BG Note | News - What We're Reading (April 24, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Clerk certifies anti-CodeNEXT petition (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Clerk Jannette Goodall on Monday certified that she and her staff had validated enough signatures to require the city to place a referendum on CodeNEXT, the proposed rewrite of the city’s Land Development Code, on the November ballot.
According to Goodall, the petition comprises 9,707 pages containing 31,062 signatures. Under state law and city charter, those seeking to put a matter on the ballot by petition must present signatures from 5 percent of the city’s qualified voters or 20,000 signatures, whichever is smaller.
“Based on the analysis of random sample results, it has been determined that the petition meets the requirement for the minimum number of signatures of valid voters, based on the required minimum of 20,000,” Goodall states in her certification. Her analysis report states that the statistical analysis by the clerk’s office resulted in an estimate of 25,790 valid signatures...

People are blowing up their Yeti products in protest after NRA releases statement (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Over the weekend, the National Rifle Association sent out an email to its members saying that the Austin-based Yeti had “suddenly, without prior notice” indicated it no longer wished to do business with the NRA Foundation, according to reports. 
“That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike,” the email read, in part. “In fact, Yeti should be ashamed. They have declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy outdoor recreational and educational programs.”...

Arts programs could showcase diversity under ‘inclusion rider’ concept (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Austin’s Music and Arts commissions are in the early phase of a push to make the city’s contracts for cultural services take steps to reach out to underrepresented groups, in an attempt to give more opportunities to those who have been chronically shut out from the public arts world.
The push is part of the burgeoning movement to add “inclusion riders” to arts and performance contracts, which would include a statement of purpose to increase diversity of hiring across ethnic, gender and other demographics and a commitment to reaching out to and conducting interviews with a diverse field of candidates...


Sid Miller’s political consultant hit up campaign donor for $29K loan (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A San Antonio businessman says Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s top political consultant, Todd M. Smith, told him he could get appointed to an advisory role on health care policy in return for contributing to Miller’s campaign. Then Smith hit the businessman up for a personal loan of $29,000, according to a promissory note the two signed...

Texas' low teacher pay is 'shameful,' largest educators lobby says  (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Texas remains in the bottom third of states in per-student funding of public schools but is holding steady. On teacher pay, though, its ranking among states has slipped, the country's largest teachers lobby reported Monday. This school year, average pay is $53,167 in Texas, compared with a national average of $60,483, according to the National Education Association. The group stressed that local property taxpayers are picking up more of the school tab in Texas than in most states...

From the Chinese government to the Koch Brothers, outside donors receive scrutiny at Texas universities (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY 

Texas Tech University’s Free Market Institute has found itself in liberals’ crosshairs before, and it takes just a glance down the institute's list of funders to know why.
Appearing almost a dozen times, next to donations that total $5.5 million over four years, is the Charles Koch Foundation. The conservative-leaning John Templeton Foundation, which gave nearly $1.7 million, is also listed amid a catalog of mostly redacted names that The Texas Tribune obtained through an open records request...


Mike Pompeo On Track To Be Confirmed As Secretary Of State (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Mike Pompeo is on track to become secretary of state after a key Republican senator gave a last-minute endorsement of the CIA director.
The secretary of state-designate's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday night on a party-line vote. The vote was 10 Republicans for Pompeo, nine Democrats against. One Democrat voted present.
There was some drama around the vote. Initially, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. opposed the nomination of Pompeo but changed his mind shortly before the committee met. With all of the panel's Democrats opposed Pompeo and one Republican member unable to make it back in time, the stage was set for a tie vote on the committee until Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., changed his vote to present, enabling the nomination to advance...

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