"...5) Quality Time: While a few boorish cops generated the Midtown Live! headlines, the city was simultaneously trying to get a handle on the constricting possibilities of cultural and economic life for local African-Americans, for whom the burning night club was only too obvious a symbol. The year's result was focus groups, public forums, council hearings, and the beginnings of a plan to redress grievances and rebuild the social network, under the rubric "Quality of Life." The plan is to address everything from unequal law enforcement to inadequate health care networks to insufficient cultural relations keep your ears open and your fingers crossed...."
"...It's not all a moral void in the Lege: On April 20, House General Investigating and Ethics Committee Chair John Kuempel, R-Seguin, announced an investigation into contracting and no-bid practices at 11 state agencies, in the wake of the massive scandal engulfing the Health and Human Services Commission (see "Lege Lines," Feb. 27). Vouchers Lite Ride Again..."
"...Wed. 15, Speakeasy Kabaret, 1am The Austin dream/shoegaze pop trio's latest extended play, Alexander Devotion, underlines new maturity with kaleidoscopic and modern turns of Eighties and Nineties reminiscence..."
"...district judges issued interim Texas House and Senate maps for the 2012 elections. Statewide, the big story is that they agreed to return Democrat Wendy Davis' Fort Worth state Senate district effectively to its pre-2011 boundary lines..."
"...Dan Patrick knew that when he and his allies sabotaged the actual sunset bill in the regular session, making a special session nearly inevitable. (Revisit "Lege Lines: Patrick's Hostage Play," June 2.)..."
"...Tom Craddick, R-Midland: Former Speaker Craddick has spent years trying to get a texting-while-driving ban on the books, and last session it took a governor's veto to kill his safety measure. This time, blame the Senate: After nearly two weeks on their Intent Calendar, this seems to have hit a permanent red light. Short Lines..."
"...The conflicts have shifted beyond party lines, and are more about how the House and Senate co-exist. There are some outliers, of course..."
"...Still, I remained blissfully ignorant, enjoying the lush grounds at Butler Park and a strategic corner of Auditorium Shores, plus nonexistent porta-potty lines, and great stage views as Dead Kennedys axis Jello Biafra & Guantanamo School of Medicine prompted the fest's first mosh pit. Reunited locals Mineral navigated sonic peaks and valleys with much pulpy emotion; curmudgeonly comedian Neil Hamburger offered topical humor (Question: "What is the compass reading that will lead you directly into hell?" Answer: "SXSW"); Run the Jewels proved the best hip-hop combo since codeine and Sprite; and an exuberantly bizarre Ginuwine "ponied" up the hits...."
"...In case the differences and suspicions between the supporters of pure single-member districts and the supporters of the hybrid system aren't sufficiently threatening to the electoral viability of either form of geographic representation, the issue of who will be drawing the district lines is probably more than enough to teeter the ship. AGR has made an Independent Citizens Districting Commission the centerpiece of its plan and a central part of its petition..."
"...And a recent study by the National Education Agency found Texas ranks 45th in spending per child in the nation. Lawmakers are not blind to these problems, so now the House and the Senate are gearing up for some ugly fights that transcend party lines...."
"...In even better news for beer fans, Eltife has filed Senate Bill 1386, helping the nascent beer tourism industry: If passed, visitors to a brewery producing less than 225,000 barrels a year could take home up to 36 pints a month. The bill analysis argues that "this benefits retailers and distributors by allowing Texas craft brewers the ability to better market their products." It also means that brewery tours in Texas will be on the same footing as winery tours, or as brewery tours are in other states. SHORT LINES..."
"...While Abbott was in the House, laying out his agenda, there were long lines outside the Legislature from community and professional groups, waiting to make their case for pending legislation. The Texas Physical Therapy Association had gathered an estimated 800 students and practitioners to push for House Bill 1263 by Rep..."
"...Dan Patrick boycotted the first ever prayer by a Muslim cleric in the Senate. Now he's lieutenant governor, so we're expecting White to declare for president any day now. Short Lines..."
"...A bit less harsh but still terrible: That's the consensus among pro-immigrant lawmakers and advocacy groups concerning the Texas House's modified version of the "sanctuary cities" bill, which passed through committee last week on a 7-5 vote on party lines. The ultra-conservative Senate was quick to pass Lubbock Republican Sen..."
"...Dan Patrick. That was passed out of the Senate on party lines on Feb..."
"...Diego Bernal, the bill was sent back to Calendars again. No longer classified as local or consensual, it is now seen as virtually dead. Short Lines..."
"...The next two columns by the way are going to be a very short incomplete sketchy history of the alternative press with a somewhat muddied chronology of the Boston papers in particular and a review of Joan Micklin Silver's Between the Lines, one of the few movies to tackle weeklies that has long been unavailable in any home accessible format (Amazon now has it on DVD, I highly recommend it)...."
"...Suddenly, the Phillips amendment failed 69-75. Not only had the A-F supporters swollen their numbers, but it turned out that several members shown as supporting the amendment weren't on the floor at all. Short Lines..."
