Travis County

Tesla's Cybertruck model.
Tesla Inc.

Tesla’s new $1 billion electric vehicle factory will be built just east of Austin, the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced Wednesday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza will be the next Travis County Attorney after her runoff opponent, Laurie Eiserloh, conceded the race on election night.

With early voting totals in, Garza led Eiserloh by a margin of a little over 8,300 votes – 55% to 45% of early votes and mail-in ballots. By 1 a.m. Wednesday, unofficial county results put that lead at more than 16,000 votes. Eiserloh's concession came shortly after 11:30 p.m on Tuesday.

Incumbent Judge Dimple Malhotra (left) is competing against Margaret Chen Kercher for the Democratic nomination for County Court Law No. 4.
Via the campaign websites

If you’re voting in the Democratic primary runoff in Travis County on Tuesday, you’ll see a race somewhere in the middle of the ballot for a judgeship for something called County Court at Law No. 4.

There are two candidates in the runoff: Dimple Malhotra and Margaret Chen Kercher.

Tesla has targeted an area off State Highway 130 and Harold Green Road as the site where it could build its electric truck factory.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Del Valle Independent School District’s board members agreed to a property tax abatement with Tesla, Inc., Thursday night.

The electric car maker is looking to build a $1 billion factory in Eastern Travis County. If the company meets all of the criteria while bringing its new factory online, it could save as much as $50 million in property taxes over 10 years.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Read this story in English.

Valerie Sterne siempre supo por anécdotas que las escuelas de Austin están segregadas. Ella era maestra y administradora del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin (AISD, en inglés), y vio de primera mano que los estudiantes de color y los de bajos recursos asistían a las mismas escuelas. Cuando se marchó para obtener su doctorado en política educativa, decidió estudiar el tema y obtener datos duros. 

Julia Reihs / KUT

Valerie Sterne has always known anecdotally that schools in Austin are segregated. She used to be a teacher and an administrator with the Austin Independent School District, and saw firsthand that students of color and low-income students were all attending the same schools. When she left to get her PhD in education policy, she decided to study the issue and get hard numbers. 

(Left) Julia Reihs | KUT; (Right) Photo courtesy of Laurie Eiserloh

The Travis County attorney does thankless work. That's a bleak descriptor, but it's not wrong.

Both Laurie Eiserloh, a career attorney and longtime staffer at the county attorney's office, and Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza want to take on that thankless work and are competing in the Democratic runoff for the position that has no Republican challenger.

A face mask hangs from the rearview mirror of a parked car during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Travis and Hays counties are following the footsteps of other local governments in Texas and directing businesses to develop safety policies that require employees and customers wear masks. 

Sam Biscoe served as Travis County judge for 15 years before returning to the position on an interim basis in May.
Office of County Judge Sam Biscoe

Sam Biscoe is no stranger to racism. He grew up in the shadow of segregation in Tyler, participated in the civil rights movement and started his career as a lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. 

A notice to vacate is posted on an Austin home in 2018.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Supreme Court is letting its ban on eviction proceedings expire today, meaning that starting tomorrow there is no longer a state ban on a landlord’s ability to evict a tenant.

Travis County Deputy Theresa Stewart serves an eviction suit to a tenant in Southwest Austin in 2018.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Eviction hearings in the Austin area will be put on pause until at least April 1, after Travis County justices of the peace issued an order Friday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

We followed four key Travis County races on election night: district attorney, county attorney, county sheriff and county commissioner for Precinct 3. Of the four, only one avoided a runoff on May 26: the Travis County sheriff's race.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you live in Travis County, here are all the races that might appear on your ballot for either the Democratic or Republican primary. Put your address into the tool below to find out which Congressional, state legislative and State Board of Education districts you're in, then scroll down to find the candidates in those races.

Salvador Castro for KUT

Feb. 3 is the last day to register to vote before the March 3 primary elections in Texas. Here’s what you need to know to register.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health says a person in Travis County has been diagnosed with measles for the first time since 1999.

