fourteen more UT faculty members have added their names to the open letter, bringing the total number of faculty supporters to 19.

    Original story: As the Texas Senate gets ready to pass abortion legislation and send the bill to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's desk, UT faculty members have signed an open letter that speaks against the abortion legislation.

    The letter features professors and activists statewide. It calls for rallies and protests nationwide and announces a rally Monday, July 15 at the Texas Capitol at 8 p.m. 

    "We believe it is possible to win back our rights, but only if we take a stand in the way that people have been standing for their rights in Brazil, Egypt, and Greece: by understanding that popular protest has the ability to change what a narrow minority of people impose under the fiction of legality," the letter states.

    Five UT faculty members signed the letter, including English associate professor Brian A. Bremen, American studies professor Janet M. Davis, government associate professor Terri E. Givens, radio-television-film lecturer Karen Kocher and education policy and planning professor Angela Valenzuela. Two UT doctoral students also signed the letter.

    The abortion legislation in the Texas legislature would ban abortion after twenty weeks, increase regulations at abortion clinics and attach additional rules to abortion-inducing drugs. Supporters of the legislation have said it makes the abortion procedure safer. Opponents of the legislation have claimed the bill will make it more difficult to obtain an abortion in Texas.

    The Texas Senate is set to convene at 2 p.m. on Friday.

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    Correction: This article has been updated with the correct date of an expected rally. 

  • Texas A&M president announces he is stepping down

    Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin has announced to faculty that he will step down from his position in January 2014.

    Loftin notifed university leaders on Friday that he will be stepping down from the position to start and lead a new instutite in Texas A&M's engineering department.

    Loftin, who was president during A&M's departure from the Big 12 and entrance to the SEC, said in a statement he is looking forward to returning to teaching.

    In a statement, the university said A&M Chancellor John Sharp will launch a national search for the new president immediately.

    Follow Bobby Blanchard on Twitter @bobbycblanchard.