BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 19, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Austin has mandated paid sick leave for workers, but Texas lawmakers are already working to reverse it (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The Austin City Council on Friday morning approved a new rule requiring businesses in the city to provide paid sick leave for employees, but movement is already afoot in the Texas Legislature to kill the ordinance. 
At a meeting where over 200 people came to testify — a majority of them supporting the ordinance — the council voted 9-2 to implement the policy. But hours after the rule was passed, state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, sounded off against the bill, saying the ordinance is “declaring war” on small private businesses.
“It’s not the role of the government to mandate for employers to do this," Workman said...

Amazon backlash? In Austin, many are 'meh' over HQ2 pursuit (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Amazon’s second headquarters coming to Austin could be the best thing to ever happen to our city.
Or it could be the worst. 
Depends who you ask. 
While residents of many of the 200-plus cities that initially submitted proposals – since whittled down to 20 finalists, including Austin – are loud and proud in their rallying for the retail giant, the reaction among many in Central Texas has been decidedly … meh. 
There’s been little in the way of organized support – or opposition – so far. That’s expected to change, though, if Seattle-based Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos pick Central Texas...

Walmart chooses Austin for first tech hub; hiring ramping up (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Walmart Inc. has thousands of stores, so even small operational changes — such as figuring out when to re-order inventory or fix the air-conditioning — can save millions of dollars.
That's why the nation's largest brick-and-mortar retailer has opened an Austin office where workers are figuring out how to apply transformational technologies such as artificial intelligence and data science to back-end operations.
According to an announcement, the office will be focused on "enterprise technology functions that keep Walmart running such as people systems, finance, security, associate experience" and more. In other words, they will be helping to keep a corporate giant with more than $485 billion in annual revenue and 2.3 million employees running smoothly, but not necessarily on flashy tech that consumers can expect to see...


Playing to an audience of one, Dan Patrick doesn’t need your approval (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Dan Patrick has been a salesman of Paper Mate products and class rings, a local TV sportscaster and weatherman, a restaurant and nightclub owner, a conservative radio personality, an author, a filmmaker and a politician. He has attended Lutheran, Catholic and Baptist churches. He has gone by Dannie Scott Goeb, Danny Scott and Dan Patrick.
He was hospitalized for depression, underwent a vasectomy live on the radio and participated in enough bar fights to gain a reputation. He opened businesses, angered investors and closed the businesses. He filed for bankruptcy and was sued by the NFL, twice...

George P. Bush’s secret mansion is financed by an undisclosed loan from Texas donor's bank (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush lives in an Austin mansion he financed at a bank owned by a major Republican donor who employed his wife, Austin lawyer Amanda Bush.
But voters would be hard-pressed to connect all those dots.
Bush’s name doesn’t appear in online property appraisal records for the 4,000-square-foot house he bought in a gated West Austin enclave in 2014. And the $850,000 mortgage from donor Brandon Steele’s East Texas bank isn’t disclosed on the personal financial statements that Bush, like all state candidates, must file...

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick backs Angela Paxton in GOP primary for North Texas senate seat (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY 

In backing Paxton, the wife of Attorney General Ken Paxton, Patrick, who oversees the Texas Senate in his role as lieutenant governor, said he had initially chose to remain neutral in the race. However, Patrick said in a video, "when I saw the personal attacks launched against Angela Paxton, I couldn’t remain on the sidelines any longer."...


When Calling an Uber Can Pay Off for Cities and States (New York Times) LINK TO STORY

In Chicago, a 15-cent fee on Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services is helping to pay for track, signal and electrical upgrades to make the city’s trains run faster and smoother.
Ride-hailing trips in Philadelphia are expected to raise $2.6 million this year for the city’s public schools through a 1.4 percent tax that will also generate more than a million dollars for enforcement and regulation of the ride-hailing industry itself. In South Carolina, a 1 percent ride-hailing fee has yielded more than a million dollars for municipalities and counties to spend as they choose...

Cities pitching diversity in efforts to lure businesses (Associated Press) LINK TO STORY

Some cities and regions are highlighting racial diversity along with positive business climates, competitive tax rates and available land in pitches to lure tech companies and high-paying jobs to town.
Places such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Detroit are touting their populations of people of color to chief executives and other corporate officials as part of being open for business.
"For Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, ethnic and racial diversity has been an integral part of our history and a rich part of our narrative," said Stefani Pashman, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development...

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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