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At trial, Alex Jones blurred the line between Infowarrior and parent

At an April 12 pretrial hearing, state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo said she wouldn’t allow the jury at an upcoming child custody trial to watch a recent Infowars video in which Alex Jones, in an obscene, gay-bashing rant threatened U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, because the judge didn’t want the trial to be about Infowars or politics. Lawyers...


House panel OK’s bill that would create ‘do not hire’ teacher registry

A bill that would create a “do not hire” list of teachers who have been convicted of improper relationships with students has advanced to the Texas House. House Bill 1799, filed by Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, seeks to curb the growing number of improper relationships between teachers and students across the state by expanding reporting requirements and criminalizing the failure to report...
Amid controversy, Austin school police chief takes another job

Amid controversy, Austin school police chief takes another job

Austin school district Police Chief Eric Mendez is expected to announce his resignation Monday morning, taking another police chief position in another organization. The announcement comes just days after questions surfaced about whether his staff did enough to investigate a sexual assault allegation of a 4-year-old girl at Boone Elementary in February. On Friday night, Travis County District Attorney...
With $42 million upgrade, Texas telescope joins hunt for dark energy

With $42 million upgrade, Texas telescope joins hunt for dark energy

Dark energy is a mysterious force that astronomers haven’t detected, don’t understand and can explain only in the vaguest terms as the reason for the universe’s expansion. Even Karl Gebhardt, one of the world’s foremost astronomers — a man who discovered the largest black hole ever observed — has no idea what dark energy actually is. But he is hoping a $42 million...
Valerie Jarrett on Trump’s win, Obama’s legacy and how to raise women up

Valerie Jarrett on Trump’s win, Obama’s legacy and how to raise women up

When Donald Trump visited the White House a few days after winning last year’s election, a photograph captured staffers and top members of the Obama administration looking markedly discontent. Valerie Jarrett, the longest-serving senior adviser to then-President Barack Obama, could be seen leaning cross-armed against a column in the Rose Garden. “The irony is I saw the cameras, so that...
Meet the 4 companies reportedly interested in Whole Foods

Meet the 4 companies reportedly interested in Whole Foods

Two major investors in Austin-based Whole Foods Market have urged the company to consider putting itself up for sale in recent weeks. With 465 stores, 87,000 employees and annual sales of $15.7 billion, the grocer would seem like an attractive acquisition target. But it also has a bit of baggage. A Barclays analyst suggested in March that Whole Foods had lost 14 million customers since 2015 &ndash...
Reversing trend, abortion clinics reopening, including 1 in Austin

Reversing trend, abortion clinics reopening, including 1 in Austin

Three Texas abortion facilities have reopened or are about to reopen, reversing a trend of clinic closures caused by strict abortion regulations that the Legislature adopted in 2013 but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down last summer. A Dallas clinic, closed in 2013 because doctors with the North Park Medical Group could not obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital as required by the now-overturned...
House’s special education school choice bill garners criticism, cheers

House’s special education school choice bill garners criticism, cheers

Parents, educators and advocacy groups Thursday night both lauded and lambasted a Texas House bill that would create a school choice program for special education students. House Bill 1335 filed by Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, would spend state money to help parents of special education students pay private school tuition, among other non-public school expenses. “If one thing we’re...
FORECAST: Strong to severe storms expected Saturday night

FORECAST: Strong to severe storms expected Saturday night

The sky is about to get grouchy, weekend warriors. Saturday brings a 30 percent chance of showers that will continue throughout the day and be joined by a chance of thunderstorms after 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. It will be mostly cloudy with a high near 88. That chance of precipitation will ramp up to 60 percent by that night, which will be mostly cloudy with a low around 57...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

WHOLE FOODS TAKEOVER? Report says Albertsons considering takeover bid for Whole Foods: Supermarket chain Albertsons is exploring a possible takeover of Austin-based Whole Foods Market, the Financial Times reported last week, citing unnamed sources. Albertsons, which operates about 2,200 stores, is controlled by buyout group Cerberus Capital Management. Cerberus has had preliminary talks with bankers...

House tax plan has surprising implications

Last June, Republicans in the House Ways and Means Committee rolled out their “Better Way” tax reform plan. It proposes big changes to business and personal taxation. Critics say it’s regressive and will likely decrease revenues because of the cut in personal rates. But a closer look suggests neither is true. Moreover, the business part of the tax plan promises to greatly expand...

