› The next regular City Council meeting is next Thursday, May 1, but the beat goes on – with today's initial briefing by the Financial Services staff on the prospective 2014-15 budget kicking off the last budget cycle for the at-large Council. See "Council: The Budget Warms Up ... and Ott's Under Fire" for more.
› It's not a campaign, it's a house party: On Tuesday, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole released a "Sheryl for Austin" announcement of a "10-District House Party Tour Across Austin," running from May 3-17 and visiting all 10 new Council districts, to listen to residents and take a "hard look" at a potential run for mayor.
› While Cole plays coy about her mayoral ambitions, local musician Todd Phelps will formally declare that he is running for the office on April 25, unveiling his "pro-technology, pro-music, and traffic solutions platform."
› Sen. Wendy Davis' campaign continues to hammer Attorney General Greg Abbott on education funding, after the GOP candidate for governor held an education campaign launch in Spring Branch ISD, which lost 118 employees under the state budget cuts Abbott is still defending in court. Although, as Davis Communications Director Zac Petkanas noted, it's hard to find a school district the AG isn't fighting in court.
› Abbott, by contrast, has been throwing around conservative red meat by hyping a Breitbart story claiming that the Bureau of Land Management is trying to steal 90,000 acres of land along the Texas/Oklahoma border. In fact, it's all part of a century-old discussion about exactly where the border lies, and who has responsibility for it.
› A report released Tuesday by the UT Human Rights Clinic says that high temperatures inside Texas prisons meet the constitutional definition of cruel and unusual punishment. Although heat exposure has contributed to 14 inmate deaths since 2007, the report alleges that few safeguards have been put in place. Prison officials argue that air conditioning is both cost-prohibitive and unnecessary.
› Gov. Rick Perry continued to troll New York on Wednesday with meetings designed to lure Empire State businesses to Texas. Perry also said he would like to challenge New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to an economic policy debate. Although Cuomo has yet to accept the offer, the Democratic Governors Association got in a barb. In an email to the AP, a spokesperson said, "a little free advice for Rick Perry: the fewer debates with anyone, the better."
› On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld, 6-2, a Michigan constitutional amendment (enacted by referendum) that forbids the use of affirmative action ("racial preferences") in university admissions. In a dissent joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the Constitution does not "give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities."