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Top Morning Stories June 9, 2011

Photo by KUT News.
The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a broad health care bill during this special legislative session.

House Health Care Bill Gets Initial Approval

The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a wide-ranging health care bill.  It would save the state more than $400 million over the next two years.  Among other things, the bill would allow doctors, hospitals and other providers to work together to lower costs. One of the amendments to the bill would allow Texas to join a compact of states trying to get more control of how federal Medicaid and Medicare dollars are spent.  The Texas Tribune, KUT's political reporting partner, has more on what the health care legislation would do.  Read Emily Ramshaw's article here.


Willie Nelson Fined for Marijuana Possession

A West Texas court has fined country music legend Willie Nelson $787 for a marijuana possession charge, according to the Associated Press.  That amount includes a $500 fine plus court costs. Nelson was arrested in November at a Border Patrol checkpoint after an agent searched his tour bus.

Gearing up for the ROT Rally

You may be noticing more motorcycles on the roads for this weekend's Republic of Texas Rally, better known as the ROT Rally.  Expect delays and street closures in the downtown area.  Austin police will be enforcing their No Refusal initiative. Blood samples will be taken from suspected drunk drivers who refuse to take a breath test.

Heat-Related Incidents Up this Year

Temperatures have been hovering near 100 degrees in Austin.  YNN is reporting there have been more heat-related incidents so far this year than in previous summers:

Over the past three years, the average number of heat-related incidents from May 24 to June 7 is 25. So far this year, officials have responded to 37 heat-related emergency calls. The numbers don't include patients with pre-existing conditions exacerbated by the heat or unconscious people.