Up the Ladder

Biomedical Aeglea BioTherapeutics has named Anthony Quinn interim chief medical officer. Health care St. David’s HealthCare has named Diana Kraus assistant vice president of trauma. Professional honors Sandra D. Gonzalez of Greenberg Traurig has been elected to the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation.
PolitiFact: Yep, Legislature can make its own rules

PolitiFact: Yep, Legislature can make its own rules

State troopers arrested a Texas woman after she persisted in shooting video of a legislative hearing despite a state open-meetings law that says, “A person in attendance may record all or any part of an open meeting of a governmental body.” Amy Hedtke of Waxahachie streamed on Facebook Live a portion of the March 22 hearing of the House State Affairs Committee in a building on the Capitol...
Taylor council candidates agree city needs to attract businesses. jobs

Taylor council candidates agree city needs to attract businesses. jobs

A real estate company owner and a concrete business’ vice president are running against each other for a place on the Taylor City Council. Gary Gola and Dwayne Ariola are competing for an at-large position left vacant by Taylor Mayor Jesse Ancira Jr., who has decided not to seek re-election. The five council members will choose the next mayor. Both Gola and Ariola said the city needs to attract...
Have a great workplace? Let us know

Have a great workplace? Let us know

Help us spread the word about the best places to work in Austin. Nominations are now open for the American-Statesman’s 2017 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project. The project recognizes employers that stand for the best in leadership, vision, an employee-centered culture and other qualities. Any employer is eligible — private company, nonprofit, government or school — as long...
UPDATE: APD now says missing officer faked his death, fled to Mexico

UPDATE: APD now says missing officer faked his death, fled to Mexico

An Austin police officer who was originally reported missing is believed to have attempted to fake his own death and to have fled to Mexico, officials said Friday night. Officer Coleman Martin, 29, is facing a Class A misdemeanor charge of “false report,” as a result. Anyone who knows where Martin is should call the Austin Police Department Missing Persons Unit at 512-974-5250 or...
NEW: AISD police chief leaving; DA says assault may not have occurred

NEW: AISD police chief leaving; DA says assault may not have occurred

Austin school district Police Chief Eric Mendez is expected to announce his resignation for another job Monday morning, days after questions surfaced about whether his staff did enough to investigate a sexual assault allegation of a 4-year-old at Boone Elementary in February, sources with knowledge of the investigation confirmed Friday night. The announcement came as Travis County District Attorney...
Austin man gets probation for fatal sleeper hold near homeless camp

Austin man gets probation for fatal sleeper hold near homeless camp

An Austin man who killed another man with a sleeper hold was convicted of manslaughter on Friday, but was sentenced to probation and soon will be released from jail. John Mouton, 23, testified to a Travis County jury that he acted in self-defense when a disagreement with victim Russell Fulghum, Jr. turned physical near a homeless camp in North Austin in June 2016. Mouton said Fulghum, 37, tossed his...
Dallas leader found not guilty in corruption trial

Dallas leader found not guilty in corruption trial

A Dallas County jury on Friday found a longtime County Commissioner John Wiley Price not guilty of bribery and mail fraud charges and failed to reach a verdict on other counts. Jurors told U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn that further deliberations wouldn’t yield a verdict on tax fraud charges against Price, so she dismissed the jury and ended the trial. Dapheny Fain, a top aide to Price and...

Bowie High parents seek student’s expulsion over alleged harassment

Parents of a Bowie High School student are seeking an order from a federal judge to expel a classmate they say has been sexually harassing their daughter since the fall. The parents filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Austin school district, alleging that the boy has repeatedly gotten into their daughter’s car without permission, demanded she take him out to dinner, hugged her on more than...
Campaign signs on Southwestern University campus spark debate

Campaign signs on Southwestern University campus spark debate

Whether a candidate for the Georgetown City Council violated election laws by posting her signs Monday on the Southwestern University campus was at the center of a debate this week. “According to several residents, self described ‘liberal Democrat’ Place 6 candidate Rachael Jonrowe possibly violated election laws concerning electioneering,” said the Wilco Report, an online...

Hamilton Pool to reopen May 1 with safety features to prevent drowning

Hamilton Pool Preserve will be open for swimming again, starting on May 1, Travis County Parks officials announced Friday. Two drownings last year prompted Travis County Parks to close the pool to swimmers while officials re-evaluated safety protocols. On Aug. 14, a 17-year-old from Harker Heights failed to resurface around 10:20 a.m. Emergency crews pulled the teen from the water and flew him to...

