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The Lead: Cold Snap Hits Austin, More Rumblings on 2013 Lege

Good morning. Hope you’re bundled this chilly and blustery Monday. Here’s some of KUT News’ top weekend stories:

“Texas lawmakers cut billions from public school funding formulas in 2011. Now one Republican leader says he hopes that money can be restored in the upcoming legislative session. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, is not promising, but he hopes lawmakers will restore about $4 billion cut from the state funding formulas last year. In an interview with the Associated Press, Straus did promise $2 billion in new funding, enough to cover enrollment growth.”

“In less than a month, Texas lawmakers will convene in Austin for the 2013 legislative session. A couple of bills already filed would have a huge effect on which lawmakers get to come back in future sessions. Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, have each filed a bill to create term limits for elected officials. Larson’s proposal would limit all statewide elected officials and legislators to 12 years in office. Eltife’s would limit consecutive terms for statewide offices including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.”

“The Austin school district says it will not implement a so-called ‘tithing’ policy to redistribute private donations from schools in wealthier neighborhoods to those in low-income neighborhoods. The recommendation was contained in a report by the Texas Civil Rights Project that criticized student funding inequities across the district. But school district chief financial officer Nicole Conley Abram says AISD doesn’t have the legal authority to do that.”

And here’s more stories from around the web:

  • Two Austin Cyclists Hospitalized After Accident (KXAN)
“Austin police are investigating an accident that landed two people in the hospital Sunday afternoon. It happened in the 10200 block of West Parmer Ln. in North Austin.”

  • Community Helps Homeless As Cold Weather Hits (KEYE)
“Meghann Ziler, Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator at Trinity Center downtown, said when temperatures drop below 35 degrees the Center opens its doors on the weekends for a make-shift, cold weather shelter. Ziler said the tables and chairs are put away and they bring out cots to provide a warm place to stay for single women.”

  • Donations To Women & Family Shelter Safeplace Down 80 Percent (KVUE)
“SafePlace is asking the community to pull together and donate not only children's gifts but also items for teenagers and adults. Martin suggests hosting a holiday party and asking guests to bring unwrapped items to help fill the shelves; making the holiday season a little easier for a family going through a hard time.”

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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