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Berl Handcox, Austin’s first elected African American City Council member since Reconstruction, has died at the age of 88. Handcox was elected as part of the seven-member Council on May 1, 1971, and reelected on April 7, 1973. He received about 62 percent of the vote for both elections. He resigned from his seat in the spring of 1975 to serve as the head of the Texas Equal Employment Opportunity Office, part of the governor’s office.

Austin Public Health says it will need an ever-increasing supply of masks and gloves at its COVID-19 testing site in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

In an effort to secure N95 masks for first responders and public health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Austin has had to cancel deals with vendors that couldn’t deliver and return thousands of lesser-quality masks.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A group of black community activists led a march from Huston-Tillotson University to the state Capitol on Sunday. Thousands of people turned out for the peaceful protest.

“This was an idea on a Tuesday, we sat down on a Friday to iron out the details, and Sunday you had thousands on top of thousands on top of thousands,” said one of the organizers, Reese Herd II, who spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown on Thursday.

A protester holds a sign that says, "Defund the Police."
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

"Defund the police” has become a nationwide rallying cry for people protesting police violence against black people. Locally, the Austin Justice Coalition has asked the City Council to remove $100 million from police department's budget.

A protester holds a sign that says "We demand police reform."
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español.

Austin City Council members voted unanimously Thursday on four items related to the Austin Police Department’s policy and budget, including transferring some money from police to social services and banning police use of some potentially deadly weapons and practices.

The City of Austin is looking for applicants to help redraw Austin City Council district boundaries. The new boundaries will go into effect for the November 2022 elections.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin residents can now apply to be on the commission to redraw City Council district boundaries. The city’s charter requires those lines be redrawn after the U.S. Census is taken every 10 years. 

Austin police keep watch on protesters at a demonstration May 31.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will consider multiple resolutions Thursday to direct money away from the police budget and toward the root causes of issues that lead to police interactions – including domestic violence, homelessness and addiction.

Protesters run away from I-35 after Austin police officers fired tear gas Sunday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin City Council members have reconvened Friday morning after hearing from citizens for more than five hours Thursday about police violence during weekend protests.

Demonstrators facing police hold signs saying "Honor your rage" and "End police brutality" at a protest in downtown Austin on Sunday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council heard from hundreds of people during an emergency meeting Thursday that addressed police violence at weekend protests against the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The graphs UT Austin professor Lauren Ancel Meyers presented to Austin City Council members in a virtual meeting Tuesday were “plausible futures” and not “forecasts.”

Residents look at maps of Austin's proposed new land development code, at an information session in October.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin on Thursday appealed a Travis County judge’s order voiding votes taken in an ongoing process to adopt a new land development code.

Last month, Judge Jan Soifer of the 345th District Court ruled the city had violated state law when it failed to inform individual property owners of potential changes to their land under the proposed new land code. A code would determine what can be built in the city and where.

A lone person crosses the street in the rain in Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin City Council members have approved a $15 million relief fund to aid residents affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In a ruling that could derail Austin’s rewrite of its land development code, a Travis County district judge voided two votes the City Council has taken so far on the changes.

An eviction notice on a door
Gabriel C. Pérez

Local elected officials say they are looking into ways to help residents unable to pay rent or utility bills because of the potential spread of COVID-19.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Health officials are testing "one or more" individuals for COVID-19 in the Austin-Travis County area, Austin Public Health's interim health director said.  

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Operators field roughly a million calls for emergency services in Austin a year.

A new city report says those operators do a serviceable job of answering that glut of calls, but found a disconnect between those calls and the delivery of crucial services.

The City of Austin held an information session for residents to learn and ask questions about the proposed land development code in October.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is one vote away from finalizing a new land development code, as members took the second of three votes Thursday night. The final vote is expected in roughly two months.

A homeless encampment near the ARCH in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is hiring Matthew Doherty, former head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, to help find solutions to homelessness here. Members approved his contract on a 10-1 vote Thursday – but not without some trepidation, as Doherty's eight-month contract could cost the city $95,000.

A neighborhood in North Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin on Wednesday revealed some models of what could be built under the proposed new land development code, the rules that dictate what can be built in the city and where.

A homeless encampment near the ARCH shelter in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As Austin seeks short-term housing for its homeless population, city staff say one option for an emergency shelter wouldn't come online for at least another two years.

Someone points to a section of a map showing proposed zoning in a draft of Austin's new land development code.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council released the second draft of its land development code Friday. It's the latest step in the city's more than half-decade-long attempt to update the rules that determine what can be built in the city and where.

“First and foremost, marijuana was not decriminalized,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Friday, a day after the City Council voted not to spend money on testing suspected marijuana except in high-priority felonies.

Marijuana and a lighter on a kitchen counter.
Julia Reihs / KUT

As law enforcement agencies in Texas figure out how to test suspected marijuana following the legalization of hemp in the state, the Austin City Council responded Thursday with its fix: a measure that effectively decriminalizes small amounts of pot.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin City Council wants to get the word out that it’s illegal to dump scooters in bodies of water around town. In a resolution passed Thursday, members also directed staff to look into conducting a study on the effects of scooters polluting the city’s waterways.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a ruling that found a ban against camping in public in Boise, Idaho, is unconstitutional. 

Stickers that say "CodeNEXT wrecks Austin."
Julia Reihs / KUT

A group of homeowners is suing the City of Austin, asking it to recognize what they say is their right to challenge the rezoning of their land under the city's proposed new land code.

A map of the proposed land development code.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council took an initial vote Wednesday to finalize a new version of the city’s land development code, the rules determining what can be built across the city and where.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council delayed a $7.8-million plan to buy and renovate a Montopolis-area hotel and retrofit it to house Austinites transitioning out of homelessness. Council members are expected to take up the proposal at a meeting in January.

Residents fill Austin City Hall.
Julia Reihs / KUT

More than 100 people sat in Austin City Hall chambers just past 10 a.m. on Saturday, gearing up to share their thoughts about the city’s rewrite of its land development code. Council Member Alison Alter, who represents part of Northwest Austin, took a photo from her seat on the dais and posted it to Twitter, writing: “This is what democracy looks like.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will vote Monday on whether to spend $7.8 million to buy and renovate a hotel off Riverside Drive in East Austin to house homelessness Austinites. The property could house at least 71 people.

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