BG Note | News - What We're Reading (August 15, 2017)

White nationalist rally at A&M canceled, Texas lawmaker says (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A white nationalist rally planned for the Texas A&M University campus Sept. 11 has been canceled by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp out of safety concerns, a member of the state House said Monday.
Rep. John Raney, R-College Station, said university officials cited online hate messages, including those sent by some people saying they would bring weapons to the day-long rally planned for Rudder Plaza in the heart of the College Station campus.
A&M System spokesman Laylan Copelin confirmed the cancellation.

Special session coming down to school finance, property taxes (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

With two days left in the special session, the finish line is coming into focus for Gov. Greg Abbott's agenda — though high-stakes negotiations remain pending on a pair of big-ticket items.
After a weekend that saw stalled progress on property taxes and school finance, both chambers dislodged key proposals on the issues Monday and advanced them toward conference committees. That means House and Senate negotiators will have the next two days to hammer out their differences on the two items, which top the special session wish lists for Abbott, the House and the Senate. 

Urban Transportation Commission endorses electric pedicab pilot (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Urban Transportation Commission gave its blessing last week to a plan that could give pedicab operators an extra, electric boost.

The commissioners voted nearly unanimously on Aug. 8 in support of a pilot program that would allow companies to outfit some of their bikes with electric motors that would make pedaling up steep hills or over long distances easier.

“If this is successful, this pilot program will lead to a low-cost, quick way to make pedicabs an option for more people to go more places,” Patricia Schaub told the commission.


Link to Urban Transportation Commission Recommendation

Report shows compensation for nonprofit leaders (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

A report provided by city staff sheds light on how much top executives of Austin nonprofits get paid.

The document was prepared in response to a budget question submitted by Council Member Ora Houston, who wanted to know how much the leaders of organizations that receive city funding earn per year. The salaries reported were based on publicly available 990 tax forms that nonprofits submit annually.

By far the highest salary included was that of the executive director of Southwest Key Programs, an Austin-based group that has operations in seven different states that provide services, such as job training and shelter, to at-risk children, including immigrant children separated from their parents. Its CEO and founder, Juan Sanchez, was paid $659,076 in 2015, the last year for which the information is available.

Texas Senate rolls back provisions in House tree bill (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

In an unusual move late Monday night, the Texas Senate voted to reverse itself on several amendments to a controversial tree-removal bill.

The upper chamber on Friday passed an altered version of House Bill 7, a measure governing cities' authority to regulate tree removal. But after House Speaker Joe Straus returned that version of the bill to the Senate late Saturday, arguing that the body’s alterations to the bill were inconsistent with the legislation’s “sole purpose” of creating tree-planting credits to offset local mitigation fees, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, the bill’s Senate sponsor, on Monday night asked her Senate colleagues to roll back provisions that Straus had rejected.