Following several out-of-town hearings on the subject of redistricting, the Senate committee is back in Austin hearing various plans for changing the state’s voting maps, which included a plan from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who said he borrowed his argument from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"It concludes by saying -- in essence -- that while the Voting Rights Act may not require the creation of a crossover district, the purposeful dismantling of a crossover district would raise serious questions under the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution," Watson said.
Friday night includes a celebration of Flag Day with the Heart of Texas Concert Band. "It's not as popular a holiday as St. Patrick's Day or even Columbus Day!", says music director and conductor Mark Rogers. "But we found lots of music appropriate for honoring the flag and wanted to do a concert."
The special session has taken on some added weight this week with the addition of several bills splitting the legislature from its initial redistricting focus. Most controversially, the fetal pain abortion bill has been revitalized in Senate Bill 5.
Texas Democrats are outraged that Gov. Rick Perry is threatening to veto a portion of the state budget unless embattled Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg steps down.
This spring, Lehmberg was arrested and convicted for driving under the influence in which her blood alcohol was three times the legal limit.
The governor’s office confirmed that Perry is considering a veto of a portion of the state’s budget bill that funds the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigates government entities and is headed up by the Travis County district attorney.
Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger nonprofit, has released its Map the Meal Gap study for the third year.
Bob Aiken, the organization's president, said it’s the only study that maps food insecurities county by county across the nation. The World Health Organization defines food security in three parts: Food availability of sufficient quality, access to appropriate nutrition, and appropriate used based on nutrition and care.
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has one of about six bills that address some aspect of abortion in the special session. Patrick said his bill would hold institutions like Planned Parenthood to strict guidelines when dispensing the Plan B abortion pillthe abortion pill (mifeprestone), a set of pills that medically ends a pregnancy and can be used up to 9 weeks after the woman's last period.
District 5 candidates join us to talk about their bids for the council seat. Incumbent Councilman David Medina and council hopeful Shirley Gonzales square off and take your calls.
In the second segment:
After repeated attempts to accommodate district 8 candidate Rolando Briones, we were rebuffed, being told that the candidate was too busy any of the days between the original election and the runoff. We speak with his opponent, Ron Nirenberg.
The Texas Agriculture Commissioner is pushing congressional leaders to suspend contracts with Mexico if the country doesn't release water owed to Texas farmers and ranchers.
Mexico is required to release 1.8 million acre-feet of water every five years to the U.S. from six tributaries that feed into the Rio Grande. In exchange, the U.S. delivers water from the Colorado River to Mexico, but under the current agreement Mexico has left South Texas farmers dry, owing the state over 350,000 acre-feet of water.