Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin Parks Groups Propose New Uses For Hotel Tax Funds

Austin’s hotels bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue for the city each year. For the past few months, the city has been exploring new uses for that money. As the revenue continues to grow, some local parks groups think it could be a way to fund their proposed improvement projects.

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The SpaceX complex at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Bill VanderMolen/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a space shuttle filled with tourists? While that idea sounds like science fiction, the reality of sending tourists to space is right around the corner – at least if you believe Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. He recently announced that Blue Origin, his private space company, could begin flying private citizens to the edge of the atmosphere by next year.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate tentatively approved legislation Monday that would revamp the state’s voter identification rules, a response to court rulings that the current law discriminates against minority voters.

Following more than an hour of debate, the chamber voted 21-10 to move the bill to a final vote, likely later this week. 

A middle school hallway
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

It’s standardized testing season for Texas public school students. For some school districts, test time means missing documents, computer glitches and shoddy technical support.

 

U.S. F-15E fighter planes
Stuart Rankin/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you Google "Syria and civilian casualties," you’ll find numbers that vary widely depending on who is reporting the information and why. Russia has long been blamed for a lack of discretion in choosing targets for its airstrikes, leading to massive numbers of civilian deaths. But with President Donald Trump giving field commanders more latitude to fight ISIS, claims of civilian casualties caused by American-led forces have increased significantly.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

"Our community is violating no federal laws," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in response to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' remarks today that the Justice Department would go after "sanctuary" jurisdictions that don't cooperate with immigration authorities.

During surprise remarks at the White House, Sessions urged these jurisdictions to reconsider their policies.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — Gov. Greg Abbott raised many eyebrows last week when he threw his support behind a "broad-based law" that pre-empts local regulations, a remark that did anything but calm the already contentious local control battles at the Texas Capitol. 

Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett says the battle over the Affordable Care Act isn’t over, even though a Republican plan to repeal it was scrapped last week.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It’s no secret that Austin ISD is strapped for cash.

The district often blames that on the state’s school finance system, which requires it to send hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes back to the state. So, in an effort to save a little money, the Austin School Board has proposed changing how school board trustees are elected.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This summer, it will be a year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a strict abortion law in Texas. Half of the state’s abortion providers closed after the 2013 law, known as House Bill 2, went into effect.

 Talented musician, writer, and activist Maud Cuney-Hare rose to prominence in the Northeast, but she never gave up her Texas heritage.

Born in Galveston in 1874, she was the daughter of Adelina and Norris Wright Cuney, one of the state’s most influential African-American politicians and civil rights leaders of the post-Civil War era. She grew up in an upper-class home filled with music and literature, and after graduating from high school studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

When white students tried to have her barred from living on campus, she stood her ground and won the right to remain in her dormitory. She cultivated relationships with prominent black leaders, including W.E.B. DuBois, to whom she was briefly engaged and with whom she remained close both personally and professionally throughout her life. 

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Women in Texas History

Every day this month KUT and the Ruthe Winegarten Memorial Foundation is profiling influential women in Texas history.