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Texas
5:39 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Court of Appeals Stays Execution of Rodney Reed

The Huntsville facility in Texas where Death Row inmates are housed. Inmate Rodney Reed was granted a stay of execution Monday.
Credit Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay Monday afternoon in the case of Death Row inmate Rodney Reed. Reed was accused of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, and he was scheduled for execution on March 5. Since Reed's conviction, many have come out in support of his innocence and argued that, at the very least, further DNA testing is necessary to determine what happened.

Reed's attorney Bryce Benjet, who works with the Innocence Project, said in a statement:

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Life & Arts
12:45 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

In Photos: Third Annual Map Jam Festival

The French Legation stage at Map Jam.
Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUTX

KUTX held its third annual Map Jam festival this weekend, with nine bands playing across four venues in East Austin all day Saturday. This year's performers included the Golden Dawn Arkestra, Sip Sip, Leticia Rodriguez and Ruby Jane.

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Same-Sex Marriage
2:40 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Texas Attorney General Calls on Court to Invalidate State's First Same-Sex Marriage

Sarah Goodfriend (middle left) and Suzanne Bryant (center) were married Thursday. They were the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Texas. The Attorney General hopes to invalidate their marriage.
Courtesy of Goodfriend and Bryant

Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling on the Texas Supreme Court to invalidate the state’s first same-sex marriage. Paxton filed a petition with the high court just after noon today.

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Same-Sex Marriage
10:19 am
Thu February 19, 2015

First Same-Sex Couple Married in Texas

Sarah Goodfriend (left) and Suzanne Bryant are Texas' first married same-sex couple. They were able to marry in Austin Thursday morning thanks to a court order. They're pictured here with their two daughters.
Courtesy of Goodfriend and Bryant.

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant were married Thursday morning in Austin. The county clerk issued the couple a marriage license based on a court order. Theirs is Texas' first same-sex marriage.

The order, the county clerk's office confirms, will only apply to this one couple, one of whom is "medically fragile." [See the judge's order here.]

KUT's Nathan Bernier spoke with Goodfriend and Bryant earlier this afternoon.

Update Friday 1:36 p.m. Texas Attorney General Paxton filed a petition asking the Texas Supreme Court to rule that the same-sex marriage license issued yesterday is void. 

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Podcast
5:50 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

On Story: Matthew Weiner & Vince Gilligan

In this episode, hosted by Brian Ramos, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner talks about the genesis of the hit AMC show and its upcoming final episodes. Then Vince Gilligan talks about cutting his teeth writing for X-Files and the crazy origin of Breaking Bad.

Same-Sex Marriage
5:08 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Travis County Judge Declares Texas' Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A Travis County judge ruled Tuesday that Texas' same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, though the county has not yet started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Credit erin m/flickr

In an order handed down today, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman declared Texas's ban on same-sex marriages "unconstitutional."

The restriction of marriage to the "union of a man and a woman" violates the 14th amendment by excluding same-sex couples, the order says.

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Politics
1:22 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Abbott Declares Five Emergency Items for Lawmakers

Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Credit Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is out with his list of top priorities for lawmakers in Austin for the next 100 days.

In his first State of the State address, Abbott told a joint session of the Legislature that his emergency items include expanding pre-K education, securing the southern border and ethics reform. And he wants Texas to achieve those goals with lower taxes.

“I will reject any budget that does not include genuine tax relief to Texas employers and job creators. And I will also insist on property tax reduction for Texans,” Abbott said.

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Sports
11:35 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

What To Know About the Austin Marathon

When the starting pistol sounds at the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon Sunday morning, nearly 15,000 runners will take off down South Congress Avenue – hydrating themselves while clogging streets in and west of downtown Austin.

Brazos and Colorado Streets between 2nd Street and 7th Street will close at 2 a.m. Sunday and reopen at various times throughout the day, depending on the block. This whole stretch will reopen by 6 p.m. Congress Avenue will shut down between 11th Street and 5th Street during the same time.

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Austin
1:16 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

In Photos: East Side Piñata Shop Owners Surprised to Find Building Demolished

Jumpolin Rentals store owner Monica Lejarazu (R) and neighbor Diane Ontiberos look on as a fence is erected around the remains of her storefront. Lejarazul said that she received no notification from the building owner about the demolition.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Monica and Sergio Lejarazu say they were surprised Thursday morning to find their party supply shop on Cesar Chavez, Jumpolin, being demolished.

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Austin
1:26 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Austin Ad Firms Scored Two Super Bowl Spots

Screenshot from Austin-based ad firm GSD&M's Superbowl ad.

Talk of the Super Bowl's "sad ads" has dominated post-game non-football-based discussions, but there were actually some commercials during yesterday's game that didn't intend to pull heartstrings or motivate consumerism via shame spirals and guilt trips.

Austin advertising firm GSD&M followed up on last year’s success with another TV commercial airing on Super Bowl Sunday.

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Texas
4:07 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

School Voucher Supporters Gather at Capitol

A rally for school vouchers at the Capitol Friday morning.
Credit Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush led a rally at the Capitol today in support of school vouchers and expanded charter school in Texas.

