BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 15, 2019)



Council asks city staff for ideas on local Green New Deal, EVs (Austin Monitor)

City Council unanimously approved its own Green New Deal resolution last week in response to the devastating consequences of the climate crisis, from record temperatures to the historic flooding seen in Austin and Central Texas over the last decade.

Council Member Alison Alter, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said the intent is to work toward broader climate goals at the local level “in the absence of federal action.”

On top of the city’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, quadrupling citywide transit use by 2039 and moving Austin Energy to 55 percent renewable sources by 2025, the resolution directs City Manager Spencer Cronk to conduct a literature review of climate resilience plans in Austin’s peer cities and return recommendations for a plan by August 22… (LINK TO STORY)

Austin Mayor Steve Adler Defies Call to Pull Out of Ilhan Omar Iftar Dinner Event (Newsweek)

 The mayor of Austin, Texas, Steve Adler, will attend this Saturday’s Iftar dinner in his city with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. Adler faced a call by a top state official suggesting that he no-show at the event due to accusations against Omar of anti-Semitism.

Adler, a Democrat, is the guest of honor at the Ramadan event organized by Emgage, a group which advocates for American Muslims. Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, is the keynote speaker. She is embroiled in controversies over claims of anti-Semitism and disrespecting 9/11.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a Republican and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, urged Adler, who is Jewish, to pull out of the event and for organizers to cancel Omar’s participation. Miller said Jewish community leaders should replace her… (LINK TO STORY)


Texas cities' legislative efforts have struggled this year (Texas Tribune)

The interest group representing Texas cities used to be one of the most powerful legislative forces at the Capitol. This session, it has become the GOP’s most prominent adversary.

Its members have been harangued at hearings. Targeted by a proposed ban on “taxpayer-funded lobbying.” And seen multiple proposals sail ahead over their protests.

When, around March, one mayor inquired about the reasoning for a controversial provision in a property tax bill, he said an adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott suggested, “You reap what you sow.”

The message was clear, said McKinney Mayor George Fuller: Local officials had been obstructionists in the past… (LINK TO STORY)

Ending long TV drought, Beto O'Rourke tells Rachel Maddow he recognizes need to reach national audience (Dallas Morning News)

Beto O'Rourke ended a prolonged television drought on Monday night that has coincided with sagging poll numbers, sitting down with liberal host Rachel Maddow to discuss the state of his presidential campaign.

O'Rourke has spent the first two months of his White House bid focused primarily on retail level stump appearances. He quickly blew past nearly all of his rivals in the number of town hall meetings, including some who had been stumping for nearly a year, fielding hundreds of questions from voters. But he has avoided Sunday shows and cable network appearances that can entail much tougher questions, with demands for details and follow-ups forcing him to explain inconsistencies, and differences with opponents… (LINK TO STORY)

Political style, not policy, takes center stage in first Dallas mayoral runoff debate (Dallas Morning News)

For consumers, it comes as no surprise that the world of health care pricing is unpredictable, but new research released by the Health Care Cost Institute shows just how different the prices for common medical services can be — from city to city, but also from clinic to clinic within the same market.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the research is based on an analysis of employer-sponsored health insurance claims of 34 million Americans in 112 markets. Researchers analyzed the price of 13,517 blood tests within the San Antonio-New Braunfels area and found that prices for the test can cost anywhere from $56 to $492. It’s difficult for patients to know whether the lab they choose is charging more than the lab down the street… (LINK TO STORY)

Texas high-speed rail project dodges bullet after budget rider dies (Texas Tribune)

The Dallas-Houston high-speed rail project dodged a bullet this week, when lawmakers hashing out the state budget released their decision to strike a provision that could have delayed the project.

A committee of Texas House and Senate members ditched language that would have prevented the Texas Department of Transportation from coordinating with a high-speed rail company so its project could cross state highways until a court definitively affirms the company's ability to use eminent domain with an unappealable ruling. That provision, called a budget "rider," could have delayed the project for several years, according to Patrick McShan, an attorney for an opposition group and more than 100 landowners along the train's planned route… (LINK TO STORY)


Before Trump’s purge at DHS, top officials challenged plan for mass family arrests (Washington Post)

In the weeks before they were ousted last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration enforcement official Ronald Vitiello challenged a secret White House plan to arrest thousands of parents and children in a blitz operation against migrants in 10 major U.S. cities.

According to seven current and former Department of Homeland Security officials, the administration wanted to target the crush of families that had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border after the president’s failed “zero tolerance” prosecution push in early 2018. The sprawling operation included an effort to fast-track immigration court cases, allowing the government to obtain deportation orders against those who did not show for their hearings — officials said 90 percent of those targeted were found deportable in their absence… (LINK TO STORY)


Episode 46: Austin FC Updates from Club President Andy Loughnane

On today's episode Austin FC President Andy Loughnane sits down for club updates with the Bingham Group Senior Consultant Paul Saldaña and CEO A.J. Bingham.

Andy was named president of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club on January 3, 2019. Most recently he was president of business operations for MLS’ Columbus Crew SC. 

Check out Episode 46 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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