What We're Reading (September 15, 2017)
[LOCAL] DA to hold off on felony charges in Rep. Dawnna Dukes case for now (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore will not pursue, at least for now, the most serious charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, saying prosecutors have renewed their investigation into the travel vouchers at the heart of the 13 felony counts Dukes is facing.
Moore confirmed to the American-Statesman on Thursday that prosecutors have obtained new information relating to the vouchers, which Dukes is accused of falsifying for financial gain, but she declined to elaborate on what the new information is.
“The district attorney’s office recently received new, unexpected information pertinent to that case and the new information has created a need for further investigation by this office and the Texas Rangers,” Moore said.
[Local] Second draft of CodeNEXT allows more housing in more places, city says (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Austin is releasing a second draft of CodeNEXT, the city’s rewrite of its Land Development Code, today.
“We are really excited about the new draft coming out,” Peter Park of Opticos Design, a consultant hired by the city, told City Council members during a preview of the new draft last week.
Park said the second draft attempts to further simplify the convoluted code – another consultant found that the city has at least 400 different categories for defining what can be built where. One of the more notable changes is the removal of “transect zones.”
The second draft also creates more opportunities for new housing, consultants say.
Rezoning denial may not matter after CodeNEXT (Austin Monitor, 9/15/17) LINK TO STORY
[LOCAL] Austin events leader reprimanded after avoiding female co-workers (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
The city of Austin has formally reprimanded an official who oversees coordination of large events, such as South by Southwest, after an internal investigation found he purposely avoided meetings and private interactions with female co-workers because of issues with his marriage.
The city’s investigation of William Manno, the Austin Center for Events program manager, was launched the first week of July, soon after one of Manno’s female co-workers, a business specialist, complained. She told city investigators that Manno deliberately did not attend at least two meetings because he believed a communications consultant in attendance had romantic feelings for him, according to a July 5 statement obtained by the American-Statesman through the Texas Public Information Act.
[State] Texas public school districts may now store, not trash, leftover food (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
Senate Bill 725, which became effective immediately after Gov. Greg Abbott signed the legislation in June, allows schools to create food pantries on campus where they can store donated food as well as surplus food from the cafeteria.
[NATIONAL] Michael McCaul gets a second look for homeland security chief (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul fell short last December of being named secretary of the Homeland Security Department by President-elect Donald Trump. But with the position vacant since late July, when John Kelly took over as White House chief of staff, the seven-term Austin Republican is now high on the list for homeland security chief. McCaul, 55, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, asked Thursday by the American-Statesman about his interest in the post, said, “I can’t respond to anything right now.” But U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told the Statesman, “I think he’s talking to the White House,” when asked Wednesday about McCaul being considered for homeland security secretary.
[TECH] It May Be More Hype Than Loop, But Texas' Hyperloop Proposal Is A Finalist (Austin Inno) LINK TO STORY
Driving from Austin to Dallas takes around three hours by car. The same trip via Hyperloop would take only 19 minutes.
Now, we’re one step closer to that becoming a reality. That’s because Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles-based startup leading the way on Hyperloop testing, named the Texas Triangle route as a winner in its Hyperloop One Global Challenge. The contest sought to find the most promising and impactful routes for high-speed travel.
The Texas Triangle route would have stops at DFW Airport in the Dallas area, Dallas, Houston, the Port of Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo. As a winner, Hyperloop One will give the team of organizations that pitched the Texas route business and engineering resources, and it will help them forecast ridership and decide whether the route is commercial viability.
[TECH] For Hill staffers, Cruz’s ‘liked’ porn tweet a nightmare scenario (The Hill) LINK TO STORY
Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) Twitter mishap late Monday night involving a pornographic account is nightmare fuel for congressional staffers who are increasingly tasked with managing social media for their bosses. Twitter and Facebook have become crucial communication tools for members of Congress, helping them stake out their positions, interact with constituents and attract media attention. As a result, staffers spend many of their work hours managing and cultivating lawmakers’ social media presences.
The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.