Headlines / Quote of the Week
Meet Your Council Candidates: The city and the League of Women Voters Austin Area will host virtual forums to hear from City Council candidates over the next few weeks. Suggest forum questions by emailing email@example.com or calling 512/451-6710. Schedule at www.austintexas.gov/candidateforums.
More Survivors Sue: Another class action lawsuit has been filed against Austin and Travis County law enforcement, alleging the mishandling of sexual assault cases. The plaintiffs – four sexual assault survivors who were not plaintiffs in the similar federal suit now on appeal – accuse APD and the D.A.'s Office of continued violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. See "City Council Mulls Future Events, as Venues Cry for Help Now."
What Starts Here: There are three COVID-19 clusters, with a collective 100 cases, in West Campus, said UT-Austin last week. Days after the announcement, 95 students tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the Sept. 12 Longhorn football game. At press time, UT's COVID-19 dashboard shows over 500 new cases since the start of the fall semester.
Speaking of Students ... Austin-area high school- and college-aged students are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than Austin's overall population, according to Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott. Last week, high school students reported a 14% positivity rate – almost three times Austin's positivity rate at 4.8% – while college students had a rate of 9.4%.
Bigots Be Bigoting: The State Board of Education rejected amendments to its sex education curriculum that would have taught kids that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. SBOE is expected to take its final vote on overhauling Texas' sex ed standards in November.
APD Civilian Oversight: Last week the city appointed the first members of its inaugural Community Police Review Commission. The 10-member commission, all unpaid volunteers, will provide civilian oversight of the Austin Police Department.
VBM Battle Continues: In the latest twist-and-turn of the Texas Democratic Party's legal battle to expand vote by mail during the pandemic, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected TDP's argument that Texas' strict VBM eligibility rules discriminate based on age.
More Park Amenities Open: Last Saturday Austin Parks and Recreation Department reopened additional park amenities and facilities, including Barking Springs, disc golf courses, and neighborhood tennis courts.
Quote of the Week
"We heard over and over again in testimony about what [LGBTQIA students'] experiences were, and for us to neglect that because we're uncomfortable is irresponsible."
– State Board of Education member Marisa B. Pérez-Díaz. See "Qmmunity" for more.