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House, Senate disagreement on ‘vouchers’ kills school funding bill

The prospect of Texas public schools getting any additional money over the next two years is gone. The Texas House on Wednesday took yet another overwhelming vote against so-called school choice, which would redirect state money to help students pay for private school tuition. Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said the move killed House Bill 21, which over the last few weeks has...


For Memorial Day, cops step up patrols on Lake Travis

For Memorial Day, cops step up patrols on Lake Travis

For game warden James Michael, his 15th year patrolling the waters of Lake Travis over Memorial Day weekend offers just one guarantee: It will be different — different from 2016, which was different from the year before and the year before that. It’s not the job that changes. Every year, revelers hit the lake as the sun rises in the east and remain out long after it sets in the west. And...
Herman: Late-night deadlines and legislative shenanigans

Herman: Late-night deadlines and legislative shenanigans

There’s nothing like good, thoughtful legislating, and it’s quite possible what went on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at Your State Capitol was nothing like good, thoughtful lawmaking. The House worked a long day toward a midnight drop-dead deadline for action on Senate bills. From here on in, it takes a bit of legislative creativity — sort of like the kind the Senate copiously...
Senate moves to bar guns from state psychiatric hospitals

Senate moves to bar guns from state psychiatric hospitals

The Texas Senate amended a bill Wednesday to allow the state psychiatric hospitals to ban guns on their premises, including the Austin State Hospital and nine other facilities. The amendment by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, was added to House Bill 435, which seeks to allow volunteer emergency workers to carry licensed handguns while on the job. Changes to state gun laws in 2015 inadvertently allowed...
The history of Memorial Day: Holiday born amid sorrows of Civil War

The history of Memorial Day: Holiday born amid sorrows of Civil War

Memorial Day has its roots in a divided nation. The Civil War was hardly over when efforts to honor Union soldiers took root in towns across the North — more than several claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. Efforts took a national turn in 1868 when the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, Gen. John Logan, issued General Order No. 11. He called it “Decoration Day&rdquo...
Texas parks projects on hold after snub by Legislature

Texas parks projects on hold after snub by Legislature

New work to address overdue repairs at Texas state parks and efforts to open new parks to the public appear to be on hold after lawmakers at the Capitol have signaled unwillingness to give more money to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We knew this was going to be a very fiscally constrained session going into it,” agency Executive Director Carter Smith told Texas Parks and Wildlife...

Business Digest: U.S. home sales fell in April amid supply squeeze

HOUSING MARKET U.S. home sales fell in April amid supply squeeze WASHINGTON — Americans pulled back their pace of home-buying in April, as the shrinking number of houses for sale and rising prices are putting them in a bind as their options dwindle. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes declined 2.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual...
Lawsuit: Austin boy, 10, crushed by driveway security gate

Lawsuit: Austin boy, 10, crushed by driveway security gate

A 10-year-old boy was killed when a driveway security gate crushed his body at his friend’s home in Central Austin, according to a lawsuit that assigns blame to various parties, including the gate’s manufacturer and the homeowner. The boy was a guest at a house at 5500 Shoal Creek Blvd on Feb. 18 when he went into a gap between the gate and a stone wall where metal mesh had been removed...
Therapists, parents urge state officials to restore Medicaid money

Therapists, parents urge state officials to restore Medicaid money

Concerned about planned cuts in Medicaid therapy services for disabled children, throngs of parents and therapists pleaded on Wednesday with state officials to reverse course. In the latest pounding for home health care aides and therapists, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission proposed the cuts after the Legislature in 2015 directed the agency to save money by reducing rates for Medicaid...
Top Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump aides last summer

Top Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump aides last summer

WASHINGTON -- U.S. spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence.   The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn...
In rehab start, Ross shows he might be a good fit in Rangers’ rotation

In rehab start, Ross shows he might be a good fit in Rangers’ rotation

The Texas Rangers took a $6 million gamble on Tyson Ross that might just pay off soon. When Texas signed him to a one-year deal last October, Ross — a solid starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres from 2013-15 — hadn’t been on the mound since Opening Day of 2016, sidelined by a potentially debilitating nerve injury. On Tuesday night at Dell Diamond, the 30-year-old Ross pitched...
Special House-Senate panel expected to review higher ed funding

Special House-Senate panel expected to review higher ed funding

The state’s approach to funding the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and other institutions of higher education would undergo a top-to-bottom review by a special committee of the Legislature under a recommendation by House and Senate budget negotiators. Such a review could lead to major changes in how legislative appropriations are divvied up among the schools. Of course, any such exercise...

