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In 2023, a fifth of the country’s state level bills impacting the LGBTQ+ community were filed in Texas, according to a Human Rights Campaign analysis. Equality Texas tracked a record 141 such bills this year up from just 12 in 2015. Some policies passed and several others progressed substantially in the most recent legislative session. KXAN’s team of journalists – many LGBTQ+ staff members with unique, developed and inside perspective providing nuance to our fair, rigorous and balanced reporting standards – produced multimedia stories for the “OutLaw” project, taking an in-depth look at what this trend could mean for Texas’ future.

As hundreds of Texas drivers began complaining about persistent billing and customer service problems with the state’s tollway operator and its contracted vendors, KXAN dedicated more than two dozen journalists to this major consumer issue. During our five months of reporting, the Texas Department of Transportation began reaching out to viewers who had contacted KXAN to resolve their issues, and state lawmakers renewed their approach to fixing future TxTag problems. KXAN produced 16 stories – including a handful with a solutions journalism approach – and a one-hour special in the initial week of coverage.

KXAN’s two-year investigation into medical debt lawsuits began when an email landed in our inbox. Little did we suspect the depth of human suffering we would learn about as we worked on this project. The tip referenced a Central Texas civil court with a large number of lawsuits aiming to collect unpaid medical bills, as many patients dealt with extreme health and financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tip led us to discover a hospital and its law firm behind more than 1,200 of these suits over just three years – a revelation that sparked a new state law for stronger medical billing transparency.

During this project, the number of people found mentally incompetent to stand trial and waiting in Texas jails for restoration treatment at a state hospital hit a new record: 1,838. A state advisory committee admits specific data on individuals waiting could help reduce that backlog, but we discovered many critical details are not tracked. Without that data, the state acknowledges the consequences of the growing waitlist are largely unknown – including when people die waiting. Our research found data on this topic is often hidden or unreliable – a discovery sparking promise for change from state leaders.

For decades, public corruption cases against state officials were investigated and prosecuted in Texas’ capital city. But in 2015, after a dustup at the highest levels of state government, lawmakers instead moved those responsibilities to the Texas Rangers and local prosecutors. A five-year case analysis reveals few have been prosecuted and most Ranger investigations focused on lower-level officials. In an investigative collaboration with the Texas Observer, this project takes a closer look at the Central Texas cases falling short and a legislative history that led to a system critics claim doesn’t hold elected leaders accountable.

As protests over police brutality and racial injustice played out across the country, this project took an even closer look at people dying in the custody of Texas law enforcement. Citing an obscure legal loophole, a Texas sheriff’s office blocked a grieving mother’s request for evidence of how her 21-year-old son died in jail. We uncovered video, audio and other records of the painful days leading up to his death. Our digging sparked a new review into the response to his medical needs and prompted a legislative effort to eliminate that loophole, revealing police statewide using it to keep details about dozens of in-custody deaths secret.

Every year, thousands of mentally ill men and women languish in Texas' county jails. Incapable of standing trial, they wait in line behind hundreds of other people — sometimes over a year — for a bed in a state hospital to get the help they need. As Texas' population booms, its leaders have recognized this problem is also growing, but their efforts to shrink the backlog have failed. During this project, state lawmakers vowed to further explore the success of other options for mental competency restoration, like jail-based and outpatient treatment, to speed up the system and ensure its effectiveness.



On April 1, 1999, Jamie Mayberry, a 35-year-old gay man, vanished from his home in Kenedy, Texas, with a stranger. Local law enforcement almost immediately suggested Jamie simply wanted to leave, but his family's suspicions drew a massive search of the area that only ended with more questions. Our analysis of this missing persons case and more than 5,600 others reveals shortfalls in the way Texas tackles those cases and prompts a state lawmaker's promise to improve the system, helping families looking for loved ones.

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On June 22, 1980, former high school math teacher Alvin Lee King III entered the First Baptist Church in Daingerfield, Texas, and began shooting members of the congregation. From 1980 to 2019, Texas experienced at least 32 mass shootings. Our investigative team's analysis shows more than 250 people were wounded in those events, and at least 208 were killed. Now, we take a critical look at that violent history, as state leaders weigh options to prevent future tragedies. Some of their proposals rely on citizens — through advanced training and suspicious activity reporting.


When police in Mesquite, Texas, denied wrongdoing in the 2013 in-custody death of Graham Dyer, 18, his parents requested records about the incident. Police then used an obscure state law to withhold those details. Legislative efforts to close that loophole have failed, but it has not stopped the families who have been denied video and other records detailing their loved ones’ final moments from speaking out. This investigative project sheds light on the statewide need for police accountability, transparency and trust.


In the summer of 2016, a gunman killed five police officers during a rally in downtown Dallas, Texas. Following that tragedy and similar attacks across the nation, our investigative team took a closer look at what led up to those crimes, digging heavily into the backgrounds of the killers to discover a recurring trait among many: mental illness. The resulting Fallen project examines some of the most compelling cases in recent history, a system with lethal shortcomings and the necessary solutions that could prevent future deaths.

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