Business Digest: Germany-based group buys Austin office building

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Germany-based group buys Austin office building The Capital Ridge office building in Southwest Austin has a new owner. GLL Real Estate Partners, a real estate fund management group based in Munich, Germany, recently purchased the building from Capital Ridge-RE LP, according to Travis County deed records. The purchase price was $96.1 million, according to Real Estate Alert, a...
SPLASH TIME: Hamilton Pool to reopen May 1 with safety features

SPLASH TIME: Hamilton Pool to reopen May 1 with safety features

Hamilton Pool Preserve will be open for swimming again, starting on May 1, Travis County Parks officials announced Friday.   Two drownings last year prompted Travis County Parks to close the pool to swimmers while officials re-evaluated safety protocols.  Travis County Parks officials say they have installed a loaner life jacket kiosk at the pool entrance. Visitors can now borrow...
Texas franchise tax looks on way out after House vote

Texas franchise tax looks on way out after House vote

The third-largest source of revenue for Texas state government — the franchise tax — appears poised for elimination after the Texas House gave final approval Friday morning to a bill that would phase it out. The Senate previously approved an alternative proposal to wind down the franchise tax using a different formula and time frame, but both chambers now have signaled they want to get...
Goodwill worker stole $3,000 from nonprofit’s West Austin store, police say

Goodwill worker stole $3,000 from nonprofit’s West Austin store, police say

Police are accusing a Goodwill employee of stealing $3,000 worth of cash and merchandise from one of the nonprofit’s Austin stores. In an arrest warrant affidavit issued Thursday for 40-year-old Marcelita Felix, police say she stole $100 of merchandise and $2,900 cash from the Goodwill at 701 Newman Drive in West Austin.  On April 3, a theft report was made to police after the loss...
Austin police eyes $300,000 bomb robot to save human cops from danger

Austin police eyes $300,000 bomb robot to save human cops from danger

The Austin Police Department is planning to drop just over $300,000 for a new bomb squad robot that’s aimed at keeping officers out of harm’s way. City documents show the department is seeking approval for a contract with Remotec Inc. for an Andros FX explosive ordinance disposal vehicle, which is designed to knock out suspicious objects, explosive devices or other threats. Last year,...
Buda hosts Wiener Dog Races this weekend

Buda hosts Wiener Dog Races this weekend

The 20th annual Buda Wiener Dog Races takes place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at City Park. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and older and free for children 11 and younger. Along with the dog races, which begin at 10 a.m. both days, there will be a pet parade, spelling bees, arts and crafts booths, bouncy houses, cook-offs, live music and a petting zoo. San Antonio Street will be closed to...
‘Luxury’ island music festival turns into ‘disaster tent city,’ according to reports

‘Luxury’ island music festival turns into ‘disaster tent city,’ according to reports

Austin loves its music festivals, but even they aren’t always immune from troubles. Last year’s debut Sound on Sound Fest turned into a rain-soaked mess, and Austin City Limits Music Festival and South by Southwest have seen their fair share of mayhem (fences torn down, mud pits, what have you). But none of those events have ever been accused of turning into a “disaster tent...

Community news: Barbecue cookoff, demolition training this weekend

TRAVIS COUNTY CENTRAL AUSTIN Nonprofit dental clinic extends hours Manos de Cristo Dental Center will start extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The nonprofit dental clinic at 4911 Harmon Ave. recently expanded its professional team and decided to extend the operating hours to better serve patients who normally could not schedule...
Round Rock to get 9th fire station when former home becomes firehouse

Round Rock to get 9th fire station when former home becomes firehouse

The Round Rock Fire Department will soon have a ninth fire station after a former home is renovated to serve as a new firehouse. Officials have begun renovations to a former single-family home, located at 2721 Sam Bass Road in northwest Round Rock, and construction is expected to be finished by the end of May, according to the city. The home was purchased by the city in 2015 with the intention of...
Texas Observer names Austin Monitor boss as new publisher

Texas Observer names Austin Monitor boss as new publisher

The venerable and liberal, Austin-based Texas Observer named Michael Kanin as its new publisher Friday, putting the tattooed chief of a local news nonprofit in charge of the cash-strapped magazine that launched the careers of some of the state’s most notable journalists and columnists, including Molly Ivins. Kanin is leaving the Austin Monitor, a nonprofit online news organization that...
Wastewater treatment leading issue in Wimberley City Council elections

Wastewater treatment leading issue in Wimberley City Council elections

Now that Wimberley is at the precipice of dealing with wastewater treatment, an issue that has for more than a decade plagued the Hill Country town, it has again emerged as a leading issue in upcoming City Council elections. Two City Council seats are up for grabs in the May 6 election: Place 1, which pits former mayor and council member Steve Thurber against Sally Trapp, currently a council...
WOMAN FOUND: Police locate woman, 81, who was reported missing Thursday

