BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 9, 2019)



Julián Castro Calls His Slow Start In The Presidential Race A Good Thing (KUT)

“I don’t want to be a flash-in-a-pan candidate or someone who is hot for a month,” Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro said during a stop in Austin on Wednesday.

The former HUD Secretary and mayor of San Antonio was in town for a small fundraiser at Native Hostel in East Austin. 

Castro, who is one of more than 20 major Democratic candidates vying for the party's nomination in 2020, has so far been lagging in the polls. But, he said, he’s been slowly gaining support, which he thinks may be a strength in the long run… (LINK TO STORY)

Next leader of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport named at critical juncture for growth (Austin Business Journal)

For the first time in years, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will have a new leader, and she has executive experience at some of the world's busiest hubs for air travel.

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced May 8 that Jacqueline Yaft will be the next executive director of aviation for ABIA. She will take over the top leadership role at the airport on June 10. Go here to see the full announcement.… (LINK TO STORY)


Stickland calls vaccines 'sorcery,' verbally attacks prominent advocate (Houston Chronicle)

Vaccine advocate Dr. Peter Hotez is accustomed to verbal attacks from anti-vaxxers, but on Tuesday the abuse came from an unexpected source: a Texas legislator.

In response to a Hotez tweet that the latest increase in vaccine exemptions in Texas shows its children have been "placed in harm's way for the financial gain of special and outside interest groups," Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, let loose. "You are bought and paid for by the biggest special interest in politics," tweeted Stickland. "Do our state a favor and mind your own business. Parental rights mean more to us than your self enriching 'science.'"… (LINK TO STORY)

Turner proposes ‘lean’ budget, dips into reserves to plug $179 million deficit (Houston Chronicle)

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday proposed to close Houston's $179 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year by tapping into the city's reserves, eliminating more than 60 vacant positions and laying off more than 300 city employees.

Turner's proposal would reduce the overall budget of city departments by about $36 million, a figure that includes layoffs of firefighters, fire cadets and municipal workers, all of whom have received pink slips. The mayor's budget also would draw $116 million from the city's reserves, which Turner said the city can afford because it will end the 2019 fiscal year with a higher-than expected general fund balance. The next fiscal year begins July 1… (LINK TO STORY)

Renewable energy proponents brace for last-minute attack on tax breaks for wind and solar (Texas Tribune)

Any day now.

That’s a phrase on the minds of renewable energy proponents who have been fighting to preserve what they say is a key tool for their industry.

In the waning days of the 86th legislative session, as House and Senate lawmakers spend hours debating and voting on bills, wind and solar groups are watching for any last-minute attempt to make renewable projects ineligible for a local tax abatement program that benefits all types of industrial and commercial developments.

They have good reason to be on high alert… (LINK TO STORY)

Texas House gives initial approval to bill phasing out red light cameras over the next few years (Dallas Morning News)

Texas House members green-lighted legislation Tuesday night that would require cities to phase out the use of red light cameras to issue traffic tickets over the next few years. Republican Rep. Jonathan Stickland won preliminary House approval of his bill by a 108-35 vote.

The House could give the bill final approval as soon as Wednesday and send it to the Senate for debate, where senators could take up Sen. Bob Hall's companion measure, approved by a committee, that bans such devices as of this September. The cameras are used to take photos of drivers who run red lights, who are then fined $75 per violation. Legislators have tried for years to ban them, and Gov. Greg Abbott in September encouraged them to do so because he said they’re expensive and could contribute to drivers being rear-ended… (LINK TO STORY)


Migrants Apprehended At Southern Border Top 100,000 For Second Consecutive Month (KUT)

The number of migrants apprehended at the Southern border surpassed 100,000 for the second consecutive month, according to new figures released by the Trump administration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 109,144 migrants in April. That is more than 5,400 over the total in the month of March, and it is the highest monthly total since 2007.

The chief of the Border Patrol, Carla Provost, told a Senate Judiciary panel that "our apprehension numbers are off the charts."… (LINK TO STORY)

House Committee Moves To Hold Attorney General In Contempt (KUT)

The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after the Trump administration invoked executive privilege over the contents of the Mueller report.

The developments Wednesday escalated the confrontation between congressional Democrats and the White House over documents related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"We are now in a constitutional crisis," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., after the vote… (LINK TO STORY)


Episode 45: Political Talk with Houston Chronicle Metro Reporter Erica Grieder

On today's BG Podcast Houston Chronicle Metro Reporter Erica Grieder discusses Texas and National politics, including the current legislative session and 2020 elections, with Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham.

Check out Episode 45 here!

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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