BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 23, 2019)

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[BG PODCAST]

BG Podcast Episode 47 - Bobby Jenkins, Owner and CEO, ABC Pest Control

On BG Podcast episode 47 we speak with Bobby Jenkins, owner and CEO fo Austin’s ABC Pest Control. On this business focused discussion, he and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham touch on growing and sustaining a company culture, planning for expansion and service development, and customer service, among other topics.

Check out Episode 47 here!


[AUSTIN METRO]

Waterfront planners push real estate leaders on district’s potential, future (Austin Monitor)

For roughly half a decade, whenever Alan Holt has talked with community members about the scope of the planned South Central Waterfront District – a 118-acre span that could fit 33 city blocks – his shorthand was that it included “everything from Hooters to Joe’s Crab Shack.”

On Wednesday morning, Holt, a planner with the city’s Urban Design Division, admitted to a room full of local real estate leaders that things have changed and he’s had to update his script.

The Hooters restaurant on West Riverside Drive is gone, to make way for the long-brewing “Snoopy PUD” development project. The Joe’s Crab Shack site on East Riverside Drive is for lease as a redevelopment project. And the district as a whole is once again moving through the city’s planning and bureaucratic machinery, with revised budgets and planning documents expected to arrive in front of City Council by September… (LINK TO STORY)


Austin ISD Teachers And Staff Demand Higher Raises As School Board Considers New Budget (KUT)

More than 100 Austin ISD teachers and staff rallied before Monday’s school board meeting, demanding a 10 percent raise as the board prepares to pass its budget next month.

The district has said it's only able to give a one percent raise to teachers – and no raises to support staff like bus drivers, cafeteria workers and administrative staff.

The average salary for an Austin ISD teacher is about $51,000, so a one percent raise would boost teacher salaries by around $500 a year… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

BG Podcast Episode 38: Nicole Conley- Austin ISD CFO


Austin FC training facility will be called St. David’s Performance Center (Community Impact)

Austin FC announced St. David’s HealthCare as its official health care partner May 22.

The club has yet to announce the location or groundbreaking date for the club’s training facility, but the forthcoming building has a name. The club announced May 22 at its North Austin offices that the training grounds will be called the St. David’s Performance Center.

The facility naming rights are part of a sponsorship agreement between St. David’s HealthCare and Austin FC that will make St. David’s the official health care partner of the club… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

BG Podcast Episode 46: Austin FC Updates from Club President Andy Loughnane


[TEXAS] 

Paid sick-leave ordinances likely survived the Texas Legislature. But businesses still want to kill them. (Texas Tribune)

For conservative Texas lawmakers and their allies in the business community, the fight over paid sick leave seemed like a slam dunk at the start of this year.

Left-leaning cities Austin and San Antonio were in Republicans’ crosshairs after adopting ordinances that required private businesses to offer their employees a certain number of paid sick days. While the city council members spearheading those proposals touted them as beneficial to workers, lawmakers on the other side of the ideological spectrum took issue with cities taking a new role in private companies’ employment policies — and creating patchwork regulations that only applied in certain parts of the state and might differ within a matter of miles.

Legislation blocking those ordinances was hailed as a priority in the Texas Senate, blessed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and lobbied for by wealthy business groups… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

BG Podcast - Episode 10: Policy Discussion Rob Henneke on Paid Sick Leave and Local Control

BG Podcast - Episode 11: Meet James Hines, SVP of Advocacy and In-House Counsel, Texas Association of Business

BG Podcast - Episode 20: State Rep. Diego Bernal- District 123 (D-San Antonio)


Texas expansion of medical cannabis nears finish line after Senate approval (Texas Tribune)

Marijuana advocates were handed an unlikely victory Wednesday after the Texas Senate advanced a bill greatly expanding the list of debilitating medical conditions that can legally be treated by cannabis oil in the state.

Although the upper chamber’s leadership once opposed bills that would relax the state’s pot policies, the Senate unanimously voted in favor of a bill by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, that expands the state's Compassionate Use Program, which currently allows the sale of cannabis oil only to people with intractable epilepsy who meet certain requirements.

The bill now heads back to the Texas House, where lawmakers can either approve the Senate changes or opt to iron out their differences in a conference committee before lawmakers adjourn in five days. Klick did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether she’d accept the Senate changes to her bill… (LINK TO STORY)


Texas GOP leaders join Democrats in call for a different sort of border wall (Houston Chronicle)

With President Donald Trump and Congress at an impasse on border security, the Texas Legislature is taking matters into its own hands, speeding legislation that could build 12 miles of retaining walls along the Rio Grande in Laredo, construct 90 miles of new roads that would help border patrol, and address choking weeds that are blamed for hindering law enforcement.

While Democrats supporting the bill insist it’s not President Donald Trump’s wall, Republicans are calling the 20-foot-high ‘non-scalable’ retention wall a step toward improved border security that the federal government has failed on. The legislation cleared the Texas House on a bipartisan vote this month, and the Texas Senate pushed it through a committee on Tuesday morning. It is almost certain to pass the Senate, and Gov. Greg Abbott is supporting it… (LINK TO STORY)


Texas poised to crack down on wasted college credits, offering better support to transfer students (Dallas Morning News)

On Monday, the House approved legislation aimed at reducing time and money spent on wasted credits. The bill, written by Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for final approval. Once these students get to a four-year university, many are finding more focused support efforts aimed at helping them succeed.

But only about 30 percent of students who start at a public two-year college end up with a certificate or degree within six years, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Transferring college credits between schools shouldn't be so hard, said West, who has spent six years working on his legislation to smooth such transitions… (LINK TO STORY)


[NATION]

Lawmakers call for 'time out' on facial recognition tech (The Hill)

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle came out aggressively against the widespread deployment of facial recognition technology, signaling they plan to draft legislation that would curb, or even halt, its implementation during a hearing on Wednesday.

"It seems to me it’s time for a time out," House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said during the hearing. "[This technology] is virtually unregulated — but I think that frankly needs to change." 

The intensifying federal scrutiny comes amid a national debate over the technology, which has attracted the criticism of privacy and civil rights activists and calls for new restrictions… (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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