BG Note | News - What We're Reading (October 5, 2017)


[Austin Metro]

Proposal to allow more ride-hailing drivers irks Austin cab companies (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The Austin City Council on Thursday will consider allowing college students and others with out-of-state driver’s licenses to get temporary chauffeur’s permits, a tweak worked out between the city staff and RideAustin to help the ride-hailing company hire more drivers while still getting them fingerprinted.
The potential one-page change in city law is not popular with at least some of the city’s beleaguered taxi companies. “Since Uber and Lyft came back in, our income has dropped 60 to 70 percent,” said Hassan Aruri, who serves on the board of ATX Coop Taxi. “Right now there are a lot of (cab) drivers, but there is not a whole lot of work for us. To say they want to bring people from outside the state, this is unbelievable.”

Council issues stern warning to ZACH Theatre (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Is management at ZACH Theatre interfering with employee efforts to unionize? The answer could cost them $212,500 from the city.
The money in question is part of the city’s annual cultural arts contracts. Though more than $8.4 million in contracts passed without discussion, City Council pulled the ZACH Theatre funding for further scrutiny at its Sept. 28 meeting. Council Member Delia Garza explained that she had heard the theater’s management may be preventing union activity, despite a clear directive to establish “labor neutrality” in contracts last year to ensure that workers felt safe unionizing at the theater.



Judge Blocks Texas Secretary Of State From Giving Voter Information To Trump Commission (KUT) LINK TO STORY

A Texas district judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos from handing voter information to President Donald Trump's voter fraud investigation commission.
The order, which came out Tuesday, adds Texas to a growing list of states not complying with the president's investigation into the 2016 elections, which Trump says suffered from large-scale voter fraud.

U.S. House committee approves Texan's bill to put $10 billion toward border wall (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The House Homeland Security Committee voted to send a bill to the full U.S. House on Wednesday that aims to follow through on President Donald Trump’s campaign promise of constructing a wall at the United States' southern border. 

The bill from U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, an Austin Republican and the committee's chairman, included $10 billion toward building a wall. It passed out of committee on a party-line, 17-12 vote.

Legislation seeks to protect landowners from Trump's border wall (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

U.S. Reps. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, and Ruben Gallego, D-Arizona, introduced legislation Wednesday that would prevent the government from acquiring land to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Protecting the Property Rights of Landowners Act would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit the government’s use of eminent domain to obtain private property for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
“We do not need a 2,000-mile, 30-foot-high wall separating us from Mexico,” O’Rourke said. “If the Trump administration with the aid of this Congress moves forward with the construction of a wall … much of it will be built on U.S. property owners’ land.”

East Texas county becomes first in state to sue pharma companies over opioid crisis (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Upshur County is suing more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies for their alleged role in opioid addiction, a problem taxing the resources of cities and states across the country. The lawsuit announced Wednesday makes the East Texas county the first governmental body in the state to sue over opioids.
Cities such as Cincinnati and Louisville filed lawsuits earlier this year. So have four counties in New York, two in California and a handful in other states. At least six states have also filed claims so far, including New Hampshire, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Carolina, according to Bloomberg News.

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