Security for thousands of Austin buildings compromised, city memo says (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
The security systems at thousands of high-occupancy apartment and commercial buildings in Austin are being replaced after a burglary suspect was found to be in possession of a master key to lockboxes that first responders use, city officials said Tuesday.
A few weeks ago, police arrested a man on the suspicion that he had burglarized two non-residential properties using keys that were obtained from one of these lockboxes, which had to be opened using a master key, city of Austin officials said...
Commission: Add music venues in CodeNEXT to help clubs spread through city (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
The push is on to make live music venues a distinct business use case in the city’s building code, a move that music industry proponents hope will make it easier for music hot spots to emerge in neighborhoods throughout the city.
By a 7-0 vote, the Austin Music Commission approved a resolution Monday recommending that the city make “live music venue” a building use separate from the existing “bar/nightclub” use that is currently in place. That distinction could make music venues easier to open and subject to a less stringent prior approval and public notice process than what is currently required of bars and nightclub businesses looking to open outside of downtown entertainment districts...
AISD pumps brakes on Confederacy renamings (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
The initiative to change the names of Austin school facilities bearing the titles of Confederate military personnel lost steam at the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees’ Jan. 8 work session. The item was scheduled to come to a vote at the board’s Feb. 26 meeting, but the consensus Monday was to drop that date in order to give district staff time to re-evaluate policy and procedure.
Under current school regulations, a school facility can be renamed prior to the standard 50-year expiration if the name falls out of compliance with the district’s core beliefs and values. In the midst of a nationwide movement against Confederate monuments and symbols last fall, the school administration proposed the renaming of the John T. Allan facility, Zachary Taylor Fulmore Middle School, Sidney Lanier Early College High School, John H. Reagan Early College High School and Eastside Memorial Early College High School at the Johnston Campus (named for Albert Sidney Johnston) at the board’s Nov. 13 work session...
Georgetown City Council nixes condo project after clash with developer (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Tempers flared at the Georgetown City Council meeting Tuesday night as a council member chastised a developer for the way he spoke to the council during a hearing about his controversial mixed-use condo project proposed near the town’s historic downtown square.
Council Member Anna Eby said during the meeting that she hoped developer Eric Visser had treated the Georgetown city staff with more respect than he had the City Council.
“Please do not attack us personally; please respect us,” she said. “I am disgusted.”
Visser was at the City Council on Tuesday because he had appealed a unanimous vote by the city’s Historic and Architectural Review Commission recommending that a proposed four-story 23-unit condo complex not be approved...
Phillip Huffines, Angela Paxton square off in bid for state Senate seat based in Collin County (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
Phillip Huffines and Angela Paxton kicked off their battle for the Republican nomination for state Senate District 8 with Huffines saying the job calls for his "decades of experience" and Paxton labeling herself as a "unique voice." The two faced off Monday night in this Collin County town at a candidates forum hosted by the Republican Club of Heritage Ranch. The candidates spoke to a large crowd gathered at this country club for what's expected to be an uphill battle for the Republican nomination for the Senate District 8 seat currently held by Sen. Van Taylor, who is running for Congress...
Gov. Abbott backs GOP primary opponent to state Rep. Wayne Faircloth (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Faircloth is the second House Republican whose primary challenger has been endorsed by Abbott. In November, the governor threw his support to Susanna Dokupil, who is running against state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place.
Abbott's endorsements of Dokupil and Middleton follow a special session during which the governor promised to support lawmakers who embraced his ambitious 20-item agenda — and potentially work to unseat those who did not. In addition to endorsing the two challengers, Abbott has given his support to over a dozen incumbents seeking re-election...
17 Democratic lawmakers back Martinez Fischer's comeback bid to unseat Arévalo in Texas House (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Former state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer is being endorsed by 17 sitting lawmakers in his campaign to return to the Texas House — and to unseat Rep. Diana Arévalo, a fellow San Antonio Democrat.The list of 17 lawmakers — nearly a third of the House Democratic Caucus — includes four members from the San Antonio area: state Reps. Ina Minjarez, Justin Rodriguez, Roland Gutierrez and Philip Cortez. It is typically rare for incumbents to endorse primary challengers to their colleagues.
Texans in ‘extraordinary’ Trump meeting optimistic on immigration deal (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
The White House meeting Tuesday over immigration policy and border security hit home for the three participants from Texas: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo. All three are critical players in forging a bill in the coming days that will address the expiring program that shields from deportation young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, as well as border security and legal immigration programs. Texas is home to the second highest number of so-called Dreamers in the country and the state has the longest stretch of border with Mexico — 1,254 miles of the 2,000-mile border...
Federal court voids North Carolina’s GOP-drawn congressional map for partisan gerrymandering (The Washington Post) LINK TO STORY
Federal judges have ruled that North Carolina's congressional district map drawn by legislative Republicans is illegally gerrymandered because of excessive partisanship that gave the GOP a rock-solid advantage for most seats and must quickly be redone. The ruling late Tuesday marks the second time this decade that the GOP's congressional boundaries in the state have been thrown out by a three-judge panel. In 2016, another panel tossed out two majority black congressional districts initially drawn in 2011, saying there was no justification for using race as the predominant factor in forming them. The redrawn map was the basis for a new round of lawsuits...