BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 22, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Newest CodeNEXT draft gets criticism from all sides (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

CodeNEXT has plenty of critics, but they’re far from united in their criticism.

The third draft of the proposed Land Development Code is being attacked from both sides of the perennial debate over growth. Neighborhood preservationists say it will lead to the destruction of single-family home neighborhoods and displacement, while urbanists and some housing advocates say the proposal does not do nearly enough to encourage multifamily housing and affordability...


Central Health parts ways with firm redeveloping Brackenridge site (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Central Health has changed course on its plans to redevelop the prime six-block site in downtown Austin that was once home to University Medical Center-Brackenridge.
Travis County’s health district in October had selected Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology, one of several contenders, as its preferred partner for the years-long project, but Central Health officials said Wednesday night at a budget and finance committee meeting that the firm has withdrawn from consideration...

In Austin swing district, five Democrats are vying to unseat Republican Paul Workman (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

In 2011 — after Republican Paul Workman unseated state Rep. Valinda Bolton, D-Austin — lawmakers redrew House District 47 to include a larger swath of western Travis County.
The new district, which gained more rural areas and lost some of liberal South Austin, stretched from Onion Creek to Lago Vista to Leander. It became a conservative stronghold, and to this day Workman is the county's only Republican state representative. 
Seven years later, it’s a potential swing district again. Texas political experts point to rising frustration with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party that could rally the Democratic base and cause conservative voters to stay home on Election Day...

Council puts off decision on digital contract (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Faced with the question of whether to approve a digital education contract for an out-of-town bidder chosen by city staff or extend the contract of a tried-and-true local company, Austin Free-Net, City Council decided last week to postpone the decision.
Council Member Leslie Pool flagged the item for discussion, saying she did not understand why Austin Free-Net came in second on the purchasing matrix and a San Francisco company, Community Technology Network, came in first. She said she had heard good things about the San Francisco company but felt like the procedure for choosing the vendor had lacked transparency...

[STATE]

Conservative Californians are fleeing to Texas. Data show they’re in for a surprise (Quartz) LINK TO STORY

Politically, the Lone Star state is the antithesis of California. It’s solidly Republican. Its state leaders are aggressively pro-business, anti-tax, anti-immigration, anti-abortion and pro-guns. And they like to point out the differences between the two states every chance they get, furthering Texas’s reputation as a bastion of conservatism.
But conservatives fleeing California will find that, despite its right-wing bent, the Lone Star State is increasingly plagued with the same problems they are trying to leave behind. That’s because many of their pet peeves, from ballooning home prices to overstretched schools, have more to do with exuberant urban growth than politics...

After Florida school shooting, Gov. Abbott plans to name-and-shame potentially unprepared Texas districts (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

One week after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school, Gov. Greg Abbott says he wants to publish the names of Texas school districts that haven't completed state-mandated safety checks. "All of Texas grieves the tragedy that occurred in Parkland last week," Abbott said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "Immediate steps must be taken to keep our students and communities safe, with the understanding that more will be expected in the future."
Education Commissioner Mike Morath issued a statement saying he's directed Texas Education Agency staff to begin full implementation of Abbott's directives. "Our schools must always be a safe place for learning. Governor Abbott has identified specific steps that can help strengthen campus safety for all students," Morath said...

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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