AM Update
8:45 am
Mon March 19, 2012

AM Update: Texas' Middling Corruption Grade, Sidewalk Cafe for Congress Ave., Flash Flood Warning

Texas Gets a Low Grade in Corruption Protection

A new study examining how well-protected state governments are against the possibility of corruption has been released. The State Security Index issued report cards to all 50 states that grade them on  a comparison of  a state’s laws and practices against a series of specific corruption measures. Overall, Texas gets a D-plus. KUT's Ben Philpott reported on the state's best and worst scores.

Texas received a B-minus for its “legal framework in place to combat corruption.” Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen Texas, told Philpott that the problem lies in the implementation of the laws.

"What we see time and time again, we pass relatively good laws, but when you get right down to how they work we score horribly on just about every matrix."

Texas received an F for its implementation of anti-corruption laws. That put the state near the bottom in terms of the gap between what ethics and disclosure laws are on the books, and how well the state enforces those laws.

But Texas isn’t the only state that received a low grade. Eight states got failing grades, and 18 other states received D’s. Nineteen states got C’s, five got B’s and none of the states received an A.

Texas received notable grades in minor areas, such as internal auditing, where it received an A, and the state pension fund management, where it was awarded a B-minus.

The report is a joint project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International.

Effort to Create Sidewalk Cafes in Downtown Austin

Austin City Council members Chris Riley and Sheryl Cole are co-sponsoring an ordinance to create a new pilot program that would turn parking spaces along Congress Avenue into temporary, pop-up street patios.  The ordinance will be voted on at Thursday's City Council meeting.

If passed, the City of Austin would allow Royal Blue Grocery to use two parking spaces in front of its store at Sixth and Congress. The urban grocer is partnering with design group Studio DWG and civil engineering firm Big Red Dog, according to a post in the Downtown Austin Blog.

Flash Flood Warning for Central Texas

The National Weather Service's forecast for Central Texas: There's a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, and 90 percent chance by tonight.  A flash flood watch is in effect Monday evening through Tuesday morning, possibly wreaking havoc on morning commuters.

Rainfall totals could range anywhere from two to five inches. Winds are expected to reach isolated highs of 25 miles per hour, and range from 10 to 20 mph.