BG Reads | News You Need to Know (July 12, 2019)



Mueller's next phase could add nearly 1M square feet (Austin Business Journal)

Shorenstein Properties LLC is expected to begin construction this fall on its first office building in the Mueller community.

The six-story, 235,000-square-foot building designed by Page Southerland Page Inc. is the first of three the California-based developer could build in partnership with Catellus Development Corp. on Aldrich Street in the mixed-use neighborhood.

The developer recently unveiled renderings of the building, which will have retail and office space on the ground floor. Offices will fill the remaining five floors. A parking garage with room for 985 vehicles will be constructed next door.

No general contractor has been announced yet. The project is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Catellus is the development manager for the first office building… (LINK TO STORY)

ACC budget includes 3% raise for staff but keeps tuition steady (Austin American-Statesman)

Austin Community College trustees this week approved a $406 million budget for the 2019-20 school year that raises teacher pay but keeps tuition stable, reflecting the district’s concern about making college affordable.

A 3% raise will be given across the board to all full-time faculty, adjunct faculty and salaried staff to account for increases in the cost of living; it will cost the district roughly $5.8 million. Trustees also approved an increase in the minimum wage for hourly employees from $13 to $15 per hour, at a cost of about $590,000.

Tuition for Austin Community College students will remain unchanged for the sixth consecutive school year, with students who live inside and outside the district paying $67 per credit hour. Out-of-district students are charged an additional $276 in fees… (LINK TO STORY)

By decriminalizing homelessness, Austin stumbles into legalized busking (Austin Monitor)

The city’s recent changes to ordinances intended to decriminalize homelessness may have, in a roundabout way, provided a new way for Austin musicians to earn money while also ending a years-long legal stalemate.

The issue in question centers around busking, the term for playing unamplified music for tips in a public space, which is a celebrated part of street culture in many major cities but has been discouraged – if not made outright illegal – in Austin.

The practice conflicted with long-held interpretations of the city’s anti-solicitation or panhandling ordinance, causing frustration for musicians over the years, who complained at meetings of the city’s Music Commission of being run off and given citations by Austin police officers when they tried to perform in a public space… (LINK TO STORY)

Vista Equity raises $850M to invest in 'smaller' tech companies (Austin Business Journal)

Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in Austin that invests in technology companies, announced July 11 it had closed its $850 million Endeavor Fund II.

Unlike with its much larger flaghsip funds, Vista Equity uses its Endeavor funds to invest in smaller tech companies with high-growth potential — generally those making $10 million to $30 million in annual recurring revenue.

The first Endeavor fund was $500 million. Past Endeavor investments have included Austin-based YouEarnedIt Inc. and Portland-based data breach response company Radar Inc.

Startups who receive investments have access to a 125-person consulting team at Vista Equity to help them manage growth, the firm said.

“We are thrilled,” Alan Cline, one of the people who oversees the Endeavor platform for Vista Equity, said in a statement. “We thank our limited partners for their confidence in us as investors and their belief in the value we offer founders, entrepreneurs and management teams… (LINK TO STORY)


Judge dismisses part of Texas' "sanctuary city" lawsuit against San Antonio (Texas Tribune)

In a setback for the state in its first enforcement action under a controversial, anti-“sanctuary cities” law passed in 2017, a district judge in Travis County has dismissed several claims made by the Texas Attorney General’s Office against the city of San Antonio, which the state claimed had “materially limited” the enforcement of immigration laws.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the city in November 2018, alleging that officials there had violated the law in December 2017, when San Antonio police discovered a trailer carrying 12 individuals from Guatemala who were suspected of being undocumented. The driver was later prosecuted, but the migrants were released without the involvement of federal immigration authorities. The state also alleged that the city had a general policy against complying with federal authorities on immigration laws, a claim San Antonio denies… (LINK TO STORY)

Libertarians, Green Party sue to make it easier to get on the ballot in Texas (Texas Tribune)

Ahead of the 2020 election cycle, a group of Texans, along with a number of non-major political parties, have sued the secretary of state’s office, alleging that Texas election law discriminates against third-party and independent candidates vying for a spot on the general election ballot.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Austin, plaintiffs argued that current state law would give nonmajor political parties in 2020 just 75 days to obtain over 80,000 valid signatures to gain ballot access — and that the cost of doing so could cost more than $600,000.

Currently, third parties like the Green Party and the Libertarian Party can secure a spot on the general election ballot by either having at least one candidate who wins more than 5% of the vote in a statewide race during the previous election cycle, or by collecting a certain number of required signatures. That 5% threshold will soon be lowered to 2% of the vote in one of the past five general elections once a measure that passed the Texas Legislature this year takes effect Sept. 1.… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump Backs Off Census Citizenship Question Fight (NPR)

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and non-citizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, non-citizenship and immigration status.

"We have great knowledge in many of our agencies," Trump said, flanked by Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "We will leave no stone unturned."… (LINK TO STORY)


We’re taking a summer hiatus, so please enjoy some our favorite past episodes in the interim:

Today we share Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham’s March 2019 feature on the The Lobbying Show, a podcast profiling lobbyists and government affairs professionals working in D.C. and state capitals across the country. (LINK TO SHOW)



As reported previously here, the City of Austin is exploring potential requirements that would mandate that 

  1. New developments submit water balance applications;

  2. Developments over 250,000 square feet use alternative and onsite waters to meet indoor and outdoor non-potable water demands. 

The timeline is particularly quick as City staff is working to develop proposed ordinance language by this fall… (LINK TO BLOG)

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


Twitter #binghamgp 

Instagram #binghamgp