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Citizens protest HB 40, a bill that could reduce local control over oil and gas regulations, at the Capitol on March 23. Standing beside a 15-foot fake drilling rig, activists warned against the hazards of drilling activity close to homes, schools, and businesses.
Citizens protest HB 40, a bill that could reduce local control over oil and gas regulations, at the Capitol on March 23. Standing beside a 15-foot fake drilling rig, activists warned against the hazards of drilling activity close to homes, schools, and businesses. (Photo by John Anderson)

City Council meets today (March 26) with a relatively light agenda but a few items that figure to raise some dust: the return of Downtown overnight concrete pours, the manager-at-risk contract for the ABIA parking garage, the "busking" ordinance, and lease renewal for Recycled Reads. See "Council: Recycled Reconsiderations."

Speaking of dust, it's begun to settle in the wake of the combined SXSW Festivals, a bit more contained and relaxed than last year, but with plenty of highlights, including Snoop Dogg, Grumpy Cat, a passel of sparkling films, and the semi-reincarnation of the Legendary Doug Sahm.

Travis Co. district Judge Gisela Triana was among the 42 DWI suspects ordered to draw blood during APD's "no refusal" weekend during the days of SXSW. Triana, 48, was pulled over for speeding through South Austin on Friday; she acknowledged she'd been drinking, and police found a Mike's Hard Lemonade bottle in her car. Triana's been a civil judge within the county since 2005.

UT System regents apparently lost their first choice to succeed Bill Powers as president of UT-Austin when Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton accepted the presidency of NYU. UT's executive vice president and provost, Gregory Fenves, is now reportedly the leading candidate.

The Texas House Appropriations Committee sent its $209.8 billion draft budget to the full House Tuesday, with $8 billion still to be split between tax cuts, transportation, education, and every other pressing financial issue anyone wants to fight for.

Sen. Ted Cruz kicked off a presidential campaign this week at Jerry Falwell's fundamentalist Liberty University, saying he'd repeal Obamacare (despite recently announcing he'll enroll in the program), end the IRS, and forget all about that global warming nonsense. Let the GOP circus begin.

Alabama Judge Roy Moore polluted the Capitol with his reactionary opinions on same-sex marriage, claiming to speak for God, along with the predictable collection of right-wing politicians and demagogic preachers. Lubbock state Sen. Charles Perry said, "Apathy is one of Satan's best tools" – perhaps he should have looked in a mirror.

Amid the LGBT hate stewing at the Capitol, Austin residents and plaintiffs in the Texas marriage equality case, Nicole Dimetman and Cleo DeLeon, welcomed their second child. However, a pregnancy complication gave the couple reason for alarm: "A day that should have been one of the happiest of our life was terrifying for Cleo," said Dimetman. "If I had not made it through the childbirth, Cleo would not have been our daughter's legal mother because her name is not allowed on the birth certificate in Texas."

The Israeli secret service spied on U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations, and then fed the information they obtained to Republican members of Congress bent on derailing a deal and undermining the president, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

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