Austin
8:58 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/15/12: Execution Drug Shortage, Redistricting Drama, Texas/OU Battles ACL

Texas Prisons Hard Up for Execution Drugs?

Texas state prisons are running low on a key execution drug, according to a report released Tuesday. According to the Austin American-Statesman, state prison officials say there is enough of the drug to continue with six executions that are scheduled over the next four months.

The drug, pentobarbital, is the first drug in the three-part lethal injection process, and according to an article by London-based newspaper The Guardian there are an estimated 27 vials of the drug left.  Obtaining more pentobarbital – or its brand name, Nembutal – will become increasingly difficult as manufacturers of the drug prohibit Nembutal from being used in executions.

Thirteen months ago Texas faced a similar problem when the production of sodium thiopental, a sedative used in executions, stopped at the behest of production authorities in Italy concerned it was used in executions.  With sodium thiopental no longer available, Texas  switched to pentobarbital.

Last year, Texas led the country in executions by more than twice of any other state – 13. Alabama was second with a total of six executions.

Redistricting Pushes State Primaries to May

In an increasingly complex scheme of electoral representation, the state of Texas still lacks a firm voting map. 

Federal judges heard arguments in San Antonio yesterday about why a political map hasn't been agreed upon by involved parties, which includes the state and a number of vocal plaintiffs.  They meet again today for a solution, but according to the Texas Tribune, April primaries have now been wiped out:

The judges closed out the day by telling the lawyers to wrap things up. Judge Orlando Garcia asked the lawyers for the state and for MALC how far apart they were; hearing that they were down to a one-seat difference in the number of minority districts in their maps, he urged them to come to agreement. He also told the attorneys in the room to work out their differences over the state Senate maps. 

The judges also appeared at the end of today's hearing to have ruled out split primaries — due to cost — and April primaries — due to logistics.

The goal for today's meeting?  To pull maps together, come to a compromise, and finally set a primary date. 

Red River Rivalry? Or Red River Aftershows?

This fall, football and music lovers will find out where their true loyalties lay.

That's because October 13 is now the Texas/OU game date in Dallas, as well as the Austin City Limits Music Festival here in Zilker Park.  The Big 12 announced its 2012 Football Schedule yesterday, leaving Longhorn and music fans truly conflicted.  As Austin360 reports however, large game-displaying screens will be placed on the festival grounds.