BG Note | News - What We're Reading (December 21, 2017)
City tentatively talks about dockless bike-sharing (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
The Austin Transportation Department is taking a studious approach to the dockless bike-sharing companies that have swooped into cities throughout the world in 2017.
Active Transportation Program Manager Laura Dierenfield brought the Bicycle Advisory Council into the conversation on Wednesday night with a discussion that Dierenfield framed as part of an evaluation process aimed at clearing up questions staff first grappled with when a handful of firms dropped their app-activated two-wheelers onto city streets during the South by Southwest festival earlier this year.
After that rogue incursion ended, the city has kept the companies at bay even as they began to set up shop in cities such as Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C...
Council plans to take up sick leave ordinance in February (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Over the past month, the city of Austin has tried to gather community input on the issue of paid sick leave and whether the city should require employers to provide it.
Unsurprisingly, many employers aren’t happy about the idea. In the three public town hall meetings facilitated by city staff that drew a combined 125 people, a number of business owners voiced their concerns about a policy that they said could force them to close.
Opposition to mandatory paid sick leave was particularly pronounced among the 183 people who submitted comments online through SpeakUpAustin.org, explained city Communications Director Doug Matthews, who led the public input process, during a Dec. 14 presentation to City Council...
Memo outlines ‘downtown puzzle’ progress headed into 2018 (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Work on Mayor Steve Adler’s “downtown puzzle” policies package will be almost certainly put on hold until the spring when newly hired city manager Spencer Cronk will be able to study and work on how to execute the proposal.
That was the word from Adler on Wednesday, following a Friday memo qfrom Assistant City Manager Mark Washington that gave an update on the six biggest components of the puzzle agenda.
In September, City Council gave Dec. 15 as the deadline for a report on how to carry out the proposal, which centers around the possible expansion of the Austin Convention Center and using funds from an assortment of related taxing mechanisms to address homelessness and pay for a series of public works and cultural projects...
Supreme Court will consider whether to intervene in Texas redistricting fight (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
The U.S. Supreme Court will meet Jan. 5 to consider whether to take up a case on how Texas draws its congressional and statehouse maps. In a 5-4 decision split along ideological lines in September, the justices blocked two rulings by a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio.
The panel had ordered lawmakers to redraw Texas' congressional and statehouse maps, which the judges said discriminated against minorities in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act...
Texas population grew to 28.3 million in 2017 (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
After gaining almost 400,000 new residents in one year, Texas is now home to 28.3 million people. New estimates released Wednesday by the Census Bureau show Texas crossed that population threshold between July 2016 and July 2017 following years of steady growth since the 2010 Census when the state’s population topped off at 25.1 million...
Is This the Future of Dallas’ Bike Share Experiment? (D-Magazine) LINK TO STORY
At last count there are five — maybe 6 — bike share companies that have popped up around Dallas. The bikes are everywhere: lined up in rows along Davis St. in Oak Cliff; piled up in front of downtown street corners; stranded in front of office buildings or in flower beds outside churches; or tossed over fences in hard-to-reach locales.
What began as an experiment in forward-thinking urbanism has evolved into an accidental study in urban manners and the ways Dallasites treat, use, and consider public space. As Slate reports, Dallas was the largest city without a bike share system. Now, “the arrival of several thousand bicycles operated by a handful of private companies has given it, overnight, one of the country’s largest fleets of shared bikes.”...
Uresti criminal trial delayed again (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY
Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's still battling securities fraud indictments as he enters re-election year, may just have picked up a new tool to fight the felony charges against him. For the third time in two years, the federal government has failed to prove investors were willfully swindled into backing a little-known tech startup called Servergy, Inc. The first two times, it was Paxton who was cleared of civil fraud charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission...
Political winners and losers from the Trump tax-cut bill (The Hill) LINK TO STORY
The Republican tax plan won congressional approval on Wednesday and will soon be signed by President Trump. The law’s thicket of new provisions will affect families and businesses across the nation, in ways The Hill has previously reported upon. But, when it comes to the politics of the bill, who notched a victory and who took a hit?...
Senators, White House lay groundwork for Dreamers deal (Politico) LINK TO STORY
Top senators and White House officials are laying the groundwork for a major immigration deal in January to resolve the fate of young undocumented immigrants whose legal protections were put in limbo by President Donald Trump. At a Tuesday afternoon meeting with nearly a dozen senators deeply involved in immigration policy, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly pledged that the administration will soon present a list of border security and other policy changes it wants as part of a broader deal on so-called Dreamers, according to people who attended the meeting. The plan could come in a matter of days, senators said.