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Former Gov. Rick Perry is testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today in the final step ahead of a possible confirmation to lead the Department of Energy in the Trump administration. 

Watch a live stream of the proceedings below courtesy of PBS NewsHour.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Our story begins at a dead end near 13th Street and Walnut Avenue in the Chestnut neighborhood of East Austin, just down the street from where Leslie Padilla has lived for about three years. 

You wouldn’t know it from looking at it, but a vacant field just past this dead end is a piece of Austin’s African-American history. About a century ago, this land was home to the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration, which marks the end of slavery in Texas.

Ben Philpott / KUT

Today, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry goes before the U.S. Senate for his confirmation hearing in the hopes of becoming the next secretary of the Department of Energy. 

Of course, Perry famously derailed his presidential bid in 2011 by forgetting the department’s name even as he vowed to abolish it in a GOP primary debate. But, while the former governor may have been – and, according to a New York Times report, may still be – fuzzy on the agency's purview, he is certainly not the only one.

Combs: Laura Skelding/Miller: Bob Daemmrich/Bonilla: Youngcl89/Murano: Texas A&M

President-elect Donald Trump has picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be U.S. agriculture secretary, bypassing four Texans who had been seen as candidates for the job, Fox News reported Wednesday.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Right about now, as the spring school semester is starting, parents are starting to worry about how their kids will spend their time this summer. Parents are enrolling kids in camps, sports and a multitude of other activities. But many summer camps and classes are costly, and not everyone can pay.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

The last time the City of Austin overhauled its land development code, Prince was at the top of the charts, Ronald Reagan was president, and Apple had released the first Macintosh PC. It was 1984.

Needless to say, much has changed.

U.S. NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the less than 13 years of King’s leadership of the civil rights movement, from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, African-Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced. King is widely regarded as America’s preeminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman/Paul Hudson

Texas House and Senate leaders unveiled dueling budget proposals — starting nearly $8 billion apart — in separate moves Tuesday that foreshadowed remarkably different priorities in the two chambers during a legislative session that promises to be even more tightfisted than usual. 

Texas Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson on Tuesday proposed a $213.4 billion two-year base budget.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

H-E-B chairman and CEO Charles Butt has pledged $100 million for the creation of an institute to help school superintendents, principals and district administrators across the state.

KUTX

From Texas StandardTerry Allen is a mixed-media southwestern storyteller. David Byrne is a fan of his and a former collaborator. Ryan Bingham and Lucinda Williams are among the dozens of famous musicians who've covered his songs. His artwork is in the collections of the Met, MoMA, the Hirschorn, and various art museums around Texas. He’s written award-winning plays and cemented a reputation as a creative renaissance man.

Sarah Montgomery/KUT

From Texas StandardTuesday Planned Parenthood heads to court for the first of three days of hearings to defend their right to stay in the Texas Medicaid program.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: The program manager for Austin Water’s Public Information & Marketing Office resigned in late December after an investigation by the Office of the City Auditor concluded that he had accepted a gift or favor from a city contractor and wasted city money in payments to that contractor.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

"Who doesn't know what's going on with Dawnna Dukes?"

On a rainy Sunday two days before a case against Dukes, the longtime state representative of House District 46, is scheduled to get a grand jury hearing, Joseph Frederick, 57, asked the question with a laugh while getting his hair cut in Delton's Pecan Street Barber Shop in Pflugerville.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Hundreds of people marched from the University of Texas campus to the state Capitol and then on to Huston-Tillotson University to celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in Austin on Monday.

Courtesy of Gabriel C. Pérez

Irving, Texas, oil giant Exxon Mobil must hand over internal documents about global warming to the Massachusetts attorney general, a federal judge ruled earlier this month. It was just the latest development in a strange legal battle that’s sucked in the Texas attorney general and cast a shadow over President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the State Department.

Courtesy Renee Lockett

From Texas StandardJason Fry is a filmmaker from Brownsville. We met at a diner there. He told me what happened to him the afternoon of Dec. 8 as he drove down Highway 48, from Brownsville to Port Isabel.

“It was low visibility, and all of a sudden a pelican dropped out of the sky right in front of my truck,” he said.

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardA federal judge is ordering Pasadena, Texas to submit its voting system for federal approval – marking the first such order since the Supreme Court decision in 2013 striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act.

That Other Paper/Flickr

The 2017 Texas Legislative session is underway. State legislators meet every other year for 140 days in a frenzy of debating (sometimes arguing), deal-making, stand-taking, bill-killing and, occasionally, law-making.

We want to know what you want to know about the Legislature: how it works, why it works the way it does and what you want lawmakers to do.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From lower wages to higher interest rates for loans, minority business owners in Austin often face disproportionate challenges. But city staff are working to help those businesses find more opportunities to work with the city of Austin.

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor educates, entertains and inspires with brief facts and poetry related to each day's date. It celebrates the birthdays and works of poets, writers, composers, philosophers and historical figures.  It is heard Monday through Friday evenings at 8:01 p.m. on KUT 90.5. On weekends you can find the Writer’s Almanac right here on KUT.org each morning at 8. Find more information and other shows at http://writersalmanac.org/

  

  

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