Brad SeungJin Ryu

Intern for KUT News

Image Courtesy of opensource.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/4638981545/

After state and federal investigations started over the State Comptroller's office's exposure of personal information for over 3.5 million people, now an outside group is joining in.  Two lawyers of the Texas Civil Rights Project are asking a Travis County court to give them permission to investigate the security lapse.

In response to the legal actions taken by the Texas Civil Rights Project, Combs emailed her response to KUT via her spokesperson.

Photo by KUT News

Folks living in San Marcos will have to be careful how they use water, because of persistent dry conditions.

The City of San Marcos says that, because aquifer levels has dropped below average, they're preparing to implement Stage 1 Water Restrictions.

Photo by KUT News

Homeowners’ associations might not be able to turn the heat anymore on homeowners.

The Texas Senate passed SB 142, which restricts associations from exercising their rights to foreclose homeowners who didn’t pay dues and fees.

The bill, filed by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas), aims to protect homeowners from potential abuse of foreclosure, especially on the families of soldiers serving overseas.

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A budget deficit of $27 million has some people envisioning blackjack tables and penny slots in the parts of South and East Texas. Casino lobbyists are working overtime right now. But is the shortfall enough to put a tax on things like coal or making people pay a fee for driving cars that don't pass fuel efficiency standards?

The Texas League of Conservation Voters hopes so. The environmental policy lobby group calls this "green revenue."  They laid out some suggestions today at a press  conference held at the State Capitol.

Photo by Ariel Gutierrez for the Mexican Federal Government, http://flickr.com/photos/30118979@N03/4944508417/

In response to public concerns toward Mexico facing a series of drug-related violence, Mexico’s security spokesperson, is coming to UT to discuss Mexico’s national strategies for public safety.  Alejandro Poiré, will speak at noon Monday at the Bass Lecture Hall of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Poiré will discuss ways Mexico is dealing with ongoing drug-related violence that threatens Americans who live along the border, as well as those who travel to Mexico.

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Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams told The Associated Press he’s planning to resign from his current position April 2 to enter the 2012 race for the U.S. Senate.

Williams started his career in the Commission in 1998 when he was appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush. His biography also introduces him as “the first African American in Texas history to hold an executive statewide elected post.”

University of Texas students concerned about cuts to financial aid programs and skyrocketing tuition costs took to the streets this afternoon.

Dozens of people wearing “Invest in Texas” t-shirts and carrying handmade signs marched from the Student Activity Center to the Capitol, shouting slogans in support of higher education. 

Nathan Bernier, KUT

Texas and 37 states’ regulators announced today their $68.5 million settlement with AstraZeneca, a British global pharmaceutical company, over its unlawful marketing practices. Texas is expected to receive $3.8 million.

The states charged AstraZeneca with marketing the antipsychotic drug Seroquel for improper uses unapproved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Generally, pharmaceutical manufacturers are not allowed to promote any products without FDA’s approval.

KUT News

Michael “Max” Nofziger, who was a former council member from 1987 to 1996 and a well-known flower salesman, will run for the 2011 City Council election. He will have to unseat incumbent Randi Shade, who is running for re-election.  Shade is also facing challenges from Kris Bailey and Chris Nielsen.

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A 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student residing in Lubbock was arrested late Wednesday and charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

The Justice Department says Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a student at South Plains College, was accused of purchasing chemicals to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and conducting online research of potential targets inside the United States.

Photo by KUT News

The Austin Independent School District has proposed cutting an additional 92 jobs, bringing to 1,104 the number of jobs that could be cut to close an expected budget shortfall.  AISD is bracing for a budget gap that could range from $94 million to $113 million.

"It’s hard to say exactly what the shortfall is, but when you have such a large percentage of your operation’s cost being paying for people, you’re not left with a lot of choices,” Trustee Robert Schneider told KUT News.

Photo by KUT News

The City of Austin is seeking public input on urban growth issues surrounding the Rainey Street development project.

Photo by KUT News

Round Rock ISD is looking to the public for some ideas on reducing its budget.

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Freezing weather is returning tonight and tomorrow morning. ERCOT, the agency that runs the state's power grid, is asking consumers to cut back on electricity usage, to avoid another round of rolling blackouts. Officials say the peak times for usage are 6:00-9:00 am and 4:00-8:00 pm, and that's when they need the help most.

Image courtesy AISD

Last Friday found most Austin school children playing in a winter wonderland, enjoying a rare snow day.  But now comes the payback:  The Austin Independent School District has scheduled classes for Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, to make up for that lost curriculum day.

“Every single year, we build in bad weather days on the school calendars, so everybody knows what they are,” said Kathy Anthony, communication specialist at AISD. “But we don’t use them every year.” 

Image courtesy Tom Gill, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapstrake/2843067726/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the resolution that allowed Texas to leave the United States and join the Confederacy in the weeks before the outbreak of the Civil War.

While there are no commemorations today of that decision that led to a sixth national flag flying over Texas, groups across the state will stage various events to mark the Civil War's 150th anniversary over the next four years.

Image courtesy Eliazar Parra Cardenas http://www.flickr.com/photos/eliazar/2345895971/

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott relesed educational materials on to credit card and debt to the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The materials, created by the Attorney General’s Office, will be introduced during UTSA’s new student orientation.  In 2007, Texas lawmakers passed a law requiring state colleges and universities to educate students about managing personal finances and to prevent potential debt problems.

Image courtesy Nicholas James Santiago http://www.flickr.com/photos/imnicholas

Some kids attending elementary schools in Round Rock are supposed to leave their home school and move to other schools.

After the board meeting on Jan. 20, the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustee finally approved the Citizen’s Boundary Committee recommendation redrawing school boundaries for the district’s 32nd new elementary school.