Headlines / Quote of the Week

Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan shortly after being sworn in on the opening day of the 88th Legislature. "For the newcomers here, our freshman class of 2023, congratulations. Words of caution – please do not confuse this body with the one in Washington, D.C.," Phelan said. "After watching Congress attempt to function last week, I cannot imagine why some want Texas to be like D.C." (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Much Ado About Maybe a Li'l Sumthin': As Mayor Steve Adler left office last week, criminal complaints from Council Member Mackenzie Kelly and defeated District 9 candidate Linda Guerrero (represented by attorney Bill Aleshire) alleged that Adler used ATXN staff and resources for political advertising when he endorsed Zo Qadri and José Velásquez. That's a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000.

The Taming of the Flu: A new highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Travis County and can be dangerous for at-risk patients when combined with the flu, says Health Authority Desmar Walkes. After a steady rise in COVID hospitalizations, Travis County's Community Level moved to medium, meaning Austinites should mask up more often.

A Lege Session Night's Dream: It looks like the Texas Legislature will have $188.2 billion available in general revenue over the 2024-25 biennium, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Monday. The unprecedented 26% increase from the last budget cycle is more than the Texas Constitution will legally allow the Lege to spend, so they might vote to "bust the cap" this session.

2B or Not 2B Coach – That Is No Longer the Question: UT-Austin went ahead and fired basketball coach Chris Beard last week after suspending him over his arrest for a suspected domestic assault. Beard's lawyer says Beard was "crushed" and the university "violated" their promise to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations before firing him. For their part, UT's counsel said Beard "does not understand the significance of the behavior he knows he engaged in."

Oh Hell No: While reporters will have access to the Texas House as they did pre-pandemic, the Texas Senate will ban reporters from the Senate floor. Press will be seated in gallery, as they were during the pandemic, where it is more difficult to reach senators for comment.

All El Paso's a Stage: President Joe Biden visited the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time in his presidency this week. Before his four-hour tour in El Paso, Biden received a hand-delivered letter about the border from Gov. Greg Abbott at the El Paso airport. Abbott told reporters there that the president "caused the chaos at the border" and was "two years and about $20 billion too late." After the tour, Biden told reporters, "They need a lot of resources. We're going to get it for them."

Wannabe King Jair: Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was in an Orlando, Fla., hospital bed Monday, as Democratic leaders pressured Biden to remove him from the country. Sunday, hundreds of his supporters stormed the Brazilian capital. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro told CNN the U.S. "should not be a refuge for this authoritarian who has inspired domestic terrorism."

Photo by John Anderson

Quote of the Week

"It's easier for a budgeting cycle when you have no money and all you have to say is no. You don't say no this cycle."

– Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar discussing the state’s massive budget this cycle

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