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Education
9:40 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Will Revisit UT Affirmative Action Case

Fisher v UT, which deals with the school's using race as a factor in its admissions process, will be revisited by the U.S. Supreme Court.
KUT News

Today, the Supreme Court decided that it would take up the case of Fisher v the University of Texas at Austin, a suit dealing with a controversial admissions case at UT Austin. A white woman, Abigail Fisher, sued the school in 2008, claiming the university rejected her based on her race. The University says race is one of a few special circumstances it considers in admissions.

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Austin
10:16 am
Fri June 26, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage is Now Legal in Texas

Bryna Wortham (left) and Diane Jones were married today at the Travis County Courthouse.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

This post will be updated. 

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, and within hours, the Travis County Clerk and other county clerks in Texas began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling means big changes for Texas, since to date the state had banned same-sex marriages, defining marriage strictly as between a man and a woman. Today, hundreds of marriage licenses were issued across the state to couples, some of whom had been waiting years for this opportunity. By 5:30 p.m., the Travis County Clerk's office had issued 181 marriage licenses to different- and same-gender couples. (Compared to yesterday, when they issued 17 licenses overall.)

But, there are still those who aren't so sure it's a good idea for the federal government to make this declaration about marriage. Mose Buchele talked to folks at the Texas Capitol today to see how they feel about the decision.

Update, 3:15 PM:

Hundreds of people went to the Travis County Clerk’s Office today to get their marriage licenses. For many, the next step was to head to the Courthouse for a three-day waiver from a judge. Texas law requires couples to wait three days before a wedding ceremony, but some same-sex couples don't want to wait any longer.

One of those couples seeking a waiver was Amy and Di Williams, who have been waiting years to marry legally. Their wedding ceremony is tomorrow, and they shared their story with KUT News. Take a listen: 

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News
9:15 am
Fri June 26, 2015

After SCOTUS Ruling, Same-Sex Couples Line Up for Licenses in Travis County

Travis County Court began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including Jaque Robins (right) and Carmelita Cabello.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

*This developing story will be updated.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in the case of Obergefell v Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage, like the one in Texas, are unconstitutional [read the decision here]. County clerks in all 50 states can now issue marriage licenses. 

Update 12:30 p.m. From the Travis County Clerk's office: 

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Affordable Care Act
9:34 am
Thu June 25, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Obamacare Subsidies

The Supreme Court's decision in the King v Burwell case means that one million Texans who purchased health insurance through the federal marketplace will get to keep their subsidies.
KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the health insurance tax subsides in the case of King v. Burwell.

After much anticipation, the High Court ruled 6-3 this morning that people who received tax subsidies for health insurance premiums purchased on the federal exchange can keep them.

At issue in the case was whether four words in a section of the Affordable Care Act that deals with tax subsidies — "established by the state" — meant that only people who bought an Obamacare plan on a marketplace established by a state government can get a tax subsidy to help them pay for it. 

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Austin
1:13 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

Task Force Will Examine Future of Jefferson Davis Statue Amid Call For Its Removal

Courtesy of students' petition at change.org

Update: UT Austin President Greg Fenves announced this morning the members of a 12-person task force that will discuss the future of the Jefferson Davis statue on campus. 

UT Austin's Student Government and Graduate Student Assembly want the statue of Davis removed and placed in a museum. Earlier this week, Fenves met with students to discuss their concerns.

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Austin
4:30 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Flash Flooding Possible for Areas East of I-35 as Tropical Depression Bill Keeps Moving

Conditions Wednesday afternoon.
National Weather Service

Wednesday 4 p.m. Some heavy rainfall hit the Austin area this afternoon, and the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning that will remain in place until 6:45 p.m.

Wednesday 4:30 a.m. The University of Texas at Austin has announced it will re-open at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning and will operate on a regular schedule. Travis County offices will operate on a normal schedule today. City of Austin offices will be back on a regular schedule today. Since the Austin area was not hard hit by Tropical Depression Bill, Capital Metro expects all routes to run on regular schedules today. Hays CISD and Leander ISD will operate on their normal summer schedules today.

All Austin Community College campuses and centers will open and operate on a regular schedule today.

1:15 a.m. The National Weather Service has canceled the flash flood warning that was in effect for Travis, Williamson and Bastrop counties.

12:30 a.m. Bill's strength continues to diminish as it moves inland, says the National Weather Service. Rain is coming down now at a rate of an inch per hour in some parts of Central Texas.

