Laura Wright

LIVEBLOG: Texas Senate considers abortion legislation

For constant live updates on the Texas Senate's consideration of abortion legislation on Twitter, follow Bobby Blanchard on Twitter @bobbycblanchard and Laura Wright on Twitter @wrightlauras. 

11:11: Texas Senate still in final discussion of bill, with the estimated time of completion for the night unknown.

10:14: Pro-aborion rights activists are now marching downtown.

9:45: A total of 20 amendments have been tabled, all of which have been turned down by the Senate.

Several protesters in the gallery have been removed after chaining themselves to the railing. The Senate moves on to final statements, amidst shouting from the gallery and calls from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, to allow the process to continue.

Pro-abortion and anti-abortion crowds have begun to form around the south steps of the Capitol, as the rotunda is currently at capacity and no more protesters or observers are being let in.

8:43: So far, 12 amendments have been turned down by the Senate.

At least 19 amendments were filed on the abortion legislation. The majortiy of votes against amendments have been 19-11.

Bobby Blanchard and Laura Wright, who have been live-tweeting and live blogging from watching the Texas Senate's live stream,  will be leaving The Daily Texan office to go to the Capitol as the debate winds down. Rallies are expected outside the Capitol. Follow them on Twitter @bobbycblanchard and @wrightlauras for live updates and live tweeting. 

7:45 p.m. — Senators began to consider amendments shortly after 6:30 p.m.

The first amendment was relating to abortion clinic's standards. The second amendment was relating to exceptions to the 20-week rule for the case of rape or incest.

Both of the amendments were tabled. The second amendment, filed by Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, resulted in a fierce debate between Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston and Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy. The two are known to be close friends.

Whitmire became frustrated when Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, asked if an amendment would endanger passage of the bill.

"If this amendment is not accepted, it is pure politics and that makes me sick," Whitmire said.

5:50 p.m. — Lawmakers have spent the better part of the afternoon questioning Sen. Glenn Hager, R-Katy, who filed the abortion legislation in the Texas Senate.

The debate is expected to go into the night. If the Texas Senate passes the bill without any amendments, it would go to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature. 

The abortion legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks, place additional restrictions on abortion clinics and increase restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs. Supporters of the bill claim it makes abortion safer, and opponents of the bill claim it would make abortion more difficult to obtain. 

Protestors and supporters of the abortion legislation have stormed the Texas Capitol to watch the debate. Earlier today, the Department of Public Safety released a press release claiming that it had claimed 18 jars of feces from people attempting to enter the Capitol. DPS got some angry backlash on Twitter for also confiscating tampons.  DPS eventually reversed its policy and started letting tampons into the building.

Senator Wendy Davis pauses during her speech to supporters of Texas womens' rights, who gathered at the capitol Monday morning as a reaction to the second special session.

Photo Credit: Erika Rich | Daily Texan Staff

In this podcast, Bobby Blanchard, Christian Ayala and special guest Laura Wright discuss the second special session of the 83rd Legislature. They also discuss how the national spotlight has turned to Texas following the filibuster in the first special session, and how that might impact the political ambitions of Rick Perry and other politicans.

You can listen to the podcast above, download the podcast here or subscribe to The Daily Texan Podcast on iTunes.

Tune in to The Daily Texan Podcast and catch up on what news you missed in the past week that is relevant and important to the 40 Acres. Check back every Friday for a new episode.

UT senior Leah Vela makes a sno-cone for a customer at Sno Beach on Tuesday afternoon. Vela said this week’s warmer weather has brought an increase in

Photo Credit: Becca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

Put simply, I am a snow cone connoisseur. When I was a kid, a snow cone stand painted with a picture of Winnie the Pooh sat around the corner from my house, and buying a snow cone there signaled both the beginning and end of summer.

As a college-bound 18 year old, I lived in a different house, but a snow cone stand still sat at the nearest H-E-B. In the weeks before I left for college I visited it every day, hell bent on tasting each and every one of the offered flavors.

Now, as a college student, I live mere blocks away from the Sno-Beach trailer on Guadalupe Street, and though I have not sampled every flavor, I am certainly a frequent patron. Below is a list of my favorite flavors at the three best snow cone stands in Austin, compiled by your truly.

1. Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs

Yes. It’s worth the drive. Casey’s tops the list because it has variety, not just of flavors, but also of add-ons and sizes — a big plus if you dislike getting the giant ‘small’ size at Sno-Beach. Casey’s flavors come in two varieties, cream and regular. The cream flavors have cream mixed in and taste like the perfect in-between: not quite ice cream, not quite snow cone, light enough for a summer day but heavy enough to support cream-based flavors like chocolate. The best of all is that despite all the variety, the service at Casey’s comes in one only one flavor: amazing. The employees are cheerful, helpful and make each snow cone like the treat is the only thing between you and a great day. Which, considering how good these snow cones are, it just might be.

2. Jim-Jim’s Italian Water Ice

No, a “water ice” is not a snow cone. The texture is, as you might suspect, more watery. But breaking tradition is forgivable because of the juicy, fresh-fruit flavors that Jim-Jim’s trades in. Get the mango or the strawberry, but skip the cream: It’s too thick, they put too much on and it ruins the light, juicy flavor of the treat.

3. Sno-Beach

At Sno-Beach, get a small — its sizes are larger than most — and order almond flavor with cream. Or peach with cream. Or horchata with cream. If you suspect the flavor would taste good when added to vanilla ice cream, adding the snow beach cream mix will make for a great combination.

Editor’s note: Per the TSM election code Section 7.45B, Daily Texan editor-in-chief candidates have the opportunity to publish two columns during their campaigns. The candidates were asked to write one column on the topic specified below and another on a topic of their choice. The columns had to be between 580-620 words. The candidates were responsible for writing their own headlines. For their second column below, the candidates wrote on a topic of their choice.

