BG Note | News - What We're Reading (January 23, 2018)
City parkland could vanish from soccer stadium consideration (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
A resolution is in the works that would remove two city parkland sites from consideration as possible locations for a proposed soccer stadium. Council Member Ann Kitchen is sponsoring the resolution, out of concern about and growing opposition to Butler Shores Metropolitan Park and Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metropolitan Park as stadium sites. The stadium would be built by Precourt Sports Ventures to host a Major League Soccer club that the group hopes to relocate to Austin from Columbus, Ohio...
Mobility plan preview raises questions at Planning Commission (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
At a special called Jan. 18 meeting, the Planning Commission got its first look at the beginnings of the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, what will be an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan, Imagine Austin. The plan is still in its early stages, but some commissionekrs expressed concerns that the forecasts being created to develop the plan’s priorities may rely too heavily on future density as an indicator.
When adopted, the Strategic Mobility Plan will seek to provide a course of action to mitigate Austin’s transportation problems in the same way that the Strategic Housing Blueprint (adopted last April) seeks to address Austin’s housing needs. Today, it is estimated that 74 percent of Austin residents prefer to travel alone in their car over the other transit options...
In Hyde Park, urbanists say they’re the ones defending neighborhood character (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
In Austin’s ongoing battle over development, it’s generally the traditional neighborhood associations that talk about defending “neighborhood character” and developers and urbanist activists who argue that a growing city needs to accept change, whether that is taller buildings or reduced parking.
In Hyde Park, however, urbanists are trying out the neighborhood character narrative to push for greater residential density...
In fraud trial, lawyer for Carlos Uresti claims senator’s ignorance of business partners’ wrongdoing (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
The criminal case against Democratic state Sen. Carlos Uresti, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Blackwell told jurors Monday morning, was “birthed in loss” — but it ended with both “loss and profit.”
The prosecutor said the losses were suffered by Denise Cantu, whose son and daughter were killed in a 2010 car wreck that would ultimately, with Uresti’s legal representation, win her a substantial wrongful death settlement. And the profit, Blackwell said, also came at her expense, when she lost the bulk of $900,000 she invested at Uresti’s recommendation with FourWinds Logistics, a now-defunct frac-sand company where Uresti worked as general counsel and owned 1 percent of shares...
Texas brewers group forms a PAC to fix state’s ‘broken beer laws’ (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Texas’ legislative session last year was a disaster for the state’s craft brewers. But they don’t intend for the next one to be. To fight back and implement the changes brewers see as necessary for the industry’s growth, the organization representing their interests in Texas has launched a political action committee, or PAC for short. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild’s CraftPAC will use monetary contributions from brewers and consumers alike to support legislation, legislative candidates and other political initiatives that will benefit the industry...
Trump Signs Funding Bill, Bringing Shutdown To An End (KUT) LINK TO STORY
President Trump has signed a stopgap spending bill passed by Congress on Monday, ending the partial shutdown of the federal government after three days.
The White House has said normal government operations will resume by Tuesday morning.
The bill passed the Senate on Monday afternoon with a 81-18 vote, but the real hurdle was the procedural vote earlier in the day requiring at least 60 votes. That's where the measure hit a snafu late Friday night, triggering the stalemate. The House later passed the 17-day extension by a 266-150 vote...
Wary, Weary or Both, Southern Lawmakers Tone Down Culture Wars (New York Times) LINK TO STORY
With elections looming and major corporations watching, the social issues that have provoked bitter fights in recent years across the conservative South — including restroom access for transgender people and so-called religious freedom measures — are gaining little legislative momentum in statehouses this year. Democratic and Republican officials, advocacy groups and researchers say that other, less contentious subjects are taking center stage, while fewer new hot-button social bills are being introduced and pending ones are languishing.
A combination of fear, fatigue and legislative mathematics appear to be behind the shift. Many people believe that states have grown wary of provoking a pronounced corporate backlash like the one North Carolina experienced in 2016. Others sense little appetite among lawmakers for another year of battles over divisive social issues, noting that few of the faces in the legislatures have changed since the previous conflagrations...
Trump brings down trade hammer before Davos (Politico) LINK TO STORY
President Donald Trump took his first major action as trade enforcer-in-chief, opening the door to a host of other trade restrictions that buck the global order and give him a hammer to push his “America First” vision at the gathering of global elites in Davos, Switzerland. The decision to slap tariffs and other trade restrictions on imports of solar panels and washing machines is being seen as a prelude to coming actions on steel and aluminum imports, as well as a wide-ranging case that aims to punish China for intellectual property abuses...
The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.
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