• No-refusal weekend results in 37 arrests

    The Austin Police Department cited 37 people for driving while intoxicated this Saturday and Sunday during the no-refusal weekend. Of those DWIs, 16 were obtained with a blood search warrant written by an on-call judge.

    Last weekend’s no-refusal initiative coincided Austin’s Republic of Texas Biker Rally. Preliminary estimates put attendance at 40,000 bikers to the Austin area.

    APD’s Cmdr. Jason Dusterhoft of the Highway Enforcement Unit said the attention to the event came as a result of last year’s traffic fatalities.

    “We looked back at the numbers of the last year’s ROT rally,” Dusterhoft said. “We had three fatalities that were all alcohol-related in three days. That obviously concerns us and we want to do anything we can to stop that.”

    Despite the efforts, there were three motorcycle-related fatalities over the course of this year’s ROT rally weekend.

    One motorcyclist died in Hays County when he rear-ended a truck Friday morning, but it’s unknown if the cyclist was intoxicated or not.

    A Friday morning collision in East Austin left a motorcycle driver in critical condition after he collided with another vehicle. He was transported to University Medical Center at Brackenridge and died the next day. Police believe alcohol may have been a contributing factor.

    Another motorcyclist died in a crash Saturday morning in East Austin with an intoxicated SUV driver, according to police sources. 

  • Perry tacks on items to legislative agenda includes immigration

    Upcoming legislation:

    Sanctuary Cities Ban
    Gov. Rick Perry added legislation to the special session which bans cities from preventing police officers from inquiring as to a suspect’s immigration status.

    The bill was originally defeated by democrats during the 82nd regular session but has already passed the House during this special session. The Senate will vote on the measure June 16, but because the two-thirds rule does not apply during special sessions, it will likely pass the Senate as well.

    The following cities currently have sanctuary policies: Austin, Baytown, Brownsville, Channelview, Denton, Dallas, El Cenizo, Ft. Worth, Houston, Katy, Laredo, McAllen and Port Arthur.

    Texas Windstorm Insurance Association
    Perry also added the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to the special session Wednesday, claiming it is imperative to address the operation of TWIA now that hurricane season is forthcoming.

    The legislation would limit the amount of time homeowners have to file a claim after a storm and would limit the number of lawsuits that can be brought against TWIA. The Senate will review the bill June 16.

    On the radar:

    Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency
    A joint committee created by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus will monitor the practices of university regent boards and will conduct deep reviews of statewide university policymaking and other matters.
    The committee co-head Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, won approval from the House last month to have the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board compile a report for the committee on the best models and practices for governing universities.

    Congressional Redistricting Map
    The congressional redistricting map, which passed in the Senate on Monday, is being criticized for violating the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Democrats and minority leaders argue that the map unlawfully silences the voices of their constituents and improperly redistributes democratic seats over to republicans.
    Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, predicts the map will receive harsh criticism from the Texas Department of Justice and will be re-evaluated in coming weeks.