BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 30, 2018)
Manley Says He's 'Very Comfortable' Calling The Austin Bomber A Domestic Terrorist (KUT) LINK TO STORY
Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley called the Austin serial bomber a "domestic terrorist" at a panel hosted by KUT this morning.
Despite previous calls from the community after a string of bombings killed 39-year-old Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, Manley hadn't used the term. At the panel, he said he’s now “very comfortable” calling Mark Conditt a terrorist...
Petition to put CodeNext on the ballot to be filed Thursday (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
On Thursday, several anti-CodeNext advocates will file a petition with more than 32,000 signatures in an effort to put CodeNext on the ballot.
Advocates closely connected to the Austin Neighborhoods Council along with local NAACP President Nelson Linder announced that they now have the means to force a CodeNext referendum election. They will file their petitions at 10 a.m. Thursday, according to a press release...
Construction begins on ‘mini-boardwalk’ beneath Congress Avenue Bridge (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
For years, runners, hikers and cyclists using the trail around Lady Bird Lake encountered a bottleneck as they passed beneath the north end of the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.
The Butler Hike and Bike Trail narrows at the spot, and an old bridge, just 6-feet wide in spots, turns sharply. Anyone who didn’t pay attention could end up on a collision course with someone coming from the opposite direction...
Susan Combs to be named to U.S. Department of the Interior post (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
A former Texas official who once referred to proposed endangered species protections as “incoming Scud missiles” will soon be named to a Trump administration post overseeing federal policy on wildlife and parks. Susan Combs, a rancher and veteran of Texas state government who has long championed private property rights, is to be named acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.
The posting comes as she awaits U.S. Senate confirmation for another post at the U.S. Department of the Interior — assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget. The new job was confirmed by several federal and state officials and one of her partners in an effort to delist an endangered songbird found in Central Texas...
North Texas cities turn incentives arsenals against each other in fight for businesses, jobs (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
Long before Amazon touched off a frenzy among cities competing for the 50,000 jobs the Seattle mammoth promises to bestow on one lucky metropolis, there was Rockwell Collins and there was Richardson. The defense contractor — which, in the spring of 2007, employed about 450 people in Richardson’s booming telecom corridor — wanted to expand.
Local officials wanted the company to do that in Richardson, and they began putting together a modest package of financial incentives to assist. First, though, they found out they had competition. Not from California, not from Chicago or Atlanta, but from a neighboring city...
Texas was tougher than other states in dealing with Amazon on sales taxes (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
President Donald Trump put the spotlight this week on what taxes Amazon pays, but one beef about sales taxes may soon be erased by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 17 in South Dakota v. Wayfair, a case that could make online sales taxes required for all purchases.
The case is a direct challenge to a 1992 decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota that prohibits states from requiring retailers to collect sales taxes if the seller doesn't have a physical presence in the state. Texas was among the first states to require Amazon to collect sales taxes under the Quill law when Amazon was still trying to avoid collecting sales taxes from its customers...
Russia to Expel 60 U.S. Diplomats; Tensions Are Worst in Decades (New York Times) LINK TO STORY
Russia on Thursday escalated a confrontation with Europe and the United States over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, saying it would expel 60 American diplomats and an unspecified number of envoys from other countries to retaliate for a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats working in the West and beyond that was ordered this week.
Furious at what it described as an anti-Russian campaign orchestrated by Washington and London, the Kremlin exceeded an equivalent response to the United States and ordered the closing of the American Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city. The consulate is bigger and far more important to relations than the Russian Consulate in Seattle, which the Trump administration ordered closed on Monday as part of its expulsion decree...
Walmart is in early talks to buy health insurer Humana, WSJ says (Bloomberg) LINK TO STORY
Walmart is in early talks to acquire health insurer Humana, the Wall Street Journal reported, a transaction that would pitch the retailer headlong into a rapidly changing industry whose surging costs and regulatory pressures have led to a series of megadeals. The details of the discussions aren’t clear, and a deal may fall through, the Journal said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Humana, valued at about $37 billion, would be Walmart’s largest deal on record.
Health-care spending accounted for about 18 percent of the U.S. economy last year, and continues to surge with an aging population, pricey medications and a complex regime of reimbursements and middlemen. Companies have been trying to address some of the market’s inefficiencies by getting bigger: Cigna Corp. is acquiring Express Scripts Holding Co. for $54 billion, and CVS Health Corp. is buying Aetna Inc. for $68 billion...