• City Council doesn't formally meet again until Jan. 23 (work session Jan. 21), although today (Jan. 9) they convene as the Council Committee on Austin Energy, with a session on solar energy policy, among other things. See "Then There's This."
› Meanwhile, would-be Council candidates continue to queue for the long line forming to win spots on the dais in November – a few more are added to the catalog in this issue, and the full list-in-progress is available at austinchronicle.com. See "City Council: The Line Forms Here."
› Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and CMs Bill Spelman and Laura Morrison on Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to pass the Women's Health Protection Act and the Texas Legislature to repeal House Bill 2. The actions are necessary to "protect Austin residents and those who may come to Austin to receive health care," the trio wrote. For more, see Newsdesk, Jan. 8.
› During a Monday morning hearing, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit seemed skeptical that the hospital-admitting privileges provision of House Bill 2 has placed an undue burden on women seeking legal abortion care in Texas. See "Just Drive, She Said."
› On Tuesday afternoon, Travis County Commissioners Court effectively ended the Saxet Gun Shows at the county Exposition Center by not acting to renew the lease contract. County Judge Sam Biscoe noted that Saxet had declined to discuss a new contract that would require background checks at the county facility – negotiations are "still pending."
› Jury selection in the death penalty case of Brandon Daniel, charged with the 2012 murder of APD Officer Jaime Padron, started this week. It could take up to a month to seat a jury.
› Texans have gotten used to power shortages and rolling brownouts in the summer heat, but on Jan. 6 the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued an energy emergency alert. Statewide power demands hit a winter record of 57,277 MW between 7-8am the following day.
› Democrats are demanding that William J. White, vice president of payday lender Cash America, step down as chair of the state's Finance Commission after he told the El Paso Times that borrowers, and not his usurious and predatory industry, were responsible for their crippling debt.
› Peaceful Streets Project founder Antonio Buehler is suing several Austin Police officers in federal court, arguing that they have violated his rights by arresting him for "crimes he did not commit" in retaliation for his recording police conduct. The city and Police Chief Art Acevedo are also liable, he argues, because they've failed to properly train and supervise Austin officers.
› UT-Austin has hired Louisville Cardinals coach Charlie Strong to replace Mack Brown as football coach. However, the hiring process is not sitting well with major donor Red McCombs, who has criticized athletics director Steve Patterson for not consulting with the money men.
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