kirk watson

Bryan Winter/KUT News

Texas senators have long honored a tradition known as the two-thirds rule, which means two-thirds of the chamber’s 31 members – or 21 of them – have to agree to bring a bill up for a vote.

The full Texas senate will have a vote to decide whether to keep this rule or scrap it in the 2015 session, but Texas senators will have to wait until after the Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick, R-Houston, is sworn in before they vote whether to keep the two-thirds rule.  

KUT News

Texas lawmakers are looking to take away the incentive for a driver leaving the scene of a crash when that driver is intoxicated.

Under current Texas Law, there’s an incentive to run away and sober up, because there’s a stiffer penalty for intoxication manslaughter than for failure to stop and render aid, even when the victim dies.

Texas Tribune

The recent case of a former legislative staffer who was accused of the hit-and-run death of a 30-year-old Austin woman drew widespread attention, particularly after the staffer received a sentence of 10 years of probation and a $10,000 fine for her conviction on a criminally negligent homicide charge.

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Last month, hopes for a vote on urban rail were dashed.

Despite years of discussion, preliminary routes, and an estimate of the cost, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell shot down the idea, saying plans lacked “a sufficient level of certainty” to put a proposal before voters in November.

There were political considerations too. Momentum’s building in the long push for a medical school at UT-Austin – and should public funding be required, backers had warned against asking voters to approve tax increases for urban rail and a medical school all at once.   

This week, flyers started appearing in Austin mailboxes, supporting the concept of a local medical school.

KUT News

This morning, the University of Texas Board of Regents proposed approximately $25 million in annual funding for an Austin medical school, plus an extra $5 million for the first eight years, dependent on matching operational funds.

The move is a sign of rising momentum for a local medical school. The announcement comes soon after Seton Hospital announced a $250 million investment in the project.  

Austin state Senator Kirk Watson has lead the governmental push for a medical school. “The estimates have been up to two billion dollars in economic activity by having a medical school and affiliated activity around that,” he told the regents today. “We will expand access and options for treating the uninsured, and we’ll provide new therapies that are designed to improve the health of everyone in this region.” 

Photo by KUT News

AISD Budget Meeting Tonight

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees will meet tonight to discuss the 2013 budget, and policy on consulting with employee unions.

Texas State Capitol Building
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Sen. Kirk Watson is getting some face time in the local media today because of a legislative preview he held this morning at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. KXAN says Watson called on Texas Comptroller Susan Combs to release detailed numbers on the state's finances.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Senator Kirk Watson of Austin are proposing an initiative to help curb "sexting" in Texas. Sexting is a relatively recent phenomenon where teenagers exchange sexually explicit text messages or images.