Renzo Downey, Austin American-Statesman

Renzo Downey

Austin American-Statesman

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Past articles by Renzo:

TxDOT goal: No traffic deaths by 2050

Texas Department of Transportation officials set the ambitious goal Thursday of eliminating traffic deaths statewide by 2050, with a midpoint goal of reducing deaths by half by 2035.With 3,641 traffic deaths statewide in 2018, nearly 10 per day, deaths would have to drop by about 120 annually to meet those goals. The last day without a death on a Texas road was Nov. 7, 2000.“While we are… → Read More

10 Texas constitutional amendments slated for November ballot

Ten state constitutional amendments, approved by the Legislature during this year’s session, will appear on the statewide ballot on Nov. 5. They → Read More

Effort to ban death penalty for those with intellectual disabilities falls short

A move to ban the death penalty for defendants with intellectual disabilities that would bring Texas in line with a February U.S. Supreme Court order failed to get a final vote before the end of the legislative session after lawmakers couldn’t agree on the process for determining intellectual disability.The Senate version of House Bill 1139, authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston,… → Read More

Circuit of the Americas denied second chance at $25 million

An effort to allow Circuit of the Americas officials to seek reimbursement from a state economic development fund for the 2018 U.S. Grand Prix fell short → Read More

Lawmakers to negotiate key death penalty provision

A bill that would prevent people with intellectual disabilities from being sentenced to death, in the works since 2003, will go to negotiations after the → Read More

House OKs extending limit on sex abuse lawsuits

The House agreed to accept a Senate extension to the time people have to file a lawsuit in childhood sexual abuse cases against organizations that knew, → Read More

House approves TABC funding bill with beer-to-go provision

The Texas House on Friday approved Senate changes to the bill to fund the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.The final bill, which will be sent to Gov. → Read More

Negotiators to debate changes to election bill

House and Senate negotiators will meet to discuss changes to a voter registration bill that became a hot-button issue for Democrats after senators added → Read More

Rape kit backlog bill headed to Abbott

The Texas House unanimously approved Senate changes Thursday to a bill that would reduce the backlog of untested rape kits in the hands of the Department → Read More

Lawmakers revive effort for U.S. Grand Prix reimbursement

A legislative effort to extend the window for the Circuit of the Americas to seek reimbursement for the 2018 U.S. Grand Prix was revived this week after → Read More

House votes down bill aimed at taxpayer-funded lobbying

The Texas House voted 85-58 on Monday against a bill that, in its final version, would have prevented cities in the 21 largest counties and the counties → Read More

Election bill, a Senate GOP priority, dies in the House

Time ran out this week for a bill that was a priority for Senate Republicans that would stiffen penalties for certain state election law violations.Senate → Read More

Texas House OKs death penalty ban for severely mentally ill

Thirteen Republicans joined Democrats in the Texas House to pass a bill 77-66 Thursday that would make defendants that juries say have a severe mental → Read More

Texas House backs open display of handguns in cars

The Texas House signaled approval Thursday for a bill that would allow people with concealed carry permits to keep their handgun in sight if it is holstered anywhere while in a vehicle, closing what the bill author called a loophole in the current law."You're in control of the vehicle. You're inside of the vehicle," Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, who authored House Bill 3016, told the… → Read More

Texas House votes to name part of Airport Blvd. after WWII vet Richard Overton

The Texas House voted unanimously Friday to designate a segment of Airport Boulevard the "Richard Overton Memorial Highway" in honor of the late Austin-based World War II veteran.House Bill 1821, filed by Rep. Sheryl Cole, D-Austin, would name State Loop 111 — which runs concurrently with Airport Boulevard between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Levander Loop — after Overton."Mr. Overton… → Read More

Authorities accuse Edinburg mayor, wife of running vote-harvesting scheme

Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina and his wife, Dalia, were arrested Thursday by the Election Fraud Unit of the Texas attorney general’s office and accused of running a vote-harvesting scheme.In a statement, the attorney general's office said the couple had numerous voters in the border town of 90,000 in the Rio Grande Valley change their addresses to places where they didn’t live, including an… → Read More

Bill would end Confederate Heroes Day in Texas

Four years after he made headlines as the Austin middle schooler who made eliminating Confederate Heroes Day his cause, Jacob Hale returned to the Texas → Read More

Senate votes to limit city regulations on private businesses

The Texas Senate signaled approval Tuesday for two bills to limit local government control over private businesses, measures opposed by some of Texas’ major cities.Senate Bill 2486 would limit governments from regulating scheduling practices, such as an Austin ordinance requiring construction workers to be given a break of at least 10 minutes for every four hours worked. SB 2488 would block… → Read More

Why the Texas Legislature doesn't reflect the state's growing diversity

With the swearing-in of Texas' newest state representative last month, there are now a record number of Hispanic lawmakers. Yet even as the number of Hispanic lawmakers has increased, the growth hasn't kept pace with the burgeoning Latino population statewide.State Rep. Ray Lopez, D-San Antonio, became the 38th Hispanic lawmaker in the House after he won a special election in the 125th District… → Read More

House votes to extend tax relief for new industry

The Texas House gave initial approval Monday for 10-year extensions to two property tax abatement programs for new industrial development, both designed → Read More