BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 18, 2019)



REGULATION: New City of Austin Mandatory Alternative Water Systems Proposed

At an Austin Energy Green Building seminar last week, the Bingham Group learned of a new proposal from the City of Austin that could make onsite alternative water systems mandatory for new commercial development over 250,000 square feet.

Examples of these systems, also referred to as water reuse or water recycling systems, include rainwater, greywater, stormwater, and condensate water systems.

The City’s desire is to have non-potable water supplied through these onsite systems. The effort was directed by the City Council via an amendment to a larger motion adopted on May 2, 2019 to provide direction on the Land Development Code revision process (i.e., CodeNEXT)… (LINK TO POST)


Kitchen, Tovo to push for speed in addressing housing, cultural preservation efforts (Austin Monitor)

City Council members who have in the past pushed to create an external entity to pursue public/private partnerships and other opportunities focused around city priorities appear ready to direct staff to accelerate the process.

In a report completed late last month, the Economic Development Department found it would need 12 months of work with an outside consultant to determine how to structure and create an economic development corporation or assorted local government corporations, the two entities state law allows cities to use for pursuing development agreements that benefit the community.

Staff and Council members have voiced frustration that the slow movement of city processes makes it difficult to work with the private sector to create public/private partnerships that can address issues such as affordable housing, preservation of cultural spaces and creation of workforce housing… (LINK TO STORY)

Visions of Zilker Park split over parking (Austin Monitor)

After months of meetings beginning in September of last year, the Zilker Park Working Group was not able to reach a consensus on recommendations for the Polo Fields and Butler Landfill, two areas currently used for overflow parking.

According to an introductory statement to the Zilker Working Park Group’s Final Report, which was posted online Friday, the 38-member group’s goal of consensus was “exhaustively attempted” yet finally unmet.

Bobby Levinski, group member and attorney for the Save Our Springs Alliance, released a statement earlier this month describing the major point of disagreement as a question of economics vs. environmental preservation… (LINK TO STORY)

Demand grows for CBD products amid legal ambiguity, some local retailers say (Community Impact)

In the Lake Travis-Westlake area, CBD purveyors say business is increasing despite legal and regulatory ambiguities affecting the market.

“The response [to our products]has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Ian Erickson, co-owner of Pure American Hemp Oil, which is sold at multiple stores in the Westlake area. “But I think people are still new to it and what it helps, and we aren’t [legally]able to make any health claims, so I’m not able to tell people what it will cure.”

The compound CBD, or cannabidiol, is sourced from the flower of the hemp plant and is marketed for calming and healing benefits in products ranging from lotions to dietary supplements. It differs from tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the compound that causes the “high” effect of cannabis… (LINK TO STORY)


'Good bills gone bad': Gov. Abbott vetoes 58 bills this session (KVUE)

Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed dozens of bills he described as "good bills gone bad" from the 86th Texas Legislative session. The deadline for Abbott to sign or veto bills was Sunday at midnight.

"All of these bills passed by the Legislature," Abbott said in a video posted to Twitter on June 8. "Now, it's time for decisions, decisions. We'll see what I do."

During the session, Texas lawmakers filed a total of 10,877 bills, including congratulatory and memorial resolutions. The House and Senate together finally passed 4,581 of them and Abbott signed 1,323 of them, roughly 29%. He vetoed 58 bills or 1.26%… (LINK TO STORY)

At inauguration, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson promises 'a new day' at City Hall with focus on civility, ethics (Dallas Morning News)

At the City Council's inauguration ceremony Monday, new Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson promised to restore civility and eradicate corruption at City Hall.

"A new day for Dallas means a new culture of civility at City Hall. We can attack problems without attacking people," Johnson said. "As mayor, that's exactly what I'm asking all of our city leaders to do. ... The challenges facing our city are simply too big for us to act small."

As they officially took office, Johnson and newly elected and re-elected council members expressed optimism about tackling those challenges, which include budgeting, education, economic disparities and public safety — highlighted by a shooting at the federal courthouse Monday morning… (LINK TO STORY)

Nirenberg seeks to reclaim title as ‘The People’s Mayor’ (Rivard Report)

When Greg Brockhouse gave up his seat on San Antonio’s City Council to challenge Mayor Ron Nirenberg, he said he wanted to return City Hall “to the people.” He criticized Nirenberg for so-called “backroom deals” and characterized the mayor as being part of “the machine” while portraying himself as the anti-establishment candidate. That message, and other campaign themes, resonated with 49 percent of voters.

In a way, it also resonated with Nirenberg, who vowed to correct what he called a false narrative and strengthen his collaboration with the new City Council as he starts his next two-year term. “The biggest wakeup call has been … a realization that we can be on the right track, we can make great progress, we can tackle significant challenges that have been unaddressed for a generation and do all the right things – but also leave the impression that we’ve left out the people,” Nirenberg told the Rivard Report in an interview this week… (LINK TO STORY)


Thousands Of Asylum Seekers Left Waiting At The U.S.-Mexico Border (NPR)

Over the past three months, the number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has jumped exponentially, and total border crossings have reached levels last seen in 2006.

Yet, while the number of families arriving between official border crossings has skyrocketed, the number of migrants seeking asylum at official border crossings has remained relatively constant, at around 4,200 per month… (LINK TO STORY)


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!


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