BG Note | News - What We're Reading (August 9, 2017)
With 8 days left in special session, Texas House and Senate remain far apart (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Eight days away from the deadline to approve bills, the prognosis for Gov. Greg Abbott's 20-item special session agenda is murky at best.
Not a single measure has made it to the governor’s desk despite a steady drumbeat from his office urging lawmakers to go “20 for 20” since weeks before the special session began.
As bathroom bill prospects fade, opponents step up their game (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
With prospects for transgender bathroom limits getting slimmer by the day in the Legislature, opponents kept pressing the gas pedal Tuesday, holding the latest in a series of Capitol events meant to showcase broad disapproval of the most contentious item on a special session agenda filled with hot-button issues.
First, dozens of women business and community leaders from across Texas stood on the Capitol’s south steps to say they don’t feel threatened by sharing restrooms with transgender women and don’t appreciate “discriminatory” policies being made in their name.
Council Considers Using City-Owned Buildings To Ease Overcrowding At Homeless Shelters (KUT) LINK TO STORY
Austin City Council is looking at using city-owned buildings as temporary homeless shelters.
The idea comes from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who says overcrowding at downtown shelters has led to harsh conditions for people experiencing homelessness.
Speaking at City Hall on Tuesday, Tovo said it’s an issue that demands action as the city works to get more people into permanent housing.
“We will need resources in the short-term, but I’ll be asking you, my colleagues, to consider expanding our resources for the long-term as well in this next fiscal year,” she said.
See, Hotel taxes key to ‘downtown puzzle’ to help area homeless (Austin Monitor, 7/18/17)
Crucial uncertainty remains after Commissioners Court chooses bond projects (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
After a morning and afternoon marked by high pique and dudgeon, the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a $280 million slate of transportation, parks and drainage projects to be funded by taxpayer-backed bonds.
The list is split between projects of high urgency and those that can afford to wait for voter approval. The first bucket – worth $95 million – would be funded by certificates of obligation, which can be issued by a majority vote on the court. The remaining $185 million tranche will head to a referendum, though after Tuesday’s discussion, exactly when that would be held is now in question.
Unhappy with pools plan, Council members push for a new task force (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Unsatisfied with an Aquatic Master Plan that they say endangers many of Austin’s most beloved pools, some City Council members are pushing for a new pools task force to explore ways the city could raise more money to preserve its existing aquatics system.
Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo told colleagues on Tuesday that she plans to push for a vote scheduled for Thursday on the master plan to be postponed so that a new task force can weigh in on the 150-page document.
The Parks and Recreation Board, Tovo noted, had expressed concerns about the plan hinting at future pools closing, including popular ones like Deep Eddy and Big Stacy.
Parks staff has insisted the plan is not intended to close pools but rather to present Council with the costs of maintaining them and prioritize what to keep if Council is unwilling to fork over the money.
See, Council wades nervously into pools plan (Austin Monitor, 8/2/17)
See also, Austin pools face major problems (Austin Monitor, 7/27/17)
Link to Park and Recreation Board (City of Austin)
Link to Aquatic Master Plan (City of Austin)