WOMAN FOUND: Police locate woman, 81, who was reported missing Thursday

11 a.m. update: Austin police say Sarah Neil Gray has been found and is safe. Officials have not released any other details. Earlier: Austin police are asking the public’s help in finding an 81-year-old woman with medical issues. Sarah Neil Gray was last seen at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2200 block of Pompton Drive, near West Anderson Lane and Burnet Road in North Austin. Police have released...
UPDATE: Austin breaks heat record, with damaging winds and hail possible Saturday

UPDATE: Austin breaks heat record, with damaging winds and hail possible Saturday

4:05 p.m. update: The temperature has risen 4 degrees at Camp Mabry in less than an hour, according to National Weather Service data -- meaning Austin just set another all-time record high, at 95 degrees. The heat index is 101. The normal high for today is 83 degrees, according to the weather service. The previous record, of 94 degrees, was set in 1955. This heat continues what was the warmest first...

Krauthammer: Populism on pause

Yesterday’s conventional wisdom: A wave of insurgent populism is sweeping the West, threatening its foundational institutions — the European Union, the Western alliance, even liberal democracy itself. Today’s conventional wisdom (post-first-round French presidential election): The populist wave has crested, soon to abate. Chances are that both verdicts are wrong. The anti-establishment...

Collins: Trump’s can’t-do record

Well, heck, who said Donald Trump wasn’t going to accomplish anything in his first 100 days? All of a sudden there’s a one-page tax plan and a raft of deal-making, while the Senate was bused over to the White House grounds for a briefing on North Korea. Maybe the president believes that when you can make an entire chamber of Congress ride around like so many tour groups, the world will...
Rape inquiry at Austin school didn’t miss medical records, chief says

Rape inquiry at Austin school didn’t miss medical records, chief says

Austin school district police did not close a sex assault investigation without reviewing medical records of the alleged victim, Chief Eric Mendez told the media Thursday night, just after a parent meeting at Boone Elementary. The American-Statesman reported last week that school police had not obtained key medical information after doctors determined a 4-year-old prekindergarten student at Boone...
NEW DETAILS: Police ID Cedar Park man arrested after hours-long SWAT standoff 

NEW DETAILS: Police ID Cedar Park man arrested after hours-long SWAT standoff 

It began with a 911 call. A woman told a dispatcher she was worried about Galen Wasem and asked if someone could look in on him. That request triggered a series of events that culminated in a six-hour standoff between Wasem and Cedar Park police, which ended when officers broke down the door of the apartment where Wasem was hiding.  Wasem was taken to a Cedar Park hospital...
Bowie High School parents seek student’s expulsion, sue school district over alleged harassment

Bowie High School parents seek student’s expulsion, sue school district over alleged harassment

Parents of a Bowie High School student are seeking an order from a federal judge to expel a student they say has harassed their daughter. The unnamed male student attempted to commit suicide at school Jan. 18 in front of their daughter, according to a lawsuit the girl’s parents filed Thursday against the Austin school district. Additionally, he has repeatedly gotten into her car without...
Ex-wife of Infowars host Alex Jones wins joint custody

Ex-wife of Infowars host Alex Jones wins joint custody

After nine hours of deliberation, a Travis County jury in the Alex Jones-Kelly Jones child custody trial gave Kelly Jones a great victory, awarding her joint custody with the right to have their three children make their primary residence with her instead of her husband for the first time since the couple’s 2015 divorce. Alex Jones will share joint custody, which means that he will have visitation...
House panel weighs bill that would allow guns in school parking lots

House panel weighs bill that would allow guns in school parking lots

The House Public Education Committee heard testimony Thursday for a bill that would allow handguns on public school property in certain situations. House Bill 1692, filed by state Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mt. Pleasant, would allow licensed individuals to store a firearm in a locked car that is parked in a school parking lot. The bill has 43 authors and co-authors, both Democrats and Republicans. &ldquo...
Legal challenges likely ahead for SB 4

Legal challenges likely ahead for SB 4

Now that Senate Bill 4 is on its way to becoming law, opponents are looking to the courts for relief – and a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case is giving them hope. The high court struck down parts of a controversial 2010 immigration law in Arizona on the grounds that Congress, not the states, has the power to create immigration law. Experts say that argument could come into play with Texas&rsquo...
Tougher ‘sanctuary cities’ ban clears Texas House