Gas leak shuts down U.S. 290 near Dripping Springs, prompts power cut

A gas leak about 2 miles east of Dripping Springs along U.S. 290 caused major disruptions to traffic, power and nearby residents’ nerves. According to the Hays County sheriff’s office, a contractor punctured a gas line Wednesday morning near the 1600 block of U.S. 290, prompting officials just before 9:30 a.m. to issue a reverse 911 call to all residents of the Hays Country Acres subdivision...
TRAFFIC ALERT: I-35 lanes reopen after RV fire near U.S. 183

TRAFFIC ALERT: I-35 lanes reopen after RV fire near U.S. 183

4:25 p.m. update: All northbound lanes of Interstate 35, except for the exit lane to U.S. 183, have reopened after a vehicle caught fire on I-35 near U.S. 183. Expect residual delays. Earlier: Three lanes of northbound Interstate 35 near U.S. 183 are closed while Austin firefighters respond to an RV that caught fire on the road, Texas Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday afternoon...
Shares dip after earnings report from San Marcos-based Thermon

Shares dip after earnings report from San Marcos-based Thermon

San Marcos-based Thermon Group Holdings Inc. saw its shares slide on Wednesday after the company reported quarterly earnings that fell short of Wall Street projections. For the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended March 31, Thermon reported net income of $3.3 million, or 10 cents per share. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations, as the average estimate of analysts surveyed...
Rep. Giddings revives ‘school lunch shaming’ measure in Texas House

Rep. Giddings revives ‘school lunch shaming’ measure in Texas House

After her measure to end so-called school lunch shaming died at the hands of tea party-aligned Republicans, state Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, successfully tacked it onto a separate bill on Wednesday. Giddings’ amendment to Senate Bill 1566, which passed 138-4, would require school boards to adopt a policy allowing a two-week grace period for students with no money on their meal accounts to...
Police seek help in finding suspect in May 4 sexual assault on Rainey Street

Police seek help in finding suspect in May 4 sexual assault on Rainey Street

Austin police are looking for a man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman near the 80th block of Rainey Street near downtown. According to police, the woman was walking alone on Rainey around 2:50 a.m. on May 4 when the man approached her. He lured her to a secluded area before sexually assaulting her. Police, who are asking for the public’s help in finding and identifying the man, released...
Texas House gives final approval to bill aimed at fixing voter ID law

Texas House gives final approval to bill aimed at fixing voter ID law

The Texas House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill aimed at fixing the state’s 2011 law requiring voters to show photo identification following court rulings that have found the law to be racially discriminatory. The 93-55 vote, with Democrats opposing the measure, comes a day after the House gave initial approval to Senate Bill 5, which would codify some changes imposed on Texas for...
Is NASA paying people to smoke marijuana?

Is NASA paying people to smoke marijuana?

Joshua Gillin of PunditFact, the fact-checking project, has just checked the credibility of a story claiming that Houston-based NASA pays people thousands to smoke marijuana in bed for months. Verdict: It’s a viral legend that’s been in orbit for quite awhile now. “NASA will pay you $18,000 to stay in bed and smoke weed for 70 straight days,” says the headline on a Jan. 2,...
House, Senate disagreement on ‘vouchers’ kills school funding bill

House, Senate disagreement on ‘vouchers’ kills school funding bill

The prospect of Texas public schools getting any additional money over the next two years is gone. The Texas House on Wednesday took yet another overwhelming vote against so-called school choice, which would redirect state money to help students pay for private school tuition. Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said the move killed House Bill 21, which over the last few weeks has...

Al Franken suspends ‘unwritten rules’ to air loathing of Texan Ted Cruz

Unsurprisingly in a partisan way, perhaps, Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken calls his Republican nemesis, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a “dunderhead” in a book coming out soon. Franken does even more in “Giant of the Senate.” The book includes a chapter devoted to Cruz. Today, the Austin American-Statesman’s First Reading blog presents Cruz mentions in Franken’s book...

