About two dozen armed protesters gathered Sunday at the gates of the Texas Capitol grounds, which are closed through Inauguration Day “out of an abundance of caution.”
The protesters didn’t carry any Trump banners or regalia, as protesters at the U.S. Capitol had done January 6. They generally said their rally had nothing to do with the recent events in Washington.
Instead, they said their show of force was intended to demonstrate support for gun rights. Many wore insignia identifying them as part of the Boogaloo movement, which consists of loosely organized, libertarian, anti-authoritarian protest groups. …
In the aftermath of an October 30 slaying in a North Austin neighborhood, a detective located a vehicle nearby that was linked to the slaying through surveillance footage.
The maroon four-door vehicle didn’t have plates.
Officers believed that the vehicle, found at an apartment complex, had been used by two marijuana dealers implicated in the killing that took place in the nearby Georgian Acres neighborhood, according to witness accounts cited in an arrest affidavit.
The victim in the killing, Jose Francisco Galeano Antunez, had just wrapped up a day on the job and was talking with two friends in a driveway on Carpenter Avenue. …
Andy Brown, a former Travis County Democratic Party chairman and advisor to Beto O’Rourke, became the Travis County Judge (chief executive) November 17.
In a brief speech after his swearing-in at the county commissioners court, Brown indicated that his priorities in office would include tackling COVID-19, criminal justice reform, and battling climate change, which he said could be done by tackling traffic congestion in the county.
Brown, a Democrat, won the party’s nomination in August by a vote of county precinct chairs, which is the method used to select a candidate when there isn’t enough time to hold a primary vote before the general election. …
A group of African American activists identifying as the ‘Black Austin Coalition’ held a press conference Saturday demanding a minimum of $50 million per year as ‘restitution’ for historical wrongs perpetrated against Blacks in the city.
Demands for slavery reparations have made little headway in Washington DC, but activists have successfully pressured city governments to pay up, including in Asheville, NC, and Evanston, IL.
In Austin’s case, the activists are asking for restitution payments for 20th century wrongs, such as the discriminatory 1928 Master Plan, which wouldn’t preclude them from later pressuring governments for additional reparations for 19th century wrongs, including slavery. …
A world without police would be one “filled with mimosas and jazz and dancing,” Chas Moore, leader of Austin’s foremost depolicing organization, told a rally November 4.
Moore’s Austin Justice Coalition, or AJC, is basking in recent successes and strong ties with power players in local politics, including the mayor, council members, and state lawmakers.
Years of lobbying forged these relationships, but AJC took on new prominence since June, when the group organized a huge rally demanding that the city defund the police.
Austin City Council responded in August when it voted to cut police funding by about a third, partly through eliminating vacant officer positions and partly by transferring certain police functions to other departments — a plan that hasn’t yet been fully realized. …
The Texas judiciary has launched an online database that gives the public access to lists of protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence.
The database strips out certain details to protect victims’ privacy, while still alerting the public to the identify of abusers.
“The Texas Protective Order Registry fills in an information gap that existed between the courts, law enforcement and the public,” said state Representative Brooks Landgraf (Odessa), who sponsored the 2019 bill that created the registry, SB 325.
Known as “Monica’s Law,” SB 325 was named in honor of Monica Deming, an Odessa mother who was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend in 2015. He was able to hide his violent past from Deming, who had no knowledge of the two protective orders filed against him. …
There’s a lot of money that goes into getting candidates elected, but not so much that goes into tracking political giving and ensuring compliance with Texas ethics rules.
The Texas Ethics Commission is the agency tasked collecting and publishing candidate reports on donations and expenses, registering lobbyists, enforcing contribution limits in judicial races, and enforcing other ethics rules intended to promote public confidence in government.
Yet the agency is operating without the IT personnel that it needs, uses legacy servers to maintain databases of critical public records, struggles to keep software licensing costs within budget, and tracks public information requests on Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. …
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) will ask the legislature for $38.9 million in new funding for the next two fiscal years in order to comply with federal court orders in the class action lawsuit M.D. v. Abbott.
Compliance in the suit is a “major challenge,” according to the agency’s biennial Legislative Appropriations Request, a formal document prepared under oversight of the Legislative Budget Board.
The long-running lawsuit culminated in a 2015 ruling that Texas violated the constitutional rights of foster children by placing them at unreasonable risk of harm. U.S. …
An increasing number of Texans are behind on loans, according to a survey of 78 financial institutions by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
The twice quarterly Banking Conditions Survey found that 28.2% of surveyed banks and credit unions were seeing an increase in nonperforming loans over the past six weeks.
That proportion compares to a recent pre-pandemic low of 9.1% in a February survey, and it is roughly twice as high as the survey’s three-year average.
Not all lenders are equally affected. The survey found that 61.5% financial institutions saw no change to the percentage of nonperforming loans, while 10.3% …
Not everyone believes that the mass transit plan known as Project Connect is necessary. Some critics insist that railways will be rendered obsolete by self-driving vehicles or even flying cars; others believe a permanent shift to more teleworking will resolve the traffic problem; and still others simply don’t want to think about the traffic issue — all that concerns them is their tax bill.
For sake of argument, let’s accept for the moment that building more light rail and commuter rail in Austin is a worthy goal. That still leaves the question: How to pay for it?
The way that city leaders aim to finance the project is a property tax increase on every property in the city, residential or commercial, in the amount of 8.75 cents per $100 valuation, which is an increase of about 20% from the current level. …