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Sunday Morning Headlines

Photo by Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

ACC Buying Last Tract of Highland Mall

Austin Community College is in the process of buying the last piece of the Highland Mall property that it doesn't already own, the Statesman reports this morning. 

ACC also says it is working with a partner, who will develop a mix of retail, residential and office space at the mall, which has fallen on hard times recently. The College's leadership appears upbeat about what the acquisition means for the insitution.

"It's a huge opportunity for ACC to make some tremendous strides to accommodate the phenomenal growth we have," ACC President Stephen Kinslow said in an interview Friday. "It's also a great community opportunity."

The purchase is still subject to approval by ACC's Board of Trustees.

House To Take Up Smoking Ban Again

The state could save up to $30 million in Medicaid costs by banning smoking in public places, according to testimony taken by a House committee Saturday.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 19-1 on a recommendation that the full House approve the bill.

The ban would apply to any business licensed by the Texas Health Department or the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"It's the No. 1 public health issue for this session. It's the No. 1 clean air issue in this session," said bill author Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, who succeeded her late husband 11 years ago after he passed away from cancer. She has been pushing the smoke-free plan for six years. Nearly 30 other states have smoke-free laws in place. "We don't want to come back in two years and be the ashtray of the United States," Crownover said.

Some businesses, like pool halls, have voiced their opposition to the bill, because they worry it will harm their business.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.