Racial Disparities in Drug Arrests: The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Texas Harm Reduction Alliance, Grassroots Leadership, and UT Law Civil Rights Clinic have released preliminary key findings of a new report highlighting racial disparities in low-level drug possession arrests in Travis County. Analyzing less-than-a-gram drug possession arrests in a one-year period, findings revealed Black residents represented 29.4% of the arrests studied while only comprising less than 9% of the county's population. In arrests involving Latinx individuals, 57% originated from motor vehicle stops. For Black motorists, that number was 44%. The report will be published in full later this month.
Choo-Choo Ch-Boogie! Addressing the worst rail emergency since the Denzel Washington film Unstoppable, City Council hopes to save the inoperable Zilker Zephyr kiddie train by collaborating with the Austin Parks Foundation or another nonprofit to get the line repaired and the train running again. The resolution by CM Paige Ellis asks for a staff progress report by the end of June.
Pipeline Lawsuit The city of Austin and several other jurisdictions have filed a federal lawsuit asking for an injunction against further construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline (running from the Permian Basin to Houston, through the Hill Country and south of Austin). Plaintiffs also include San Marcos, Kyle, Hays and Travis Counties, the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, and several private landowners.
Show Me the Money: The U.S. Department of Labor announced that Polvo's Mexican Restaurant (three locations in Austin) is required to pay $98,520 in back wages and damages to 19 employees. An investigation found that kitchen employees were being paid flat weekly salaries without overtime pay, as well as violations of record-keeping and information obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Bernie Beats Buttigieg (Barely): Senator Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday by a narrow margin, while former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg finished close behind. The biggest surprise of the night was perhaps third-place finisher Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, respectively. Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, and Deval Patrick have also dropped out of the 2020 presidential race.
Fly Us to the Moon: Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration's proposed FY 2021 federal budget would spike defense spending while slashing human services including Social Security, food stamps, student loans, Medicaid, and low-income housing programs – in exchange for extended tax cuts, more nukes, and the Space Force!