Edited By Mike Clark-Madison, Fri., April 18, 2003
Quote of the Week: "We're going to have a lot of cuts, and I'm calling on the churches to step up to the plate. If you don't like these horrible ideas, help us find a solution." -- State Rep. Kino Flores, D-Mission, chair of a House committee that last week held hearings on 12 different bills to expand legalized gambling in Texas. Reps from religious groups say the social costs of gambling far outweigh the benefits, but their strongest ally -- Gov. Rick Perry -- let slip that he wouldn't veto a Lottery Commission sunset bill even if it included new gambling. Stay tuned.
Gavino Fernandez briefly dropped out of the Place 2 City Council race last weekend, but as of press time had renewed his challenge to incumbent Raul Alvarez.
Meanwhile, in the Place 5 race, Brewster McCracken has picked up the endorsement of former Mayor Kirk Watson, and a dissatisfied Austin Neighborhoods Council says its PAC may not endorse any of the candidates in any race. See No Quiet on the Eastern Front and Seven of Five for more on the council races.
Early voting for the May 3 contests began Wednesday; see Early Voting for a list of voting locations.
The Texas House, after bitter debate, passed HB 7 -- its emergency appropriations measure to close this year's estimated $1.8 billion state budget deficit -- and then went to work on the equally grim HB 1, next year's budget bill. See Capitol Chronicle.
Assuming the House ever finishes the budget, next week should see a committee hearing on legislation to authorize a Central Texas Health Care District, and the latest version of a regional mobility authority bill should move to the House floor. More on both of these next week.
No City Council meeting this week; a light agenda planned for next week in Mayor Gus Garcia's absence; and no meeting again the following week. The next big meeting -- featuring more debate of the smoking ordinance, the neighborhood-plan amendment process, and the superduplex struggle -- will be May 8, after the election.