Headlines

One day after the Texas House passed a bill adding further restrictions to women's reproductive health rights, hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters showed up at the steps of the Capitol to voice opposition to the legislation. See Probe-Before-Abortion Bill Moves Forward.
One day after the Texas House passed a bill adding further restrictions to women's reproductive health rights, hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters showed up at the steps of the Capitol to voice opposition to the legislation. See "Probe-Before-Abortion Bill Moves Forward." (Photo by John Anderson)

• The May City Council election – or more specifically, Randi Shade's Place 3 re-election contest – is growing increasingly crowded, with the announcement of two high-profile candidates challenging the incumbent: former City Council Member Max Nofziger and Planning Com­mis­sioner Kathie Tovo. Monday, March 14, is the last day to file for a place on the ballot, so who knows what else may happen? See "City Hall Hustle."

City Council shuffled its pre-meeting work sessions (for now) to Tuesdays at 9am and is considering other changes to lighten the additional strain on staff. At their regularly scheduled Thursday meeting, council members take up parking fixes for South Congress, the Comprehensive Plan, and a $14 million lease extension for Austin Energy's Barton Springs Road building.

• The city of Austin is advising drivers to expect multiple street closures Downtown during SXSW, starting with the Interactive Conference on Friday, March 11, and running through the end of the Music Festival on March 20.

• The Town Lake Animal Center has reached and surpassed its 90% live animal outcome rate, meaning Austin has reached a "No-Kill City" landmark according to a city press statement, which notes that Austin is the first city in Texas to achieve such a goal.

Tom Craddick
Tom Craddick (Photo by Jana Birchum)

• Hundreds of Planned Parenthood advocates marched at the Capitol Tuesday, one day after the Texas House passed legislation requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy – one of several bills designed to weaken Planned Parenthood. See "Probe-Before-Abortion Bill Moves Forward."

• Medical drama unfolded in the House Trans­portation Committee on Wednesday as Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, collapsed and hit his head. The former House speaker suddenly fell to the floor while outlining out a bill that bans texting while driving, and he was taken to Brackenridge hospital.

• Midsession? What midsession? Looks like Texas lawmakers won't be spending spring break with their families, with both House and Senate scheduling committee meetings for the coming week. Their summer may also be in danger, with at least one special session likely.

• Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, has blasted the Republican leadership for backing House Concurrent Resolution 50, an anti-federal states' rights measure. Coleman angrily reminded Texans that Southern states have used the 10th Amendment "to justify slavery, school segregation, poll taxes, and literacy tests."

• The U.S. Supreme Court sided this week with Texas death row inmate Hank Skinner, giving him the okay to sue the Gray County district attorney in federal court for access to evidence so that it can be subjected to DNA testing. For more, see austinchronicle.com/newsdesk.

• An elderly Hindu guru with a long, white beard is hard to miss in a crowd, but 82-year-old Prakashanand Saraswati – convicted last week of molesting two girls at a Hays County ashram outside of Austin – was reported missing Monday after failing to appear for his sentencing. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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