It’s hard to know exactly how to navigate the West Mall during election season, which ends when voting closes this Thursday at 5 p.m. As the campaigners pass out fliers, call out names and wave signs, it seems as if most students are occupied by questions more along the lines of  “Is it appropriate to throw a flyer away immediately after I receive it?”, “Where the hell is the nearest recycling bin?” and “If I put headphones in, will they leave me alone?” than the question of who they should vote for. 

The student frustration with elections is understandable. In the past week, I’ve been campaigning for campus wide office as a candidate for editor-in-chief of this paper, and in that week, I’ve become newly aware of how difficult it is to reach and interact with students on all corners of campus. It’s understandably hard for the average student to feel a part of a campaign when he or she is one in over 51,000 students, and the low number of students who actually vote reflects this sentiment. Last year, only 8 percent of students voted in the Executive Alliance election. Granted, last year’s election seemed to involve every type of scandal short of drug running and national treason, but the turnout for the previous year was low as well, with only 16 percent of students voting for Student Government president and vice president.

The problem is, whether students vote or not, persons outside our University will look to our elected student leaders to explain, defend and represent this campus. If our Student Government president might be appearing on the nightly news to talk about what UT students want, we might as well elect him or her as the entire 40 Acres and not as a voting block that spans around four acres in all.

Historically, the ability of student leaders to stand up for UT’s values when forces challenge those values has been incredibly important. Back in 1900, for example, Texas Gov. James Ferguson’s disdain for the campus uphill from the Capitol nearly resulted in UT’s closing. When Ferguson vetoed the bill that appropriated funds to UT and attempted to fire the current UT president, student leaders conspired with the president to hold a rally against the governor. Students got their way. Ferguson backed down; our doors are still open today.

In the 1960s, Student Government voted 22-2 to integrate the dormitories, setting the stage for a showdown with the integration-opposing UT System Board of Regents. Students in the same representative positions you’ll elect Wednesday and Thursday cast those 24 votes. And again, the students won, though the battle was hard-fought.

More recently, when the UT Board of Regents started talking about cutting funding for research, then-Student Government president Natalie Butler, along with other student leaders, spoke eloquently about student opposition to such changes in interviews with the media and in an open letter to the Board of Regents.

You may be skeptical that the candidates have the power to bring about promises like better food in dining halls or more parking options on campus. And the truth is, we won’t know if they can until they take office. But one thing’s for certain. Student Government has its greatest moments not when it’s making good on platform points but when it’s standing up for UT students. When changes come to the UT campus, be they from the Tower, the Legislature, or the governor’s office, elected student leaders will be called upon to speak for you. Voting is your chance to make sure you like what they’re saying.

Wright is a Plan II junior from San Antonio.

Student Government Social Media Guide

Executive Alliance Candidates

Horacio Villarreal and Ugeo Williams

Ryan Shingledecker and Maddie Fogel

Connie Tao and Ryan Upchurch

Chris Gilman and Alison Stoos

Daily Texan Editor-in-Chief Candidates

The Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees acknowledged its financial hardships but declined to take specific actions at its meeting on Friday. The board also certified candidates for The Daily Texan’s upcoming editor-in-chief election. 

The Texas Student Media board oversees the operation of The Daily Texan, Cactus Yearbook, KVRX Radio, Texas Student Television and The Texas Travesty.

Jalah Goette, director of Texas Student Media, presented new financial data to the board and said the finalized board budget in March needed to include drastic changes for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

“The model we have now is not sustainable, given the financial situation we’re facing,” Goette said. “The media world is changing and we need to evolve, too.” 

Although members discussed potential solutions, the board did not settle on a specific course of action. David Verduzco, accounting lecturer and board member, said it was impractical to depend on rates of ad revenue increasing in the future. 

“We can’t just stick our heads in the sand and hope to earn more revenue,” Verduzco said. “That’s what we did this year.” 

The Daily Texan has faced a sharp decline in advertising revenue, dropping by almost 50 percent in December 2012 compared with December 2011, according to budget documents submitted to the TSM board, and one-third of the way into the fiscal year, only 27 percent of the amount of ad revenue in the 2012-2013 budget has been earned.     

Daily Texan Adviser Doug Warren said the board might consider hiring a professional staff member to look at marketing strategies and development and another to work full-time on the Daily Texan website. 

Verduzco said this wasn’t out of the question. 

“We can spend money to make money, but we don’t have much money left,” he said. 

The board also certified journalism sophomore Bobby Blanchard and Laura Wright, Plan II honors and biology junior, as candidates for editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan for the 2013-2014 academic year. Originally, the board did not approve Wright’s application because she did not meet two of the requirements to run for the position. Wright appealed directly to the board, which then approved her but extended the application deadline.

Further complications arose when it was discovered that the qualifications listed on the editor-in-chief application did not match the qualifications listed in official Texas Student Media policy documents. 

The editor-in-chief position is elected by the University student body. Blanchard and Wright are Texan staff members currently on a leave of absence, as required by the Texas Student Media bylaws.

Jennifer Hammat, assistant vice president for student affairs, said she also wanted the board to consider reducing the level of detail included in the minutes published online after each board meeting.

“I don’t know if you want that much detail on your website all the time,” Hammat said. “To personally identify folks is something previous boards had not expressed interest in, and for now I would advise everyone that anything you say can be personally attributed to you.”

Goette agreed to table the approved minutes pending further revision.

Published on February 4, 2013 as "TSM wants new financial strategies". 

This story was edited for accuracy after its original post.