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Tesla's Austin-area site could include battery production

Tesla's Austin-area site could include battery production

 Tesla could be planning to build more than just vehicles at its $1 billion assembly plant in southeastern Travis County.The electric vehicle manufacturer has plans to produce battery cells at the site, according to documents filed with the state. The company has already said it will produce its Cybertruck, Semi, Model 3 compact sedan and Model Y vehicles at the plant.Telsa has started construction on the Travis County site, and the company has begun hiring in Central Texas. Currently, Tesla’s job site lists more than 80 open positions in Austin.If a battery facility is added to the Travis...

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Kara Carlson
Oct 21
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Statesman endorsement: A democracy under siege needs Joe Biden

Statesman endorsement: A democracy under siege needs Joe Biden

 The stakes in this year’s presidential election could not be more consequential. The contrast between the candidates could not be more stark. And the right choice could not be clearer. That choice is Joe Biden.Our nation teeters on a precarious perch. We have seen how fragile our way of life can be. As the deadly coronavirus pandemic rages, our democratic norms and institutions are also under assault under President Donald Trump’s unrelenting attacks. They strike at our core — the fundamentals of governance, our elections, a free press, our relationships around the world. Four more years...

statesman.com
Oct 18
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Travis County early voting: 40,000 cast ballots as of 6:30 p.m., clerk says

Travis County early voting: 40,000 cast ballots as of 6:30 p.m., clerk says

 A wave of early voters in Travis County and across Texas is part of a national surge of people taking advantage of the chance to cast their ballots early, especially after several states extended their early voting period amid the coronavirus pandemic.According to data from Texas secretary of state’s website, more than 2.6 million people, or 15.51% of the nearly 17 million registered voters in the state, had cast their ballots by the end of the third day of early voting Thursday.Travis County has made up more than 140,000 of those 2.6 million votes cast statewide. At the end of Thursday,...

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Luz Moreno-Lozano
Oct 16
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Beto O'Rourke to teach politics at Texas State University in 2021

Beto O'Rourke to teach politics at Texas State University in 2021

 Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will be teach at Texas State University in the spring, pending finalization of his hire, the university confirmed on Friday.The university, about 30 miles south of Austin, said O’Rourke will teach a class on Texas politics."On Texas State, I’d be more inclined to discuss after Nov. 3, but bottom line, I am extraordinarily lucky to have a chance to teach at Texas State," O’Rourke told the American-Statesman on Friday.Texas State is a public university located in San Marcos and has more than 38,000 undergraduate and graduate...

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Hojun Choi
Oct 16
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Fact-check: Does Biden's plan include a 14% tax hike for the middle class?

Fact-check: Does Biden's plan include a 14% tax hike for the middle class?

 Donald Trump: "Biden's plan is a 14% tax hike on middle class families."PolitiFact’s ruling: FalseHere’s why: A new ad for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign paints Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as eager to raise the average voter’s taxes."What would Joe Biden's plan do for you?" the ad says. "Biden's plan is a 14% tax hike on middle class families. 82% of Americans would pay more, and Biden's plan gives illegal immigrants amnesty and health care. Joe Biden's a career politician who spent decades raising taxes. … So what would the Biden plan do for you? Raise your...

statesman.com
Oct 15
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City kicks in $141k to help lure 'Walker' TV reboot to Austin

City kicks in $141k to help lure 'Walker' TV reboot to Austin

 A reboot of the hit 1990s TV series "Walker, Texas Ranger" is targeting Austin for its set location. On Thursday, the city offered a financial enticement to help make it happen, with the expectation that area workers will be on the crews that create the show.Helping to ensure a story with Texas roots stays in Texas, the Austin City Council voted to kick in $141,326 in incentives to the California production company likely headed here to film "Walker." It is by far the most the city has agreed to pay among the four projects it has attracted through a 6-year-old incentive program.The state...

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Ryan Autullo
Oct 15
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Travis County early voting: More than 36,000 ballots cast by 6:30 p.m Thursday

Travis County early voting: More than 36,000 ballots cast by 6:30 p.m Thursday

 6:30 p.m. update: At least 36,000 votes had been cast in Travis County Thursday evening, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said, and the polls will remain open until 7 p.m.She told the American-Statesman that Thursday was on track for another record-breaking day in Travis County. She was expecting around 39,000 ballots by the end of the day."This are going so well and it may be another couple of days before things calm down," DeBeauvoir said. "And we are so happy that everyone is taking our advice and voting early."As more people head to the polls in the coming days, she said encouraged...

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Luz Moreno-Lozano
Oct 15
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Travis County early voting: 35,873 people cast ballots on first day

Travis County early voting: 35,873 people cast ballots on first day

 10 p.m. update: More Travis County voters have cast ballots on Tuesday compared to the first day of early voting for the 2016 general election, according to the Travis County Clerk’s office.The clerk’s office reported Tuesday evening that 35,873 people in the county cast their ballots on the first day of early voting this year — more than 2,200 voters than what was reported on the first day of early voting in 2016.Additionally, the county clerks office reported that it has received 22,577 mail-in ballots as of Tuesday. The county reported that it had received 2,294 mail-in ballots by the...

