BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 24, 2019)



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 Now Has Rules For Dockless Scooter Riders (KUT)

The City of Austin has firmed up rules of the road for people riding rentable, dockless e-scooters. The city council unanimously approved the rules Thursday.

The new rules formally fold scooters into the city’s transportation code and regulate them in a way similar to bikes. That means riders must abide by the city’s hands-free cell phone ordinance and operate a scooter in a "reasonable and prudent manner end," meaning someone could be cited for riding recklessly on a sidewalk. 

It also bans multiple riders on a single device and requires operators to not block sidewalks or building entrances when they park... (LINK TO STORY)

The complete draft amendment to the city code is available on the city website

Council OKs Palm School, convention center ideas (Austin Monitor)

In a stunning victory for Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Kathie Tovo, the Austin City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a 23-page resolution directing city staff to gather all the information necessary to move forward with an extensive renovation and expansion of the convention center as well as preservation of an important part of Austin’s heritage – Palm School.

Tovo led the charge on a resolution that at first blush appeared to be all about preserving the historic Palm School and the relationship between the many entities that make up the southeast corner of downtown. Tovo has not always been convinced of the need for expanding the convention center but was excited about the idea of opening up the dead space created by the old-style center.

The school, which sits at Cesar Chavez Street and Interstate 35, is a reminder of Austin’s painful history of discrimination. Children from working-class Mexican American households as well as kids from other families in East Austin attended Palm School until Austin Independent School District closed it in 1976… (LINK TO STORY)

Small-town allure spurs suburban growth in Central Texas, census data shows (Austin American-Statesman)

New Braunfels ranked second in growth last year among U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 or more, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday. New Braunfels’ population grew at a rate of 7.2% from July 2017 to July 2018, the figures show.

Among the top 15 cities with the highest growth rate, about half were in Texas, including two Austin-area suburbs in Williamson County. Georgetown came in at No. 7, with an annual growth rate of 5.2%, and Round Rock was No. 15 and grew by 4.3%. Other smaller Central Texas cities grew even faster, though they did not make the list because their populations don’t exceed 50,000 people. Dripping Springs grew by 20.59%, Leander by 12.5% percent and Kyle by 8.1%, all increases similar to those seen in previous years and continuing a boom along the Interstate 35 corridor… (LINK TO STORY)

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

City Council is set to consider at its June 4 meeting the next step in the approval process for the 22,000-seat soccer stadium planned for city-owned property in North Austin.

At its May 14 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended City Council approve a planned development area designation to the 24-acre McKalla Place property, which would allow multifamily residential, cocktail lounge, outdoor entertainment, transportation terminal and club or lounge uses by right.

That recommendation was approved with an amendment – made after public input from neighbors expressing concerns over the traffic impact on game days and from other large events – that requires applicant Precourt Sports Ventures to complete a traffic impact analysis as part of its site plan approval process. As part of PSV’s lease deal with the city, the traffic study could have been completed later than normal in the planning and approval process… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

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


Drug-price transparency bill likely headed to Gov. Abbott’s desk, stronger than many predicted (Houston Chronicle)

Texas is poised to unveil some of the country’s most aggressive drug-price transparency measures after a bill that consumer advocates had once considered powerless took on new life in the House and passed out of the Senate on Wednesday, with only small concessions made to the pharmaceutical industry.

Not only would the bipartisan legislation force drug companies to account for exorbitant price hikes going forward, but it would also apply retroactively, meaning companies that ratcheted up prices in 2017 and 2018 would have to explain why under the law. “This legislation serves as a much-needed consumer price check on a complicated industry that, frankly, could do with a lot more transparency," Republican Sen. Kelly Hancock, a sponsor, said in a statement… (LINK TO STORY)

Two heavy hitters agree to support San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg in hotly contested runoff (San Antonio Express-News)

Mayor Ron Nirenberg landed critical last-minute reinforcements in his contentious runoff with challenger Greg Brockhouse, as two groups skilled in mobilizing San Antonio volunteers committed to getting out the vote for the incumbent.

But the endorsements from the Texas Organizing Project and the Texas Democratic Party come relatively late in the campaign. TOP’s was arrived at after extended internal debate that underscored the difficulty Nirenberg has had generating enthusiasm for his reelection bid, even among natural allies. Local observers said it’s the first time they can recall a state party organization getting involved in a San Antonio mayoral race. Party officials said it’s part of a relatively new effort to become involved in local races that offer clear ideological choices… (LINK TO STORY)

Texas AG: No, felons like Austin candidate can’t run for office (Austin American-Statesman)

Completing their sentences and having their voting rights restored does not make felons eligible to run for office, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in an opinion Wednesday, nearly six months after Austin allowed a felon to run for City Council.

Texas law says that people convicted of a felony can hold public office only if pardoned “or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities” — a phrase that is unclear and has not been tested in court. Last year, Lewis Conway Jr., a community organizer who killed a man in 1991, argued that completing his prison sentence and being able to vote should qualify. Not so, Paxton’s opinion says… (LINK TO STORY)

Texas craft breweries may finally get to sell beer to go, after Senate approves deal (Dallas Morning News)

Imagine the scene: You're sitting at a craft brewery in Texas enjoying a hoppy, frothy double IPA. You like it. It's refreshing. You want to buy a six-pack of the local brew to bring home. Only you can't, because Texas doesn't allow to-go beer sales from craft breweries. But maybe soon, you can.

The Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday night that, on its face, renews the role of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. It streamlines licenses and permits required for businesses that sell alcohol and removes some fees. But the bill presented by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, was also a vehicle for a key amendment that has rankled beer industry leaders for years… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump walks out on Pelosi and Schumer after 3 minutes (New York Times)

President Donald Trump abruptly blew up a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday, lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up and declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him.

He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate at the same time. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said… (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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