BG Reads | News You Need to Know (August 26, 2019)



City prepares for ‘shot clock’ bill with code amendments (Austin Monitor)

Just in time, City Council approved changes to the Land Development Code Thursday intended to buffer the city’s subdivision development application process against House Bill 3167, known as the “shot clock” bill, effective statewide Sept. 1.

Council members across the dais took aim at the state’s attempt to accelerate the subdivision review timeline, arguing that the bill’s mandates will only bring new complications. The bill requires cities to automatically approve applications if a decision has not been made after 30 calendar days of being submitted; adds a 15-day decision deadline for additional updates to those applications; and prohibits staff from adding new comments on the application after the initial review.

“I want to be really clear, the state is making local government more expensive and less responsive to the will of the local community – not just Austin but cities across the state,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “This again is our state government striking a blow against local liberty. It’s a sad day, and unlike the spirit of Texas.”… (LINK TO STORY)

Mueller’s Maturation: 20 years in, growth continues as former airport site fulfills city leaders’ redevelopment vision (Austin American-Statesman)

In the two decades since the last planes departed Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, the landmark control tower, the Browning Hanger and a former bus stop are among the few signs that the 700-acre site just north of downtown Austin was once an airport.

Since then, a town-within-a-city has emerged, transforming the former airport site into a bustling neighborhood that continues to grow, fulfilling the vision of city leaders and the larger community.

The latest additions will bring a hotel, hundreds more homes and apartments, more shops and offices and affordable housing units — more than 1 million square feet of development in all.

The projects will include Mueller’s first boutique hotel — an Origin-branded inn that is set to break ground this year. Also on tap are two office buildings, including a new $150 million headquarters for Austin Energy, the city-owned utility. In the current residential section, 150 new single-family houses are coming, along with just over 400 apartments, plus more than 130 apartments for income-qualified tenants and an additional 11 homes to be built by Austin Habitat for Humanity… (LINK TO STORY)

Matthew McConaughey invests in Austin FC, along with execs from tech, oil (Austin Business Journal)

Anthony Precourt has courted some big names to invest in Austin FC, including actor Matthew McConaughey.

Two Oak Ventures, which will operate the city's Major League Soccer team, announced Aug. 23 it had added four people to the ownership group for what they're calling a $475 million venture.

The new minority owners are real estate investor Eduardo "Eddie" Margain, McConaughey, technology executive Marius Haas and energy entrepreneur Bryan Sheffield.

Anthony Precourt is chairman and CEO of Two Oak Ventures. He led the push last year to bring an MLS team to Austin and will remain the team's majority partner and represent it on the league's board of governors… (LINK TO STORY)


Governor under fire for letter asking supporters to ‘defend Texas’ from illegal immigration (Houston Chronicle)

Days after a gunman opened fire at an El Paso Walmart and killed 22 people in the deadliest attack targeting Latinos in modern U.S. history, some Texans opened their mailboxes to find a fundraising letter from Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign. Dated Aug. 2, the day before the massacre, the letter began: “If we’re going to DEFEND Texas, we’ll need to take matters into our own hands.”

The letter asks for urgent donations so Abbott can fight illegal immigration, which he contends will cause a political and economic “disaster” if not stopped. He blames Democrats in Congress for refusing to tackle immigration reform and the media for failing to report on the “innocent young Americans” who are murdered by people who should’ve “never been in our country in the first place.” The “ national Democrat machine” is trying to turn Texas blue, he said… (LINK TO STORY)

New law makes it easier for college students to avoid taking classes that won't transfer (Texas Tribune)

Victoria Tintori had three criteria in mind when applying to four-year universities: cost, distance from her family, and — most importantly — whether or not the school would take the 65 college credits she’d already accrued at Austin Community College.

When it came time to transfer, the 21-year-old psychology major from Dallas was deciding between Texas State University and St. Edward's University. Her decision was made after St. Edward's didn’t accept the two years of American Sign Language she’d taken as part of her foreign language credit.

"It's two years' worth of work,” Tintori said. “Which I guess isn't a big deal for them, but it's a big deal for me.”… (LINK TO STORY)

Reps. Cuellar, Hurd push Congress to pass USMCA (San Antonio Express-News)

Two U.S. congressmen from South Texas are playing full-court press as they try to rally votes from both political parties to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement later this year — something businesses across the area have been urging political leaders to do.

Rep. Henry Cueller, D-Laredo, said he expects that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the pact to a vote “sometime this fall.” That’s big news for some of the region’s largest employers such as Toyota and its suppliers, which employ more than 3,000 workers in San Antonio and relies on international trade deals to export many of the trucks built at the automaker’s South Side plant. “We have to continue to make the case of the importance of international trade,” said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, “and how Toyota here in San Antonio exports and creates a whole lot of jobs.”… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump Walks Back Statements On China; White House Walks Them Forward (NPR)

President Trump is meeting with his counterparts at the G-7 summit in France, where he walked back previous statements on trade with China.

On Friday, Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports and threatened to invoke a 1977 act authorizing the president emergency powers to force U.S. businesses out of China.

On Sunday in Biarritz, France, Trump affirmed that he has the right to force American companies out of China but said, "I have no plan right now. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now. We're talking."

Asked if he had second thoughts about tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump said, "Yeah, sure, why not? Might as well. Might as well. I have second thoughts about everything."

He also told reporters that allies were not pressuring him on trade with China. "I think they respect the trade war," Trump said. "I can't say what they've been doing to the U.K. and to other places, but from the standpoint of the United States, what [China] has done is outrageous."… (LINK TO STORY)


We’re taking a summer hiatus, so please enjoy some our favorite past episodes in the interim:

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

On today's episode Austin FC President Andy Loughnane sits down for club updates with the Bingham Group Senior Consultant Paul Saldaña and CEO A.J. Bingham.

Andy was named president of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club on January 3, 2019. Most recently he was president of business operations for MLS’ Columbus Crew SC. 

Andy provided Bingham Group with the latest updates on Austin FC, including hiring for front office and coaching staff, groundbreaking, season tickets, and its development academy, among others.

Austin FC will be the 27th team to enter Major League Soccer, and will begin play in Spring 2021… (LINK TO SHOW)

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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