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TipSheet: Travis County, 11.08.16

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The County Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its website.

In honor of Election Day, the Commissioners Court this week appears set for a very short meeting to dispatch a very light agenda. Below are the highlights. Seriously.

3. Consider and take appropriate action on an order concerning outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Travis County. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Residents should be more concerned with building an ark than burning overgrown brush. In any case, thanks to the ample amount of rain over the past few days and in the forecast, the county is not set to prohibit the latter. Let us know if there are any planned funeral pyres for Election 2016.

5. Receive update on the DNA testing issues in the Austin Police Department Forensics Lab. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: This summer, the Austin Police Department’s DNA unit shut down after a damning audit conducted by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court will hear the District Attorney’s Office estimate that the imbroglio – involving potentially faulty DNA tests – could affect 3,600 cases that were tried dating back to 2004. Additionally, the DA’s Office is looking for short-term solutions for DNA testing for pending or future cases, and options include the Department of Public Safety and the private sector.

7. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding an appointment to the Austin Animal Advisory Commission: a. Approve questions for finalist interviews b. Conduct interviews with finalists c. Discuss and take appropriate action on appointment (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The county is inching toward naming its second appointee to the Animal Advisory Commission. If your interests include animals and policy, baby, it’s your time to shine.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on the Civil & Family Courts Capacity Project. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: It’s not guaranteed that the court will take up this item since County Judge Sarah Eckhardt has decreed, as a matter of flexibility, that it automatically be written into every agenda. However, the Community Advisory Committee last week made new recommendations on unnamed private properties that could potentially serve as the site of a new civil courthouse, and that means the commissioners are in store for an update.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Travis County Commissioners Court: The legislative body for Travis County. It includes representatives from the four Travis County Precincts, as well as the County Judge. The County Judge serves as the chair of the Court.

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