Audrey White, Texas Tribune

2013 Legislative Sesssion
9:38 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Bill Would Limit Non-Transferable Tickets

HB 3041 would prohibit sellers and venues from restricting the resale of event tickets.
Todd Wiseman / Stephen Johnson, Texas Tribune

Professional sports and live events are big business in Texas, and a bill before state legislators today aims to ensure fans who buy tickets can resell them or give them away without interference from venues or ticket brokers. But opponents of the measure say it actually protects scalpers and the secondary ticket market — not consumers.

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Politics
8:26 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Food Stamp Benefits a Mixed Bag for Texas Farmers Markets

Tiger Whitehead and his children Logic and Domnick, who use SNAP and the the Sustainable Food Center Farmer's Market double dollars coupons, shopping at the Tuesday afternoon Farmer's Market at 2835 East MLK Blvd., Austin, Texas, on March 19, 2013.
Specner Selvidge for the Texas Tribune

Using wooden tokens, Ellen Ray pays for carrots, parsnips and broccoli at the Austin Sustainable Food Center’s farmers market in Sunset Valley. Ray, a participant in the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is grateful that the market allows customers to buy its fresh produce with SNAP benefits.

“I was overwhelmingly enthusiastic when I found out they took SNAP,” Ray said, eyeing jam at one stand. “It’s an enabler to do something I already love.”

SNAP, which is operated in Texas by the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, has provided grants and other support to states including Texas to make it easier for farmers markets to accept benefits as currency. Another federally funded program that helps low-income Texans buy groceries, the Texas Women, Infants and Children program, launched a two-year pilot program in December 2011 to allow farmers markets to accept WIC customers.

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Higher Education
6:15 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Legislators Honor Beleaguered UT President Powers

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers, on Dec. 14, 2011.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

In the midst of ongoing turbulence between the University of Texas System regents and the leadership of its flagship institution, the Texas Senate and House honored University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers on Monday with resolutions acknowledging his accomplishments and his years of service.

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Politics
12:32 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Lawmakers to Again Take Aim at Predatory Lending

Last session, legislators approved more oversight and tracking of payday lenders.
James Malone, Texas Tribune

Legislators this year will once again try to combat some short-term lending practices that critics say prey on poor Texans.

Credit access businesses, including payday lenders and auto-title loan businesses, have faced criticism for charging massive interest rates to customers seeking loans and no way to help pay them off. Last session, legislators passed a law that allows more oversight and tracking of these businesses, but a bill that would have addressed the so-called cycle of debt did not pass.

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Politics
7:29 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Seven State Parks Could Close Under Proposed Budget

McKinney Falls State Park near Austin. State budget propposals don't specify which parks could be closed.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would close seven state parks during the 2014-2015 biennium under preliminary budget proposals from the House and Senate, and at least one group is ready to fight to keep them open.

In discussions before the legislative session began, the parks and wildlife department requested that the Legislative Budget Board allocate an additional $18.9 million from the sporting goods sales tax to keep all parks operational. The preliminary House and Senate budgets, released Tuesday, call for only an additional $6.9 million over the next biennium from that tax.

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Courts
7:32 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Ruling Reinforces Law on Handguns in Employees' Cars

Todd Wiseman / Jeff Wilcox for Texas Tribune

In an opinion released Monday that reinforces a 2011 law, Attorney General Greg Abbott's office said that employers cannot prohibit an employee with a concealed handgun license from keeping a handgun in a locked, private vehicle in an employee parking lot.

State Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, wrote a request for opinion from the office on May 7 on the matter. During the 2011 session, the Legislature passed a law allowing employees to store concealed handguns in their vehicles on employer property except in cases where prohibited by federal or state law.

According to the attorney general’s opinion, Section 30.06 of the Texas penal code — which allows employers to post notices restricting handguns or other firearms on the premises — does not supersede the state law that protects concealed handgun license holders.

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