12:20 a.m. National Weather Service says that now Bill is centered over Bastrop County and is starting to move north. It's raining in Austin, but no reports yet of torrential downpours in the city.

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Life & Arts
9:03 pm
Sun June 14, 2015

A Biker 'Family Reunion,' Annual ROT Rally Draws Thousands to Austin

Motorcyclists arrive in Downtown Austin at the completion of the 2015 ROT Rally Parade.
Carlo Nasisse for KUT News

On Friday evening, downtown Austin rumbled with the sounds of thousands of motorcyclists converging on Congress Avenue for the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally.

For 20 years, Austin has hosted the ROT Biker Rally, one of the largest and most highly anticipated events of its kind for bikers and bike enthusiasts. With glossy bikes and unique apparel on full display, the rally, particularly the Friday night parade, offered a showcase of biker culture in all its diversity.

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Weather
2:50 pm
Sun June 14, 2015

Flash Flood Watch Until Midnight

This morning's rain produced a "double rainbow."
Justin Baudoin https://twitter.com/justinbaudoin

Updated 2:48 pm: Parts of Central Texas, including portions of southern Hays County, are now under a Flash Flood Warning. Check this National Weather Service map for up-to-the-minute information on warning zones. 

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Austin
4:16 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

One-Fifth of Austin's Musicians Live Below Federal Poverty Level, Census Says

A musician busks on South Congress in Austin.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The City of Austin today released results from its first comprehensive census of the local music industry. The data backs up what many local musicians have been saying lately: It’s tough, and seems to be getting tougher, for musicians to support themselves in the Live Music Capital of the World.

“I think it’s common knowledge that it’s really hard to make money as a musician,” says Don Pitts, who manages the city’s music and entertainment division. “But I think when you see it in this data-only context, at first, it takes the emotion out of it. But then you see the actual numbers, and it brings the emotions back in.”

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Austin
12:27 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Most DWI Arrests Occur in Central, East Austin

James Palinsad/flickr

There have been at least 41 traffic fatalities so far this year in Austin, which is nearly double the number during the same period last year. And, in many of these crashes, alcohol and impaired driving are factors. A new analysis of DWI data is providing a better picture of where the problem spots are.

Over the last decade, there have been nearly 200 deaths in Austin due to drunk driving. A new analysis by Civic Analytics shows suspects in 724 of the 6,033 DWI arrests live in District 3, which includes East Austin and parts of South Austin. 

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Texas
12:34 pm
Sun May 31, 2015

As Rain Finally Clears in Central Texas, Clean-up Continues

A flooded home in San Marcos right after Memorial Day floods.

Central Texas just had one of its wettest Mays on record. The heavy rainfall, storms and flooding became deadly and destructive, causing 23 deaths. Crews continue to search for those who are still missing in Hays County, where storms and flooding destroyed homes and property of many residents.

President Obama gave Texas a federal disaster declaration Saturday, allowing affected counties access to federal aid for relief efforts.

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Weather
3:47 pm
Sat May 30, 2015

More Rain, Storms Move Through Central Texas

Skies over Austin Saturday late afternoon.

Update 7:30 p.m. The rain and storms have mostly cleared out of the Austin and Central Texas region. 

Update: Lighter rain now in the Austin area. For some closed road crossings, check atxfloods.com before heading out on the roads.

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Memorial Day Floods
10:42 am
Wed May 27, 2015

How to Help Central Texas Flood Victims

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Organizations throughout Central Texas are looking for money, for donations of goods and for volunteers to help with flood relief efforts.

The city of Wimberley opened a hotline both for volunteers and for residents in need – that number is 512-754-2275. They also have a facebook page here, where they're updating information about what they need.

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Austin
8:49 am
Tue May 26, 2015

With More Rain In Sight, Austin Begins Clean-Up After Memorial Day Floods

The intersection at Ninth Street and Lamar yesterday after Shoal Creek flooded.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Storms swept through the Austin area Monday afternoon, causing businesses and roadways to flood. The National Weather Service says Austin should expect more rain and thunderstorms this week, with chances as high as 50 percent on Friday.

Storms across the state resulted in a total of seven dead in Texas, including one in San Marcos, one in Wimberley, one in Cameron, one in San Antonio and three more in Houston. At least 30 people are still unaccounted for in Hays County.

Meanwhile in Austin, clean-up efforts are underway. You can get the latest information from the city of Austin here.

