Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Senate Committee Passes 'Bathroom Bill' After 10 Hours Of Testimony

As part of state lawmakers’ second attempt at passing a bathroom bill this year, a panel of Senate lawmakers voted Friday to advance two measures that would restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans.

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Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana was fired for a second time today, less than a week after an arbitrator reinstated him to the force.

The "indefinite suspension" - a bureaucratic formality that amounts to being fired - stems from an alleged domestic dispute at Quintana's home in Leander. Quintana didn't inform his supervisors that he was involved in an incident that required a police response.

Texas is going after the online-retailer for back sales taxes
Image coutesy Amazon, Inc.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, was recently slapped with a $269 million sales tax bill by Texas. The $269 million figure comes from the amount the state claims the company owes from back-taxes since December four years ago, plus interest and penalties.

Update 4:52 pm: Quintana was dismissed again. Details here.

Earlier: Austin Police officer Leonard Quintana finds himself on the hot seat once again today. He's facing a disciplinary hearing that started at 1 p.m. and could result in him being fired from the force for a second time.

Four Loko Has Come Under Scrutiny after Sending Students to The Hospital
Photo by Darby Rose

While there is nothing new to college kids swilling cheap alcohol to excess, a new malt drink has been raising eyebrows nationwide as it combines the sugary taste and energy kick of a Red Bull with the alcohol content of many fortified wines.

The drink, Four Loko, has gained notoriety because it was banned from Central Washington University after it sent nine of the school’s students to the hospital with alcohol poisoning. As KTRE-9 in East Texas reports:

A South Texas lawmaker has been found guilty of multiple crimes in a case involving allegations that he sold access to the legislature.  The Austin American-Statesman reports the jury returned a verdict this morning for State Rep. Kino Flores (D-Mission).

Camp site on beach in Corpus Christi
Photo courtesy Justin Wright http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinwright

Looking to go camping on the Gulf Coast in Corpus? Bummer alert: Corpus Christi City Council has instituted a curfew on Corpus Christi Beach between midnight and 5 p.m.

Foundation pour on Belo Building in Austin
Photo by Brian Urban for KUT

If you've driven past Dean Keaton and Guadalupe Streets recently, you may have noticed a new building going up in the northeast corner, on top of what used to be a parking lot.

That building will eventually house KUT, along with classrooms, labs and offices for the University of Texas College of Communication.  The photo-op ground breaking was held back in March, and progress appears to have been steady ever since.

flickr.com/dborman2

Millions of dollars have funneled into the Texas legislative campaigns over the last month as interest groups try to maximize their influence in the upcoming election. The donations, primarily from trial lawyers and business owners around the area, have come late so as to reduce the exposure of the donors themselves.

Some contribute late so that donators can ride the coattails of a winning campaign. As The Austin American-Statesman reports:

Zebra
Photo courtesy TDS website

The Texas Republican Party just revealed the location of its election night celebration: the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch. 

Shuttle Columbia debris
Photo by Bob Daemmrich

KUT is in the middle of broadcasting a weeklong series about the US space shuttle program. NASA is retiring the shuttle in early 2011, and we are reporting on what the program has meant to Texas and what its cancellation will mean for our future.

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NPR’s Next Gen Radio is coming back to KUT in August.

Are you a college student or a new journalist interested in public radio storytelling? Sign up for the week-long training hosted by KUT.

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