Fri., July 12, 2013
› City Council won't meet again until August, but a couple of members showed up Tuesday to meet Hizzoner former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, in town to consult on Downtown parks. See "Auditorium Shores: The Next Millennium?"
› Austin Parks and Recreation issued a burn ban July 10 in response to continued dry conditions. The ban includes smoking and the use of wood or charcoal grills. Propane grills will still be allowed in designated areas lest local hot dogs feel unappreciated.
› The Austin Police Department made 99 DUI arrests over the long July 4 "no-refusal" weekend initiative; 37 submitted to a breath test while 62 were subject to blood draws.
› Travis County Commissioners Court voted to support a proposal at the Legislature to restore state funding for the D.A.'s Public Integrity Unit, but has declined to fund the unit directly, and may move instead to triage the pending cases.
› Both the Texas House and Senate moved forward this week with paired bills intended to severely restrict abortion rights in Texas; by the time you read this, this unconstitutional law may be on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, with at least four votes to sustain it.
› The day before the Texas House debated its version of the sweeping abortion regulations bill, which includes a provision requiring abortion-providing doctors to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of each facility where they perform abortions, a court in Wisconsin issued a temporary restraining order preventing just such a provision from taking effect there. There is no evidence to suggest that a "medical purpose is served by this requirement," the court ruled. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has also threatened a veto if such a bill moves forward as-is.
› With the help of Sen. Wendy Davis, Planned Parenthood launched a "Stand With Texas Women" statewide bus tour July 9 to rally opposition to the sweeping abortion legislation. The first stop drew large crowds to Houston's Anheuser-Busch Stage. More stops are scheduled in Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.
› Rep. Harvey Hilderbran tearfully told the House body on July 10 that he is not running for re-election. Although he spoke vaguely of future political plans, he stopped short of officially declaring his likely candidacy for state comptroller – a race left wide-open after current Comptroller Susan Combs' announcement that she was retiring from public life in 2015.
› Former LBJ speechwriter and Texas State University President Robert Hardesty died Monday, of congestive heart failure, at the age of 82.
› FEMA announced July 10 that Texas has been reimbursed $48 million in costs associated with the 2011 wildfires that charred 168 counties and destroyed 1.3 million acres of land.