BG Note | News - What We're Reading (November 6, 2017)


[Austin Metro]

Possible lobbying ordinance changes headed to Council (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Ethics Review Commission approved a series of recommendations for how to amend the city’s Anti-Lobbying Ordinance, portions of which have been criticized as too vague or unfair by solid waste and other contractors who regularly do business with the city.
The recommendations on issues such as a no-contact period prior to selection of vendors and how to punish companies who violate the ordinance, appear to have shaped an amendment to the ordinance that City Council will consider at its meeting this Thursday. The recommendations, which were finalized by a stakeholder working group on Oct. 31, include the following changes:
(1) Barring communication with city representatives by vendors beginning four days after a request for proposals or other bid solicitation process is made public. This recommendation was approved 7-2, with commissioners Ben Stratmann and Mary Kahle opposing.
(2) Setting the no-communication period at 60 days or until the related contract is approved, whichever comes first. Approved 9-0
(3) A number of changes to enforcement of the ordinance, including how to carry out appeals for violations and the extent of punishment, including possible debarment from bidding on city contracts for three years. Approved 9-0
(4) Adding procedures provided by the American Bar Association, or other best practices, for how to enforce the ordinance. Approved 9-0
(5) Allowing the body that hears appeals of violations cases to consider mitigating factors – such as staff or Council members initiating contact during the no-contact period – in its rulings. Approved 9-0.

Commission embraces ADUs in CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

After months of debate, the Planning Commission at its Nov. 1 meeting directed staff and consultants to make the building of accessory dwelling units less constrained in the final draft of CodeNEXT.
The current code places several restrictions on the construction of ADUs, and the second draft of the new code has dropped some of those and relaxed others. But consultant Peter Park told the commission that in the third and final draft it had a choice between allowing ADUs or promoting them.

Buda residents to choose three new City Council members (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

With a fierce debate roaring on social media about two controversial charter amendment proposals in Buda — whether to fluoridate the city’s water and whether to adopt geographic districts for the City Council seats — the race for three new council members has been somewhat overshadowed.
But after Tuesday’s election, half the members of City Council will have changed and a new mayor will be at the helm.


As 2018 deadline nears, some top Democrats raising concerns about statewide ticket (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY 

With 36 days until the filing deadline for Texas' 2018 primaries, concerns about Democrats' statewide ticket are coming into public view. Party officials have insisted they're talking to a number of potential contenders, but the clock is ticking: Filing for the 2018 primaries begins in less than a week — Saturday — and ends a month later. Democrats currently have a serious U.S. Senate hopeful in Beto O'Rourke, an El Paso congressman, but the rest of their statewide ticket is less clear — particularly who will challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Julian Castro tells crowd ‘I might’ run for president (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

San Antonio Democrat Julián Castro confirmed Sunday he is seriously considering running for president in 2020, and former state Sen. Wendy Davis left open the possibility she will take another run at running for governor in 2018.
“I might,” Castro told more than 350 people at a political conference near the University of Texas on Sunday morning. Davis’ comments came at the same event.

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