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Top Morning Stories November 4, 2010

Photo by KUT News.
The Austin City Council Thursday will consider expanding recycling requirements to more apartment complexes and office buildings.

Texas House District 48 Race Still in Limbo

Democratic Incumbent Donna Howard maintains her position by only 15 votes.  Many wonder when or if her Republican challenger Dan Neil will ask for a recount.  Neil released a comment on his Facebook last night:

“It will be several days before every legal vote has been received and counted, including the votes of our servicemen and women defending our freedom overseas. After campaigning for this seat for a full year, I want to ensure every legal vote is counted through a fair and transparent process. Once that process has concluded, we will determine the appropriate course of action in order to ensure the will of the electorate is honored.”

KUT's Erika Aguilar reported on how the recount process would work.  Find her story here.

Congressman Smith Poised for Key Appointment

Republican Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, whose district covers part of Travis County, may be appointed to a powerful leadership post now that the GOP controls the House.  Smith cruised to victory in Tuesday night’s election and now he's hoping for a committee chairmanship. 

Smith is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.  The Congressman told Texas Public Radio's Terry Gildeathat if he were selected to chair that committee, he would hold hearings on tort reform and medical malpractice laws.

Austin City Council May Expand Recycling Requirements

At their meeting today, Austin City Council members may vote on whether to expand the city's recycling ordinance to more apartment complexes and commercial buildings. 

The changes are an effort to meet Austin's 'Zero Waste Plan' which calls for dramatically reducing waste sent to landfills by 2040.

The proposed rules would be phased in over time.  The Mayor's office sent out a press release with some details:

Beginning in 2012 residential properties of 100 units or more will be required to include recycling. By 2014 the phased-in approach will achieve residential properties with more than 26 units.   The amendments to the Recycling Ordinance will also include Commercial Buildings. Beginning in 2012, properties of 100,000 square feet or more will be required to include recycling. By 2015, the phased-in approach will include properties over 26,000 square feet.  

New Faces in the Texas House

When the Texas Legislature convenes for the 2011 legislative session in January, there will be plenty of new faces.  The Texas House has more than three-dozen new members, most with an "R" by their name, following Tuesday's elections. Our political reporting partner the Texas Tribune has put together a little guide to help you meet and remember the new members. 

AISD Schooling Parents on Facebook

This evening the Austin Independent School District is holding a sort of "Facebook 101" course for parents.  AISD says the training session will help parents learn ways to extend their parenting skills into the world of Facebook.  Social media experts will be on hand to give parents tips on how to protect their teens online and connect with them.  Find more details on the event here.