Matter of Time: The University of Texas at Austin Health Services has notified Austin Public Health of preliminary lab results indicating the presence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Austin. If the lab results are confirmed by genetic sequencing (which takes several days), they will be the first cases of Omicron identified in Austin. Public health officials continue to warn the community in hopes that people get tested before gathering or traveling for the holidays.
Reason for the Season: The candidate filing period for the March 1 primaries was Mon., Dec. 13. In Travis County, races for county judge, Precinct 2 commissioner, Precinct 4 commissioner, county clerk, State Board of Education District 5, and county party chairs will be on the ballot. Read more.
What’s My Wage Again? AISD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde has proposed a 2% increase and a $1,000 bump in teacher salaries as part of the district’s 2022-23 budget. Also proposed is an increase to $16/hour in starting pay for classified staff, such as food workers and janitorial staff. The Austin ISD Board of Trustees will vote on AISD’s budget next June.
No CARES for You: The Williamson County Commissioners Court voted to withhold a combined $9 million in federal CARES Act funding from the Leander and Round Rock school districts because of books some commissioners found “inappropriate.” At issue are 11 books – many that are written by authors of color and/or have LGBTQIA characters – that were removed from LISD classrooms and student book clubs over parents’ concerns.
In Other WilCo News: The Williamson County Commissioners Court agreed to a $5 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit of Javier Ambler, who died in 2019 after Williamson County sheriff’s deputies shot him repeatedly with a stun gun.
Delta-8 State of Mind: Last week the Texas Supreme Court rejected the Department of State Health Services‘ request to reinstate a ban on Delta-8 products.
SCOTUS on SB 8: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Texas’ six-week abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, could remain in effect while Austin-based Whole Woman’s Health pursues its lawsuit over the ban in lower courts. SCOTUS dismissed a separate lawsuit over SB 8 from the federal Department of Justice.
Rosemont and the Restless: Residents of the Rosemont at Oak Valley apartments have begun to return to their apartments, after temporarily moving out last year due to damages because of Winter Storm Uri. However, according to advocacy group BASTA, there is still mold. The complex’s owned by a Travis County affiliate, the Strategic Housing Finance Corporation.