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Top Morning Stories October 24, 2011

Bastrop County is hosting another open house Monday night to discuss wildfire recovery.
Photo by KUT News.
Bastrop County is hosting another open house Monday night to discuss wildfire recovery.

Bastrop County: On the Road Back

Bastrop County is holding its second open houseto talk about wildfire recovery. Everyone affected by the Labor Day wildfires is invited to the come-and-go event. Local, state and federal officials will be on hand to answer questions about debris removal, utilities, FEMA aid and more. Bastrop County officials say more than 250 families attended the first open house. Tonight’s meeting is from 6-8 p.m. at the Smithville Recreation Center.

AISD Board Discussing Facilities Plan Tonight

The Austin Independent School District’s board has a full agenda tonight. The board will hear some possible scenarios about how facilities could be used during the 2012-2013 school year. The district is trying to address overcrowding at some schools in North Central Austin. AISD’s also considering creating in-district charter programs at some campuses. At tonight’s meeting, the board will also vote on a resolution to join a school finance lawsuit against the state over budget cuts to public education.


Top Court Considers Texas Biz Tax

The Texas Supreme Court today will hear a case about the state's business tax. A lawsuit claims the tax violates the state's Constitution. Here's more from the Austin American-Statesman:

In a lawsuit filed in July, Allcat Claims Service LP , a Boerne insurance adjustment firm, said the margins tax runs afoul of a constitutional provision that requires the Legislature to get voter approval before imposing an income tax. The case will turn on whether the margins tax — implemented in 2006 as part of the court-ordered school finance fix — is effectively an income tax when applied to certain business partnerships.  

One reason people are closely watching this case is because this tax funds public education in Texas.

Austin Shaping Plastic Bags Ban

The City of Austin is working on an ordinance that would phase out single-use plastic bags at local stores. Tonight the city's getting input from the public on what that ban should look like and how it should be enforced. City officials have already been getting input from some environmentalists, retailers and bag manufacturers. The public meeting is from 6-8 p.m. this evening at the Austin Energy Building on Barton Springs Road.