"...But while this may seem like Pickett indulging in vendetta, there's far more evidence that Stickland has little concern for or interest in the legislative process. He has taken permanent residence at the back mic in the House chamber to raise spurious points of order on bills he perceives as a threat to "liberty." The pattern has become a running joke among legislators and Lege watchers, with high points including House Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, having to explain basic committee responsibilities to Stickland (see "Lege Lines," May 1)..."
"...They're there where cultural institutions are born and support for them is pledged and affirmed. They are the artists, the educators, the patrons, and the advocates on culture's front lines, devoting their talents and energies and steadfast commitment to the arts to making this city a livelier and richer place to live..."
"...But there are also serious concerns about losing so many state troopers from local law enforcement duties. Whitmire raised a practical problem: With 200 existing vacancies in DPS, how does the state propose to fill the extra 500 positions proposed for the border? Short Lines......"
"..."For Berenice, telling the story is an act of cleansing," says Rebecca Whitehurst, who collaborated on We Might Be Struck by Lightning and was tapped to pen Berenice's lines. She found it crucial to root them in personal need..."
"...Should that pass, the razor-edged wild card in the deck would become HB 3859, by Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, which passed out of the House on May 9 along party lines, 94-51..."
"...Dems also filed dozens of amendments aimed at creating safe spaces for the already vulnerable. Proposals to exempt campus police, and inquiries at domestic violence shelters, medical centers, and extracurricular school activities, and to exclude children from interrogation about their immigration status all failed along (mostly) party lines, drowning any sense of compassion for the immigrant community..."
"...The court has previously ruled that the GOP-dominated Legislature violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act in the 2011 redistricting, and now the clock is ticking to draw new lines before filing begins for the 2018 primaries… The Texas Motion Picture Alliance puts on a last push for the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program with their lobby day, scheduled for May 4..."
"...The group sent a letter to the members of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, stating its position on the open carry legislation in HB 910, specifically that it "continues to allow a business to choose if handguns are allowed at their place of business with no additional burdens put on the employer." This is not the first time this session the normally hard-line TAB has veered away from the Republican party line. CEO Bill Hammond has publicly opposed ending the DREAM Act, and criticized the raft of anti-LGBT legislation, arguing it could alienate businesses and invoke boycotts. Short Lines..."
"...In high dudgeon, and removed from all context, he tweeted that "My #prolife sign was just ripped down by @charliegeren." Enter longtime lobbyist Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans, who declaimed the tyranny of Geren on Twitter (of course, it's not that Sullivan is just mad because Geren has spent years trying to crack down on the kind of dark money activities that keep groups like Empower Texans in business). Geren witheringly tweeted back: "Signs are not allowed to be posted in the walls of the building they were removed and placed in the office of the members." Short Lines..."
"...Geren's measure would lower the point at which lobbyists must submit a detailed expense report to the Texas Ethics Commission, cutting that trigger point from 60% of lawmakers' per diem (currently $150 per day, rising to $190 this session) to a flat $50. So no second dessert with that steak, we're guessing. Short Lines......"
"...The brothers say they "strive to capture their neighbors' strength, wisdom, and humanity." El Magosdomo depicts a man holding a smoldering pipe, looking pensive and thoughtful. His thick, caramel-colored skin is beginning to show signs of age with a few lines around his eyes and mouth, but his small eyes convey contentment, emitting a lively sparkle...."
"...In sharp contrast, these figures are painted on a background of geometric patterns, with smooth, clean lines and vast spaces of pastels. Vedrine calls these spaces "rooms" and says that they are intended to "evoke in us a feeling of peace, soothing the psychological pain." Too bad that we can't enlarge some of those "rooms" and turn them into art exhibition spaces, so as to soothe the psychological pain of all those Austin artists wanting to exhibit their work...."
"...Released in early May via San Francisco/Miami indie Father/Daughter Records, Mise en Place is colored by uncertainty in even the dreamiest parts of the disc. Cohen's wispy sigh of vocals ride airborne guitar lines into a reality-based reverie..."
"...While the lines can get long, Hopdoddy Burger Bar (1400 S. Congress) is worth the wait..."
"...The recent, unexpected downpours only briefly disguise the fact that Texas is in a massive drought. For the second year in a row, the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies large areas of the Panhandle, saw near-record declines as farmers drained the reserves to irrigate crops..."
"...They were, for the most part, reluctant stakeholders in the civil rights struggle, but the experience proved invaluable in the long run, says son Volma Overton Jr. "We were drafted into the movement," he recalled of the times he and his siblings stood in picket lines with their father and generally showed up where they weren't wanted in spite of the taunts, racial epithets, and even death threats that followed..."
"...People then take turns providing feedback. Ezekiel reads his – a few lines about a man, who, after being faced with a blinding light at one end of a path, finds another path – and almost everyone agrees that the piece is grounded in concrete imagery, which is complemented by the internal rhyming..."