Almost Summer Break: Two more regular City Council meetings until July break – today's 104-Item agenda features several returning postponements, including new regs governing major park use, standard plumbing codes, and whether to renew the juvenile curfew ordinance or replace it with less punitive procedures. "Council: Eternal Returns," June 16.
Expensive Special Session: Gov. Greg Abbott's special session, which begins July 18, could cost taxpayers more than $1 million, reports the Dallas Morning News. The estimated price tag is 26% more expensive than the 2013 special session, since per diem payouts increased that year. "A Legislative Session Just for Dan Patrick," June 16.
Planned Parenthood advocates on Monday delivered 15,000 signatures from Texans who oppose the state's request to recoup federal funds it lost after kicking PP from a Medicaid program for low-income women (now called Healthy Texas Women) to Gov. Abbott's office. Austin activists also dropped a pink banner calling on Abbott to stop his attacks on reproductive rights from an overpass on I-35 during rush hour to protest the move.
San Antonio Shuffle: Ivy Taylor was ousted as mayor of San Antonio after a three-year run, replaced by the more progressive Ron Nirenberg in a run-off election on Saturday, June 10. Taylor voted against a local LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance and opposed the city's involvement with a suit against anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4. (Nirenberg favors the suit.) Good riddance.
Local GOP Politico Matt Mackowiak was elected chairman of the Travis County GOP on Wednesday, defeating former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman.
Animals Über Alles: Gov. Abbott signed Senate Bill 762 into law, which will increase punishment for violent offenses of animal cruelty. Under Sen. José Menéndez's law, torturing, poisoning, or "causing serious bodily injury" to an animal is now a third-degree felony, carrying a two- to 10-year sentence. Now, if only Abbott would support human rights.
Rideshare Wars Continue: In the wake of the return of Uber and Lyft to Austin ride-hailing, RideAustin announced a series of price cuts to match the renewed competition. The nonprofit RideAustin announced that "riders who choose RideAustin will immediately see lower fares while RideAustin drivers will continue to receive a higher pay than driving for Uber & Lyft."
Meanwhile, in Uberlandia: The company announced that CEO Travis Kalanick will be taking an "indefinite leave of absence" in the wake of various scandals dogging the company and a report from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, commissioned by the company, making 47 recommendations for policy changes in the wake of employee sexual harassment allegations against the company.