Bush served on the board of one of the state’s top charter-school operators, and his office oversees the nation's largest educational endowment. Also speaking was State Sen. Donna Campbell who, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, has been a strong supporter of vouchers that would funnel state funding to private and religious schools.

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Austin
2:00 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Austin's Hands-Free Fines to Start on Sunday

Though APD has been handing out warnings so far, enforcement of the hands-free driving law begins in earnest this Sunday.
Credit Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

This Sunday, the city of Austin will start ticketing drivers and cyclists who are texting or talking on their mobile phones without a hands-free device.

The Austin Police Department says they'll fine drivers up to $500, depending on several factors. For those who plead "no contest" and pay on time, the fine with court costs will total about $220.

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Politics
4:10 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Judge Denies Perry's Second Request to Dismiss Charges Against Him

Credit KUT News

A judge struck down former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's second request for dismissal of the indictment against him today. This means the case will likely extend for several months more in court, even as Perry continues to mount his presumed presidential campaign.

In August 2014, a Travis County grand jury indicted Perry on two felony charges related to his 2013 veto of funding for the county's Public Integrity Unit.

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Music
9:53 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Here's a Look at the Austin Bands Battling for a Seat at NPR's Tiny Desk

NPR won't announce the winner of its Tiny Desk Concert Contest until Feb. 12, but the submissions are all in. Unsurprisingly, there are a good number of entrants from the Live Music Capital of the World, and they're all collected below.

The first-ever Tiny Desk contest received more than 7,000 submissions involving about 40,000 musicians total.

The contest winner will fly to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and perform a concert at the media outlet's famous Tiny Desk recording corner, a space formerly visited by the likes of T-Pain, Miguel, Adele and John Legend.

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Austin Police
7:32 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Man Killed in Officer-Involved Shooting Near Slaughter Lane

Austin Police have said an officer-involved shooting shortly before 3 a.m. involved a man in his 60s who brandished a weapon at responding officers before he was shot by a two-year veteran officer.
Credit Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Update 11:26 a.m.: Austin police have identified the suspect who was killed: 61-year-old Robert Francis Mesch. Mesch was armed and suicidal, police say. Two-year police department veteran Daniel Hannah was the officer involved in the shooting, and he has since been placed on leave as a routine procedure. Police Chief Art Acevedo calls the shooting a "tragedy for everyone involved."

The Austin Police Department says an officer shot and killed a man in his early 60s. The shooting happened just before 4 a.m. near Bill Miller Bar-B-Q on West Slaughter.

Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo says a woman called police around 3:30 a.m. to say that her husband was threatening to kill himself and threatened her life as well. Two officers pursued the man in his tan pickup. Police say when he got out of the car near West Slaughter, the suspect was carrying a gun. The officer fired several rounds at the man. He was pronounced dead soon after.

Below, you can listen to the full audio of Acevedo's press conference from earlier this morning.

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Texas Statehouse
10:25 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Watch: Abbott, Patrick Get Inaugurated

New Texas Governor Greg Abbott is sworn in at today's inaugural ceremony.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Watch below: The Texas Tribune livestreamed the inauguration of Gov.-elect Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick.

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Education
6:36 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Watch KLRU's Civic Summit With Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz

Dr. Paul Cruz, interim Superintendent for the Austin Independent School District.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Dr. Paul Cruz is the only finalist for the superintendent position with Austin Independent School District. Tuesday night's Civic Summit, hosted by KLRU, will give the audience – students, teachers, and other community members – the opportunity to ask Cruz questions in a town hall-style meeting.

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Politics
3:21 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

In Photos: The 84th Texas Legislative Session

Governor Elect Greg Abbott is welcomed onto the Texas State Senate floor on the first day of the 2015 legislative session.
Bryan Winter/KUT News

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry gaveled in the legislative session today at noon. The one constitutionally required duty for state lawmakers is to pass a budget for the next two years. They have $113 billion to work with – $10 billion more than when lawmakers last met in 2013.

While lower oil prices are putting pressure on Texas economic growth, incoming Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is sticking to his campaign pledge to lower taxes. He and Governor-elect Greg Abbott will be sworn in to office next week, marking the end of Governor Rick Perry’s record 14 years in office.

Wayback Wednesday
2:51 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Austin's Long Push for Geographic Representation on City Council

A map of the city's election precincts from 1985.
Credit City of Austin

Last night, all 10 members of the new Austin City Council were sworn in. While it’s the first single-member district council, it’s not the city’s first attempt to bring geographic representation to the council. Today’s edition of Wayback Wednesday examines the push in the 1980s for single-member districts.

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Capital Metro
1:58 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Cap Metro Begins Bus & Rail Fare Hikes Next Week

Courtesy of Capital Metro

Austinites taking public transportation will see a hike in bus and rail fares next week. Starting Jan. 11, fares are going to go up on Capital Metro mass transit.

For bus-goers, what cost just fifty cents six years ago will now cost $1.25. Capital Metro is increasing the base fare for rides on local bus routes this winter, a 25 percent increase. Fares are also going up for what the agency calls its premium buses, like MetroRapid, to $1.75 per ride. Additionally, a trip on the Metrorail Red Line will now cost you $3.50 each way, up from $2.75.

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