Community news: Patterson Park unveils garden, sculpture

TRAVIS COUNTY EAST AUSTIN Park unveils garden, sculpture The grand opening of the community garden at Patterson Park and the unveiling of a new sculpture will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at the park, 4200 Brookview Road. The opening will include tacos, coffee, ice cream, a bounce house, live music and screen-printed T-shirts. The sculpture is “Dance of the Cosmos” by Jennifer Chenoweth...
PHOTOS: Missed yesterday’s double rainbow? We got you

PHOTOS: Missed yesterday’s double rainbow? We got you

It’s just a rainbow on top of another rainbow, but... If yesterday’s storms kept you inside you missed quite a site. Austin was temporarily adorned by a full double rainbow.  Here's a friendly reminder that the storm always ends: Although Wednesday started off with cool temperatures, the sun should be in full force come late afternoon. Stay up-to-date with Austin’s weather here...
East Austin bar hosting fundraiser for one-year anniversary of Harambe’s death

East Austin bar hosting fundraiser for one-year anniversary of Harambe’s death

Just when you thought you were done hearing about Harambe, the gorilla-turned-meme that took over social media in 2016, an East Austin bar is making sure you never forget the slain gorilla. Rhino Room, a bar on Sixth Street just east of Interstate 35, is hosting Harambe: A Day of Remembrance on Sunday, the one-year anniversary of the day the gorilla was killed. The bar says the event will be a fundraiser...
TxDOT sunset bill’s fate remains unclear as session ebbs

TxDOT sunset bill’s fate remains unclear as session ebbs

The fate of the Texas Department of Transportation’s must-pass sunset bill remains uncertain with just six days left in the legislative session. Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, the sponsor of Senate Bill 312, decided earlier this week that he could not concur with some of the changes made in the bill by the House before it approved the bill May 17. So the Senate appointed five members to...
UPDATE: Dripping Springs gas leak contained; shelter order lifted; highway reopened

UPDATE: Dripping Springs gas leak contained; shelter order lifted; highway reopened

Update, 1:20 p.m.:  The gas leak has been contained and the shelter-in-place order has been lifted, according to the Hays County sheriff’s office, citing the county fire department. U.S. 290 has been reopened in both directions. According to the sheriff’s office, Pedernales Electric Cooperative hasn’t advised when the power will be back up, but says that it is expected...
Attorneys in UT stabbing case given deadline to respond to motions

Attorneys in UT stabbing case given deadline to respond to motions

Kendrex White’s defense attorneys have until June 2 to respond to two state motions regarding an evaluation of their client’s mental health, a Travis County judge ruled on Wednesday. A hearing to argue those motions was set for a week later, on June 9. Prosecutors for the district attorney’s office are asking that White be evaluated for sanity to determine whether he knew right from...
FORECAST: Austin clears out today; hot, humid for Memorial Day weekend

FORECAST: Austin clears out today; hot, humid for Memorial Day weekend

Wednesday’s forecast for Austin: Clear skies and warmer temperatures will grace the Austin area today as highs reach the mid-80s with nary a cloud in sight, forecasters say.  You can thank Tuesday’s cold front, which brought cooler temperatures along with widespread thunderstorms and some hail across the region — but the nice weather won’t last for long. The heat...
Rangers’ Tyson Ross turns in sharp 1st outing for Express

Rangers’ Tyson Ross turns in sharp 1st outing for Express

For a guy who hadn’t pitched in an actual ballgame in nearly 14 months, Tyson Ross looked pretty smooth. The rehabbing Texas Rangers starting pitcher breezed through five scoreless innings on a rare chilly Tuesday night in late May, and the Round Rock Express clobbered Las Vegas 14-3 at Dell Diamond. The Express whacked five home runs. “I came out feeling strong tonight,” said Ross...
Senator: Transgender bathrooms heading to conference committee

Senator: Transgender bathrooms heading to conference committee

Saying the House version of the transgender bathroom bill accomplishes nothing, a key senator said Tuesday that he will seek a conference committee to rework the policy. Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said he will not concur with the ban on transgender-friendly bathroom policies for public schools that the House added to his school safety bill Sunday. That would lead to a conference committee on...
Austin’s ‘ban the box’ rule dodges bullet at Senate

Austin’s ‘ban the box’ rule dodges bullet at Senate

Austin’s “ban the box” ordinance, which prevents companies from asking job applicants to acknowledge their criminal history early in the hiring process, dodged a bullet Tuesday at the Texas Senate. Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, had changed the original wording of House Bill 91 in committee to include a ban on such ordinances, telling the Senate she did not believe it was the government&rsquo...
Texas House tentatively approves allowing guns in school parking lots