4 p.m. The body of one man, still unidentified, has been recovered in northeast Travis County.

1 p.m. CapMetro says its rail service will be restored as of 3:44 this afternoon. Its buses are running normally, say CapMetro officials.

12:45 p.m. You can call Austin Disaster Relief Network if you're affected by the flood and still need help.

12 p.m. An update from CapMetro says that MetroRail is offering partial service today:

11:15 a.m. The North Austin Red Cross shelter housed five people last night, and the South Austin shelter housed two. The shelters in San Marcos housed 80 overnight. Updated Red Cross shelter information for those in need Tuesday:

10:45 a.m. ATXfloods is reporting that nearly all of Austin's roads are open.

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Texas
3:55 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Storms Cause Widespread Flooding in Austin (Updated)

Onlookers watch a swollen Shoal Creek with APD officers nearby.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Update Tuesday 4:30 a.m. Several additional area school districts have announced changes to their schedules for today because of flooding and road conditions:

  • Classes at Taylor High School have been canceled because of flooding in the building. All other Taylor ISD schools will operate on a two hour delay.
  • The following districts are operating on a two hour delay: Hutto, Jarrell, Luling, Lockhart, Manor (two hour delay for students; staff report at regular time).

Because of some track washouts, Capital Metro's MetroRail will operate only between the Howard and Downtown stations on Tuesday. Cap Metro says road conditions may also cause some bus route detours.

Earlier: After storms wreaked havoc through Central Texas Sunday, the area was hit again Monday afternoon, flooding roadways and causing power outages in Austin and surrounding areas. After reported tornado touchdowns mid-afternoon in several Central Texas counties, storms deluged the already-saturated Austin area with rain, causing flooding all over the city.

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Austin
2:51 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

Flooding, Storm Damage in Central Texas: How To Find or Provide Help

Storm-damaged home in Wimberley a day after Sunday's storms.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Update Monday: Another round of storms swept through a large part of Central and South Central Texas Monday afternoon, bringing inches of rain, hail, strong winds and some reports of tornadoes touching down.

For more in-depth information on conditions in Austin resulting from Monday's storms, visit our post here, listen to 90.5 FM, and/or follow @KUT on twitter.

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Weather
8:04 am
Sun May 24, 2015

One Confirmed Dead; Flooding in Central Texas as the Blanco River Rises to Historic Levels

Downed and damaged trees, property in Central Austin
Lizzie Chen

One fatality has been reported, officials say. The man's identity has not been released publicly.

Update Monday 8 a.m. We are reporting Monday's news here. A flash flood watch and a tornado watch are in effect for large parts of Central Texas as more severe weather is expected this afternoon and evening. Governor Greg Abbott is traveling to storm- and flood-damaged areas today, and we'll be covering his press conference in Wimberley at 1 p.m.

For information on how you can find or donate assistance, we are compiling a list here

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Reporting Series
2:13 am
Mon May 18, 2015

Meanwhile, in Small Town Texas

Skyline in Giddings, Texas.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Texas still tends to think of itself as a rural state — even though more than three quarters of Texans live in urban areas.

Stories from KUT's 'Meanwhile, in Small Town Texas' series are available here.

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Austin
1:16 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

City Officials React to 'How to Work with Women' Training Session

A screenshot of Jonathan Allen's now-controversial presentation to city staffers.
Credit City of Austin

Austin city officials gathered for a press conference today to respond publicly to news, first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, about a training that city staff attended in March on how to work and interact with women. The training session, called "The Changing Dynamics in Governance: Women Leading in Local Government," apparently attempted to address "techniques" for working with the city's new majority-female city council.

City staffers attended the session, led by Jonathan Allen, now-former City Manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, in which he taught that "if you attempt to use the same communication techniques, management techniques, that you use or attempted to use in a predominantly male environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development. Because they don't process things in the same way."

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Politics
3:15 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Texas Senate Approves Bill Allowing Ministers Right to Deny Same-Sex Marriages

The Senate gave tentative approval to a bill that would allow Texas clergy to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
Credit Morguefile/flickr

Today the Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill — the Pastor Protection Act — that would allow religious ministers the right to deny performing a marriage ceremony to a couple if doing so would violate his or her religious beliefs. While the bill's sponsor, Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), acknowledged an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that could legalize same-sex marriage, he said the bill is designed to protect clergy members from potential lawsuits.  

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