Politics
12:40 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

Sen. Hutchison Not Running in 2012

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will not seek another term
Image courtesy office of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

Update at 1:30 pm:  Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, KUT's political reporting partner, reports that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst told him, "I'm really focused right now on this session.  I've got my plate full."  Dewhurst said he will talk about his political plans after the session.

Earlier:  Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced this morning that she will not seek another term in the Senate in 2012, according to a press aide to the senator.

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Politics
11:29 am
Thu January 13, 2011

Tucson Shooting And Mental Health Cuts In 2011 Texas Legislative Session

A view of the Capitol dome from inside the Capitol building.
Image by KUT

The first wave of political rhetoric to follow Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Arizona speculated on whether Jared Loughner was influenced by far right extremism or socialist dogma.

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Politics
11:59 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Fight on 2/3rds Rule Delayed in Senate

There wasn't as much action under the Capitol Dome today, as some had expected.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas Senate was expected to take up its rules for the 2011 legislative session today.  But, they did not.  In fact they gaveled in and gaveled out in 10 minutes.  

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Austin
11:39 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Austin Sales Tax Revenue Up

Austin will be getting over $11 million in its January sales tax payment.
Photo by KUT News

The state comptroller's office reports that Austin will see a 13% increase in sales tax revenue for January.

Texas took in over $1.81 billion for December, a 9% jump over December 2009.  In a news release, Comptroller Susan Combs noted that this is the ninth straight month of year-to-year gains.  In her budget estimate released earlier this week, Combs predicted sales tax revenue to continue rising this year and through the next biennium.

Austin
8:59 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Wednesday Morning Update, January 12, 2011

With opening day pomp disposed of, both the Texas House and Senate get down to business today.
Photo by Dave Bernstein for KUT News

Senate Rules Vote

The Texas Senate will vote on the rules it will use for the 82nd Legislature today.  Key among the votes is the so-called "2/3rds Vote."  State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) is expected to lead a charge that eliminates the requirement that 2/3rds of senators voting can bring legislation to the floor.  Other Republican senators may try to exempt specific legislation, such as Voter ID, immigration, and some other legislation, exempt from the rule. 

AISD Facilities Input

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Morning Traffic Update
7:18 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Wednesday Morning Traffic Problems

UPDATE at 10:50am--Travis County Sheriff's deputies report that the person involved in this morning's standoff on SH-130 has been taken into custody.  No reports of any injuries.  The 130 toll road between SH 71 and FM 812 has been reopened.

An armed driver is reportedly inside his car on the 130 toll toad this morning. The driver is not believed to be a threat to the public. He has told law enforcement officials he only intends to harm himself and not others.  Highway 130 is closed right now between 71 and FM 812 because of the incident.

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Politics
4:37 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Governor Names Emergency Items

Texas Governor Rick Perry has handed out the first assignments for lawmakers in the 2011 legislative session.  In separate speeches before lawmakers in the House and Senate, Mr. Perry announced he was making the protection of private property rights and eminent domain along with abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas emergency items for the session.

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Politics
2:20 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Straus Elected House Speaker

The Texas House prepares to elect a speaker for the 82nd legislature
Ben Philpott/KUT

Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio has been re-elected as speaker of the Texas House by a 132-15 vote; two Republicans abstained. He fended off a challenge from conservatives who wanted to replace him with one of their own. Some conservative groups warned the speaker’s vote would serve as a litmus test for lawmakers’ performance at the end of the session.

Texas
12:30 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Travis Commissioners Extend Burn Ban

A burn ban remains in effect in Travis County and several Central Texas counties to guard against wildfires, like last year's burn in Bastrop County (pictured).
Erika Aguilar/KUT

Cold weather, no matter.  Recent rain, no matter.  Conditions are still dry enough for Travis County Commissioners to extend the current outdoor burn ban another month.

According to a release from Travis County Fire Marshal Herschel Lee,

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Education
11:55 am
Tue January 11, 2011

Austin ISD to Take Comments on Facilities Proposals

Image courtesy Austin Independent School District

The Austin Independent School District will take public input tomorrow and Thursday nights on a proposal that—as it's currently written—would close eight elementary schools and a middle school.

The schools on the block currently are Joslin, Pease, Brooke, Ortega, Oak Springs, Sanchez, Barton Springs and Zilker Elementary Schools and Pearce Middle School.

