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].

By Kolten Parker:


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


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

LGBT Rights

Dan Patrick Is Holding the Legislature Hostage Over ‘Bathroom Bill,’ Property Tax Reform

The lieutenant governor said Wednesday he is prepared to force a special session if those two bills aren’t passed.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said Wednesday he will force a special session unless the House passes versions of the anti-transgender bathroom bill and a property tax reform bill. “I want to avoid a special session, but I’m prepared to go … Read More