• Football operations director on leave since March

    Cleve Bryant, associate athletics director for football operations since 1998, is no longer employed by the University, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

    Bryant was accused of assaulting a female staff member last year and took a paid leave of absence from the University, but according to a public records request by the Statesman he has not been on the payroll since March 23. His most recent salary was $240,300, according to the UT Employee Salary Database.

    Gloria Allred, a prominent Los Angeles lawyer, represents the female staff member whose name has not been disclosed. In an email to The Daily Texan, Allred said she has no comment at this time.

    Annela Lopez, open records coordinator for UT, said on Wednesday there is no active appointment listed for Bryant but the same day assistant athletic director for football operations, Arthur Johnson, told the Statesman that Bryant is on a temporary leave.

    Patricia Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs for UT, refuted Johnson’s statement today in an email to the Statesman.

    “Mr. Bryant is no longer an employee of the University,” Ohlendorf said.

    The assistant athletics director did not return a call on the matter. Ohlendorf told the Statesman nobody at the University is authorized to speak about the issue. 

  • Texas Legislature faces tough compromises on insurance bill

    The Texas Senate passed its version of the long-debated Texas Windstorm Insurance Association bill Wednesday, but legislators said it may be impossible to compromise the Senate and House versions of the legislation in conference committee.

    The Association legislation has gone through ups and downs throughout the 82nd regular session and during the current special session, but senators are standing behind their version of the bill.

    Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, asked senators to not add amendments to the bill Wednesday and to wait to bring up differences during the conference committee. Although a number of senators did have things they wanted to change about the bill, they will submit them to Carona who said he will work them into the conference committee.

    “This bill is basically the same one that passed the Senate during the regular session with a vote of 31-0,” Carona said.
    Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said they will try to work out the differences between the House and Senate version of the bill this week, but they are very different, and Dewhurst hopes the House will compromise.

    “The senate bill is a good bill. It needs some tweaks, but it protects the rights of policy holders throughout the state,” Dewhurst said.

    Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, said the senate’s version of the bill is very different, and he does not see coming to an agreement in the next seven days because there are such fundamental differences in both versions.

    “It is my intention to get Smithee and Carona together to get this must-pass bill agreed upon, with the dual goals of protecting our policyholders and not creating more lawsuits and costs [for TWIA],” Dewhurst said.

    Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, authored a bill to create a bipartisan commission that would create all future congressional redistricting maps. The bill, which Wentworth has pushed since 1991, passed the senate Wednesday.

    Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, stood against the bill and said his opposition had nothing to do with which party controls the legislature. He said he believes it is unconstitutional for any entity other than the legislature to set congressional maps.

    Because of harsh criticism from various Republicans, the bill is unlikely to pass the House.

  • Headlines: TEXAS Grants

     

     

    An interview with Senior Daily Texan News Reporter Huma Munir about her article on the TEXAS Grants.

     

  • Longhorn Network launch date announced

    Longhorn Network, the 24-hour cable channel collaboration between ESPN and UT, will launch Aug. 26.

    “It’s no coincidence launch coincides with the start of the school year,” said athletic director Chris Plonsky. “It’s when the action starts.”

    Live events are planned for the launch, Plonsky said.

    Several shows were also announced, including “Longhorn Extra,” a nightly UT sports news show, and “Texas All Access,” a weekly show that will give behind-the-scenes looks at University teams and groups, including the football team.

    “We’re going to be able to give fans of Texas and college football an inside look at our program like nobody’s seen before,” UT football coach Mack Brown said in a press release. “It will give them a chance to see what it’s like to be a Longhorn and get to know all the coaches, players and everyone involved in it on a much more personal basis. It’s a very exciting opportunity for us, and one we’re thrilled to be partnered with ESPN on. We’re eagerly awaiting the start of the season and the launch of the network in August.”

  • House Democrats claim redistricting map cuts out minority areas

    The State House of Representatives tentatively passed a congressional redistricting map Tuesday afternoon that democrats claim unfairly divides districts and poorly reflects the growth of minorities in Texas.

    Democrats fought against the bill claiming that it is against the 1965 Voting Rights Act, however the Republican supermajority passed the legislation with ease. The preliminary approval still needs a final procedural vote before it is sent to the Senate for final approval.

    Minority growth has accounted for more than 50 percent of Travis County’s population, mostly Hispanic, but the new congressional redistricting map divides Travis county into five separate districts, all Republican leaning.

    Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, said the map purposefully discriminates against the minority voice in Austin and fractures communities by weakening their vote.

    “You couldn’t have done a better job of carving out minority neighborhoods unless you were a surgeon with a sharp scalpel,” Dukes said.

    Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, rejected amendments democrats proposed which would give minorities a stronger voice, claiming the map was fair and legal and would withstand legal challenges.

    Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, predicts the map will receive harsh criticism from the Texas Department of Justice and will have to be settled in court.

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