› City Council is holding no less than three meetings this week: a budget work session Wednesday, a special-called meeting Thursday to consider Austin Energy reserves and a transportation bond resolution, and another on Friday to consider an Onion Creek buyout plan. See "Council: Where's the Meeting?" for more details.
› Plan B for Urban Rail? The road to the November ballot took a slight detour last week, as a legal opinion derailed the plan for a combined rail-and-road proposition. Council is now looking at a bond proposal for rail alone, but contingent on the roads being funded from other sources.
› After the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lawsuit filed by a Northeast Austin neighborhood group and a competitor's company, construction began on Waste Management's "Austin Community Landfill" – an expanded site opposed for years by Travis County, nearby residents, and Texas Disposal Systems.
› Mixed news in the latest school accountability ratings from the Texas Education Agency: 90% of all school districts and charters met minimum state standards. Education reformers see room for improvement, while teachers and administrators note the standards were being rewritten until days of the final reckoning. See "AISD Accountability" for more.
› On a 4-2 vote Tuesday, the city Ethics Review Commission dismissed a complaint filed by neighborhood leader Mary Ingle against urban planner and Bury Inc. employee Melissa Neslund; Ingle accused her of serving on a land development committee as an unregistered lobbyist. Lobbyists are forbidden to serve on the committee, which is reviewing revisions to the land code. See "Then There's This," Aug. 1.
› The legislative GOP posturing over the state budget has begun in earnest. Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson has wastefully proposed that some state agencies have their budgets zeroed out and rebuilt every session. On the House side, Speaker Joe Straus has directed the Appropriations Committee to undertake a pilot "Strategic Fiscal Review" of 12 agencies.
› The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations voted 6-1 on Aug. 11 to censure, rather than impeach, Regent Wallace Hall for his witch hunt against UT-Austin President Bill Powers. The committee reserved the right to reopen proceedings, but is letting the Travis County District Attorney have a crack at criminal proceedings first.
› A brief respite from hot air for Texans this week (and we don't mean the cold front): Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz were both at the Iowa State Fair this week, currying favor in the early primary state.
› Sen. Leticia Van de Putte called lieutenant governor opponent Sen. Dan Patrick a "coward" for agreeing to only one of the five debates proposed by her camp. The debate will be held in September and moderated by the Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey. Patrick's campaign claims more debates are to come after the candidate checks scheduling conflicts.