BG Reads | News You Need to Know (October 3, 2019)



NEW -> Episode 55: Exploring Austin's Commercial Tenant Market with JLL's Bre Brown (LINK TO SHOW)


Abbott Vows To 'Unleash' State Resources If Austin Doesn't Change Its Homelessness Rules By Nov. 1 (KUT)

There are vast differences when it comes to life expectancies between neighborhoods in Austin, according to new research from the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Researchers found, for example, that some neighborhoods in western Travis County have life expectancies as high as 88.9 years of age – while some neighborhoods in East Austin have life expectancies as low as 71.5. The median life expectancy in Texas is 77.8 years.

The study compiled six years of mortality and population data for areas across Texas from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What researchers found is that neighborhoods relatively close to each other in one county have very different health outcomes among residents… (LINK TO STORY)

With Car2go set to leave Austin, future of dedicated parking spaces remains up in the air (Community Impact)

Car-sharing company Car2go will leave Austin, along with three other North American cities, on Oct. 31 and will pull out of Chicago by the end of the year. The company made the announcement Sept. 27 that it will rein in its operations, choosing to focus its efforts in North America on New York, Washington D.C., Montreal, Vancouver and Seattle.

“We have to face the hard reality that despite our efforts, we underestimated the investment and resources that are truly necessary to make our service successful in these complex transportation markets amid a quickly-changing mobility landscape,” the company wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to its members announcing the decision.

Car2go launched in Austin—its first U.S. market—in 2009. The service allows users to rent an available car on an hourly basis, pick it up on the street, then drop it off anywhere within a designated service area.

In March 2017, the city of Austin signed a contract with Car2go and two other car-sharing companies, ReachNow and ZipCar, which the city estimated would bring in $855,612 in revenue through the end of the 36-month contract in March 2020. ReachNow ended its service in July, while ZipCar still offers services in the city… (LINK TO STORY)

Workforce Solutions debuts new ‘flagship’ career center in Northeast Austin (Community Impact)

Workforce Solutions Capital Area relocated its North Austin career center to a nearly 71,000-square-foot facility near Rundberg Lane in Northeast Austin after the lease of its previous location—on Airport Boulevard, north of the ACC Highland development—expired.

The new center opened July 8, after Workforce Solutions received nearly a half a million dollars from Travis County to offset the moving costs and allow for an expansion of services down the line.

Workforce Solutions CEO Tamara Atkinson provided an update on the center and its operations at an Oct. 1 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court.

The area nonprofit supports workforce development for low-income clients and has three full-service career centers in Travis County.

“We are the flagship facility,”  Atkinson told commissioners at an Oct. 1. “We are the largest career center in the state of Texas providing comprehensive services in East Austin.”… (LINK TO STORY)


Fate of San Antonio’s paid sick leave law likely to be decided in court (San Antonio Express-News)

San Antonio leaders have spent more than a year trying to figure out how to keep the city’s paid sick leave ordinance from being struck down in court — and to convince business leaders to tamp down their opposition to the law. But with City Council members set to vote Thursday on changes to the ordinance, the battle lines over the law haven’t shifted. And uncertainty persists over whether it can survive a legal challenge.

One thing seems certain: The ordinance’s fate will be decided in court. “At the end of the day, a fight like this usually ends up in front of the Supreme Court,” said Councilman Manny Peláez. The law, enacted last year, would grant paid sick time to an estimated 354,000 workers across San Antonio who currently do not have the benefit. It is set to take effect Dec. 1. Though city officials invited business leaders to weigh in on revisions to the ordinance, the San Antonio business community still feels it’s being forced to provide the benefit… (LINK TO STORY)

Dallas ISD pilot program lets students and local communities decide how to spend some of their school's own money (Dallas Morning News)

Tucked inside a list of budget amendments — brought to a vote late in the night at the most recent Dallas ISD’s board meeting — was something that could revolutionize the way school districts spend money.

DISD trustees unanimously approved a small $60,000 pilot that would ask students and community members at local high schools to brainstorm, craft and compete for grants to fund a project of their choice on their campuses. The process, known as participatory budgeting, is designed to spark interest and engagement around how governmental bodies make choices and fund them… (LINK TO STORY)

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years in prison in murder of Botham Jean (Texas Tribune)

A Dallas County jury sentenced former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 31, to 10 years in prison Wednesday after deliberating for about 90 minutes. The same jury found Guyger guilty of murder Tuesday morning.

Guyger, who is white, shot and killed unarmed 26-year-old Botham Jean, who was black, in his own apartment. She said she mistook Jean’s apartment as her own and thought he was a burglar. Guyger lived one floor directly below Jean. She was off duty, but still in her uniform when she shot Jean.

After the jury handed down a conviction Tuesday, the court turned to the punishment phase of the hearing. The jury heard from character witnesses for Jean and Guyger, with both parties' parents speaking to the jury… (LINK TO STORY)


California's Fair Pay To Play Act Could Upend College Football (Texas Standard)

On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. The measure entitles college athletes in the Golden State to make money from their name, image and likeness, including through endorsement deals or jersey sales. Those opportunities are currently forbidden under NCAA rules.

California's new law doesn't go into effect until 2023. By then, it's conceivable that other states will have passed similar laws. 

Paul Batista is a sports law expert and associate professor of sport management at Texas A&M University. He says California's law stems from complaints that players don't share in the wealth generated by college sports. The NCAA, which governs college sports, says the law is a bad idea.… (LINK TO STORY)

Shoot them in the legs, Trump suggested: Inside his border war (New York Times)

The Oval Office meeting this past March began, as so many had, with President Trump fuming about migrants. But this time he had a solution. As White House advisers listened astonished, he ordered them to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico — by noon the next day. The advisers feared the president’s edict would trap American tourists in Mexico, strand children at schools on both sides of the border and create an economic meltdown in two countries.

Yet they also knew how much the president’s zeal to stop immigration had sent him lurching for solutions, one more extreme than the next. Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him… (LINK TO STORY)

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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