Tougher ‘sanctuary cities’ ban clears Texas House

After debating for 16 hours and giving preliminary approval at 3 a.m. Thursday to a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities, Texas House members got a few hours of sleep and returned to work later in the day to give final approval in a 94-53 vote. All Democrats present voted “no.” Senate Bill 4, authored by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, and carried in the House by Rep. Charlie Geren,...
Texas House OKs bill to eliminate franchise tax

Texas House OKs bill to eliminate franchise tax

A plan to eliminate the state’s main business tax won initial approval from the Texas House late Thursday, despite arguments from opponents that the move is short-sighted at a time when lawmakers already are struggling to bridge a multibillion-dollar funding gap with deep budget cuts. The House voted 98-45 to approve House Bill 28, which would phase out the state franchise tax, also called the...
Senate OK’s bill that would spend $100 million for school facilities

Senate OK’s bill that would spend $100 million for school facilities

The Texas Senate passed a bill Thursday that would dole out $100 million to traditional school districts and charter schools to build and maintain facilities over the next two years. Currently, charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, can’t levy property taxes like traditional school districts to pay for construction or get additional funding for it. “This legislation...
Redistricting trial looms as election deadlines near

Redistricting trial looms as election deadlines near

With election deadlines looming, a federal court panel indicated Thursday that there will be a trial, likely this summer, over whether the Legislature drew illegal districts for the Texas House and U.S. House in 2013. During a courtroom conference with the many lawyers involved in the case, the three-judge panel repeatedly pressed for a streamlined process in a four-step case that has been winding...
Two more sex crime allegations in Austin schools getting new scrutiny

Two more sex crime allegations in Austin schools getting new scrutiny

Austin school police are reviewing two previously reported sex crime cases at separate campuses to ensure detectives properly handled them amid concerns from parents and others in the community, school district Police Chief Eric Mendez told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV on Thursday. The investigations in both instances had already been suspended or closed, and the revelation of the reviews comes...
House committee approves tougher inspections of farmworker housing

House committee approves tougher inspections of farmworker housing

A pair of bills that would strengthen state inspections of farmworker housing, stiffen penalties on violators and require state regulators to look for unlicensed facilities passed the House Urban Affairs Committee with 7-0 votes on Thursday. With just weeks remaining in the legislative calendar, the legislation’s window could be closing quickly though. The House Calendars Committee still needs...
Austin police honor pedicab driver for helping catch assault suspect

Austin police honor pedicab driver for helping catch assault suspect

Luis Velazquez-Palos said he didn’t think twice before helping a woman who was in distress in downtown Austin last year, and police said his actions played a crucial role in helping them catch the man accused of sexually assaulting that woman that day. Austin police recognized Velazquez-Palos on Thursday with a Distinguished Service award. The Austin police Sex Crimes Division nominated Velazquez-Palos...
Police: 5 charged with assault in Pflugerville Saturday shooting

Police: 5 charged with assault in Pflugerville Saturday shooting

Four teenagers and one man have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and engaging in organized criminal activity after a shooting Saturday at Lake Pflugerville that injured one person, according to police. On Saturday, officers responded to the lake after a call about shots fired, police said. One person was found injured, and the Austin-Travis County EMS took the person to Seton...

UT police investigating report of drive-by shooting

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS UT police: Drive-by shooting reported University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a gunman after reports of a drive-by shooting near campus Thursday morning. The scene unfolded at an off-campus construction site near the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets just after 10 a.m., when a man in a white sedan targeted an unidentified person he apparently...
Cancer patient gets wish to meet jewelry maker Kendra Scott

Cancer patient gets wish to meet jewelry maker Kendra Scott

It was a request Kendra Scott says she couldn’t – and wouldn’t – refuse. An 18-year-old Memphis, Tenn., girl with a form of brain cancer with no known treatment or cure was eager to meet her, so the Austin-based jewelry designer whose brand has become known worldwide put her team to work on setting up a visit. “Once I heard her story, I was like, ‘Get her on a plane...

