City Council work moves into committees for a couple of weeks, with the next regular meeting now scheduled for Nov. 12. Contentious proposals in development address utility rates, ride-for-hire companies, short-term rentals, etc. See "Taking It to Committee," Oct. 28.
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the nonprofit Barton Springs Conservancy announced a partnership this week to supplement city funding for improvements to Barton Springs Pool. PARD has increasingly looked to private sources to help sustain the parks, and the Conservancy says it plans "to bring key Barton Springs stakeholders together on collaborative fundraising projects."
Early voting continues in the state constitutional and Travis County courthouse bond election, although the turnout is considerably less than inspiring: through Tuesday, a little over 16,000 voters (2.53% of registered voters), hoping to break 5% by Friday, Oct. 30. Election day is Nov. 3.
Just days after the state announced they would cut Planned Parenthood from Medicaid enrollment, officials stormed affiliate clinics in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Brownsville unannounced, demanding thousands of documents, including patient records. Calling the surprise investigation a "fishing expedition," Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas CEO Ken Lambrecht said the provider may seek legal recourse.
A class action lawsuit filed on Tuesday alleges that Austin's Municipal Court is unconstitutionally jailing impoverished people who can't pay the fines and fees associated with class-C misdemeanor charges. Class-C misdemeanors are the lowest possible civic fine; handed out for violations as ordinary as jaywalking or failing to wear a seatbelt, and to be punishable solely by fine. According to the lawsuit, July 2015 saw the Austin Municipal Court send 67 people to jail for such offenses.
Ammon Covino got arrested again. Covino, 42, with his brother and father, co-owned Northwest Austin's Austin Aquarium in 2013 before being sent to prison for one year for past exploits in Boise, Idaho, dealing in illegally procured wildlife. He was arrested this week for violating a probationary order that he not get involved in the shipping or exhibiting of any animals. Reports say federal authorities spotted his car outside of the Austin Aquarium earlier this week.
Anti-immigrant legislation could reach the Texas Legislature earlier than expected. After Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez warning her not to loosen her immigrant detention policies, Rep. (and Senate hopeful) David Simpson, R-Longview, wrote to Abbott, asking for a special session on so-called sanctuary cities.