Catch Your Breath: After last week's grueling special meeting on the land use code, today's City Council meeting (May 9) features a relatively light 43-Item agenda to consider: a Green New Deal resolution, the affordable housing bonus program, and a relatively short list of zoning cases.
So Who Pays? The Texas Legislature proceeded on its path to cap local (and school district) property tax increases at an annual 3.5% rate, while GOP leaders proposed paying for it by increasing the sales tax rate – thus shifting the tax burden in a regressive direction. But on Tuesday, the sales "tax swap" – which would have required voter approval – was pulled down amid unified Democratic and some Republican opposition in the House.
Austin FC Grandfathered: Elsewhere at the Lege, a Senate bill that could have derailed the city's deal for a Major League Soccer team and stadium is no longer a threat, as it was amended by its author so as not to impact agreements made prior to the law's taking effect this fall.
New Bland Evidence: "I will light you up!" yelled Trooper Brian Encinia to Sandra Bland, threatening her with a Taser when she didn't immediately get out of her car after a traffic stop allegedly made for failure to signal. Bland's brief cell phone video of her 2015 arrest – before her subsequent death in the Waller County jail – was released by a Dallas TV station this week. Encinia had claimed he "feared for his safety."
Alas, Poor Alex: Last week, Facebook banned local demagogue and "conspiracy theorist" (i.e., fantasist and survivalist shill) Alex Jones from its social platforms, along with several other hard-right personalities and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, as "dangerous" and "promoting violence and hate." President Trump reacted angrily to the ban as "discriminatory" and began boosting the banned content via his Twitter feed.
Can We Keep the Hat? On May 1, four Texas State University students were arrested in the wake of a confrontation between student groups, in anticipation of an anti-immigrant demonstration that never materialized. One student reportedly grabbed a "MAGA" cap off another's head; after the hat-napper was arrested, three more students were grabbed for disorderly conduct or interfering with police. It was the latest in a series of provocations and incidents, dating back to 2016, of the San Marcos campus being targeted by outside alt-right and white nationalist agitators.