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Kelsey Bradshaw
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Oct 13
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Appeals court strikes down Texas abortion law from 2017

Appeals court strikes down Texas abortion law from 2017

 A federal appeals court struck down a Texas abortion law that bans the most common type of second-trimester abortion unless doctors first employ an added procedure to ensure fetal demise.In a 2-1 ruling Tuesday evening, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the 2017 law places an impermissible burden on women by forcing them to "endure a medically unnecessary and invasive additional procedure" against their doctors’ advice."The Act confers no medical benefit for women patients while forcing them to undergo unnecessary, painful, invasive, and even experimental procedures," said the...

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Chuck Lindell
Oct 14
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Appeals court allows Abbott to close multiple ballot drop-off sites

Appeals court allows Abbott to close multiple ballot drop-off sites

 In a ruling issued late Monday night, a federal appeals court upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that limited counties to one mail-in ballot drop-off location.A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, all appointed by President Donald Trump, rejected arguments from civil and voting rights groups that claimed Abbott’s order suppressed voting rights by making it harder to cast a ballot, particularly for elderly and disabled voters who are the most likely to use mail-in balloting.In reality, the judges said, Abbott expanded voting options by suspending a state law that allows...

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Chuck Lindell
Oct 13
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Travis County early voting: 32,000 people cast ballots as of 6 p.m. Tuesday

Travis County early voting: 32,000 people cast ballots as of 6 p.m. Tuesday

 6:15 p.m. update: Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said 32,000 people had voted as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday.As of 6 PM 32,000 people have voted in Travis County. One hour left to vote today! If you’re in line by 7 PM you are able to vote.— Travis County Clerk (@TravisCoClerk) October 13, 20203:45 p.m. update: By 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, at least 24,000 people had voted in Travis County, according to Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir.Tuesday’s mid-afternoon update outpaces the 2016 turnout. On the first day of early voting in the 2016 general election, 24,000 people had voted in Travis County by...

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Kelsey Bradshaw
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Oct 13
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Travis County early voting: 32,000 people cast ballots as of 6 p.m. Tuesday

Travis County early voting: 32,000 people cast ballots as of 6 p.m. Tuesday

 6:15 p.m. update: Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said 32,000 people had voted as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday.As of 6 PM 32,000 people have voted in Travis County. One hour left to vote today! If you’re in line by 7 PM you are able to vote.— Travis County Clerk (@TravisCoClerk) October 13, 20203:45 p.m. update: By 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, at least 24,000 people had voted in Travis County, according to Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir.Tuesday’s mid-afternoon update outpaces the 2016 turnout. On the first day of early voting in the 2016 general election, 24,000 people had voted in Travis County by...

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Kelsey Bradshaw
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Oct 13
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US judge blocks Abbott order limiting ballot drop-off locations

US judge blocks Abbott order limiting ballot drop-off locations

 A federal judge issued an order Friday night barring enforcement of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Oct. 1 proclamation that limited counties to one mail-in ballot drop-off location.U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman said Abbott’s order placed an unacceptable burden on the voting rights of elderly and disabled Texans, who are most likely to request a mail-in ballot and to hand-deliver those ballots early to ensure that they are counted.These voters are also particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the judge said."By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in...

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Chuck Lindell
Oct 10
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Voting by mail in Texas? What you need to know about mail-in ballots

Voting by mail in Texas? What you need to know about mail-in ballots

 Want to skip the line at the polls? For those who qualify, voting by mail is an easy way around the anticipated long queues of in-person ballot casting for the Nov. 3 elections.Officials expect large turnouts, and lines could be spatially longer as election officials ask voters to stay 6 feet apart to lessen the threat of the coronavirus. People are also likely to take longer to vote.Straight-ticket voting is not an option anymore, and the ballot is long: Residents across the state are asked to decide presidential and statewide elections, local government and school board races, and...

statesman.com
Oct 7
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Top aides accuse Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of bribery, abusing office

Top aides accuse Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of bribery, abusing office

 Top aides of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked federal law enforcement authorities to investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes against the state’s top lawyer.In a one-page letter to the state agency’s director of human resources, obtained Saturday by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, seven executives in the upper tiers of the office said that they are seeking the investigation into Paxton "in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas."The Thursday letter said that each "has knowledge of facts...

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Chuck Lindell
Oct 4
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Top aides accuse Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of bribery, abusing office

Top aides accuse Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of bribery, abusing office

 Top aides of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked federal law enforcement authorities to investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes against the state’s top lawyer.In a one-page letter to the state agency’s director of human resources, obtained Saturday by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, seven executives in the upper tiers of the office said that they are seeking the investigation into Paxton "in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas."The Thursday letter said that each "has knowledge of facts...

