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The Lead: Gun Show Pressure, Water Bills at the Texas Lege

Good morning, and happy Friday. Austin’s in for a temperature boost today, with warm and breezy weather bringing in a high in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service.

Lead story: As KUT News reported yesterday, the Austin City Council may get involved in efforts to halt gun shows at the Travis County Expo Center. Council member Mike Martinez says a subcommittee will meet next Tuesday to see what it can do at the local level to stop gun violence and illegal trafficking.  While the Expo Center is owned and operated by the county, it sits on city land.

“This is not an issue, as some are reporting, of precluding gun shows or stopping people from legally buying a firearm,” Martinez said. “This is simply asking the question: should a publically-owned facility be used for these types of events.”
The council member has since responded to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who said on Twitter that city and county officials could expect a “double-barreled lawsuit” if they proceed.  Martinez told KVUE, “if we have an attorney general who's going to threaten lawsuits via Twitter, he might want to reconsider his legal opinions."

The NRA is separately bringing pressure on county officials, who are considering a similar measure regarding gun shows at the Expo Center.

Here comes the waterworks: A Republican lawmaker is proposing Texas spend $2 billion to implement a sweeping plan aimed at expanding the state’s water supply.

Two bills filed yesterday by State Representative Allan Ritter would double the amount of money Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst proposed spending on water projects. StateImpact Texas writes that the plan has the support of both the Sierra Club and the Texas Association of Business.

Pharma funding at CPRIT: A nonprofit foundation tied to the state’s taxpayer-funded cancer-fighting agency has disclosed its list of donors, revealing six-figure contributions from private drug companies.

Yesterday, the embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Foundation released the list of more than 250 donors.

The Texas Tribune says the list had been sought by lawmakers in the wake of a criminal investigation launched into the state-run. The agency has been in turmoil since revealing that a Dallas-based company received $11 million in taxpayer funds despite never having its application reviewed or scrutinized. Criminal prosecutors have launched an investigation into CPRIT and all of the agency's top leadership has resigned.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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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