Andrew Weber

Andrew Weber is a freelance reporter and associate editor for KUT News. A graduate of St. Edward's University with a degree in English, Andrew has previously interned with The Texas Tribune, The Austin American-Statesman and KOOP Radio.

Like a mirage on a sun-beaten West Texas highway, the future of autonomous vehicles in Texas isn't altogether clear. A new state effort hopes to remedy that.  

Blue Origin will launch its New Shepard rocket in West Texas this morning.

If all goes according to plan, it will be the 10th successful launch for the spaceflight venture founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. This would be the fourth flight for the craft, named for famed astronaut Alan Shepard.

The mission was postponed twice previously late last year, but the New Shepard is set to launch this morning,  carrying eight NASA-sponsored payloads along with it. The launch is set for 8:50 this morning near Van Horn. 

A plaque honoring the Confederate States of America in the Texas Capitol will be taken down after a vote from the Texas State Preservation Board.

In a meeting that lasted all of three minutes, board members unanimously approved the measure to remove the plaque, which was installed in 1959, though it's unclear when exactly it will be taken down. 

Since 2007, Houston Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman – and others – have tried in vain to get just five words into Texas' hate crimes law: "or gender identity or expression."

Days after a federal lawsuit was filed in Pflugerville, Texas faces another suit over its 2017 law requiring contractors to pledge they won't boycott Israel – this time from the American Civil Liberties Union.

A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is suing the Texas Department of Public Safety over its automatic driver license-suspension program. The suit alleges the state's Driver Responsibility Program has unconstitutionally suspended 1.4 million Texans' licenses for failure to pay fines.

NASA's InSight probe is set to land on Mars this afternoon at around 2 p.m. CST. Launched in May, the probe will end its journey to the Red Planet, where it will begin a two-year mission to gather data on Mars' terrain. 

Watch a livestream of the landing below, courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. 

A federal judge in Austin has blocked Texas' so-called fetal burial law.

U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra voided the law, which the Texas Legislature passed in 2017, on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Gov. Greg Abbott laid out a plan this morning to increase school safety in Texas after the Santa Fe High School shooting. The plan offered suggestions that focused on “hardening schools” and increasing mental health services through as much as $120 million in federal and state grants for schools.

Nobody in Texas "wants to see another occasion where innocent children are gunned down in their own schools,” he said as he rolled out the 40-page plan at the Dallas Independent School District headquarters.

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley called the Austin serial bomber a "domestic terrorist" at a panel hosted by member station KUT on Thursday.

A version of this story was first posted by member station KUT.

One of the most powerful Republicans in Texas, state House Speaker Joe Straus, says he will not run for re-election in 2018.

The decision is a blow to the moderate wing of an increasingly conservative Republican Party in the second most-populous state in the nation. Republicans hold every statewide elected office in Texas and control both chambers of the legislature.

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