BG Note | News - What We're Reading (January 26, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Casar’s drafted paid sick leave policy is a ‘compromise ordinance,’ he says (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

After nearly a year of development, including what he called a “very thorough” stakeholder process, District 4 Council Member Greg Casar has drafted what he calls a “compromise ordinance” that would require private employers in Austin to provide at least eight days of paid sick leave to full-time employees annually. City Council will vote on the ordinance, which is co-sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and council members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen, at its Feb. 15 meeting.

The drafted ordinance was made available to the public Jan. 19. Casar addressed it in more detail at a press conference Jan. 24, where he convened a panel that included Ann Beeson, executive director of the progressive statewide think tank Center for Public Policy Priorities; Pritesh Gandhi, a physician at the People’s Community Clinic; and Meaghan Perkins, direction of operations for Austin-based Beetnik Foods...

MLS Commissioner Don Garber explains how ‘Austin clause’ came to be (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

“All teams have the opportunity, in all leagues, to come to the league and say, ‘I can’t succeed. I need some help. Are there options for me in another market?’ ” Garber said. “In his case, when (Precourt) said that upon purchase, we said, ‘We’ll agree all teams have that with league approval, but we’re going to limit you to only one market.’ That one market was Austin, and that was because we had no expansion activity going on at that time...

Neighborhood fights for holistic infrastructure improvements on east side rezoning (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Less than a week after the Planning Commission held a CodeNEXT discussion on the predicament of upzoning in areas with insufficient infrastructure, it had the opportunity to weigh in on a real-life example. At their Jan. 23 meeting, commissioners voted to approve staff’s recommendation for an east side residential rezoning, but complications concerning transportation prompted conditions being attached to the motion.

The confusion arose from a discrepancy in the anticipated intensity of the proposed housing project at 1321 Delano St. and 5600 Jackie Robinson St. According to a neighborhood traffic analysis, the number of daily vehicle trips generated by the 12 buildings in the applicant’s conceptual plan did not exceed acceptable limits. However, staff’s evaluation of daily trips generated by a full build-out of the site at the requested Townhouse & Condominium Residence (SF-6) zoning would...


After reports of internal dysfunction, Hilderbran out as Facilities Commission director (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Former state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran is out as executive director of the Texas Facilities Commission, the billion-dollar agency that builds and maintains state office buildings. The seven-member board that oversees the commission voted 5-2 Thursday morning to oust Hilderbran about a month after a Texas Tribune investigation found the agency was gripped by internal dysfunction, largely because of Hilderbran’s management style and lack of experience running a large organization...

Texas hits Hong Kong firm offering cryptocurrency-based investments with cease-and-desist (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Texas securities regulators have issued an emergency cease-and-desist order against Hong-Kong based company R2B Coin. The company is “selling investments tied to a cryptocurrency called r2b coin, promising investors that the digital currency will soon be one of the world’s most valuable,” according to a Thursday release from the Texas State Securities Board. Williams Corp. Ltd. is said to be the distributor of r2b coin, and while its website says it’s a “licensed global firm, and a “licensed securities dealer,” Williams Corp. has never been registered to sell securities in Texas, according to the release...


Abbott extols NAFTA, calls for updates but urges Trump administration 'not to fix what's not broken' (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

In his first official correspondence with the country's top NAFTA negotiator, Gov. Greg Abbott extolled the trade agreement's importance to Texas and expressed support for an upgrade, but urged restraint in any changes. "While there are many areas in need of updating, it is important to not attempt to 'fix' the parts of the agreement that are not broken," Abbott wrote Thursday in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Mexico is Texas' top trade partner, generating about $178 billion for the state every year. After taking office, President Donald Trump began working to renegotiate the trade agreement and has at times threatened to end it...

Trump nominates Cornyn's chief counsel for Federal Trade Commission (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s chief counsel Noah Phillips for one of three vacancies on the Federal Trade Commission. The Trump administration first announced last October it intended to nominate Phillips for one of the three Republican seats on the commission. Before serving as Cornyn’s chief counsel, Phillips was in private practice. “A talented lawyer and dedicated member of my staff, Noah’s extensive work on the Judiciary Committee will serve him well in this role,” Cornyn said in a news release. “He will be a big asset to the Commission, and I’m proud to support his nomination.”...

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