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Austin Weather
1:00 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Austin Showers Taper Off; City Opens Roads, Parks Still Closed; APD Officer Killed in Crash

The City of Austin warns drivers to avoid flooded roadways.
Emily Mathis for KUT News

Update: While Central Texas did not receive another deluge of rain like it saw over the weekend, rainfall Tuesday night and Wednesday morning still created dangerous flooding and driving conditions that forced some road closures, and left Austin’s parks shuttered until at least later this afternoon.

An off-duty APD officer died earlier this morning in a collision, according to KXAN.

Several low water crossings closed this morning, but as of now, they have all reopened. City of Austin and Travis County officials ask drivers to proceed with caution, and urge drivers not to cross flooded roads.

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Affordable Housing
8:46 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Learn More About Austin's $65 Million Affordable Housing Vote Tonight

Affordable housing bond dollars would go to new construction, rental assistance, home ownership initiatives and repair programs.
flickr.com/dymllc

A year after voters narrowly rejected the proposal, the Austin City Council is once again asking voters to approve tens of millions of dollars for affordable housing.

The City of Austin will host the first of four community information sessions today about this November’s $65 million affordable housing bond.

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Affordable Care Act
9:33 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Obamacare Marketplace Open in Texas: How to Enroll, Where to Get Help

The federal health insurance marketplace opens today.
healthcare.gov

Today marks the opening of the Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance marketplace – healthcare.gov.

Beginning today, consumers can begin purchasing health insurance plans, with coverage beginning Jan. 1. It’s a signature component of the insurance changes collectively known as "Obamacare."

KUT has been covering the run-up to today’s marketplace opening. Here’s some answers to common questions about the marketplace: the types of coverage offered, how to navigate the marketplace and more, including an interactive guide.

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Austin City Council
8:26 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Austin Council Update: EMS Contract OK’d, Trails Kept Open 24 Hours, and an Airport Pet Hotel

Austin-Travis County EMS had their first civil service contract approved today.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Update: Austin City Council members unanimously approved a rental registration program early this morning (Items 11, 12).

Council members were considering two different proposals. One would have required the owners of rental property in certain areas of the city to register. But the proposal the council approved will require rental properties with multiple health and safety violations to be registered – no matter where the properties are located in the city.

The program requires properties on the registration list to be periodically inspected.

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Affordable Care Act
2:18 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Ted Cruz Ends Filibuster-Style Senate Speech Against 'Obamacare' (Update)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during his 2012 campaign.
Ben Philpott for KUT News

Update: Sen. Cruz's remarks have ended. For a recap, see: With A Call For Prayer, Cruz Wraps Up Protest Against Obamacare.

Original Post (Sept. 24): Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz seems to be taking a play from another Texas politico: Wendy Davis.

On the floor of the U.S. Senate moments ago, Sen. Cruz announced he will deliver extended, filibuster-style remarks on his support for defunding President Obama’s signature package of health care reforms, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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Weather
4:08 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Soaking Rains, Flash Flood Watch for Central Texas

Heavy rains are expected around rush hour this afternoon.
National Weather Service

Update: Heading home? Public safety officials remind Austinites to drive safely, and turn around at all high water crossings.

Rain is expected to continue into tomorrow, keeping the area under a Flash Flood Watch at least until 7 a.m. tomorrow.

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State Board of Education
11:23 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Textbook Standards, Charter Schools, Graduation Requirements Keep Education Board Busy

About 200 people gathered outside the Texas Education Agency building Tuesday to protest proposed changes to high school biology textbooks. Protestors were concerned ideological and religious beliefs will be considered alongside scientific theories.
Kate McGee, KUT News

This week was a busy one for Texas education. Here's what we picked up.

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Business
4:37 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Photos: Inside Austin's First Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's is opening its first Austin store this week.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Grocery retailer Trader Joe’s is opening its first Austin store on Friday.

The store on Bee Caves Road is the first of three planned for the Austin region. A second location is planned downtown for the redeveloped Sealholm area. And today the chain announced it will open a third Austin location next year at the Arboretum Shopping Center.

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Energy & Environment
2:57 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Pollution Level in Central Texas Sparks Ozone Action Day

Experts urge Central Texas residents to observe Ozone Action Day on Aug. 30, 2013.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

It’s another Ozone Action Day in Central Texas. People with asthma and emphysema, the elderly and children should stay indoors today. The bad air puts Austin another step closer to possible environmental sanctions. 

High temperatures and low wind, when combined with pollution from cars and electricity production, boost ozone levels in Central Texas. That’s why Deana Altenhoff is asking everyone to do what they can to keep additional pollution out of the air today. 

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Police
4:20 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Austin Police Officer Cleared in Fatal 2012 Springtime Shooting

A grand jury has declined to indict Officer Eric Copeland over his fatal shooting of Ahmede Bradley.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

An Austin police officer who fatally shot a man in East Austin last year will not face charges.

After reviewing the shooting, a Travis County grand jury declined to indict Officer Eric Copeland. Police say he shot Ahmede Bradley three times in the chest after a struggle over Copeland’s handgun. The shooting happened the same night as the killing of APD Officer Jaime Padron, in an unrelated incident.

