Blackout investigation, Powers' pulmonary embolism, and more
• Another Enron? The Sierra Club and Public Citizen have called for a full investigation into last week's rolling power blackouts. The groups want lawmakers and state agencies to examine whether power companies deliberately manipulated the supplies to create massive profits as trading prices soared. Two Senate committees are already scheduling hearings.
• Taking a second swing at the planned demolition of the Holly Street Power Plant, the city has reissued a request for bid proposals to dismantle the East Austin structure after much controversy in its first bid process. Proposals are due March 14.
• At press time, the Senate State Affairs Committee was hearing testimony related to Houston Sen. Dan Patrick's bill that would require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and be provided a detailed description of fetal development. Senate Bill 16 is controversial, in part, because it contains no exception for rape or incest, or for fetal abnormalities.
• University of Texas President William Powers Jr. is being treated for a pulmonary embolism at St. David's South Austin Medical Center. Powers was admitted Tuesday afternoon and was expected to remain hospitalized for a few days, according to a UT press statement.
• Hate sitting in traffic? Be sure to steer clear of a large swath of I-35 in South Austin this weekend as the Texas Department of Transportation begins heavy construction on three of the flyovers at the busy I-35/Ben White interchange, beginning late Friday and continuing into early morning on Monday. Traffic will be diverted onto the frontage roads between Woodward and Stassney.
• While the state faces a $27 billion shortfall, American Atheists have a proposal: Tax churches. The group has spent the last week picketing the Capitol, proposing that the state end exemptions for faith groups. The cash could help provide for the sick, the needy, and the children of Texas.
• The Dallas Morning News will become the first major daily newspaper in Texas with a pay wall for online content. Starting Feb. 15, the newspaper will charge for the majority of its recently redesigned website, plus its iPhone and iPad apps.