Flags fly at Apple's North Austin campus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is putting a moratorium on the practice of giving property tax breaks to companies that agree to expand here and meet minimum county requirements, including agreeing to invest at least $25 million and hire more than 100 people.

The incentives program was set up to lure business investment and expand the county’s tax base.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is one step closer to finalizing its formation of a public defender office for low-income defendants charged with certain felonies and misdemeanors. The Travis County Commissioners Court today OK’d the structure of the office’s seven-member oversight board, which will include attorneys, criminal justice advocates and former judges.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The effort to create a public defenders office in Travis County isn't dead after all.

At its board meeting this morning, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission OK'd a move to waive a requirement for a letter expressing interest in a $15-million grant to establish a public defender office in Travis County for adult felony and misdemeanor cases – something the county has tried and failed to do for decades.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Ninety-three percent of eligible voters in Travis County are expected to register to vote by the Oct. 9 deadline, according to the county’s voter registrar. So far, 91 percent of eligible voters have already registered.

Nasha Lee for KUT

Update: Travis County Commissioners voted 3-2 to continue negotiations with ROT Rally organizers to keep the annual event at the Expo Center.

Our original post continues: 

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The Austin City Limits festival starts up again at Zilker Park this weekend, and as one of the city’s biggest festivals begins, another could meet its end. A vote today by Travis County Commissioners could mean farewell for the ROT Rally.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Census tract 48453002411 has a lot to offer. There’s a brewery on the north edge of the tract. There’s a neighborhood park, and you’re not too far from McKinney Falls State Park. On a good day, you can drive from this part of Southeast Austin to downtown in 20 minutes.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Voters approved a Travis County bond package totaling almost $185 million Tuesday by a wide margin. More than 73 percent of voters cast a ballot in favor of both bond packages. The funding will go toward capital improvements across the county, as well as extending services to parts of eastern Travis County, Manor and Pflugerville.

stephenvelasco/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Travis County, home to Austin, has been working to build a better voting system – one that satisfies the need to maintain security and accessibility for voters. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, the chief election official, has been a part of developing the system, called STAR Vote, which would have replaced the current Hart InterCivic eSlate system that has been in use since 2001. That system cost roughly $7 million, and has seen several security augmentations over the years.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County voters will decide in November whether to approve $185 million in bonds. Much of that money will pay for projects meant to fix longstanding problems in the eastern part of the county.

The projects are prioritized in what Precinct 1 Commissioner Jeff Travillion calls a “health and safety” bond.

Sarah Montgomery for KUT News

Governor Greg Abbott's move to cut grants over Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez's move to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities jeopardizes a program aimed at keeping children with their parents while they undergo drug treatment.

We learned more about this from Brandi Grissom, the Austin bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News.


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

“[A] dangerous game of political Russian roulette.” That’s how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s immigration policy, which was released Friday. And, this morning, Abbott told Fox News that he's directing lawmakers to draft a bill that would penalize similar policies and threatened to remove Hernandez from office.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Gretchen Nagy needs something – anything.

She's standing in front of two Austin ISD students and a district employee, who are about to go live on television, covering the district’s mock presidential election. The only problem: They have no results.


flickr/jamesjordan

Travis County health officials have confirmed the second case of Zika virus in the region. With peak mosquito season approaching, what should people be watching out for?


Screenshot via YouTube

From the Texas Tribune: The newly elected chair of the Republican Party in the county that includes the Texas Capitol spent most of election night tweeting about former Gov. Rick Perry’s sexual orientation and former President Bill Clinton’s penis, and insisting that members of the Bush family should be in jail.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Am I registered? The Texas Secretary of State’s office has a site to help you figure out if you’re registered, and in which county. You can plug in your driver’s license number or your VUID number (the 10-digit number on your voter registration certificate) with your date of birth; or enter your first and last name, county and date of birth to check the status of your registration. Check your status on the Secretary of State’s website here

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