Headlines

City Council meets today (Thursday, Jan. 26), with a morning quarterly briefing from Austin Energy (expect proposed rate schedules to be more than subtext) and a debate over how best to readdress the misinformation provided by local crisis pregnancy centers.

› Specifically, two items on the agenda concern revising or repealing an ordinance requiring crisis pregnancy centers to publicly post information about their operations – namely that they do not provide abortion-related services or birth control (or much more than anti-abortion propaganda). In response to the 2010 ordinance, several local CPC operators sued, claiming the ordinance violates free speech protections. The city's legal department is recommending repeal pending resolution of national litigation.

› It never rains, but it pours. Heavy storms hit Central Texas Tuesday and Wednesday, carrying hail and several inches of rain, causing numerous outages, and flooding Barton Springs Pool – which is temporarily closed.

› The Austin Police Department is looking for help to identify a burglar in West Campus. A woman awoke in her apartment Tuesday to find a man crouching at the foot of her bed; he fled when she screamed. She was unable to give a description, but police have reportedly said there is nothing to suggest at this point that the man is the same suspect wanted for questioning in connection with the Jan. 1 murder of Esme Barrera (see "Excited About Life," Jan. 13).

› Austin Police Association President Wayne Vincent has asked the city to investigate who leaked confidential information from a Citizen Review Panel that recommended firing the police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Byron Carter; see "Who Leaked Police Info?."

› Travis County Constable Bruce Elfant kick-starts his campaign today (Thursday, Jan. 26) as a Democratic candidate for tax assessor-collector. This year's property taxes are due to interim tax assessor-collector Tina Morton by Tuesday, Jan. 31; monthly payment plans are available.

› Mayor Lee Leffingwell last week joined 100-plus mayors from across the nation in signing the Mayors for the Freedom To Marry pledge, an effort toward ending marriage discrimination.

› Gov. Rick Perry's presidential aspirations collapsed Jan. 19 when he announced he was suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich. Democrats are now asking that his campaign refund the $2.6 million Texans spent on his security detail during his abortive campaign. (See "Point Austin: Shameless" and "Cain: 6,324 ... Perry: 2,494.")

› As the legal tussle over Texas' redistricting maps continues (see "The Texas Map Morass,"), Attorney General Greg Abbott is getting into another fight with the Department of Justice, this time over Senate Bill 14, the voter ID bill passed last session. He has asked a three-judge federal panel in D.C. to bypass the DOJ preclearance system and approve the law.

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