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AM Update: Texas State Joins Sun Belt Conference, Cyclists Ride for Safety, Lawmakers Talk Taxes

A “ghost bike” represents a cyclist killed while on a ride. In a demonstration tonight, cyclists hope to spur changes that will help prevent crashes involving cyclists.
Photo courtesy Jason Thompson via the Please BE KIND to Cyclists Facebook page
A “ghost bike” represents a cyclist killed while on a ride. In a demonstration tonight, cyclists hope to spur changes that will help prevent crashes involving cyclists.

Texas State University Celebrates Move to the Sun Belt Conference

Texas State University is holding a reception for students today to mark the upcoming move to the Sun Belt Conference. The reception will give students an opportunity to meet and visit with head coaches and athletic administrators to discuss the move.

Texas State University President Denise Trauth announced yesterday that the university will join the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-2014 season.

Right now, eleven schools participate in the Sun Belt Conference. Georgia State will also join the conference in 2013. Texas State and Georgia State will join Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, South Alabama, Troy and Western Kentucky.

The Texas State Bobcats are currently competing in the Western Athletic Conference; they will remain in the conference for the duration of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Today's student reception is from 4-5 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center.

Austin Cyclists Will Ride from City Hall to the Capitol Tonight

The death of one cyclist and the serious injuries of another have driven cyclists around the city to organize a ride to the capitol tonight to shed light on the issue of safety for riders.

The Austin cycling community is banding together to remember a fallen friend and to “send a message to lawmakers to create better infrastructure for cyclists, to implement comprehensive safety awareness and education among drivers, and to create and enforce laws protecting cyclists,” said a statement on the Facebook page for the organization Please BE KIND to Cyclists.

The riders will bike slowly down Congress Avenue to the Capitol Building; they plan to arrive at the Capitol at 7 p.m.

According to the group's Facebook page, three Austin area cyclists have died this year and many more riders have been injured. The group expects more than 1,000 cyclists to attend tonight's ride.

On Saturday, April 28 cyclist Verter Ginestra was killed on Loop 360 and Westlake. Another cyclist, Evan Baird, was seriously injured in a hit-and-run on Monday, April 23. Austin City Council member Mike Martinez announced the creation of a Transit Safety Task Force this week.

Texas House Committee Talks Taxes

The Texas House Committee on Ways and Means is meeting today to talk about taxes. Specifically, the committee wants to find out whether current property tax notice requirements, known as “truth-in-taxation”, adequately explain the taxes that property owners pay and who must pay them.

The committee will also discuss the usage of taxes placed on equipment used by data centers and the rates and sales of the equipment. Committee members also plan to look at alternatives to the current tax system.

The Ways and Means Committee has historically been in charge of issues related to taxation, trade agreements, and also money-related aspects of Social Security and Medicare.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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