City Council begins public budget hearings today (Aug. 20) on its regular agenda, rolling from work session to committees and back again, with testimony invited on the proposed property tax rate, fee changes, and overall budget development, and a second public hearing scheduled for Aug. 27. See "Council: Dog Days Arrive."
Short-term rentals, long-term meetings: Council's Planning and Neighborhoods Committee heard several hours of testimony Monday night, until nearly 3am, and will bring recommendations today for revised STR regulations. See "Public Notice: Paralysis by Committee" and "Late-Night STR Debate."
Travis County Commissioners Court formally adopted Tuesday a $287 million bond proposal for a long-delayed Civil and Family Courthouse Complex to be placed on the November ballot. If voters approve, the new courthouse will be built at Fourth and Guadalupe, on what is currently a parking lot owned by the county.
Civil rights hero and icon Julian Bond, activist, leader, legislator, and historian, died Saturday, Aug. 15, after a brief illness. He was 75. In a statement, President Obama said, "Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life."
Houston Sen. John Whitmire and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick met at the Capitol Tuesday to announce the launch of a special inquiry into jail suicides. There have been 29 suicides in Texas county jails in the past fiscal year (ending Aug. 31) and three since Sandra Bland's death.
While that was happening, the Travis Co. Sheriff's Office distributed a press release concerning the death of an inmate at the county jail. Athena Covarrubias, 40, went to jail on Aug. 5 for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, and driving with an invalid license, all in Williamson County. According to TCSO, "preliminary findings show that there is no evidence of foul play," though the medical examiner will perform an autopsy this week.
Hood County has agreed to pay $43,872 to settle a lawsuit filed by Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton, a gay couple denied a marriage license in June. County Clerk Katie Lang, backed by anti-LGBT, conservative Liberty Institute, refused to issue the license based on "religious convictions." Local attorneys Jan Soifer and Austin Kaplan, who represented the couple, will donate a portion of the recovered legal fees to the Equality Texas Foundation.
APD officer Aaron Van Bishop filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging that his chain of command failed to respond to complaints of a female co-worker sexually harassing him. Oddly enough, the co-worker was Brenda Bermudez, the detective who sued the city, alleging a group of male officers sexually harassed her.