Beyond City Limits
We thought gun rights and property rights went hand in hand, but state Rep. Suzanne Gratia Hupp, R-Lampasas, begs to differ. Hupp and other gun fans want to close a "loophole" in the concealed-weapons law that allows local governments to ban guns on their property -- civic buildings, parks, city buses, and the like. Former State Sen. Jerry Patterson, now running for land commissioner and author of the 1995 bill, says Austin and scores of other impertinent cities are violating the Texas Constitution, despite a ruling last year by Attorney John Cornyn supporting the cities. Hupp told a pro-gun crowd in New Braunfels she wants to "make clear to these cities that they don't have the right to curtail your right to defend yourself and your family" at the library or on a bus. Under her proposed amendment, airports, schools, courtrooms, and polling places could remain gun-free. -- M.C.M.
Duck and cover! State Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville wants public schools to teach terrorism preparedness lessons to kids, beginning in elementary school. "Some would say this is extreme," Lucio admits, but "there was a school just minutes away from the World Trade Center." The Texas Education Agency is "preparing a response" to Lucio; meanwhile, homeland security money is already being spent to train school districts in emergency readiness. -- M.C.M.
Sprawl costs us all, and makes us thirsty, too: A new report from three enviro groups says that suburban sprawl has worsened the record drought now vexing the eastern U.S., because impervious cover has prevented rain from recharging the groundwater. The groups recommend cities take the sort of Smart Growth and green-building steps with which Austin is now quite familiar. -- M.C.M.
Travis Co. Democrats kick off their '02 campaign season opener Sunday with Rep. Lloyd Doggett and state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos headlining the event, while GOP county judge candidate Bob Honts will try one-upping them with another brand of star power two days later. Red McCombs, the San Antonio car king and owner of the Minnesota Vikings, will deliver the keynote address at a Honts luncheon fundraiser Tuesday at the Arboretum's Renaissance Hotel, and recording artist Larry Gatlin will be on hand to sing the candidate's praises. (Honts claims to be a big supporter of live music.) Tickets run at $100 a pop. Honts is making his second stab at a comeback on the commissioners court, hoping to unseat incumbent Co. Judge Sam Biscoe. Local Dems will cheer on Biscoe's and other candidates' efforts 5-7pm Sunday at La Zona Rosa, 612 W. Fourth, where there'll be food and music all around. -- A.S.
The ACLU of Texas and the Texas Criminal Justice Reform Coalition have released "Stand Up: What to do if you're a victim of police abuse in Texas," a 36-page manual with advice and information about filing complaints, researching officer misconduct, and other matters. For info, call 441-8123.