Government

Blighted Buildings
11:39 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Vacant Building Pilot Program Is Becoming Reality For Property Owners

This home in Tobin Hill has remained vacant for nearly 30 years. The area is not included in the initial 18-month pilot program.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

Owners of vacant buildings in San Antonio could be in for a reality check with a new city pilot program aimed at revitalizing pockets of town.

But San Antonio city leaders have said they hope to help owners bring properties into compliance, not bombard them with fees and other costs that bring properties up to code.

The vacant and underutilized buildings policy is a pilot program that District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal has said is aggressive in trying to eradicate empty structures around town. But the pilot program will be extremely focused for the first 18 months.

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Border & Immigration
12:43 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Refugee Nonprofit Says Influx Of Minors Has "Nothing To Do With Immigration Reform"

U.S. Border Patrol agents parked near the fence.
Credit David Martin Davies / TPR News

The thousands of unaccompanied children from arriving at the Texas-Mexico border have become the latest pawns in the political battle over immigration reform, that’s according to the nonprofit Women’s Refugee Commission, who says this not a problem unique to United States.

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School Finance
11:54 am
Tue June 24, 2014

State Judge Denies Recusal Of Judge In School Finance Trial

The Legislature restored $3.4 billion to the education budget in the 2013 session. Will it be enough to sway Judge Dietz in his final decision?
Credit Ryan Poppe / TPR News

San Antonio Judge David Peeples has denied the attorney general's office motion to recuse Travis County District Judge John Dietz from the Texas school finance trial.   

Much of Attorney General Greg Abbott's argument had to do with private email conversations between Dietz and attorneys representing the school districts about merits of the case.

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City Ordinances
10:04 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Boarding Home Shutting Down In Settlement Case

A boarding home in the 1100 block of Pasadena will be shut down because the homeowner settled a lawsuit with the city out of court and agreed to make repairs to the home.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

A boarding home owner is settling out of court with the city to repair a home with dozens of code compliance problems.

The home is in the 1100 block of Pasadena, just off Blanco, north of downtown.

Matt, the home's maintenance man, is frustrated. He has paid to take care of this boarding home and the residents. He needs the tools to do his job but hasn't gotten them. The grass has never been this high, he said.

Matt spoke from just inside the gate of the home, which had a "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" sign on it.

R. LOYD: "Is it nice inside?"

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Transportation
4:01 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Lawmakers Discuss How To Reduce Traffic On Top 100 Most Congested Texas Roads

Hwy. 281, here looking north of Nakoma Dr., made the top 100 most congested list at #28 for the area between Loop 1604 and Stone Oak Parkway.
Credit Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Texas lawmakers with the Senate Committee on Transportation heard from state and local mobility experts on how to the reduce the amount of traffic within the state’s top 100 most congested roadways list.

The state’s top 100 most congested roads is a list started by TxDOT in 2009 as a way to highlight the problem areas in the state. Currently the worst congested area in the state of Texas is the stretch of IH-35 running through Austin.

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School Finance
1:46 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Decision Expected Today In School Finance Judge Recusal Hearing

The Save Texas Schools rally outside the state capital in 2011, when $5.4 billion was cut from the education budget.
Credit Eileen Pace / TPR News

Attorneys in the school finance trial spent six hours arguing the intent of private emails at the presiding judge’s recusal hearing on Friday. The attorney general’s office is arguing that emails exchanged by the prosecution and Travis County Judge John Dietz show the judge is biased and should be removed from the historic case.

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Texas Business
12:17 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Straus Orders Study Of Economic Incentive Programs

Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.
Credit State of Texas

On Friday Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced the creation of the Select Committee of Economic Development Incentives, which will examine if the state’s business incentives are really driving companies to move to Texas and if the programs are still worth their weight.

In a statement, Straus wrote:

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Border & Immigration
9:48 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Straus, Perry & Dewhurst Sign Off On $1.3 Million Per Week DPS Border Security Push

Credit U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have signed off on a plan pledging $1.3 million per week for the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide border security. But some are criticizing the state for not using the money strictly for humanitarian efforts.

The recent surge of immigrants coming into Texas, among them tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, has the U.S. Border Patrol in a crisis mode.

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Transportation
2:37 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Speed Limit Changes Throughout Day In TxDOT Pilot Program On Loop 1604

TxDOT displays some of the digitial speed limit signs that will be used in the pilot.
TxDOT

Later this month, the speed limits on a portion of Loop 1604 will change, and in some instances, frequently change throughout the day with a new system being piloted by TxDOT.

Imagine driving on loop 1604 and a new digital speed limit sign on the side of the road changes from 60 to 55. The signs are a new variable speed limit system TxDOT is deploying here in San Antonio, in Eastland County and Waco. The system is used in other states like Florida.

TxDOT spokeswoman Laura Lopez said the system is designed as a safety measure.

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Texas Politics
12:14 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Texas GOP Chairman Munisteri Speaks Out Against Reparative Therapy

Credit Republican Party of Texas

This week the Republican Party of Texas released it’s finalized 2014 platform, which includes a line item addressing support for voluntary "reparative therapy" for gays and lesbians.

"We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy."

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