Texas House tentatively approves allowing guns in school parking lots

The Texas House on Tuesday tentatively approved a measure that would allow school employees to store guns in their cars parked on school property. The provision, along with several others related to public schools, was tacked onto Senate Bill 1566, which would make changes to how school boards operate. The gun amendment originally was proposed in standalone House Bill 1692 by Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mt...
Texas House tentatively passes Senate bill to address maternal deaths

Texas House tentatively passes Senate bill to address maternal deaths

The Texas House tentatively approved Tuesday night a Senate bill that would require further study into the state’s high rate of pregnancy-related deaths. Senate Bill 1929, originally filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, would require the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to study disparities in maternal morbidity. The bill also would require the Health and Human Services Commission...
Texas House gives initial OK to voter ID bill

Texas House gives initial OK to voter ID bill

Two months after a federal judge ruled that Texas Republicans enacted a voter ID law in 2011 to intentionally discriminate against minorities, the Texas House launched a spirited debate Tuesday on a bill designed to salvage many elements of the law. After churning through 30 proposed amendments, most offered by Democrats hoping to weaken the bill’s provisions during six hours of debate, the...
Senate resurrects ban on abortion insurance

Senate resurrects ban on abortion insurance

The Texas Senate revived a stalled abortion measure late Monday night by adding it as an amendment to a bill on insurance information for doctors. House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20, which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care Act. Abortion coverage would have to be purchased...
Trump’s budget calls for 74 miles of border wall, almost all in Texas

Trump’s budget calls for 74 miles of border wall, almost all in Texas

President Donald Trump’s budget for next fiscal year envisions spending $2.7 billion for border security, including 74 miles of a border wall, most of it in Texas. “We are absolutely dead serious about the wall,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday. “In fact, after taking care of national security and the vets, my guess is, it’s in the...
Appeals court ruling could bring return of “can ban” to New Braunfels

Appeals court ruling could bring return of “can ban” to New Braunfels

Tubers planning to tote cans and coolers on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers in New Braunfels might soon have to leave them at home, after an appellate court ruling that could bring back a city ban on such items. The issue has been held up in the courts since a district judge ruled in 2014 that a 2011 voter-approved law banning disposable containers and large coolers on the rivers is unconstitutional...
Sid Miller calls barbecue deregulation effort ‘horse hockey’

Sid Miller calls barbecue deregulation effort ‘horse hockey’

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has started a food fight at the Capitol, and the food being slung has a decidedly smoky flavor. At stake is how much brisket is on your plate. In an opinion piece published Tuesday in the Texas Tribune, Miller says he wants Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a bill that would exempt from state inspection weights and scales at barbecue joints and other restaurants that...
Austin man guilty of stabbing girlfriend 27 times with screwdriver

Austin man guilty of stabbing girlfriend 27 times with screwdriver

An Austin man who stabbed his girlfriend 27 times with a screwdriver when she was recovering from surgery pleaded guilty Tuesday on the opening day of his aggravated assault trial. Willie Lee Brady Jr., 40, accepted a 25-year prison sentence — the low end of his punishment range — rather than continuing with the trial and risking up to a life sentence from a Travis County judge. He informed...
Middle school official accused of choking 10-year-old at roller rink

Middle school official accused of choking 10-year-old at roller rink

An assistant vice principal in the Round Rock school district was arrested Monday after Austin police accused him of choking a stranger’s child at a roller rink. Police say Chad Warren Sanders assaulted the 10-year-old at Playland Skate Center in North Austin on May 12 after refusing to let the boy have some leftover food from a party reserved by his wife, an arrest affidavit says. Sanders,...
DPS offers reward for sex offender from Austin, ties to San Marcos

DPS offers reward for sex offender from Austin, ties to San Marcos

CENTRAL TEXAS DPS offers reward for sex offender A fugitive from Austin has been added to the state’s 10 most wanted sex offenders list and the Texas Department of Public Safety is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to his capture. Everett Cole Rainey, 25, is considered a high-risk sex offender by authorities and is wanted for failing to comply with sex offender registration requirements...
Is Dan Patrick right about homeowner savings from tax-rate proposal?

Is Dan Patrick right about homeowner savings from tax-rate proposal?

