BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 2, 2019)



Capital Metro to debut new on-demand Pickup service by fall (Community Impact Austin)

Capital Metro, the regional transit agency, will debut an on-demand service called Pickup in four zones around Austin by early fall, said Chad Ballentine, vice president of demand response, innovative mobility and MetroAccess, at a press conference April 29.

Pickup customers will be able to request rides directly using a phone app. The cost per trip will be $1.25, the same as a single bus ride.

Similar to other ride-hailing services, Pickup will pick up customers where they are and drop them off at their chosen destination. Rides may involve other customers… (LINK TO STORY)

To better market its schools, Austin ISD is turning to Realtors (Austin Monitor)

Two dozen Realtors sit in the bleachers of the Burger Athletic Center, eating pastries and sipping on coffee. They’re listening to administrators from the Austin Independent School District preview the day ahead, which is a six-hour tour of schools in South Austin.

The point of the tour is to help families already living in Austin or moving here to better understand AISD schools, through their real estate broker.

It’s one way AISD is trying to lure more families into its schools as it faces an enrollment crisis. The district has lost thousands of students over the last decade, because of a combination of families leaving to live in more affordable areas or choosing to send their kids to charter schools… (LINK TO STORY)

Family of former mayor buys half of downtown block (Austin Business Journal)

An entity connected to the family of former Austin Mayor Roy Butler has purchased half of a downtown city block, according to public records.

The family bought the southern half of East Fourth Street between Brazos Street and San Jacinto Boulevard that now houses Brazos Hall and the 4th & Brazos offices.

Given there are no height restrictions on the site, which is a block away from the Austin Convention Center, the entire block is ripe for massive redevelopment… (LINK TO STORY)


Texas House passes massive property tax overhaul, moving one step closer to Gov. Abbott’s desk (Dallas Morning News)

A massive property tax overhaul –– one lawmakers say will help home and business owners who are buried by skyrocketing tax bills –– is nearing its final approval, much to the dismay of city leaders who have for months warned the legislation will hurt public safety funding.

The Texas House on Tuesday evening passed Senate Bill 2, which slows how fast property tax bills increase by limiting how much local governments can collect in revenue. A version of the bill has already passed the Senate and is likely headed to a conference committee for the chambers to hammer out the differences. As the House author presented the bill Tuesday, he stressed an important reality: This legislation will not make property tax bills smaller… (LINK TO STORY)

2020 presidential campaign already a factor for Texas manufacturers (San Antonio Express-News)

The 2020 presidential election is starting to weigh on the outlook of Texas manufacturers already nervous about trade disputes, tariffs and the tight labor market.

“The 2020 election cycle uncertainties are beginning to come into play, with several large customers starting to soften forecasts due to uncertainties in the energy and heavy equipment sectors,” one primary metal manufacturer wrote in the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ April manufacturing outlook survey. “We typically see this in every presidential cycle; however, this started earlier than anticipated.”… (LINK TO STORY)

Electric scooters could soon be kicked off Texas sidewalks, if state Senate gets its way (Texas tribune)

Texans could soon be banned from riding electric scooters along sidewalks in the cities where the divisive devices have recently popped up. The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would add that prohibition and require that scooter users be at least 16 years old.

Citing safety concerns, some local governments have imposed restrictions on electric scooters, like creating restricted areas where they can't be used — but Texas legislators wanted to impose minimum statewide guidelines.

“It’s like the wild, wild west out there with no rules,” said state Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen… (LINK TO STORY)


House approves expansion of free speech rights on campus (New York Times)

In what would likely become the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, the Alabama House Tuesday passed a bill that would make it a crime for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, unless a woman's life is threatened. The legislation is part of a broader anti-abortion strategy to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the right to abortion.

Republican state Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur, Ala. defended her "Human Life Protection Act" during, at times, contentious debate on the House floor.

"This bill is focused on that baby that's in the womb that is a person," Collins said. "That baby, I believe, would choose life."… (LINK TO STORY)


Episode 44: Austin 5G Update with Bob Digneo, Assistant VP, External and Regulatory Affairs at AT&T

On today’s episode Bingham Group Senior Consultant Paul Saldaña, and CEO A.J. Bingham update on discussions around Austin’s Palm School.

Located at Cesar Chavez and I-35, Palm School was Austin’s second elementary school, and served generations of students from the city’s Mexican-American community during its 84 years.

Travis County is considering whether to put the building up for sale or a long-term lease, and there are some who don't want its cultural history gone.

Check out Episode 44 here!

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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