BG Note | News - What We're Reading (July 18, 2017)

Abbott promises to publish daily list of lawmakers who oppose his priorities (San Antonio Express News) - Link to Story

Facing pushback from House leadership on key parts of his special-session agenda, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he’ll be publishing a list on a daily basis of lawmakers who are backing and opposing his priorities Abbott, speaking at a forum hosted by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation on the day before the session begins, said that the foundation and others may establish lists as well. “We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis and call people out — Who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position? No one gets to hide.”

Governor says local governments threatening the Texas brand (Houston Chronicle) - Link to Story

Gov. Greg Abbott is making no apologies for loading up this week's special session agenda with items challenging the authority of local governments, which he declared Monday are threatening the Texas brand. He said regulations like local tree ordinances are promoting "socialism" and "collectivism." In a speech blocks from the state Capitol, Abbott warned that local governments are infringing on property rights, increasing regulations and growing taxes, when the state is trying to do the opposite. Those are "California-like" policies, he said

Patrick promises to be Abbott `wing man’ against any Straus sniping (Austin American-Statesman) - Link to Story

“I’m a 20-for-20 guy,” Patrick told a policy orientation of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, referring to his support for all 20 items on the governor’s agenda for the special session. “Texas is the most conservative state,” Patrick said, adding he will not let “one man,” in Straus, thwart the will of the governor, the Senate, the membership of the House and the people of Texas.

IBM ups the ante in fight against Texas bathroom bill (Texas Tribune) - Link to Story

"In an internal memo sent Monday to thousands of employees around the world, IBM's human resources chief outlined the New York-based company's opposition to what the letter described as discriminatory proposals to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans." 

With $6 million grant from state, Merck announces tech hub in Austin (Austin American-Statesman) - Link to Story 

"Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced that Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. will move forward with plans to develop a major technology innovation center in Austin, becoming the key anchor for an innovation district developing around the Dell Medical School."

Hotel taxes key to ‘downtown puzzle’ to help area homeless (Austin Monitor) - Link to Story

"For all the interlinked pieces of the 'downtown puzzle'-solving plan that Mayor Steve Adler unveiled Monday morning – and in a 20-minute speech he name-checked just about every relevant downtown Austin presence – the ambitious and far-reaching policy gambit boils down to one key transaction.That exchange would see hotel guests and their wallets as the solution to a raft of municipal problems and issues that have grown more prominent as the city’s core gets more crowded and developed. Adler said as much as he rolled out the main components of the plan that would use an increase in hotel taxes to fund, among other things, an expansion to the Austin Convention Center and a multimillion-dollar increase to services and housing for the homeless."

Grocery union claims Amazon’s $13.7B Whole Foods acquisition will hurt consumers and workers (Geek Wire) - Link to Story

"United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, an organization that represents more than 1 million retail workers across the U.S., has come out with criticisms of Amazon’s $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods Market, saying that the deal could hurt customers and workers and lead to significant automation of jobs. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, UFCW President Marc Perrone called Amazon an 'online retail monopoly' and argued that 'the scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores.'"