Defend democracy in the South.

greg abbott

Will politicians who blame mass shootings on mental illness expand Medicaid?

June 9, 2022 - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has blamed unaddressed mental health problems for the mass shooting of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde. So why isn't he pressing to expand Medicaid in his state and others to give more people access to care? Meanwhile, mental health advocates say they worry about politicians' rhetoric linking mental illness and mass shootings.

The politicians who stood with the NRA after the Uvalde massacre

June 3, 2022 - The recent National Rifle Association convention in Houston took place just days after a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in the Texas city of Uvalde. Some politicians scheduled to address the gathering canceled even before the shooting, some canceled afterwards — and some showed up anyway.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Countering the cruel politics of anti-transgender bills

March 7, 2022 - As trans youth face a crisis of harassment, violence, and trauma, Republican politicians up for reelection in Texas and other states are launching misleading attacks on them and their families in a blatant attempt to stir up the party's base and win votes. Legal and human rights advocates and the Biden administration are taking steps to protect the lives of these vulnerable young Americans as others press for boycotts.

In fight over COVID mask rules, Southern appeals courts side with GOP over schools

September 29, 2021 - Governors and legislatures across the South have banned public schools from requiring masks to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The bans have been successfully challenged in lower courts, but appellate courts overturned some of those rulings. Federal courts in several states are taking up the question of whether mask mandate bans violate the rights of students with disabilities.

With big business backing, GOP revamps appellate courts in Southern states

April 8, 2021 - The Texas legislature may consolidate the state's appeals courts, where Democrats have gained seats in recent elections — and watchdogs say the changes could violate the Voting Rights Act. The plan is being pushed by a big business group that has spent nearly $1 million to back GOP judicial candidates. A new West Virginia appeals court also had the support of big business.