After Dan Patrick declared a proposal he wants passed into law would save the average homeowner $20,000 a year for 20 years, PolitiFact Texas launched a fact-check. The Republican lieutenant governor talked up Senate Bill 2 in remarks to reporters Wednesday. Patrick, mindful that the House then had yet to vote on SB 2, said the Senate-approved version “would bring local government spending under...
Texas House abortion-related amendment guts animal cruelty bill

Texas House abortion-related amendment guts animal cruelty bill

Voting to add an abortion-related amendment Tuesday, the Texas House pulled the teeth from a bill intended to enhance criminal penalties for torturing and killing pets. Senate Bill 762 sought to raise the penalty to a third-degree felony, which has a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, for the worst types of animal abuse. Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, was outraged by the attempt to increase...
Severe thunderstorm watch cancelled for Bastrop, Travis counties

Severe thunderstorm watch cancelled for Bastrop, Travis counties

7:15 p.m. update: The National Weather Service has cancelled the severe thunderstorm watch for Bastrop and Travis counties that was set to last until 11 p.m. Chances of rain are still at 50 percent until late Tuesday night, the service said. The front that carried storms has brought in cooler air. Temperatures Tuesday night are expected to drop to a low around 54, forecasters said, before warming...
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway could face fines over Texas dealership law

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway could face fines over Texas dealership law

It’s a good thing Warren Buffett has deep pockets. The billionaire’s holding company – Berkshire Hathaway Inc. – could be liable for civil fines in the range of $350,000 a day if an ongoing investigation by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles determines it to be in violation of Texas law prohibiting the owner of an automobile manufacturer from also owning automobile dealerships...
Texas Senate approves bill aimed at identifying postpartum depression

Texas Senate approves bill aimed at identifying postpartum depression

The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at increasing identification of postpartum depression among mothers participating in federally backed health care programs for low-income families. Under House Bill 2466 by Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, mothers who bring their kids in for checkups can get screened for postpartum depression by their children’s pediatricians. The measure...
Dan Patrick airs inaccurate $20,000 homeowner savings claim

Dan Patrick airs inaccurate $20,000 homeowner savings claim

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made such a dramatic claim about tax rate legislation — $20,000 in savings for the average homeowner every year — that we launched a fact check. Patrick, in May 17 remarks to Capitol reporters, declared that Senate Bill 2, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, must pass, in Patrick’s view, for lawmakers to avoid one or more special sessions after the...

Business Digest: Office building planned for West Austin

REAL ESTATE Office building planned for West Austin Cushman & Wakefield said Tuesday it has been hired to lease Davenport 360, an office building planned for West Austin that will break ground as soon as a major tenant commits to the project. The 33,900-square-foot building will be located at 6001 Bold Ruler Way off Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), a corridor that’s home to numerous technology...
Man, 21, accused of sexual assault from when he was 14

Man, 21, accused of sexual assault from when he was 14

A 21-year-old man is being charged for a sex crime he committed in Williamson County when he was 14, according to a court document. James Farmer was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The crime happened March 3, 2010, in Williamson County, according to the Waiver of Jurisdiction and Order of Transfer to Adult Criminal District...
TxDOT to pay $8.9 million for Southeast Austin site to combine offices

TxDOT to pay $8.9 million for Southeast Austin site to combine offices

The Texas Department of Transportation, looking to consolidate several of its Austin facilities, will pay $8.9 million for 49 acres of vacant land in Southeast Austin, assuming that the Texas Transportation Commission approves the sale this week. The wooded land, near East Stassney Lane and Burleson Road, would become the home of about 2,200 TxDOT workers now housed in three leased buildings on East...
After her bill died, lawmaker tackles ‘lunch shaming’ outside Capitol

After her bill died, lawmaker tackles ‘lunch shaming’ outside Capitol

After tea party-aligned legislators in the Texas House derailed her so-called school lunch shaming bill, Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, is circumventing the Texas Legislature to address a problem she has identified in public schools. During a news conference on Tuesday, Giddings announced that her office has partnered with Feeding Texas, a nonprofit whose mission is to end hunger in Texas, to launch...
New squad will take up hundreds of Austin’s delayed rape investigations

New squad will take up hundreds of Austin’s delayed rape investigations

Last fall, amid growing pressure from victims and advocates, Austin police officials ramped up efforts to test thousands of forensic samples from sexual assault cases that had sat on shelves for as long as 20 years. They signed deals with other labs across the state and began shipping so-called rape kits for them to analyze. Now, as the department begins receiving results from those tests, Austin...
Assistant vice principal accused of choking child at North Austin roller rink

Assistant vice principal accused of choking child at North Austin roller rink

An assistant vice principal in the Round Rock school district was arrested Monday after Austin police accused him of choking a stranger’s child at a roller rink. Police say Chad Warren Sanders assaulted the 10-year-old at Playland Skate Center in North Austin on May 12 after the boy had asked if he could have some leftover food from a party, an arrest affidavit says. Sanders, 40, was booked...