Business Digest: Exxon fined $20M for emissions from Texas plant

OIL & GAS Exxon fined $20 million for emissions from Texas plant BAYTOWN — A judge has ordered Exxon Mobil to pay a penalty of nearly $20 million for releasing 10 million pounds of pollutants into the air over the course of eight years from a refining and chemical complex east of Houston. U.S. District Judge David Hittner in a ruling Wednesday determined that Texas-based Exxon on thousands of...
Senate approves bill to alleviate charter school construction costs

Senate approves bill to alleviate charter school construction costs

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Wednesday that he would push for more money for Texas charter schools during budget negotiations between the House and Senate. Officials from public charter schools, which are privately operated, have been pleading for the last few legislative sessions for more funding to help them build and maintain facilities. Unlike traditional school districts, charter schools cannot...
Austin’s interim police chief says he will comply with SB 4

Austin’s interim police chief says he will comply with SB 4

5:55 p.m. update: Interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley on Thursday repeated his concerns about key provisions of Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities legislation now poised to become law, but said he will uphold the law if it is given the final thumbs-up. The bill earned initial approval in the early morning hours Thursday, then final approval later in the day in a 94-53 vote along party...
Round Rock among inaugural districts selected for Holdsworth training

Round Rock among inaugural districts selected for Holdsworth training

The Round Rock district has been chosen to be among the inaugural group of seven school systems to go through The Holdsworth Center, a new training and leadership development center in Austin. The center will draw upon best practices in strategic talent management to support current leaders and develop future superintendents and principals across the state. In January, H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles...

Near-record heat, humidity Friday; storms to rock Austin late Saturday

Eeyore’s Birthday Party could start out sweaty and end up waterlogged. A cold front should pass through Austin as early as Saturday afternoon, according to National Weather Service forecasts, before turning the hot, muggy weather that has settled over the area into potentially severe storms. The front should disrupt what promises to be a stretch of days made for a shorts, shades and swimming...
Texas House gives final approval to bill banning ‘sanctuary cities’

Texas House gives final approval to bill banning ‘sanctuary cities’

After debating for 16 hours and giving preliminary approval at 3 a.m. Thursday to a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities, Texas House members got a few hours sleep and returned to work later in the day to give final approval in a 94-53 vote. Senate Bill 4, authored by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, and carried in the House by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, imposes stiff financial penalties on...

With election looming, redistricting court presses for action

With election deadlines looming, a federal court panel indicated Thursday that there will be a trial, likely this summer, over whether the Legislature drew illegal districts for the Texas House and U.S. House in 2013. During a courtroom conference with the many lawyers involved in the case, the three-judge panel repeatedly pressed for a streamlined process in a four-step case that has been winding...
NEW: Opponents promise legal challenges ahead for SB 4

NEW: Opponents promise legal challenges ahead for SB 4

Just hours after the Texas House approved its version of Senate Bill 4 that included a new provision empowering police to ask for proof of legal residence during traffic stops, immigrant advocates said that legal challenges were already being formulated. "It is inevitable that you will see cities and counties across the state suing the state,” Austin City Council Member Greg Casar...
Three ways the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill could affect Austin

Three ways the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill could affect Austin

With the Texas House’s approval of the bill to ban so-called sanctuary cities, the measure will all but certainly become law. The Senate has already approved Senate Bill 4, and Gov. Greg Abbott has made signing it one of his top priorities for this legislative session. Here are some ways that the bill could affect Austin: 1. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s big decision: Hernandez...
Another big investor tells Whole Foods to explore sale

Another big investor tells Whole Foods to explore sale

Amid reports that Whole Foods Market could be the target of a takeover bid by supermarket chain Albertsons, a second major investor in the Austin-based company has publicly said it is calling on management to consider a sale. Mutual-fund manager Neuberger Berman, which owns 8.7 million shares – a 2.7 percent stake – of Whole Foods stock, wrote to the company’s board this week calling...
More than 20 Austin-area high schools make U.S. News’ national ranking

More than 20 Austin-area high schools make U.S. News’ national ranking

U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of best high schools in America is out, and Austinites are sure to recognize a local school that cracked the top 50.  The Liberal Arts and Science Academy, housed at the Lyndon B. Johnson High School campus, ranked the highest of Austin-area schools on the national list. No stranger to various “best high schools” lists, LASA landed...
TxDOT launches motorcycle awareness campaign as riding season gets into high gear

TxDOT launches motorcycle awareness campaign as riding season gets into high gear

The Texas Department of Transportation is again asking drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists as they hit the highways over the next few months. TxDOT officials joined city leaders, emergency medical personnel and motorcyclists on Thursday morning to launch the “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign ahead of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May.  Authorities...
ISOLATED INCIDENT: UT police say drive-by shooting didn’t involve students or staff

ISOLATED INCIDENT: UT police say drive-by shooting didn’t involve students or staff

University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a gunman following reports of a drive-by shooting near campus Thursday morning. The scene unfolded at an off-campus construction site near the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets just after 10 a.m., when a man in a white sedan shot at an unidentified person he apparently knew, university police told staff and...

