Weekly News Update: March 19, 2023—March 25, 2023

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By Preethi Mangadu 

News & Culture Director

Renegotiations begin for the San Marcos Police Meet and Confer Contract


The San Marcos Meet and Confer renegotiation meetings continued Thursday to discuss issues for the upcoming meetings. Before the meeting, Mano Amiga Safety and Caldwell/Hays Examiner spoke about one of the Hartman Reforms and more.


Issues were related to the wages, hours of employment and other terms and conditions of police officer employment in San Marcos. The public is allowed to attend these meetings, but participating in discussions and presentations is prohibited. 


When speaking about the reforms, Mano Amiga Safety and Caldwell/Hays Examiner profiled three recent cases of police misconduct where the officer was issued suspension, but never took a disciplinary break by way of a contract loophole. 



“You all know previously when we announced these reforms at the beginning of the Meet and Confer process, they used the excuse that we had missed a deadline in which they had locked in their issues,” said Mano Amiga Communication Director Sam Benevides. “Because we are forcing them to renegotiate, it is happening today, so we are pressuring them to implement these reforms.”


One of the cases was Sgt. Ryan Hartman, who the Hartman Reforms were named after he “forfeited a week of vacation in lieu of serving his suspension after premeditatedly shooting a compliant citizen, who had his hands in the air, with his dangerous taser stun gun in 2021,” according to a press release from Mano Amiga. The two other cases discussed were Corporal John Cope and Jordan Perkins. 


In the same press release, Mano Amiga stated City officials were not transparent on the schedule of the Meet and Confer process according to Councilmember Alyssa Garza. 


“The City Manager’s office told me and other Council members they would inform us when meetings with the police association would start – given the clear importance to our constituents, who ran a successful ballot initiative to urge adoption of a contract that is more inclusive of discipline and accountability concerns,” said Garza, in the press release. “It is both infuriating and annoying that, despite multiple requests for this transparency, the promise was not honored.”


Texas State announces BookSmart at TXST for fall 2023, reducing student material expenses 


BookSmart at TXST, in partnership with Follett ACCESS, will be coming to the Texas State campus in fall 2023. 


The program provides undergraduate students with access to all their course materials when the semester starts. 


Students can pay $249 each academic semester for required course materials, such as textbooks and access codes, in their tuition and fees. The program is expected to save Bobcats $12 million in its first year, when compared with purchasing printed materials. 


According to the BookSmart at TXST website, the program’s benefits are saving “hundreds on course textbooks and materials, access to all required course materials on day one of each semester, easy access to digital course materials via Canvas and reduced stress during the purchasing process.”


“At Texas State we are constantly striving to improve affordability,” said Gene Bourgeois, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, in a TXST release. “The BookSmart program gave us the opportunity to affect student savings in a big way by providing students with their course materials in a digital format at drastically reduced prices.”


If the materials that professors require are offered digitally, students will be provided with a digital copy. However, if a student wants a printed copy, they can get one at an additional cost by contacting The Bobcat Store in the LBJ Student Center. Non-digital materials must be picked up in The Bobcat Store. 


Students will automatically be opted into the program, but they will also have the option to opt out if they choose.  


For more information, visit  


New “Gateway Mural” gets approval from San Marcos City Council


The San Marcos City Council approved a new “gateway mural” for San Marcos behind the former Hays County Justice Center Tuesday.


Currently, Industry, AquaBrew and more are located there. The Arts Commission Recommendation Resolution 2023-01RR is being called a “gateway mural” because it is a major entryway into downtown from I-35. 


“This location is a major entryway to our downtown,” said the Creative and Marketing Manager for Destinations Services, Charlotte Wattigny. “A large mural will give a beautiful first impression of the vibrancy of our city.”


The mural would be approximately 200 by 25 feet, making it about 5,000 square feet, and cost $100,000, as approved by the Arts Commission. It will be designed to be enjoyed from far away due to it being next to the railroad. 


“A mural of this size and magnitude is a first for San Marcos,” said Wattigny. “Not only will it visually energize the corridor into our downtown, it will add to our growing public art portfolio instilling both a sense of pride for the community and another reason for visitors to visit our destination.”


Once an artist is narrowed down and chosen, they will receive input from the San Martian community and translate the results into a design. The Arts Commission will then approve the design before the mural can be started. 


“I think it’s a little expensive, but I drive by there a lot, and it is graffitied; it’s a gateway; it’s bland; it’s terrible so I’m glad to see something go on,” said councilmember Mark Gleason. 


Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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