Weekend in Review: Social/Political 4.25.2011
Whether or not you celebrated Easter this weekend, you might be interested in this take on the holiday from Texas justice blog Grits for Breakfast: “Easter is a story about a wrongful criminal conviction, the misapplication of the death penalty, the overweening power of the state, and the irrepressible urge of humanity to resist it.”
But if you want a little more meat with your Monday morning review, the gritty folks also have a nice long post about trauma hospitals coming out against the “drivers responsibility surcharge.” You may be familiar with this if you get frequent traffic tickets, but it’s a fee that goes to a fund for trauma hospitals and has caused some controversy because the fund has millions in unused dollars that cannot be transferred to help with other budget holes.
On city news you don’t want to miss, if you’re a smoker (of cigarettes or outdoor barbecue), the weekend brought a breaking bulletin: there’s officially no smoking outdoors at parks around Austin. Thanks to the increased risk of wildfires, there’s no flipping burgers at Emma Long and no lighting up a cig at Zilker Park for the forseeable future. Make sure you keep watching for any changes to that.
On Sunday, the Statesman’s Ben Wear had an interesting look at some background on a taxi talk issue that came before city council last week. At a workshop on Tuesday, the city council discussed passing rules and regs for operators of “low speed electric vehicles” as taxis downtown. But the item was ultimately tabled. For context, Wear’s piece looks at how this decision has left one potential operator in limbo.
In state lawmaking news, if you missed it Friday, the Austin Chronicle updated its Reefer Roundup blog with an interesting post about the many efforts to add new drug crimes to the state codes. It does a good job rounding up a LOT of news that’s going on in the state lege, with a healthy dose of opinion and questioning whether or not marijuana drug laws work – a question they point out that the Indiana legislature is pondering as well.
And if you’ve got some time to kill this morning, feel free to browse the latest of the Texas Tribune’s much lauded data apps: ranking the public schools. The ratings in the app here are based on new reports from a Houston-based nonprofit called Children at Risk.