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News Brief
5:10 am
Tue January 11, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 11, 2011

The Texas legislative session kicks off today.
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Watch the 2011 Legislative Session from Home

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Business
4:31 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

AMD CEO Dirk Meyer Leaves

AMD chief executive Dirk Meyer is leaving the company, which employes more than 2,400 people in Austin.
Image courtesy dfarber http://www.flickr.com/photos/farber/

Advanced Micro Devices, a California-based chip maker with substantial operations in Austin, is losing  CEO Dirk Meyer.

In an official statement posted on the AMD blog, it sounds like the board thought they could get someone better to run the company.

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politics
2:28 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Tom DeLay Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

Travis County prosecutors Gary Cobb and Rosemary Lehmberg speaking to the media after the sentence was handed down.
Image by Matt Largey for KUT News

Former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy.

DeLay was sentenced by senior judge Pat Priest to three years for the conspiracy conviction and five years for money laundering. The five years sentence was probated. That means DeLay would serve ten year probation instead.

DeLay is being booked right now at the Travis County jail, but will be released on $20,000 bond pending appeal.

Earlier details.

Politics
1:59 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

How To Watch The 2011 Legislative Session From The Comfort Of Home

Image Courtesy StarMama http://www.flickr.com/photos/thestarmama/

Political junkies who don't have time to spend all day at the Capitol can watch the Texas legislative session unfold from behind a TV or computer monitor.

Here's how you can do it:

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Education
12:55 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Austin ISD Projects 31 Elementary Schools Will Be Over Capacity By 2015-16

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

A massive influx of young children to the Austin Independent School District will cause more than third of AISD elementary schools to be bursting at the seams by 2015-16 school year, according to a demographic projection and

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Sports
11:51 am
Mon January 10, 2011

2011 Coaching Staff Fleshing Out for 'Horns

Harsin Will Effectively Take Over the Longhorn Offense.
Boise State Publicity

At a news conference set for noon today, Mack Brown will announce that former Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and current UT running backs coach Major Applewhite will share offensive coordinator duties for the Horns next year.  Harsin will take over play-calling duties.

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Politics
11:35 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Estimated Texas Budget Gap Still Between $15 and $27 Billion

After today's eagerly awaited revenue estimate from the Texas Comptroller, it appears we are not much closer to knowing how deep and how wide the state's dreaded budget shortfall will be.

Listen to KUT's Ben Philpott talk about it with KUT freelancer Gretch Sanders.

Comptroller Susan Combs' revenue estimate, issued this morning, predicts the state will generate $72.2 billion to spend in the 2012-13 biennium, the two year time span for which legislators must draft a budget in the once-every-two-years session that begins tomorrow.

So that's how much money is coming in, but we won't know how big the budget gap is (and consequently, how severe cuts to government could be) until we receive a baseline budget from the Legislative Budget Board. No exact date has been set, but it is not expected for a couple weeks.

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Politics
11:15 am
Mon January 10, 2011

DeLay Sentencing Hearing Underway

Update at 12:15 pmBoth sides have rested in the sentencing phase of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's trial.  DeLay himself is expected to address the court when it reconvenes at 1:15 pm.

The defense only called one character witness: former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He testified about DeLay's political motivations and values.  Under questioning from assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb, Hastert said DeLay had not expressed remorse for the crimes he was convicted of in November.

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Politics
9:45 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Comptroller Projects State Revenue Will Be $72.2 Billion

Image by Dave Burnstein for KUT News

Texas comptroller Susan Combs estimates the state will generate $72.2 billion to spend on the 2012-2013 state budget. That's $5.6 billion less than the nearly $77.8 billion the state was certified to spend last legislative session two years ago. (Read the revenue estimate report here.)

The Comptroller says the state will bring in $76.5 billion over all, but Texas is already $4.3 billion behind on its current budget. The difference amounts to $72.2 billion.

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News Brief
5:49 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 10, 2011

Today is the first day of Tom DeLay's resentencing hearing.

DeLay's Sentencing Hearing Starts Today


Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will be back in an Austin courtroom.  His sentencing hearing starts this morning.  DeLay was convicted in November on money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges.  Those charges were in connection to the 2002 Texas elections.  DeLay faces up to life in prison but his attorneys are asking for probation.


Texas Comptroller Announcing Revenue Estimate

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