Wilco Commissioners clash over replacement to Cap Metro board

Tension erupted at the Williamson County Commissioners meeting Tuesday when two commissioners clashed over a proposal to replace the county’s representative on the Capital Metro board of directors. The argument began when Commissioner Terry Cook, who represents the Round Rock area, said the county’s representative on the Cap Metro board, Juli Word, had not attended enough meetings. Word...
Water authority director sues Sixth Street bouncer over injuries

Water authority director sues Sixth Street bouncer over injuries

A popular downtown Austin bar is being sued because one of its bouncers struck a San Angelo man who was so badly injured that he needed emergency brain surgery. Chuck Brown, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Authority, was injured on the same day he testified before the Texas Legislature on water quality. Part of his skull was removed, and he was placed in a medically induced coma at...
Texas House abortion-related amendment guts animal cruelty bill

Texas House abortion-related amendment guts animal cruelty bill

Voting to add an abortion-related amendment Tuesday, the Texas House pulled the teeth from a bill intended to enhance criminal penalties for torturing and killing pets. Senate Bill 762 sought to raise the penalty to a third-degree felony, which has a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, for the worst types of animal abuse. Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, was outraged by the attempt to increase...
Austin police seeking witnesses in fatal shooting on South Congress Ave.  

Austin police seeking witnesses in fatal shooting on South Congress Ave.  

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in the investigation into the shooting death of 51-year-old Van Kevin White, who became the city’s 11th homicide victim last week after he was found shot in the parking lot of an office building near downtown Austin. Austin police think a resident of one of the buildings near the crime scene at 611 S. Congress Ave. may have witnessed what happened...
Wilco Commissioners clash over proposed replacement to Cap Metro board

Wilco Commissioners clash over proposed replacement to Cap Metro board

Tension erupted at the Williamson County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning when two commissioners clashed over a proposal to replace the county’s representative on the Capital Metro board of directors. The argument began when Commissioner Terry Cook, who represents the Round Rock area, said the county’s representative on the Cap Metro board, Juli Word, had not attended enough meetings...
Sid Miller calls barbecue deregulation effort ‘horse hockey’

Sid Miller calls barbecue deregulation effort ‘horse hockey’

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has started a food fight at the Capitol, and the food being slung has a decidedly smoky flavor. At stake is how much brisket is on your plate. In an opinion piece published Tuesday in the Texas Tribune, Miller says he wants Gov. Greg Abbott to veto a bill that would exempt from state inspection weights and scales at barbecue joints and other restaurants that...
Effort to soften or kill Texas driver surcharges falls apart

Effort to soften or kill Texas driver surcharges falls apart

An effort to soften or even eliminate the much-maligned Texas “driver responsibility program” has died in the legislative session’s waning days, giving the system of surcharges for various moving violations at least another two years of life. Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston, who had agreed to be the Senate sponsor of House Bill 2068, said Monday that the bill will not pass...
Austin police looking for man linked to 7 robberies since March

Austin police looking for man linked to 7 robberies since March

Austin police say they are looking for an armed man who they believe has committed at least seven robberies in the past two months. According to police, the man would enter a business, display a handgun and demand money from the someone behind a register. Investigators think the same man is responsible for incidents at these dates and locations: Thursday, March 23: 4:18 a.m., Woody’s Market...

Community news: Recount confirms Lakeway’s Prop 1 vote

TRAVIS COUNTY LAKEWAY Recount confirms Prop 1 vote A recount Monday affirmed that Lakeway’s Proposition 1 to build a $23 million police station was approved May 6 by nine votes. The recount was performed after a petition was submitted by council candidate Tiffany McMillan and signed by 31 Lakeway residents. Mayor Joe Bain selected a team to recount the ballots by hand. Proposition 1 passed by...
Profar, Marte lift Round Rock over Salt Lake 11-3

Profar, Marte lift Round Rock over Salt Lake 11-3

Jurickson Profar doubled twice and singled twice, driving in four runs as the Round Rock Express defeated the Salt Lake Bees 11-3 Monday at Dell Diamond. The victory marked the Express’ third in their last four and first series win since taking three of four against in a series against the Iowa Cubs April 22-25. Luis Marte fell a home run shy of the cycle with three RBIs for Round Rock (19-26)...
Lawmaker circumvents Texas Legislature to address school lunch shaming

