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National Weather Service

Austin may be getting a break from the triple-digit heat – in the form of storm clouds.

It’s tough for cold fronts to make it this far south in the summer, but one has made it down far enough to affect conditions in Central Texas. National Weather Service forecaster Aaron Treadway says it includes a real rain chance.

flickr.com/boedker

The City of Austin is looking to create a pedestrian advisory council.

The pedestrian group would look at safety and walkability issues, making recommendations to city staff and the City Council. The proposal comes as city policy prioritizes denser, more walkable development – and also at a time when pedestrian deaths are on people’s minds: There were 78 traffic deaths (including pedestrians) in Austin last year.

City of Austin

Update: The developers of the J.W. Marriott convention center downtown won’t be getting nearly $4 million in fee waivers.

In a late night hearing, the Austin City Council declined to act on an item that would have forgiven “past non-compliance” on developer White Lodging’s part. In return for $3.8 million in fee waivers, White Lodging agreed to pay construction and trade workers the prevailing wage on the project. But the company instead paid many workers a differently calculated, lower wage.

Travis County Democratic Party

Long-time Austin activist Anne C. McAfee passed away on Saturday.

McAfee, 82, passed away at her home last Saturday after complications from a stroke she suffered while attending a protest against abortion restrictions late last month, during State Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster of the bill.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Senate has given a final vote to pass House Bill 2, passing it 19-11.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked Senators that  "whether you're Christian, whether you're a person of faith, that we not forget to love each other." He said he felt goose bumps by seeing the orange and blue shirts in the gallery.

Update: The fate of House Bill 2 has been decided for now. The Texas Senate voted preliminarily 19 to 11 to pass the measure, without any amendments.

They need to give the bill a final vote before it would go to Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature.

In the last stretch of the night, senators gave most of their most impassioned statements when they gave their closing remarks.

  • View a photo gallery of the day's events in the slideshow player at the top of this page.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: The House passed HB 2 on a vote of 96 to 49 this morning. The bill will be sent to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee this week for a vote, and the bill could be sent to the Senate floor for a full vote as early next week. 

Update (10:00 a.m.) Last night the House passed HB 2 on second reading by a vote of 98 to 49. The bill, which would limit access to abortions across Texas, is set for a third and final reading today in the House.

If passed, the bill will head across the Capitol rotunda to the Senate, and it could be sent to a committee as soon as this week. Below you can watch the live stream of the vote from our reporting partners The Texas Tribune.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/emdot/

While Texas lawmakers work on ways to set aside more money for transportation projects, the state has been moving up in the ranks of an annual report on highway conditions.

The report from the Reason Foundation rates Texas 11th in the nation over 11 indicators, including soundness of bridges, urban and rural pavement conditions, and total spending per mile of state roads.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

To keep you up-to-date on all the action going on at the Capitol today, we've created a Storify to monitor the protests on the first day of the special session. Click below to see the timeline.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry went after State Sen. Wendy Davis today in a speech to a national anti-abortion group in Dallas over Davis’ 11-hour filibuster this week that helped block an abortion bill from passing.

Perry said her own birth and life under difficult circumstances — Davis was born to a single mother and was herself a single mother at age 19 — should have taught her to take Perry’s side on the issue.

Rachel Adams-Heard for KUT News

Update: UT Austin officials are reacting today’s ruling on the university’s use of race as a factor in admissions decision. 

For UT, the 7 to 1 ruling from the Supreme Court sending the case back to a lower court doesn’t change anything – for now. President Bill Powers painted the ruling as a win for UT Austin – and higher education in general.

Three Georgetown teens have won an international student rocketry competition, beating out two teams from France and the United Kingdom.

This morning at the International Rocketry Challenge, Daniel Kelton and brothers Mark and Matthew Janecka launched their rocket, successfully propelling it to 750 feet in the air within seconds and landing their cargo, a single egg, safely at Le Bourget Airport in Paris. 

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A new poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune shows that many Texans are not familiar with some of the highest profile politicians in the state, particularly the Democratic ones.

flickr.com/carlos

Paying for transportation infrastructure is big part of the special session underway now at the Texas Capitol. But, for some lawmakers, it's not a big enough part.

Senate Joint Resolution 2 would send some oil and gas tax money into a new fund, but everyone agrees that much more money is needed.

A business in Austin is laying off hundreds of employees. OneWest Bank has notified the Texas Workforce Commission that intents to lay off more than 700 employees in Austin.

The California-based company is a mortgage services provider with offices in the Domain complex.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the nation. About 75 percent of Americans will contract the virus during their lifetime, and younger populations face the greatest risk.

