BG Note | News - What We're Reading (December 4, 2017)

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[Austin Metro]

Austin residents protest mobile home investment class (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

A few dozen protesters gathered in downtown Austin on Friday to march down East Fifth Street and into the Westin hotel, where a class on investing in mobile home parks was reportedly being held.
The protesters, dressed in graduation caps and gowns, held signs calling for justice and a “diploma” from Colorado-based Mobile Home University for “unethical investment and mismanagement.”...

Round Rock mayor’s work for city raises conflict of interest questions (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

About $2.2 million in city property taxes remain unpaid in Round Rock.
Like many local governments, the city relies on a private law firm to take those scofflaws to court. That firm could earn up to $335,485 in markup fees if it gets all those delinquent taxpayers to pay up.
At the head of those delinquent tax collections and other unpaid city fines is Craig Morgan, an attorney who happens to also serve as mayor of Round Rock...

Could this lakefront parkland become Austin’s soccer stadium? (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Butler Shores Metropolitan Park, city-owned lakefront parkland, could be ground zero in the debate about helping a Major League Soccer team move to Austin.
The well-worn tract with 15 buildable acres at 200 S. Lamar Blvd., a preferred choice of Precourt Sports Ventures, owners of Columbus Crew SC, conjures up vastly different images depending on who’s describing it...

In Austin, can code schools help ease tech job crunch? (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

On a summer day in June of 2016, executives from different code schools met at the W Hotel in Austin for a meeting that spanned several days.
That these competitors were all in the same room together was unusual. But they had gathered for an important reason. They wanted to see if there was a way to agree on a standard way of reporting how well their students do after graduation.
They were fearful of repeating the mistakes of the for-profit education industry, which had developed a reputation for saddling students with lots of debt and few job prospects. Code schools wanted to be proactive about policing themselves...

[STATE]

House Republicans agree to select speaker candidate in caucus (The Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas House Republicans agreed Friday to change their rules for selecting the next house speaker, paving the way for a potentially more conservative leader of the chamber in 2019.
In a unanimous vote — most of the caucus' 95 members were present — the caucus decided to meet next December and work to rally around a speaker candidate before going to the full floor, according to lawmakers who emerged from a closed-door caucus meeting Friday afternoon. The caucus will hold additional rounds of voting if a speaker contender does not win two-thirds support on the first ballot...

Straus questions Gov. Abbott endorsement of House primary challenger (The Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, on Friday questioned Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to endorse against a GOP member of the lower chamber, suggesting it could lead to a Democrat capturing the seat. 
Last month, Abbott gave his backing to Susanna Dokupil, who is running against state Rep. Sarah Davis of West University Place. The endorsement was the first time Abbott had thrown his support to a House primary challenger — and is not expected to be the last.
Asked Friday if it is an effective strategy for Abbott to endorse against GOP incumbents, Straus expressed bemusement — and some derision... 

Former Rep. Fischer to seek return to House in primary challenge to Rep. Arévalo (The Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Former state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer announced Saturday that he is running for his old Texas House seat, setting up a primary battle with fellow San Antonio Democrat Diana Arévalo.
Addressing supporters in San Antonio, Fischer said he could not think of a more compelling reason to run than the election of President Donald Trump — and the forthcoming retirement of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a moderate Republican... 

[NATION]

Senate Republicans Pass Massive Tax Overhaul (KUT) LINK TO STORY

The Senate narrowly approved a $1.4 trillion tax overhaul early Saturday morning following a day of procedural delays and frustration.

The legislation, which would cut the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent and lower taxes for most individuals, narrowly passed in a vote of 51-49. Tennessee Republican Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote against the legislation, joining every Democrat and both independents in opposing the sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws...


FCC's net neutrality repeal sparks backlash (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to scrap net neutrality rules governing how internet providers handle web traffic has unleashed a wave of intense opposition.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, announced last month that the agency would vote to undo its 2015 net neutrality rules, which prevent companies like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or slowing down websites or creating internet “fast lanes.”
The plan was met with instant backlash from net neutrality supporters, who have been rallying to save the rules for the better part of a year...

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