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Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

Hyperloop versus high-speed rail

I’ve been pondering whether our state is big enough for two high speed land-based forms of transportation, and I think the answer is “yes, at least for now”. The Hyperloop is nearly twice as fast as Texas Central’s High-Speed Rail project already in the works to connect Houston and Dallas. To boot, the lightning-quick travel […]

Texas remains in hyperloop competition

We’re still a long way from anything happening, but if it does it could happen here. There’s still a chance Texans could be some of the first people in the world to whisk along in tubes at 700 mph. Hyperloop Texas, a joint proposal of engineering firm AECOM and public agencies in the state, is […]

Enforcement of SB4 halted

Excellent! U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia granted a preliminary injunction of Senate Bill 4, one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s key legislative priorities that seeks to outlaw “sanctuary” entities, the common term for governments that don’t enforce federal immigration laws. The bill was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, but opponents of the legislation, including […]

Confederate monuments in the Capitol

Get rid of them, too. A state lawmaker wants all Confederate symbols removed from the Texas Capitol grounds, including a plaque that is 40 steps away from his office that rejects the idea that the South seceded from the Union over slavery. Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, sent a letter to the State Preservation Board Wednesday […]

Paxton’s preemptive “sanctuary cities” lawsuit dismissed

Good. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks on Wednesday dismissed the state of Texas’ lawsuit against Travis County and other defendants over the state’s new immigration enforcement law. Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a pre-emptive lawsuit shortly after the bill was signed in May seeking a ruling that the controversial measure is constitutional. Among the defendants […]

Abbott versus the cities

The continuing story. If Gov. Greg Abbott has disdain for how local Texas officials govern their cities, it didn’t show in a Wednesday sit-down with three mayors who were among 18 who jointly requested a meeting to discuss legislation that aims to limit or override several municipal powers. “Whether we changed anybody’s mind or not, […]

Mayors to Abbott: Don’t mess with our cities

Good luck getting through. Less than 24 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott blasted local government restrictions like tree ordinances as a threat to the “Texas brand,” city government leaders statewide are seeking a meeting with the Republican leader. “We would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the role cities play in attracting […]

Hearing for that other SB4 lawsuit

The SB4 lawsuit that Ken Paxton filed, to get the law pre-emptively declared to be constitutional, had its hearing in Austin on Thursday. A federal judge on Thursday criticized the politics surrounding Texas’ new immigration-enforcement law and hinted that he’d be unable to take the case over from his colleague in Bexar County. U.S. District […]

City of El Paso joins in on SB4

Add one more to the list. The city of El Paso voted on Tuesday to join the growing list of local governments that have filed a legal challenge in hopes of stopping Texas’ new immigration enforcement law from going into effect. The city council’s vote to join El Paso County and the cities of Dallas, […]

Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

From the inbox, an email from Commissioner Ellis: Despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, faith leaders, local governments, civil rights organizations, constituents, and advocacy groups, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, has been signed into law. The new legislation unfairly targets immigrant families, allows state-sanctioned racial profiling, and violates rights to due process. […]

RideAustin tries to hang on

I wish them luck. The return of Uber and Lyft to Austin has put the city’s only ride-hailing nonprofit in a fight for survival. RideAustin, one of several small companies that started operations in Austin after the ride-hailing giants left the city in May 2016, is now seeing its ridership cut in half since the […]

SB4’s day in court

Sparks were flying. Opponents of Texas’ state-based immigration law told a federal judge Monday that allowing the controversial measure to stand would pave the way for a nationwide police state where local officers could subvert the established immigration-enforcement powers of the federal government. But the state’s attorneys argued in tandem with their colleagues from the […]

Feds join the state in defense of SB4

I suppose this was to be expected. About a month ago, the city of El Cenizo filed a lawsuit against the state, calling the bill unconstitutional. On Monday, the Trump administration got involved. The defendants in the lawsuit are the state of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The fight started […]

Houston officially gets in the SB4 litigation business

Well done. Houston City Council voted Wednesday to sue the state over its new “sanctuary cities” law, joining Texas’ three other largest cities in challenging the controversial measure. Council voted 10-6 to join San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, El Paso County and several other local governments and nonprofits in a consolidated case challenging the state. Councilman […]

Getting ready for the first SB4 hearing

All eyes are going to be on this next week. On Monday, June 26, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will hear the City of San Antonio’s request for a preliminary injunction to block Senate Bill 4, the “sanctuary cities” law, from taking effect on Sept. 1. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) is representing […]

Greg Abbott’s war on trees

This is just bizarre. One of the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott has asked lawmakers to consider during the upcoming special session, which will begin July 18, is outlawing local tree regulations. More than 50 cities and towns in Texas have ordinances aimed at protecting trees; many of the local rules require property owners to […]

An SB4 threefer

We have our first SB4 casualty. A 15,000-member association of attorneys and law professors said on Wednesday that it is relocating its 2018 convention out of Texas in response to the state legislature passing Senate bill 4, a sweeping and controversial immigration enforcement measure. The American Immigration Lawyers Association was scheduled to hold its 3-day […]