Lawmaker circumvents Texas Legislature to address school lunch shaming

After tea party-aligned legislators in the Texas House derailed her so-called school lunch shaming bill, Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, is circumventing the Texas Legislature to address a problem she has identified in public schools. During a news conference on Tuesday, Giddings announced that her office has partnered with Feeding Texas, a nonprofit whose mission is to end hunger in Texas, to launch...
NEW: Judge Julie Kocurek Act headed to governor

NEW: Judge Julie Kocurek Act headed to governor

A bill to improve security for judges and courthouses – named for an Austin judge who survived a 2015 assassination attempt outside her home – is on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott. The Judge Julie Kocurek Judicial and Courthouse Security Act completed its final legislative step when the Senate concurred with a minor House change with little discussion late Monday. Kocurek lent more than her...
LAWSUIT PENDING: Sixth Street bouncer charged with assault of water authority director

LAWSUIT PENDING: Sixth Street bouncer charged with assault of water authority director

A popular downtown Austin bar is being sued because one of its bouncers struck a San Angelo man who was so badly injured that he needed emergency brain surgery. Chuck Brown, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Authority, was injured on the same day he testified before the Texas Legislature on water quality. He had part of his skull removed and was placed in medically-induced coma at...
NEW TODAY: DPS offers reward for sex offender from Austin, ties to San Marcos

NEW TODAY: DPS offers reward for sex offender from Austin, ties to San Marcos

A fugitive from Austin has been added to the state’s 10 most wanted sex offenders list and the Texas Department of Public Safety is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to his capture. Everett Cole Rainey, 25, is considered a high-risk sex offender by authorities and is wanted for failing to comply with sex offender registration requirements and violating his probation...
NEW TODAY: TxDOT eyeing 49 acres in SE Austin to combine Austin offices

NEW TODAY: TxDOT eyeing 49 acres in SE Austin to combine Austin offices

The Texas Department of Transportation, looking to consolidate several of its Austin offices, will pay $8.9 million for 49 acres of vacant land in Southeast Austin, assuming that the Texas Transportation Commission approves the sale this week. The wooded land, near East Stassney Lane and Burleson Road, would become the home of TxDOT workers now housed three buildings on East Riverside Boulevard, at...
John Kasich can be prickly. The winner of one Texas electoral vote appears at BookPeople

John Kasich can be prickly. The winner of one Texas electoral vote appears at BookPeople

    Good day Austin: John Kasich can be prickly. At BookPeople,Evan Smith asks John Kasich, "Do you regret not endorsing Donald Trump for president?"Evan, that's a really dumb question." — jonathantilove (@JTiloveTX) May 23, 2017 From an April 30, 2015 Molly Ball profile of Kasich in the Atlantic: The Unpleasant Charisma of John Kasich: He’s tamed the federal...
Two years later: The 2015 Memorial Day weekend floods

Two years later: The 2015 Memorial Day weekend floods

Tuesday marks two years to the day of the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend 2015 floods across Central Texas. Hardest hit was Hays County. Here are five things to know about the event: • Fourteen people were killed in Central Texas, including 12 people along the Blanco River. Among them were members of three families from Corpus Christi vacationing together in a house in Wimberley that was...
Before you go swimming, know what’s lurking in the water

Before you go swimming, know what’s lurking in the water

Does this kid know what she’s jumping into? Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, that the Cryptosporidium outbreaks were double what they had been two years before.
This Day in Texas History: The Death of Bonnie and Clyde

This Day in Texas History: The Death of Bonnie and Clyde

83 — Years ago today (May 23, 1934) that Texas outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were gunned down on a rural road in Louisiana. 6 — Number of officers that shot them, led by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. 53 — The number of kills credited to Ranger Hamer. Some accounts say it was more . 130 — Number of rounds fired into car. At least. Some accounts say it was more. Officers...
Texas Senate revives abortion insurance measure

Texas Senate revives abortion insurance measure

Late Monday, the Texas Senate revived a stalled abortion measure by adding it as an amendment to a bill on insurance information for doctors. House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20, which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care Act. Abortion coverage would have to be purchased...
No UT students currently in Manchester through university programs, officials confirm

No UT students currently in Manchester through university programs, officials confirm

No University of Texas students are currently on official university travel in Manchester, England, where an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert killed 19 people and injured about 50 others, university officials confirmed. Still, the school’s international office is in the process of contacting students currently or soon to be studying abroad in the United Kingdom to verify...
Judges: Does Supreme Court ruling affect Texas districts?

