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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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Station Information
12:17 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Is Your 2015 Resolution to Make More Music? Enter NPR's Tiny Desk Contest!

NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert series is coming to a desk near you. Yours, in fact, if you've got an undiscovered penchant for performance.

NPR Music is accepting submissions for their Tiny Desk Concert Contest through Jan. 19. All you need is a desk, a camera, an original song and, of course, talent. Videos must be shorter than 10 minutes and contestants must be 21 or older.

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Wayback Wednesday
12:23 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: John Henry Faulk's 'Christmas Story'

Credit Library of Congress

For today's Christmas Eve edition of Wayback Wednesday, we have a radio-centric Christmas treat in the form of John Henry Faulk's "Christmas Story."

Born in 1913, the native Austinite was a radio personality, satirist and playwright. In 1957, he successfully sued the House Un-American Activities Committee for libel after being blacklisted, helping end the committee's campaign. And, of course, Austin's downtown library bears his name.

In 1974, John Henry Faulk read the story for NPR's Voices in the Wind, and it's since become a holiday classic. Below, you can listen Faulk's yuletide yarn courtesy of NPR. 

Austin City Council
11:35 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Get to Know Your Geographically-Elected Austin City Council

Austin finalized its new, geographically-elected city council last night.
Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

The city's first council under the 10-1 plan was finalized last night. Austin voters elected the remaining seven council members and the Mayor of Austin. The new council is, for the first time, majority female, with seven female council members. The only incumbent in the bunch, Council Member Kathie Tovo – who's also a likely shoe-in for the position of Mayor Pro Tem.

The remaining nine council members, and Mayor-elect Steve Adler, may not be so familiar. Below, you can find detailed biographies of each of the newly-elected 10-1 council members and an interactive map with voting totals – including their previous experience in government, their employment history and (for some) their previous work with other council candidates.

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10-1
12:13 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Photos: Austin's At-Large Council Gavels In for the Last Time

Today is the final meeting of the city's at-large council.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today marks the final regular meeting of the Austin City Council under the at-large system with seven council members and the mayor.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:14 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: A Look Back at Lamar Boulevard

A shot of Lamar Boulevard before it was paved, looking south at Ninth Street.
PICA 18059, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Today marks the 176th anniversary of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar’s inauguration as the second president of the Republic of Texas. He’s known as the “Father of Texas Education,” he set aside land to build what would later become UT-Austin in 1839 and helped plant the seeds for the Texas public school system.

So, today's Wayback Wednesday will honor his namesake, Lamar Boulevard, one of the most congested roads in the state. Below you can see a silent newsreel of the roadway in its infancy, when crews were building out the overpass at Third Street 55 years ago in the fall of 1959. Above, we’ve got a photo gallery of Lamar through the years – from its dirt road days in the 1940s to its present day parking lot status.

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