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Business
2:50 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Austin Fast Food Workers Strike For Higher Wages

Fast food workers and supporters rallied this afternoon in support of a $15 an hour wage.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Some Austin fast food workers are joining a nationwide strike for higher wages. Employees from Wendy’s, Jack in the Box and Long John Silver’s gathered in protest this afternoon on Guadalupe Street near the UT campus.

Greg Lee works at Long John Silver’s. He makes $7.25 an hour.

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Weather
3:19 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Storms Predicted for Austin Tonight

Scattered showers are predicted for Central Texas - but with the potential for high wind gusts.
National Weather Service

Austin may be getting a break from the triple-digit heat – in the form of storm clouds.

It’s tough for cold fronts to make it this far south in the summer, but one has made it down far enough to affect conditions in Central Texas. National Weather Service forecaster Aaron Treadway says it includes a real rain chance.

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Transportation
1:42 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Austin One Step Closer to Creating Pedestrian Advisory Council

A pedestrian advisory council would inform the city on what works for walkability – and what doesn’t.
flickr.com/boedker

The City of Austin is looking to create a pedestrian advisory council.

The pedestrian group would look at safety and walkability issues, making recommendations to city staff and the City Council. The proposal comes as city policy prioritizes denser, more walkable development – and also at a time when pedestrian deaths are on people’s minds: There were 78 traffic deaths (including pedestrians) in Austin last year.

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Austin City Council
9:47 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Austin City Council Update: South Lamar Development, Affordable Housing, Airport Expansion

A rendering of the South Lamar Planned Unit Development, slated at the current location of a Taco Cabana at Riverside Drive.
City of Austin

Update: The developers of the J.W. Marriott convention center downtown won’t be getting nearly $4 million in fee waivers.

In a late night hearing, the Austin City Council declined to act on an item that would have forgiven “past non-compliance” on developer White Lodging’s part. In return for $3.8 million in fee waivers, White Lodging agreed to pay construction and trade workers the prevailing wage on the project. But the company instead paid many workers a differently calculated, lower wage.

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Austin
10:59 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Long-Time Austin Activist Anne C. McAfee Fights to the End

A photo of McAfee at the State Capitol.
Travis County Democratic Party

Long-time Austin activist Anne C. McAfee passed away on Saturday.

McAfee, 82, passed away at her home last Saturday after complications from a stroke she suffered while attending a protest against abortion restrictions late last month, during State Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster of the bill.

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Politics
12:30 pm
Sat July 13, 2013

Photos: Over Protest, Senate Passes Abortion Bill; Tampons Confiscated From Gallery Watchers

An unidentified woman has her bag searched by a DPS officer outside the Senate chambers. Those looking to get inside the gallery had tampons, along with
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Senate has given a final vote to pass House Bill 2, passing it 19-11.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked Senators that  "whether you're Christian, whether you're a person of faith, that we not forget to love each other." He said he felt goose bumps by seeing the orange and blue shirts in the gallery.

Update: The fate of House Bill 2 has been decided for now. The Texas Senate voted preliminarily 19 to 11 to pass the measure, without any amendments.

They need to give the bill a final vote before it would go to Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature.

In the last stretch of the night, senators gave most of their most impassioned statements when they gave their closing remarks.

  • View a photo gallery of the day's events in the slideshow player at the top of this page.
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Politics
11:17 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Texas House Approves Abortion Restrictions

State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, at the front microphone answers questions from a line of lawmakers during the July 9, 2013 debate on House Bill 2, a restrictive abortion measure.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: The House passed HB 2 on a vote of 96 to 49 this morning. The bill will be sent to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee this week for a vote, and the bill could be sent to the Senate floor for a full vote as early next week. 

Update (10:00 a.m.) Last night the House passed HB 2 on second reading by a vote of 98 to 49. The bill, which would limit access to abortions across Texas, is set for a third and final reading today in the House.

If passed, the bill will head across the Capitol rotunda to the Senate, and it could be sent to a committee as soon as this week. Below you can watch the live stream of the vote from our reporting partners The Texas Tribune.

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Texas
7:04 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Texas Highways Are Getting Better

Texas roads, bridges, and other paved byways scored well in a recent report.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/emdot/

While Texas lawmakers work on ways to set aside more money for transportation projects, the state has been moving up in the ranks of an annual report on highway conditions.

The report from the Reason Foundation rates Texas 11th in the nation over 11 indicators, including soundness of bridges, urban and rural pavement conditions, and total spending per mile of state roads.

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Austin
2:58 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Live Blog: Following the Protests at the Texas Capitol

As the second special session begins, protestors have gathered at the Capitol to debate the future of abortion regulation in Texas. A gathering on the south steps of the Capitol featured a performance from Austin band The Bright Light Social Hour
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

To keep you up-to-date on all the action going on at the Capitol today, we've created a Storify to monitor the protests on the first day of the special session. Click below to see the timeline.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

The Wendy Davis Filibuster Has Already Affected Rick Perry's Political Future

Sen. Wendy Davis in the Senate Chambers this week. A new special session, relating to abortion, will begin on Monday.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry went after State Sen. Wendy Davis today in a speech to a national anti-abortion group in Dallas over Davis’ 11-hour filibuster this week that helped block an abortion bill from passing.

Perry said her own birth and life under difficult circumstances — Davis was born to a single mother and was herself a single mother at age 19 — should have taught her to take Perry’s side on the issue.

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