Kolten Parker

Kolten Parker is the digital editor of the Observer. He holds a journalism degree from Texas State University and previously worked as a reporter and digital news editor for the San Antonio Express-News. Beyond journalism and politics, he enjoys soccer, skydiving and tacos. The Stephenville, Texas, native can be reached on Twitter or at [email protected].
Texas Legislature

New San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Priorities, Progressives and the Legislature

Nirenberg doesn’t identify with a specific political party, but thinks future-focused candidates are in a prime position to take back the state.

Ron Nirenberg assumed office in June after defeating former Mayor Ivy Taylor with 54 percent of the vote in a runoff election. Like Taylor, Nirenberg’s job performance will likely be compared to the tenure of Julián Castro, San Antonio’s most … Read More


Dan Patrick Accuses Joe Straus of Ponzi Scheme Ahead of Special Session

Patrick seemed to suggest that spending money on ESL and special needs students is a waste and should be spent on teacher pay.

For once, Dan Patrick didn’t mention bathrooms at a press conference. Instead, the lieutenant governor stepped into the spotlight ahead of next week’s special session to unveil his “big and bold” plan to boost salaries and retirement benefits for teachers, … Read More


State Attorneys: Senate Bill 4 Is ‘Moderate’ Compared to Arizona’s ‘Papers, Please’ Law

Opponents of the law told a federal judge Monday that SB 4 is a "constitutional trainwreck" that will lead to "mass deputization" of local police.

State and federal attorneys on Monday defended Texas’ Senate Bill 4 as a “moderate law” that falls within the legal precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s notorious “papers, please” law. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia heard … Read More


Protesters Surround Courthouse as First Major SB 4 Hearing Begins

Groups including the Texas Organizing Project, Unite Here and LULAC rallied, chanting “Si, se puede” and “Hey hey, ho ho, SB 4 has got to go.”

More than 100 activists flooded the federal courthouse in San Antonio Monday to voice opposition to the state’s new ban on “sanctuary cities” as the first major hearing on the new law gets underway. Read More


This Week: Texans’ Health Under Attack by Republican Lawmakers

From air quality to vaccines, much of this week’s Observer coverage focuses on public health in Texas.

Keep up with the Observer’s sharp reporting on the Legislature and throughout Texas with this weekly newsletter. As GOP leaders in Washington, D.C. push a health care plan to replace Obamacare, reporter Sophie Novack breaks down who really gets government … Read More

Texas Legislature

This Week: Behind Greg Abbott’s Bizarre Beef with Tree Ordinances

We dig into Abbott's violation of an Austin ordinance in 2011 and detail his controversial vetoes targeting the state's most vulnerable.

Keep up with the Observer’s sharp reporting on the Legislature and throughout Texas with this weekly newsletter. When Governor Greg Abbott included nixing local tree ordinances as one of 20 agenda items for the July 18 special session, many were … Read More

Texas Legislature

30 Days of Horror: Greg Abbott Calls Texas Legislature Back for Summer Session

The governor announced the Legislature will reconvene on July 18 to address his grab-bag list of 20 issues.

At a press conference in which he took no questions, Governor Greg Abbott announced a July 18 special session that had a not-so-subtle undertone: I’m in charge. Since the regular session of the Texas Legislature wrapped up a week ago, … Read More


Texas Republican Called ICE on SB 4 Protesters, Threatened to Shoot Colleague

The incident happened as more than 1,000 immigrant rights supporters flooded the Texas Capitol.

A Texas Republican threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor over the state’s new anti-‘sanctuary cities’ law on Monday, the final day of the regular legislative session. Representative Matt … Read More

Texas Legislature

This Week: As Legislature Hits Home Stretch, Dan Patrick Focuses on Bathrooms

A "Donald Trump-style temper tantrum" is how one Democrat described Patrick's stunt.

Keep up with the Observer’s sharp reporting on the Legislature and throughout Texas with this weekly newsletter. Lieutenant Governor and Chief of Bathroom Police Dan Patrick isn’t ready to go home. For the former shock jock, who lives for the … Read More