Lamar Smith

Photo by KUT News

KUT Radio’s broadcast news reporting is also available online. Here’s a mid-week look at what we’ve been following.

Austin Energy Rates Get Another Hearing This Week:

“The rate increase would be cut into two phases — most of the increase starting this year, the rest in 2014; $105 million would be transferred from Austin Energy’s budget to the city’s general fund;  and churches and small businesses would get a discount. So would customers outside the city limits.

People using 200 kilowatt-hours of energy or less each month would get the smallest bill.

The changes were meant to address some criticism of the utility’s first proposal. But some critics say the changes don’t go far enough.”

City to Vote Soon on Weekend Night Rail:

“The City of Austin and Capital Metro are getting closer to hammering out a deal on weekend Red Line rail service.

Photo courtesy of Rep. Smith's website

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been pulled by its sponsor, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith.

Smith issued a statement today in response to the news that SOPA’s companion bill in the Senate, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, had been pulled from by majority leader Sen. Harry Reid. Smith writes:

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products. …  

The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

Smith’s announcement will likely due little to stem the vitriol directed his way in a stream of memes that started in the wake of the SOPA blackout.

Photo by KUT News.

Texas House District 48 Race Still in Limbo

Democratic Incumbent Donna Howard maintains her position by only 15 votes.  Many wonder when or if her Republican challenger Dan Neil will ask for a recount.  Neil released a comment on his Facebook last night: