BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 12, 2018)
Austin Council Member Ellen Troxclair won’t seek re-election (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Ellen Troxclair, Austin’s only conservative City Council member, will not seek a second term, she said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
“The decision on whether seek another term has been an incredibly difficult one because I believe so passionately in the work with which my constitutents have entrusted me,” she said in the release. “I can leave knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do — serve as an advocate for my district, a voice of reason, a fiscal watchdog, an unwavering voice for lowering the cost of living, and a representative of the average Austinite who often feels overlooked at City Hall.”
Report: Mayor Adler accused of crossing U.S.-Mexico border illegally (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been accused by federal authorities of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during a trip to a Tornillo tent city last month, according to a report from Fox News. Fox News published the story on Wednesday, focusing it on a letter U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials sent to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. According to Adler, border agents at the Tornillo Port of Entry never detained de Blasio or any others after they apparently crossed into the U.S. from Mexico while trying to get a better view of the facility near El Paso.
“We were never detained,” Adler said in a statement. “I wish the border agents were devoting all this effort to reuniting children with their families, as the courts have required. If this is an attempt to intimidate or silence such calls, it won’t work.”
Texas usually fights Austin at the Capitol. Lately, the fight is in the courtroom. (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
The city of Austin has endured several legal jabs from the state in the past couple of months.
Recently, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stepped into a dispute over the makeup of the city’s Planning Commission. A week ago, the city of Austin announced it would no longer enforce its ban on single-use plastic bags after the Texas Supreme Court overturned a similar law in Laredo. In April, Paxton joined a lawsuit brought by business groups against Austin’s new paid sick leave rules.
A spokesperson confirmed that the city of Austin’s legal team has been busy lately and has “more cases involving the state than we historically have had.”
Will Austin Stores Restock Single-Use Plastic Bags Now That The City's Ban Is Lifted? (KUT) LINK TO STORY
Austin is ending its ban on free single-use plastic bags at stores and restaurants after a state Supreme Court ruling against a similar ban in Laredo. But repealing the ordinance, commonly known as the “bag ban,” doesn't mean every store will start handing them out again.
“In Austin, where people shop their environmental values, I think large retailers are going to continue the policy of not giving away single-use plastic bags for free,” says Rick Cofer, one of the people who spearheaded the bag ban while serving on what was then called the Solid Waste Advisory Commission.
Arts, music supporters eye bond money to assist existing creative spaces (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Leaders in Austin’s arts community appear to be in favor of using $12 million in proposed bond money to help existing creative businesses in purchasing their current spaces before they can be priced out or forced to move because of redevelopment.
That was the focus of discussion at Monday’s meeting of the Austin Music Commission, the first since City Council voted last month on a preliminary amount for the fall bond election that includes $70 million for the city’s cultural centers and $12 million for the broadly defined creative space efforts. That amount is far less than the combined $40 million that the Music and Arts commissions had hoped to put in the bond, with $25 million proposed for a new creative arts campus and $15 million for a new music hub.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott agrees to debate Lupe Valdez once – during Friday night football (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, cribbing a page from former Gov. Rick Perry's re-election playbook, announced late Wednesday that he'll submit to one debate this fall against Democrat Lupe Valdez - during Friday night football. (In 2006, Perry, who is now U.S. energy secretary, granted just one debate to his general-election foes - two independents and Democrat Chris Bell.) Abbott said he's accepted an invitation from Irving-based Nexstar Media Group to host and televise from Austin a one-hour gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m. Central Time on Sept. 28.
That's a Friday. Aides to Valdez, a former Dallas County sheriff, could not be reached immediately. Abbott campaign spokesman Alejandro Treviño called a televised statewide debate "essential to the democratic process" because voters can hear directly from candidates.
Hyperloop technology: Regional Transportation Council looking at possible projects (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY
Local transportation officials are looking at ways to speed the Dallas-Fort Worth region into the future. And they're considering hyperloop, a high-tech system that would shuttle passengers through a low-pressure tube.
The Regional Transportation Council announced Wednesday that it will consider the feasibility of a hyperloop as a way to connect Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington. The group is made up of 44 elected and appointed officials that choose funding priorities. It has been in discussions with Virgin Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles-based company that has a test track in Nevada.
Beto O'Rourke raises $10.4 million in second quarter of 2018, again outpacing Ted Cruz by wide margin (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Texas, raised more than $10.4 million over the past three months, he announced Wednesday, revealing a sum that takes his already massive fundraising to new heights.
And the El Paso congressman again vastly outraised the Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz, who took in less than half of his challenger's haul — $4.6 million — at the same time, according to his campaign. O'Rourke also took a decisive lead in cash on hand over Cruz with four months to Election Day, $14 million to $10.4 million.
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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