Community news: MS 150 Bike Ride this weekend

TRAVIS COUNTY DOWNTOWN AUSTIN MS 150 Bike Ride this weekend More than 12,000 bicyclists are expected to raise $16 million to help fund multiple sclerosis research and programs at this weekend’s 33rd annual BP MS 150 Bike Ride from Houston to Austin. Riders are expected to arrive at the finish line in downtown Austin beginning around 11 a.m. Sunday. The MS 150 is the largest fundraising event...
Austin attorney accused of murder plot will plead to drug charges

Austin attorney accused of murder plot will plead to drug charges

An Austin attorney who is charged with hiring a hit man to kill someone is expected to plead guilty to felony drug charges related to his 2015 arrest. James Walker, 64, has a scheduled appearance in Travis County State district court on May 11 for a plea setting, court records show. Assistant District Attorney Mark Pryor told the American-Statesman that he expects Walker to plead guilty to delivery...
John Lewis joins Saturday protest as Trump heads to Atlanta for NRA convention

John Lewis joins Saturday protest as Trump heads to Atlanta for NRA convention

UPDATE: Atlanta’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis has just been confirmed for Saturday’s protest rally in Woodruff Park, upping the event’s profile on the eve of Donald Trump’s visit Friday to the city. The civil rights icon famously traded barbs with Trump on Twitter earlier this year about Lewis’ accomplishments as well as the state of the congressman’s district...
NEW NOW: Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez praises Democrats who fought 'sanctuary cities' bill

NEW NOW: Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez praises Democrats who fought 'sanctuary cities' bill

Hours after the Texas House gave preliminary approval to a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez praised Democratic representatives for their efforts to quash the measure. “They truly listened to leaders in both law enforcement and communities of faith, as well as the people we are sworn to protect and serve,” Hernandez said in a statement. “They...
Can the Texas House bar visitors from recording its meetings?

Can the Texas House bar visitors from recording its meetings?

After a Waxahachie woman was arrested and charged with trespassing after she refused to stop live-streaming video from a Texas House hearing, Anthony Holm of Austin asked us if officials had the right to stop her. After all, a 1973 Texas law says anyone may record a public government meeting. Amy Hedtke of Waxahachie cited the law in proceeding to stream a House committee meeting using Facebook Live...
Special education school choice bill draws crowd to House hearing

Special education school choice bill draws crowd to House hearing

Parents, educators and advocacy groups Thursday night both lauded and lambasted a House bill that would create a school choice program for special education students. House Bill 1335 filed by Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, would spend state money to help special education students pay for private school tuition, among other non-public school expenses. “If one thing we’re learning about...
EMS: Pedestrian critically injured in Southeast Austin wreck

EMS: Pedestrian critically injured in Southeast Austin wreck

A Southeast Austin wreck left a pedestrian critically injured Thursday morning, authorities said. The wreck occurred at the intersection of East Stassney Lane and Chaparral Trail shortly before 6:30 a.m. Paramedics took the man, believed to be in his 40s, to South Austin Medical Center for treatment. 
Bill would loosen gun restrictions on public school property

Bill would loosen gun restrictions on public school property

The House Public Education Committee heard testimony Thursday for a bill that would allow handguns on public school property in certain situations. House Bill 1692, filed by state Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mt. Pleasant, would allow licensed individuals to store a firearm in a locked car that is parked in a school parking lot. The bill has 43 authors and co-authors, both Democrats and Republicans. &ldquo...
STORMY SAT. NIGHT: Cold front to generate rain, possibly damaging winds, hail

STORMY SAT. NIGHT: Cold front to generate rain, possibly damaging winds, hail

4 p.m. update: A cold front sweeping through the state may produce strong to severe storms Saturday night in the Hill Country and along the Interstate 35 corridor, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say other possible weather threats include damaging straight-line winds of 60 mph or stronger and hail between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. Although widespread heavy rainfall is not...
VERDICT: Ex-wife of Alex Jones wins joint custody after bitter trial

VERDICT: Ex-wife of Alex Jones wins joint custody after bitter trial

11:30 p.m. update: After nine hours of deliberation in the child custody trial involving internet broadcaster Alex Jones, a Travis County jury gave his ex-wife, Kelly Jones, a victory, awarding her joint custody with the right to have their three children make their primary residence with her instead of her husband for the first time since their 2015 divorce. Infowars.com founder Alex Jones...
Austin police honor pedicab driver who helped catch sex assault suspect

