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Lege Lines: State Level Bullying Reaches New Plateau
Local reps’ mission this session? Keep the state GOP away from Austin.
News Story  January 26, 2017, by Richard Whittaker


Blue Lines to White Sheets
Top 10 local stories
News Story  January 6, 2006
"...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...."

Lege Lines: Weak Oversight Rules, School Vouchers Pass Senate, and More...
Lege pushes weak oversight rules, school voucher bill sails through Senate, and more...
News Story  April 23, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

100 Local SXSW Music Acts
A-Z list of 100 Austin acts showcasing at the Fest
Music Story  March 16, 2017, by The Music Staff
"...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..."

New Map Tweaks Local House Seats
Travis Senate map untouched, but House map altered slightly
News Story  November 25, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Greg Abbott Brings the Lege Back for More Fun
It promises to be a very special session
News Story  June 8, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...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.)..."

Lege Lines: Session Winners and Losers
As sine die nears, bills drop left and right
News Story  May 28, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines
Budget fight on the horizon, GOP leadership spat, TMF thwarts anti-choice measures, and more
News Story  April 30, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...The conflicts have shifted beyond party lines, and are more about how the House and Senate co-exist. There are some outliers, of course..."

Playback: Lines, Rhymes, and Redemption
The line at Fun Fun Fun Fest wasn't the only show last weekend
Music Column  November 13, 2014, by Kevin Curtin
"...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...."

Geopolitical Fault Lines
Austin's latest attempt at single-member districts is getting a mixed response
News Story  July 6, 2012, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...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..."

Lege Lines
School finance debate heats up, HHSC consolidation on hold?, and more
News Story  April 2, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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...."

Lege Lines: Brewing Up Beer Bills, Biz Lobby Smacks Tax Cuts, and More
The Lege brews up beer bills, the biz lobby slams Patrick's tax cuts, and more
News Story  March 26, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Gov. Abbott Takes the Stage
Abbott delivers the State of the State and lawmakers get a per diem boost
News Story  February 19, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines
Lege makes an anti-city push, nixes a bill limiting police filming, the Senate passes its budget, and more...
News Story  April 16, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Same Old “Sanctuary”
House version of SB 4? Still terrible.
News Story  April 20, 2017, by Mary Tuma and the News Staff
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Left in the Dark
Who knew about the ICE raids this weekend? Not your state reps.
News Story  February 16, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...Dan Patrick. That was passed out of the Senate on party lines on Feb..."

Lege Lines: School Finance Math; Tax Plans Diverge; Veteran Benefits Restricted; and More
Is school finance dead this session?; House and Senate tax plans split; Lege restricts veterans' benefits; and more
News Story  May 14, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Page Two: Between the Lines
What editors blog about when they blog about editing
Columns  August 6, 2010, by Louis Black
"...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)...."

Lege Lines: Billpocalypse!
Bills start dying as sine die draws near; schools get new A-F grading system; and more
News Story  May 21, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines
Jonathan Stickland annoys his colleagues
News Story  May 7, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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)..."

On Culture's Front Lines
The 2005 class of the Austin Arts Hall of Fame
Arts Story  June 3, 2005, by Robert Faires
"...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..."

Lege Lines
Janek gets grilled, transportation moves, and more
News Story  February 26, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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......"

Local Opera Local Artists' La Clemenza di Tito: A Retelling
The company’s take on Mozart’s last opera asks hard questions about forgiveness in a messy world
Arts Story  March 1, 2018, by Robert Faires
"..."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..."

Lege Lines: Think of the Children
Can the Lege fix Child Protective Services?
News Story  May 11, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Resistance in the “Sanctuary”
Assessing the fallout after SB 4’s passage
News Story  May 4, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Elsewhere Under the Dome
Business at the Capitol continues to roll
News Story  May 4, 2017, by the News Staff
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Guns vs. Business, Strange Bedfellows, and More
Lege walks the line between proliferating guns, protecting businesses
News Story  April 9, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Film Incentive Program Funding Uncertain, Anti-Choice Buffoonery, and More
Lege considers film incentive program funding and anti-choice antics take hold
News Story  March 19, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

Lege Lines: House Committees, Revenue Estimates ... & Snacks
The Lege appoints House Committee members, offers revenue estimates, and ensures lawmakers are well fed
News Story  February 12, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...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......"

Local Palette
Paintings
Arts Story  February 21, 1997
"...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...."

Local Palette
"Deus Ex Machina"
Arts Story  December 6, 1996
"...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...."

Lege Lines: Elsewhere Under the Dome
What happened during the wild week before sine die?
News Story  June 1, 2017, by the News Staff


Lege Lines: Robbin' the Hoods
How can state lawmakers fix school finance?
News Story  August 3, 2017, by Richard Whittaker


Between the Lines
Books Review  October 16, 1998


Lege Lines: Peace in Straus' House
News from the saner chamber
News Story  August 10, 2017, by Richard Whittaker and Mary Tuma


Local Musicians on Avoiding the Sophomore Slump
Five trending Austin-hatched acts that sidestepped recording’s biggest pitfall
Music Story  August 3, 2017, by Tim Stegall, Libby Webster, Michael Toland, Doug Freeman and Thomas Fawcett
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Bathroom Bill Steals Spotlight
"Texas Privacy Act" isn't about privacy – it's about transphobia
News Story  January 19, 2017, by Mary Tuma


Local Eateries to Feed Your Hangover
Feast your eyes, then your stomach
DAILY AAN  June 17, 2016, by Spencer Beghtol
"...While the lines can get long, Hopdoddy Burger Bar (1400 S. Congress) is worth the wait..."

Lege Lines: Kill Bill(s)
Abbott vetoes more than 40 bills
News Story  June 25, 2015, by Richard Whittaker


Lege Lines: The Score
How the 83rd did on water infrastructure, the budget, education, the environment, and transportation
News Story  June 14, 2013, by Brandon Watson
"...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..."

Local Civil Rights Hero Overton Dies
Activist helped desegregate Austin's schools
News Story  November 11, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...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..."

Local Writers Hone Their Craft at the Street Lit Authors Club
Creating a space where those experiencing homelessness can tell their stories
Arts Story  December 14, 2017, by Beth Sullivan
"...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..."

Lege Lines: Elsewhere Under the Dome
Taking stock of the week that was
News Story  August 3, 2017, by Richard Whittaker and Mary Tuma


Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Don't praise the Senate GOP for working quickly to pass what's needed
News Column  July 20, 2017, by Mary Tuma and Richard Whittaker


Lege Lines: Texas Temper Tantrum
Freedom Caucus wigs out, "chubs," stalls, kills every bill in sight
News Story  May 18, 2017, by Mary Tuma


Lege Lines: Bills on the Move
The heat is on in the state's House and Senate
News Story  May 18, 2017, by the News Staff


Lege Lines: Don’t Blame the Death Worm
The Texas House wants to kill off "film incentives"
News Story  April 13, 2017, by Richard Whittaker and the News Staff


Lege Lines: Islamophobia Is out of Hand
In Texas and the nation, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim fervor grows
News Story  February 2, 2017, by Mary Tuma


Lege Lines: Off the Rails Already
Lege opens with sparring chambers, questions about Dukes' future
News Story  January 12, 2017, by Richard Whittaker


Lege Lines
Medicaid, guns, and more
News Story  April 5, 2013, by Michael King


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