BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 25, 2019)



Ford launches mobility challenge to address health in East Austin (Austin Monitor)

Ford Motor Co. initiated an eight-month mobility challenge Monday to identify and fund ideas that could help East Austin residents access the resources necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

“We just celebrated as a company our 116th birthday,” said Jeff Jones, vice president of Ford City Solutions. “We recognize that in that first century of work, the automobile was a great disruptor. But now we’re entering a new era where new technology is there, and when we get into urban centers we recognize that there are additional technologies and ideas to help make people move easier throughout cities.”

Austin is the fourth city to participate in Ford’s 2019 City:One Challenge alongside Indianapolis, Detroit and Mexico City.

Austin’s challenge will focus on ways to ease access to East Austin services like grocery stores, health care, parks, and recreation centers, especially for families and individuals for whom such services have historically been withheld…


Planning Commission sees its first development trying to ‘unlock affordability’ (Austin Monitor)

Last May, City Council unanimously passed the Affordability Unlocked bonus program, a density program that loosens site restrictions and promotes the construction of more units in affordable and mixed-income housing developments.

This month, the first developer came before the Planning Commission to request a zoning change to better allow them to take advantage of the ordinance’s dense development provisions.

The property at 7508 McAngus Road is currently a 12-acre vacant lot that is zoned single family (SF-2). Alice Glasco, who was representing the property owner, SR Development, Inc., came to request that the Planning Commission recommend a change in zoning to multifamily (MF-4)… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

Our BG Podcast (EP. 40) discussion with Megan Lasch of Saigebrook Development on the Affordability Unlocked objectives.

Williamson County files suit against opioid maker (Austin American-Statesman)

Williamson County, like a growing number of Texas counties, has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and other drug makers, as well as pharmacies, for helping to fuel the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit accuses the companies of deceptive marketing, sales and distribution of prescription opioids such as Oxycontin that have caused “addiction, criminal activity and loss of life.” The state of Texas and about 40 other Texas counties, including Travis, Harris and Dallas, have already sued Purdue Pharma in federal court.

The Connecticut-based firm did not respond to a request for comment Monday… (LINK TO STORY)

H-E-B opens East Austin tech hub with hundreds of employees, room for tons more (Austin Business Journal)

About 400 employees are now working out of H-E-B LP’s new, state-of-the art technology hub in East Austin — and this is just the beginning for the facility that debuted June 24.

The grocery chain has space "for about double that number," said Jag Bath, H-E-B chief digital officer. H-E-B will continue to fill the building as it adds to its digital team in the Texas capital and boosts the headcount at Favor, the delivery app H-E-B acquired in early 2018. H-E-B spokeswoman Leslie Sweet said later June 24 the companies plan to add about 250 people combined at the office in the next year, boosting the headcount to 650… (LINK TO STORY)


Gov. Abbott Says 'Texas Will Override' Austin's New Public Camping Rules (KUT)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he expects state lawmakers to overturn Austin's revision to its homelessness ordinances.

In a tweet last night, Abbott said "there are far better solutions for the homeless & citizens," referring to the Austin City Council's approval of new rules that loosen regulations banning camping in public.

City Council approved ordinances revising the homelessness rules early Friday. Revisions to bans on aggressive panhandling and sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk passed unanimously. Council members argue the revisions still ban behavior that could prevent public health or safety issues, without explicitly banning asking for money, or sitting or lying down on the sidewalk… (LINK TO STORY)

Migrant children moved from Border Patrol facility after reports of unsafe conditions (Texas Tribune)

Hundreds of children have been moved from a Border Patrol facility near El Paso after reports surfaced that they spent nearly a month living with substandard food, water and sanitation.

Many of the children were sent to another El Paso facility, Border Patrol Station 1, where they remain in Border Patrol custody until they can be placed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to NBC News. U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar told the Associated Press, which first reported about the conditions in Clint, that just 30 children remain there.

"It's not necessarily a better situation, and in fact could be worse," said Warren Binford, a lawyer who visited Clint last week. "Where these really children need to go is back to their families.”… (LINK TO STORY)

Jonathan Stickland says he won’t run for reelection to the Texas House (Texas Tribune)

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a firebrand conservative Republican from Bedford and one of the most vocal members of the Texas House, announced Monday he will not run for reelection in 2020.

Stickland, first elected to represent House District 92 in 2012, broke the news to supporters in an email, saying he had "determined it is not in the Lord's will for me to seek re-election."

"Instead," he wrote, "I intend to dedicate more time to my family, my church, and my business."… (LINK TO STORY)


Pelosi, Democratic leaders seek to quell liberal revolt over border bill (The Hill)

House Democratic leaders scrambled Monday night to rally support for their border funding bill amid a liberal outcry over the Trump administration's treatment of migrant children — and questions over whether the Democrats' proposal would do enough to protect them. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top leaders huddled in Pelosi's Capitol office late into the night with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the senior appropriators who have championed the border bill… (LINK TO STORY)


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

BG Podcast Episode 42: A Startup Conversation with Easy Expunctions CEO Yousef Kassim

Bingham Group client Easy Expunctions is a San Antonio-based legal technology start up providing background check and expunction/nondisclosure services.

They were recently one of twelve legal tech startups invited to participate in Duke’s Law Tech Lab.



Client News: Easy Expunctions Selected for Duke Law Tech Lab

Congratulations to Bingham Group client Easy Expunctions on being one of twelve early-stage legal technology companies selected to participate in Duke Law Tech Lab's summer pre-accelerator program.

Easy Expunctions is a San Antonio-based legal technology start up providing background check and expunction/nondisclosure services.

Their legal records search algorithms allow clients to know what (if any) charges they have against them, and what can be expunged. 

In April 2018 they won Austin-based Capital Factory's $100,000 Startup Challenge. As part of the package, the firm received space at Capital Factory (located in downtown Austin)… (LINK TO POST)

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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