Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin. Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

City chokehold: In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is calling lawmakers back for a special session focused on creating laws to tighten the state’s control of cities, now affecting issues like budgets, land use, and ride-hailing. Austin views it as a direct attack from the governor, The Statesman reports:

“As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different,” Abbott told the audience at a dinner hosted by the Bell County Republican Party. “Once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It’s the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin, Texas.”

Leaning left: The liberal (some say radical) new mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, fits into a nationwide trend of strongly progressive policies getting a push in cities, even in deep red states. (Governing)

De-segregating schools: New York City is launching a new effort to help increase diversity in public schools. In The Washington Post, the city’s schools chancellor explains the goals, including an increase of 50,000 students enrolled in racially diverse schools.

Wooden tower: Oregon has approved construction permits for the nation’s first all-wood high-rise, a project using emerging technologies to build the 12-story tower in Portland’s Pearl District. (AP)

Sprawl nostalgia: Yearning for the “unapologetically spread-out, emptier city of the 1970s” is OK, says one Los Angeles Times op-ed, as long as it doesn’t stop L.A. from moving forward to its more sustainable, vertical future.

Foreign policy for cities: As we’re seeing with the Paris accord, cities already defend their policies on the global level. But a Politico Magazine piece argues for cities to ramp up “meaningful, coordinated global strategies.”

The urban lens:

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About the Author

Katie Pearce

Katie Pearce writes the Lab Report, CityLab’s morning news roundup.

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