Austin police honor pedicab driver who helped catch sex assault suspect

Austin police on Thursday are honoring a pedicab driver who they said played a crucial role in helping them catch a sexual assault suspect last year. Luis Palos was to be recognized at a 2 p.m. ceremony for his distinguished service. In the early morning hours of May 19, 2016, Palos was on his pedicab when he heard a loud wail near Fifth and and San Antonio streets, according to an arrest...
John Mueller returning (again) to cook barbecue in Central Texas

John Mueller returning (again) to cook barbecue in Central Texas

Like a phoenix rising from the post-oak ashes, John Mueller has another rebirth in store. The longtime Texas barbecue boss and grandson of Taylor barbecue scion Louie Mueller will soon be cooking again, this time at the Black Box Barbecue trailer in historic Georgetown. Owners Gary Brown and Justin Bohls will soft open the trailer at 201 E. Ninth St. this weekend during the town’s Red Poppy...
Texas House gives initial OK to 'sanctuary cities' bill

Texas House gives initial OK to 'sanctuary cities' bill

After more than 16 hours of debate, the Texas House at about 3 a.m. Thursday voted 93-54 to give initial approval to the bill to ban so-called sanctuary cities, the common term for jurisdictions that decline to assist federal immigration enforcement. Along the way, lawmakers cried, fought and traded horses on the Texas House floor, and the bill was amended to be more in line with the goals of hard-line...
Southwest Airlines to end practice of overbooking flights

Southwest Airlines to end practice of overbooking flights

Southwest Airlines plans to stop overbooking flights — an industry practice implicated in an ugly incident on a United Airlines flight that has damaged United's reputation with the flying public.  Last year Southwest bumped 15,000 passengers off flights, more than any other U.S. airline. Carriers say they sometimes sell more tickets than there are seats because often a few passengers don't...
MLB's first Lithuanian learned the game where few play

MLB's first Lithuanian learned the game where few play

The decades-long journey of a father and a son, of a game and a country, ended with a sprint.  When Dovydas Neverauskas — fresh from the airport and wearing cleats and a glove bummed from his new Pittsburgh Pirates teammates — jogged onto the mound at PNC Park on April 24 to clean up what was left a lopsided loss to the Chicago Cubs, the 24-year-old reliever became the first Lithuanian...
Michael Phelps opens up about his ADHD diagnosis

Michael Phelps opens up about his ADHD diagnosis

Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps is opening up about his struggles with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was once told by a teacher that he would never amount to anything and would never be successful, according to a video message he recorded for Child Mind Institute. Phelps said that he couldn't sit still as a child and was "constantly...
Prince William and Kate celebrate 6th anniversary

Prince William and Kate celebrate 6th anniversary

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are celebrating their sixth anniversary Saturday. Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a message on Twitter, thanking well-wishers and saying "it's been an amazing six years." William and Kate now have two children, George and Charlotte, and remain active in public life. They attend many events together, such as the London Marathon on April 23, where...
Police want to know who's shaving other people's cats

Police want to know who's shaving other people's cats

The fur is flying in a Virginia town, and police are trying to solve the mystery. Someone in Waynesboro is shaving other people's cats, police said. Since December, seven cats have been taken, have had their underbellies or legs precisely shaved, and then are returned to their owners. Police Capt. Kelly Walker told The Associated Press Friday all the cats appear otherwise unharmed, though act a bit...
Was Howard Stern right about Trump's presidency?

Was Howard Stern right about Trump's presidency?

Radio shock jock Howard Stern is never one to be shy about his opinions. Stern made a prediction about the Trump presidency in February that appears to be coming true, according to CNN. During his Feb. 1 broadcast, Stern said that being president would be a nightmare for Trump, as he won't be beloved and it's not a winning situation compared to the way the business mogul is used to living...
Shannen Doherty announces she's in remission

Shannen Doherty announces she's in remission

Actress Shannen Doherty has chosen to share her grueling battle with breast cancer with the public, through images and thoughts captured on Instagram. Doherty shared good news with fans on Friday: she's in remission. >> Read more trending news In 2015, a lawsuit revealed that the former "Beverly Hills, 90210" actress had breast cancer. The lawsuit was filed against Doherty's business...
Willie Nelson has some fun with ‘Still Not Dead’ song

Willie Nelson has some fun with ‘Still Not Dead’ song

Country singer Willie Nelson is getting the last laugh on those death hoaxes that have been prevalent on the internet. It’s true, Nelson turned 84 on Saturday, but the legendary singer is still alive and kicking. >> Read more trending news Nelson decided to make fun of the rumor-mongers in a new song off his upcoming album,  “God’s Problem Child.” The song,...
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