Headlines / Quote of the Week
Quiet on the Airwaves: KUT has removed The New York Times-produced podcast The Daily from its programming, following Daily host Michael Barbaro's attempts to influence other journalists' coverage of editorial failings made by the Times' (mostly) retracted podcast Caliphate. Austin's NPR affiliate is among four public radio stations that have pulled The Daily.
Disarming the Armed: State Rep. Vikki Goodwin and state Sen. Sarah Eckhardt have filed similar bills, House Bill 791 and Senate Bill 311, respectively, in the 87th Texas Legislature that, if passed, would prohibit the open carry of firearms within 500 feet of public demos.
Lone Star Abortion Law: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a challenge to a 2017 Texas law that bans a common abortion procedure done around 15 weeks, known as dilation and evacuation or D&E, this Thursday, Jan. 21. The anti-choice law has yet to take effect as the 5th Circuit previously struck it down as unconstitutional last October. The court's rehearing is said to be an "unusual" move. Doctors who violate the ban would face up to two years in jail.
In Other TX Abortion News: The annual anti-abortion Texas Rally for Life once again returns to Austin this Saturday, Jan. 23, in the form of a so-called "Life Caravan" around the Texas Capitol. Governor Greg Abbott, among other anti-choice supporters, will speak.
Now Boarding the ATP: The Austin Transit Partnership this week met for its first board meeting to elect officers, approve bylaws, and pass an interim budget. As the governing body of the agency created to build out Project Connect, the board oversees funding, designing, and implementing the mass transit overhaul.
First the Pork Chop, Then Mobility: The Austin Transportation Department began construction this week on improvements at the intersection of North Lamar and Morrow, which include removing the "pork chop" median. The decades-old median has prevented both westbound Morrow traffic from driving across Lamar and northbound Lamar traffic from making left turns onto Morrow.
What's That Buzz? The Austin-headquartered dating and networking app Bumble is going public. Last week the company filed initial public offering paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Litigation, Paxton Style: The Texas Office of the Attorney General collected $1.2 billion in civil litigation between fiscal years 2015 and 2020. Among the cases that contributed to this total is $110 million in settlements with AstraZeneca in 2018 for the British Swedish pharmaceutical giant allegedly falsely marketing two of its drugs to Texas Medicaid providers.
Quote of the Week
"This is America's day. This is democracy's day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve."
– President Joe Biden during his inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 20