Headlines / Quote of the Week
Fri., Jan. 21, 2022
Bastrop County Fire: A prescribed burn in Bastrop State Park on Tuesday turned into a wildfire that forced evacuations and road closures. At press time, the fire has burned close to 783 acres.
Burn Ban Issued: Due to low humidity levels and strong winds accompanying this week's cold front, Travis County has issued a burn ban until Feb. 16.
Ballot Applications Turned Away: Texans applying to vote by mail are seeing their requests denied in record numbers due to new restrictions set by Senate Bill 1, the voter suppression law Republican lawmakers passed last session.
New Laws in Effect: On Tuesday, a mixed bag of new laws went into effect; they include HB 25, which seeks to limit trans student-athlete participation; SB 5, which restricts the use of chains on dogs outside; and three bills that introduced redistricting maps that incited a flurry of lawsuits, including from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jan. 25 Special Election: Early voting ends Jan. 21 in the race to replace D4 CM Greg Casar on City Council. See voting info and the Chronicle Editorial Board's endorsement.
Their House, Their Rules: On Jan. 13, Austin-Travis County issued "Protecting Customers and Employees and Preserving Adequate Workforce Capacity" orders authorizing businesses to impose health and safety requirements for staff and employees, including requiring masks, testing, or vaccinations; per the order, those requirements must be posted via signage at each entry.
Free COVID Tests From Federal Government: Every home in the U.S. is eligible to receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the government; order your free tests at covidtests.gov.
A.G. Courts Another Lawsuit: Following complaints from the Austin American-Statesman, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth-Star Telegram, Houston Chronicle, and San Antonio Express-News accusing Attorney General Ken Paxton of failing to comply with the Texas Public Information Act, the Travis County District Attorney's Office gave the A.G. four days to turn over the records in question – communications he made during the 2021 Trump rally that ended in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Welcome (Back) to Austin! The U.S. women's national team is conducting its annual January soccer training camp Jan. 19-28 at St. David's Performance Center, Austin FC's training facility. The reigning FIFA Women's World Cup champions played the first-ever public game at Q2 Stadium, home to the Verde, back in June.
Quote of the Week
"My friends, this is what voter suppression looks like."
– Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir on the effects of Senate Bill 1 (see “Headlines,” above)
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