Research indicates that almost three quarters of new HPV infections occur in people between 15 and 24 years old. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Texas State University found that many college students are unaware of or misinformed about the risks posed by HPV.

flickr.com/bgottsab

Texas added almost 19,000 jobs last month, the most of any state in the country - according to a report by the payroll and benefits company ADP.

More than 1,800 jobs will be added to June’s total.

flickr.com/69588216@N00/

The Alamo Bowl could soon be the biggest game in the Big 12 bowl season under a new six-year deal with the Pac-12 announced Friday.

Next year, top ranked Big 12 and Pac-12 contenders outside the new four-team college football playoff will face off in the bowl game that started in 1993. The Cotton Bowl had previously been the signature game for Big 12 teams that didn't make the Bowl Championship Series.

Barton Springs Pool
flickr.com/photos/rutlo/

The Austin Parks and Recreations Department is reviewing policies and procedures after an apparent drowning at Barton Springs Pool Wednesday night. It was the first drowning at the pool since 1990.

Parks and Recreation spokesperson Victor Ovalle said lifeguards immediately administered CPR on 21-year-old Timothy Guerra when his friends removed him from the spring's deep end.

KUT News

Scientists say Texas could have a bigger wildfire problem this year as drought conditions persist.

Hotter temperatures and drier conditions are lengthening the fire season, leading to larger, more frequent wildfires.

flickr.com/kasiaflickr

The Texas Department of Public Safety is part of a nationwide commercial vehicle inspection program going on this week.

The overall Roadcheck initiative will have specially trained troopers and investigators inspecting commercial vehicles for serious equipment violations involving brakes, tires, lights and drivers that aren’t in compliance with state and federal requirements.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Update: Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd is returning to the Travis County Commissioners Court.

County Judge Sam Biscoe has selected Todd to be interim Precinct 2 Commissioner, an office Todd held before he was elected Mayor of Austin in 1991. 

National Weather Service

A flash flood watch in effect for Austin and Central Texas has been extended until midnight tonight.

The National Weather Service says showers and thunderstorms are expected today through the evening as an upper level storm system enters the area.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

The 140th day of the 83rd session -- the last day at the Texas Capitol -- was mostly about pomp and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean nothing got done.

In the House, members brought their families and thanked their staff. They also passed resolutions to correct errors in bills’ language.

State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, is the chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. He honored State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, the caucus freshman of the session.

National Weather Service

A flash flood warning is in effect for Travis County and to the south in Hays and parts of Caldwell, Comal and Guadalupe counties.

The National Weather Service says thunderstorms over those same areas are likely to produce flash flooding across the warning area.

Wikimedia Commons

Central Texas is helping those in Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding areas in relief and rescue efforts.

Last night, Texas Task Force 1 was dispatched to Oklahoma, an elite search and rescue team which includes 5 members from the Austin Fire Department.

Kendall James, U.S. National Guard

Members of an elite search team from Texas were dispatched to Oklahoma last night. The team is already on the field helping with recovery following the massive tornado that hit Moore on Monday afternoon. 

Gov. Rick Perry announced the activation of Texas Task Force 1 last night. The rescue group includes 70 first responders specialized in victim extraction and medical treatment, also including rescue dogs, hazardous material specialists and structural engineers.  Five members of Texas Task Force 1 are from the Austin Fire Department. 

flickr.com/gjmj

Last November, Austin voters were asked to approve almost $80 million for affordable housing.

They chose not to.

As the city considers putting the question to voters again this fall, KUT News asks: just how does affordable housing work in Austin?

Ben Philpott, KUT News

President Barack Obama's trip to Austin is creating quite the conversation on social media. The KUT Staff is curating a Storify timeline of President Obama's trip. Visit often for new updates. 

flickr.com/wallyg

There’s road closures in place this morning for the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Parade.

The South Congress Avenue Bridge will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon.  Congress Avenue will be closed from Cesar Chavez to 11th Streets from 10:30 to 11 a.m. , and Colorado Street from 11th to 13th Streets will be partially closed until 2 pm. Here’s a map of closures.

Update: More signs from the City of Austin that Attorney General Greg Abbott's opinion won't mean any changes for now: a memo from City Manager Marc Ott on the matter. It reads, in part: 

While we will continue to evaluate the Attorney General’s opinion, it continues to be our belief that the City’s domestic partner group benefits program is not prohibited by the Texas Marriage Amendment, and that the Texas Legislature did not intend the Amendment to have that effect when it was placed before the voters in 2005.

The Attorney General’s opinion does not require the City to take any specific action, and we do not intend to change domestic partner eligibility for our benefits program at this time. 

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