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Top Morning Stories November 1, 2011

Texas Senators to Discuss Drought

Two Texas Senate committees are meeting this morning to discuss the state's ongoing drought. The Senate's Natural Resources Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee are meeting together to hear invited testimony from experts about the drought and how long it's likely to last. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows most of the state is still in exceptional or extreme drought status.

Officer-Involved Shooting in Georgetown

The Georgetown Police Department is investigating an officer-involved shooting that happened last night at around ten. Police say officers were responding to a domestic disturbance at a home on Tamara Drive when a man fired a weapon at a woman. Police say the man then fired at officers and they returned fire. Both the woman and the male suspect are dead. Officials are withholding their names until relatives are notified. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Waterloo Park Closing

Austin’s Waterloo Park is closed starting today and it won’t reopen until the fall of 2015.  City of Austin crews will be working on a construction project to keep Waller Creek running at a constant level all year. Right now the creek dries out when there’s no rain but can quickly flood when it does rain. The Waller Creek project is part of alarger plan to create a river walk in Austin somewhat similar to San Antonio’s.

Courts Considering Texas Congressional Boundaries

A three-judge federal panel in San Antonio is working on interim congressional district maps for Texas' 2012 elections as the redistricting battle continues in the courts.

The Austin American-Statesman reports much of the discussion in federal court yesterday focused on Central Texas and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin):

Two plaintiffs' groups, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, suggested maps that would reverse the Legislature's move to make Doggett's District 25 more Republican. Currently, Doggett is planning to run in the newly created District 35, which runs from Austin to San Antonio and is most heavily weighted in Bexar County. Doggett has never represented that area, so on the surface, the caucus and fund plans might sound like something he would favor. Not so. Doggett called the caucus proposal "pretty outrageous," saying it doesn't make sense to rope part of Williamson County into the district.

My is reporting the filing period for candidates planning to run in Texas' next statewide primary elections could be cut short:

A three-judge panel Monday said it would not likely be able to approve interim district maps for Texas' congressional races by Nov. 12, the start of the filing period for statewide office. As a result, the period might be shortened by two weeks for all hopefuls, the judges said as they heard proposals for the maps.