Dallas gets in the fight against SB4

Good for them. Dallas is joining some other Texas cities, including Austin and San Antonio, in taking on the state’s so-called “sanctuary city” law. Mayor Mike Rawlings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, calling SB4 “unconstitutional” and a law that “greatly infringes on the city’s ability to protect” the public. According to Rawlings, the city attorney […]

State files motion to combine all the “sanctuary cities” lawsuits

This isn’t a surprise, but there is a bit of a twist. In a filing late Thursday, Attorney General Ken Paxton asked a federal district court in Austin to absorb two other legal challenges that have been filed against the ban in San Antonio, which is seen as a friendlier venue toward opponents of the […]

Mayors (still) against climate change

Someone’s gotta do it. On Thursday, President Donald Trump officially announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, citing the deal’s failure “to serve American interests.” Hours later, governors, mayors, and environmental groups all had a different message: We’ll take it from here. “Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong […]

San Antonio files “sanctuary cities” lawsuit

Here they go. The cities of San Antonio and Austin announced on Thursday they have joined the fight to stop the state’s new immigration enforcement law, Senate Bill 4, in federal court. […] The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed the suit Thursday on behalf of San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldaña and […]

Uber and Lyft come rolling back

To Austin: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed into law a measure creating a statewide regulatory framework for ride-hailing companies, overriding local measures that prompted businesses such as Uber and Lyft to leave Austin and other cities. Uber and Lyft said they resumed operations in Austin on Monday. Lyft also said it would relaunch […]

More “sanctuary cities” plaintiffs gearing up

Local governments are not going down without a fight. On Tuesday, which organizers said was the beginning of a “summer of resistance,” Austin City Council member Delia Garza said the city will move this week to take formal action to stop SB 4 in the courtroom. “I am proud to announce today, with much gratitude […]

Senate passes statewide rideshare bill

It’s a done deal. After a debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas Senate on Wednesday backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100 would establish a statewide framework to regulate ride-hailing companies and undo local rules that the two […]

Paxton gets ahead of the “sanctuary cities” lawsuit rush

That’s one way to do it, I suppose. Attorney General Ken Paxton is looking to get ahead of an anticipated barrage of legal challenges to Texas’ ban on “sanctuary cities,” which takes effect Sept. 1. Shortly after Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law on Sunday, Paxton filed a lawsuit — known as […]

The SB4 protests

I admire the hell out of this. At least two dozen protesters on the grounds of the Texas Capitol on Monday evening were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, the culmination of a day-long sit-in. The demonstration began around 10 a.m. Monday morning when about 50 protesters took over the lobby of the State Insurance Building to […]

Get ready for the “sanctuary cities” lawsuits

It’s just a matter of time. Now that Senate Bill 4 is on its way to becoming law, opponents are looking to the courts for relief – and a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case is giving them hope. The high court struck down parts of a controversial 2010 immigration law in Arizona on the grounds […]

The post-Uber Austin rideshare experience

Texas Monthly notes the issues that some people faced during SxSW hailing a ride, and considers the rideshare landscape in Austin post-Uber and Lyft. But the thesis that Austin is experiencing a crisis around ride-hailing apps is an old one, and it’s incomplete. RideAustin, which as a non-profit makes all of its numbers public, gave […]

Houston hyperlooping

How soon can this be built? A Texas plan using the Hyperloop concept envisioned by Tesla founder Elon Musk is one of 35 proposals from around the globe competing this week in Washington for bragging rights as the best initial project for the technology. Hyperloop One, the company currently testing the idea, sponsored the contest. […]

NCAA rewards North Carolina for its weaksauce HB2 repeal

So this happened. Discrimination won the championship this year. The NCAA announced Tuesday morning that it completely fell for the bait-and-switch concocted by Republican leadership in North Carolina’s legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper (D). Last week, they passed a compromise bill that repealed HB2, the state’s infamous anti-LGBT law, and replaced it with HB142, which […]

Senate committee hears rideshare bills

One of these, in some form, is likely to become law. Senate Bill 176, by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Senate Bill 361 by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, received a joint hearing after [Senate Business & Commerce Committee] chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, noted their similarities. Both bills establish a statewide framework […]

Restricting restrictions on AirBnB

I have issues with this. A legislative proposal that would limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas has reawakened a fight over regulations that has already played out in cities across the state. Senate Bill 451 by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R- North Richland Hills, would prevent Texas cities from banning or […]

Marching

In Austin. Up to 50,000 activists swarmed the Capitol grounds on Saturday to fight for women’s rights on the heels of Trump’s inauguration. The high-spirited crowd joined more than a million protesters nationwide. The Austin march was so large that the front of the rally, which left from the Capitol and traveled down Congress Avenue, […]

Who wants to rent their house out to Super Bowl visitors?

I don’t, but some people hope to make a lot of money renting theirs. With the Super Bowl heading to Houston next month, locals are starting to see dollar signs as well, hoping to cash in on visitors’ willingness to pay thousands to rent their homes or apartments during the biggest football game of the […]