Judges: Does Supreme Court ruling affect Texas districts?

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts because of their effect on African-American voters, the first impact was felt in Texas. Three federal judges, overseeing a legal challenge to Texas districts adopted in 2013, sent an order Monday to lawyers on both sides seeking information about how the ruling might apply to the Lone Star State. The...

Texas Digest: Cop shooter gets 50 years

COURTS Cop shooter gets 50 years in prison A man charged with the nonfatal shooting of a Houston-area police officer in the chest and face three years ago during a traffic stop has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. Sergio Francisco Rodriguez pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated assault of a public servant. He’s the last of three men charged in the October 2013 shooting of Stafford police...
MANCHESTER ATTACK: Abbott calls explosion at concert 'terror attack,' asks for prayers for victims

MANCHESTER ATTACK: Abbott calls explosion at concert 'terror attack,' asks for prayers for victims

Gov. Greg Abbott, reacting to what’s being described as an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in which 19 people have been confirmed dead and around 50 were injured, asked his followers on Twitter to “send prayers for the terror victims.” Greater Manchester Police have said the explosion is being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise...
Texas House passes ban on transgender bathrooms in schools

Texas House passes ban on transgender bathrooms in schools

The Texas House gave final approval Monday to a bill banning transgender-friendly bathrooms in the state’s public schools — a compromise effort that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said was too weak but state business leaders feared could still provoke an economic backlash. Democrats, civil rights groups and gay rights groups were outraged, saying the ban singles out transgender students, an already...
Barbara Smith Conrad, 79, remembered as renowned singer, trailblazer

Barbara Smith Conrad, 79, remembered as renowned singer, trailblazer

Barbara Smith Conrad, a world-renowned opera singer who was part of the small first group of African-American students to receive their undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas, died Monday. She was 79. Her life is the topic of the documentary “When I Rise,” which was produced by UT’s Briscoe Center for American History in 2010 and still airs on PBS periodically. &ldquo...
Technology elevates new theme park experiences in Orlando

Technology elevates new theme park experiences in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — For more than a moment, you feel the way "Avatar" hero Jake Sully felt plunging down the side of a floating mountain and coming just close enough to a giant wave to feel the mist on your face — all while on the back of a flying banshee that then swoons and soars high above the land of Pandora.  Flight of Passage, the new signature ride of Disney World's...

Make a jar of this, and every meal is just a sprinkle away from crunchy

One common complaint about vegetarian dishes is that they can lack texture. But plant-based foods can range in texture just as much as meat can, so it's simply a matter of paying attention to that quality when you're cooking. Most weeks I write about a full-fledged meal, but this week I'm writing about a DIY pantry item that can act as a texture-insurance policy. It's a savory granola, made the same...
This 10-minute dinner sauce starts with a bottle opener

This 10-minute dinner sauce starts with a bottle opener

Sauces that are complex and require hours of reduction are wondrous kitchen assets, but then again, so are the ones that take shortcuts to achieve the same lustrous, glaze-y results. This recipe features the latter and relies on ginger beer, which these days can be found at any supermarket and is really a carbonated, nonalcoholic beverage that is less sweet and more gingery-tasting than ginger ale...
Unexpected bond changes foster parents’ understanding of family

Unexpected bond changes foster parents’ understanding of family

The enemy was in my car. I could see her earrings glint in the sunlight and smell her perfume. I fiddled with the radio, realizing I had no idea what type of music she listened to. I thought about turning it off, but any noise seemed better than silence. I opened my mouth to speak, then closed it like a goldfish behind glass. I needed to choose my words carefully. The stakes were too high. Mom to...
Thousands of dollars raised for heroic homeless men rushed to aid children during Manchester bombing

Thousands of dollars raised for heroic homeless men rushed to aid children during Manchester bombing

Two homeless men are being called a heroes after running to help victims when a bomb went off at the Manchester Arena in England as concert goers left an Ariana Grande concert. According the Press Association, Chris Parker, 33, regularly begs for money in the area as concert goers leave the venue. The New York Times reported that Stephen Jones, 35, was in the area since he found a space...
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