Justin Miller

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or at [email protected].

By Justin Miller:


‘The Wolf is in the Henhouse’

by | Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 10:00 am CST

How Silicon Valley Lobbyists Secretly Pushed Texas Regulators to Rewrite the Rules of the Gig Economy

Documents show that lobbyists for Handy.com dictated a rule to the Texas Workforce Commission that would give legal shelter to gig economy companies who don’t want to treat workers like employees.

In December, seemingly out of nowhere, the Texas Workforce Commission tentatively approved a new rule that looked like a favor to giant on-demand companies such as Uber. Labor advocates suspected that some shadowy Silicon Valley behemoth was pulling the strings. … Read More

third ward

How Trump’s Tax Cuts Could Accelerate Gentrification and Inequality in Houston

Tucked inside Trump’s 2017 tax cuts is a tax break for real-estate investors worth $1.5 billion. Critics say it could become a gentrification accelerant.

Once a crown jewel of Black Houston, the Third Ward is no longer affordable for many longtime homeowners and tenants. High-end townhomes have subsumed many parts of the historically African-American neighborhood just east of downtown. From 2000 to 2013, median … Read More


Why is Beto Running for President, Exactly?

In the national spotlight, O’Rourke’s ideological amorphousness could prove to be too great a liability. Or it could be his biggest strength.

Four months since Election Day 2018, Beto O’Rourke’s much-hyped announcement that he’s running for president begs the question of, “Why?” As we all know, O’Rourke narrowly lost to Ted Cruz. But in doing so, he accumulated envious amounts of political … Read More


‘We’re Not Stupid’: Texas Teachers Take on Dan Patrick and the Legislature over Dismal Education Funding

After years of cuts and attacks, educators are on the offensive this legislative session. But will lawmakers do enough, and what will teachers do if they don’t?

In 2018, teachers led a wave of strikes and walkouts in red states around the country, demanding not just better pay but more public school funding after years of cuts — and for the most part, they got it. And while … Read More

LGBT Rights

Dan Patrick May Have Just Sparked Bathroom Bill 2.0

The GOP’s effort to ban local paid sick day ordinances morphed into what advocates see as an attack on LGBTQ protections that cover 6 million Texans.

Skeptics of the unusual kumbaya rhetoric in the Texas Capitol have been waiting with bated breath for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to throw a grenade loaded with red-meat shrapnel into the Senate chamber. Just two months into the 86th Legislature, … Read More


Airbnb is the Latest Target of Texas’ Anti-BDS Crusade

As a result of a 2017 law that blacklists Israel boycotters, Texas is making an example of the California-based short-term rental giant.

Texas has blacklisted an American company for, as the state sees it, opposing Israel. Using the power of its purse, Texas is sanctioning Airbnb for purportedly ceding to pressure from activists with the boycott, divest and sanction movement that targets … Read More


A Storm is Brewing in Greg Abbott’s Sunshine-and-Rainbows Texas

The governor’s State of the State address was heavy on Texaphile platitudes and predictably light on details. Despite the kumbaya, fault lines are already forming.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott spent the first 15 minutes of his State of the State address Tuesday painting a picture of Texas as the Promised Land. A thousand refugees (no, not those kind of refugees) are streaming in to the … Read More


Are Silicon Valley Giants Responsible for a Mysterious New Texas Labor Rule?

The state’s workforce commission quietly advanced a rule that exempts a new class of workers from unemployment insurance coverage.

The state’s workforce commission quietly advanced a rule that exempts a new class of workers from unemployment insurance coverage. – by Justin Miller January 31, 2019 A Texas state agency has quietly thrown itself into the middle of one of … Read More


Steve King Has a Friend in Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert

The East Texas tea partier came to the defense of white nationalist Steve King, underscoring the Iowa congressman’s deep ties with Lone Star conservatives.

When Iowa Congressman Steve King wondered out loud last week to the New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”, the backlash was swift. After years of sheltering the openly racist, bigoted, … Read More