BG Reads | News You Need to Know (January 22, 2019)



Metro will continue to add population faster than city of Austin, Travis County through 2050 (Community Impact)

Population growth in the five-county Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area will significantly outpace that in Travis County and the city of Austin, according to a November analysis by Ryan Robinson, a demographer with the city of Austin’s Planning Department.

The metro—which includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties—has expanded at a more rapid pace than either the city of Austin or Travis County since at least the 1980s, with the exception of 2010, during which the city’s population grew 2.11 percent while the county grew 1.58 percent and the metro grew 0.6 percent.

Robinson projects growth at the city, county and metro level through 2050, the last year included in his data. However, the rate of growth in all three jurisdictions will slow.

The city of Austin’s growth rate for 2018 was 1.9 percent. By 2050, Robinson projects it will grow 0.5 percent…

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UT study at center of debate on tourism, hotel tax and expansion proposal (Austin Monitor)

A forthcoming report from a group of University of Texas architectural students may be the next significant piece of research shaping the ongoing debate over how the city uses its Hotel Occupancy Tax funds.

That study – commissioned last year for the UT School of Architecture’s Center for Sustainable Development – was directed to look at the possible scenarios and market dynamics for a proposed expansion of the Austin Convention Center. It is expected to arrive in front of City Council members next month, though the professor in charge of the project told the Austin Monitor on Monday that the only action currently planned is a briefing to Council on or about Feb. 11, with many details still unclear.

The study was one of many pieces of research discussed at the most recent meeting of the city’s Tourism Commission. The meetings have been embroiled in heated debate over the convention center, its impact on local tourism and how much its business contributes to HOT revenue creation…

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3D-Printed Houses Are Now Easier To Build In Austin, But Don't Expect A Whole Neighborhood Of Them (KUT)

An Austin-based company is ushering in 3D technology that makes it easier for builders to print homes.

Residential building company Sunconomy LLC and California-based Forge New last week introduced We Print Houses, a system that can be licensed by contractors and builders to construct homes in only a few months.

The system is expected to “completely change [the construction] business model,” Larry Haines, founder of We Print Houses, said in a press release. It "immediately removes the common pitfalls of traditional home building – labor shortages, materials waste, construction time.”…

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With Vow To Preserve Anderson High's Legacy, Work Begins On New Eastside Memorial (KUT)

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Saturday on the new site of Eastside Memorial High School in East Austin. The high school will be located in the former L.C. Anderson High School, which closed in 1971 after a judge desegregated Austin schools. 

The Anderson building will get an $80 million renovation, but the Austin Independent School District has promised to retain certain aspects of the building to preserve its legacy. The front of the school will remain the same and a historical gallery will be installed. ..

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Dan Patrick announces Senate committee assignments, making a few noticeable shifts (Texas Tribune)

The shifts at the top of Senate committees, announced by the lieutenant governor Friday, were few but noticeable — with moving parts in the Republican Party making way for some senators to chief committees for the first time, a thorough snub that may deepen an existing rift and little headway for Democrats despite electoral victories in November.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named 14 Republicans and two Democrats chairs of the Senate’s 16 committees, meaning no gains for the chamber’s minority party despite an increase in the number of committees. Houston Democrat John Whitmire, the Senate’s longest-serving member, continues to chair the Criminal Justice Committee, and Eddie Lucio, a moderate Democrat of Brownsville, continues to helm the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

All but five of the Senate’s 19 Republicans are chairmen; of the five, three are freshman and one had yielded his prominent position in the wake of an inconclusive sexual harassment investigation…

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Cornyn picks top Abbott operative to manage re-election campaign (Texas Tribune)

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has tapped a former top operative for Gov. Greg Abbott to manage his 2020 re-election campaign.

Cornyn announced Tuesday his campaign manager will be John Jackson, who led Abbott's successful re-election bid last year, an early hire that suggests the state's senior senator is not taking 2020 for granted.

"It's no secret national Democrats will again target our state and spend millions to wipe out conservatives in Texas," Cornyn said in a statement. "John's experience managing large field operations and building winning coalitions will ensure we're ready and help Republicans up and down the ballot."…

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Trump offers 3-year extension of protection for ‘dreamers’ in exchange for $5.7 billion for wall (Texas Tribune)

President Trump made a new offer Saturday to Democrats aimed at ending the 29-day partial government shutdown that would extend deportation protections for some immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in border wall funding.

Trump’s proposal is designed to ramp up pressure on Democrats by offering a reprieve on his attempts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) for immigrants from some Latin American and African nations.

Under the new proposal, the administration would allow those programs to continue — addressing a key concern of Democrats and some moderate Republicans…

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Episode 30: A 2019 Conversation with Austin Council Member Jimmy Flannigan (D6)

(RUN TIME - 27:30)

Today's BG Podcast features a conversation with Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan (D6).

Sworn in on January 6, 2017 to a four year term, Council Member Flannigan represents Austin's Council District 6, encompassing Northwest Austin, including both Travis and Williamson Counties.

The Council Member and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham discuss the impact new faces on the Council dais will mean, as well as 2019 policy predictions.

This episode was originally recorded on January 2, 2019.

Link to Episode 30

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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