BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 13, 2019)



Episode 50 - Featuring New Senior Consultant Tina Bui

On Episode 50 we take a quick recap of past odd twelve months since launching on May 26, 2018. It has been a journey of development in terms of show and production development.

A BIG THANKS to all our past guests, listeners, and the team who makes the show possible!

Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham also introduces our newest Senior Consultant, Tina Bui.

You can listen to this episode and previous ones on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play at the links below. Please leave a review and rating. Share and subscribe today!



Amphitheater, planetarium among $880M in improvements planned for Walter Long Park (Austin Monitor)

Money from last year’s bond package approved by voters in November is expected to be used to fund the first of hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements and development at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in East Austin.

Family-style recreation amenities to an existing park area off Decker Lake Road would represent the first phase of a large-scale redevelopment spelled out in a draft master plan for the nearly 3,700-acre park property. The recently completed master plan, made by city staff with Halff Associates of Richardson, Texas, shows the park’s redevelopment divided into five areas that take advantage of the lake while protecting two nature preserves and other ecological features… (LINK TO STORY)

Appraisal board lets June 4 decisions stand (Austin Monitor)

The Travis Appraisal Review Board voted Wednesday to confirm property appraisal decisions that their individual panels made on June 4, in spite of an attempt by Board Chair Betty Thompson to have all of those decisions nullified and new hearings scheduled.

Changes to procedures this year – particularly the elimination of in-person informal discussions between appraisal review board agents and representatives of property owners – have resulted in the need to schedule formal hearings for more than 100,000 protesting taxpayers.

Information about Wednesday’s decision came from an appraisal review board press release and reports from attorneys representing companies that specialize in representing homeowners at such hearings. Attorney Bill Aleshire represents Texas Protax and attorney Lorri Michel represents Five Stone Tax Advisers. Aleshire told the Austin Monitor that he had spoken with the attorney for the appraisal review board and she confirmed that the board voted to approve all the appraisal review panel decisions made on June 4. Michel also said it was her understanding that all of the decisions made by appraisal panels would stand… (LINK TO STORY)


Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill designed to limit property tax growth (Texas Tribune)

Against the backdrop of an Austin burger joint struggling with its property taxes, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Wednesday an expansive reform measure meant to slow the growth of Texans’ property tax bills, long a priority issue for GOP state leaders.

The ceremonial bill signing was a victory lap for top Republicans, who spent the legislative session hammering the issues of school finance and property tax reform. Yesterday, they gathered at an Austin elementary school to witness the signing of a public education package that includes about $5.1 billion to lower Texans’ property tax bills… (LINK TO STORY)

Hemp production is now legal in Texas but it needs guidelines before it can grow (Texas Public Radio)

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation legalizing hemp production and hemp-derived CBD products. But it could be awhile before there are fields of hemp across the Texas landscape.

That’s mainly because federal regulators, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have not yet issued their own guidelines for states wanting to grow hemp. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said he's waiting for them. “And once those guidelines come out, they’ll come out about July or August, I can begin my process of writing the rules, and I tell you right now how I’m going to write them, they’re going to have the bare minimum of the federal guidelines,” Miller said… (LINK TO STORY)

Here’s how Nirenberg narrowly won re-election as San Antonio’s mayor (San Antonio Express-News)

Mayor Ron Nirenberg protected a narrow edge over Greg Brockhouse in Saturday’s mayoral runoff by maintaining turnout in his pockets of strength near San Antonio’s urban core, without ceding ground on the North Side.

The result was a markedly similar election to the first round a month ago, when Nirenberg led Brockhouse by 3.1 percentage points but failed to reach the majority needed to win outright. His margin narrowed to 2.2 points in the runoff, just enough to secure another term. In both races, the electorate represented a tale of two cities. Nirenberg ran up the score within Loop 410 to withstand Brockhouse’s dominance outside the loop… (LINK TO STORY)

In a Dallas council district, a majority of voters liked Scott Griggs, but not his ally Philip Kingston (Dallas Morning News)

In Lakewood and Hollywood Heights, campaign signs for the municipal election still poke out of immaculate lawns, even after Sunday's storm ripped away tree branches and knocked out power to swaths of homes there. Those signs showed north Oak Cliff council member Scott Griggs, a mayoral candidate, was popular in these parts. More popular, it turned out in Saturday's runoff elections, than the area's representative, Philip Kingston, his longtime close ally on the council.

Although Griggs lost his mayoral bid to state Rep. Eric Johnson, he won the majority of the vote in District 14, which includes East Dallas, downtown, Uptown and parts of Oak Lawn and Lakewood. And Kingston lost to David Blewett in District 14 after garnering just 46.5% of the vote while Griggs earned 51.7% of the district's voters. That means for hundreds of voters in the low-turnout municipal election, Griggs' campaign, which focused heavily on public safety, resonated — and Kingston's didn't… (LINK TO STORY)


As Migrants Stream In At The Border, Inland Checkpoints Feel The Strain (KUT)

The surge of Central American migrants crossing into the U.S. isn't just taxing border agents and the nation's immigration system — it's straining interior checkpoints like one on Highway 281 in Texas.

An hour's drive north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the new and expanded Falfurrias checkpoint is on a major route for traffickers shepherding people or drugs north.

"They're making a run at us every day," says Border Patrol agent Tom Slowinski, who's in charge here. "No other checkpoint anywhere on the Southwest border catches more alien smuggling cases than this checkpoint right here."… (LINK TO STORY)

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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