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Chuck Lindell
Oct 4
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Editorial: Shame on Abbott for shuttering ballot drop sites

Editorial: Shame on Abbott for shuttering ballot drop sites

 You don’t mess with people’s right to vote.Not when they’ve already started casting their mail-in ballots. Not when a highly contagious virus makes in-person voting riskier. Not when a record number of Americans say they’re strongly invested in the outcome of this election.And yet that’s exactly what Gov. Greg Abbott did in plain view this week: He brazenly disrupted Texans’ ability to vote by shutting down most drop-off locations for people casting absentee ballots.This has all the makings of a manufactured crisis. Stoking unfounded fears about "attempts at illegal voting," Abbott is...

statesman.com
Oct 2
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Texas' voter registration deadline looms. How to ensure you can vote on Election Day

Texas' voter registration deadline looms. How to ensure you can vote on Election Day

 If you want to vote in the upcoming elections, it’s time to make sure your affairs are in order.Monday is the deadline to register to vote in Texas in the Nov. 3 local and national elections, including the races for president; congressional and legislative seats; governor; lieutenant governor; and city and county government and judicial posts. (Find comprehensive election news coverage at statesman.com/elections.)Here are five things you need to know about getting on the voter rolls and making sure your registration is correct and up to date:1. Find out if you are already registered and...

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Oct 1
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Abbott unveils proposals to strengthen penalties for rioting

Abbott unveils proposals to strengthen penalties for rioting

 In a Dallas news conference Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced several legislative proposals that would stiffen penalties for people participating in riots.Abbott invoked protests that turned violent in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas over the summer, and a move last month by the Austin City Council to reduce police funding, although unlike other recent proposals unveiled by Abbott, his ideas Thursday did not address the funding issue.The anti-rioting proposals are:Felony charges and mandatory jail time for causing injury or destroying property in a riot.A felony and mandatory minimum jail...

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Nicole Cobler
Sep 24
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Abbott orders counties to close multiple ballot drop-off sites

Abbott orders counties to close multiple ballot drop-off sites

 Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas counties Thursday to close multiple locations where voters can drop off completed mail-in ballots.As an election security measure, Abbott said, counties will be limited to one dropoff site where poll watchers — designated by political parties and candidates — must be allowed to observe ballot deliveries by voters.The new order takes effect Friday and modified Abbott’s July 27 order that acknowledged the pandemic’s danger by adding six days of early voting and waiving a state law that limits mail-in ballot dropoff to Election Day only.Democrats blasted the...

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Nicole Cobler
Oct 1
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State looks to recoup millions it says it overpaid to jobless Texans

State looks to recoup millions it says it overpaid to jobless Texans

 If losing a job amid the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t stressful enough, tens of thousands of out-of-work Texans also have been notified that they received too much money in unemployment benefits and now are in debt to the state.The Texas Workforce Commission says it has overpaid a total of $203 million to about 185,000 people from March 1 through Sept. 15 while attempting to quickly get state and federal benefits to those in need.The figures are relatively small fractions of both the total amount that has been disbursed and the total number of people who have received benefits.According to...

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Bob Sechler
Sep 29
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Austin council OKs budget with $150M in police cuts

Austin council OKs budget with $150M in police cuts

 Austin City Council members on Thursday unanimously approved a $4.2 billion budget that includes about $150 million in planned cuts to Austin police, but only $20 million or so will be immediately removed from the department’s funding.The final approval of the budget comes after the council heard months of outcry from community members demanding funding police cuts in the wake of protests against police brutality.That outcry continued Wednesday, when more than 200 people signed up to speak as the council convened, most of whom supported the cuts, or urged the council to cut deeper.Before...

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Mark D. Wilson
Aug 13
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State Sen. Seliger tests positive for coronavirus

State Sen. Seliger tests positive for coronavirus

 Texas state Sen. Kel Seliger tested positive for the coronavirus, he confirmed in a tweet Wednesday evening.Seliger, a 67-year-old Republican from Amarillo, represents Senate District 31, which stretches from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin."I have tested positive for COVID-19," Seliger tweeted. "I began to exhibit symptoms last night. I appreciate the well wishes while I diligently comply with isolation and contact tracing guidelines as put out by the Governor and CDC."I have tested positive for COVID-19. I began to exhibit symptoms last night. I appreciate the well wishes while I...

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Nicole Cobler
Aug 13
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Man shot to death during downtown Austin protest

Man shot to death during downtown Austin protest

 A man was killed in downtown Austin Saturday night in the midst of a protest against police violence, and police said they have taken the shooter into custody.The shooting happened about 9:50 p.m. at Fourth Street and Congress Avenue, EMS officials said. Austin police said the male victim was carrying a weapon when he approached a vehicle. The person in the vehicle then shot the man.According to a witness, the incident began when the driver on Fourth Street honked, turned right and sped down Congress, driving through the crowd. He appeared to hit an orange barrier in the road and came to a...

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Katie Hall
Jul 26
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Man shot to death during downtown Austin protest

Man shot to death during downtown Austin protest

 A man was killed in downtown Austin Saturday night in the midst of a protest against police violence, and police said they have taken the shooter into custody.The shooting happened about 9:50 p.m. at Fourth Street and Congress Avenue, EMS officials said. Austin police said the male victim was carrying a weapon when he approached a vehicle. The person in the vehicle then shot the man.According to a witness, the incident began when the driver on Fourth Street honked, turned right and sped down Congress, driving through the crowd. He appeared to hit an orange barrier in the road and came to a...

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Katie Hall
Jul 26
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