BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 7, 2019)



Council wrestles with competing water and housing needs (Austin Monitor)

Between an invasion of zebra mussels, an extended boil-water notice due to continued flooding and the concerning results of the Atlas 14 regional rainfall study, city water problems have crowded to the surface in the months since the last land use code rewrite attempt was scrapped.

Preparing to pick up where that process ended, City Council asked city staff Thursday to give water a central role when drafting a new code with a text and map that will coordinate with the city’s Water Forward plan, decrease citywide allowable impervious cover, improve water quality, and reduce flooding.

Given the city’s housing goals and growth projections, Council Member Alison Alter said constituents are struggling to reconcile the apparent contradiction between increasing entitlements to promote development while reducing allowable impervious cover… (LINK TO STORY)

Home Builders Association of Greater Austin brings on new CEO (Austin Business Journal)

The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin has a new CEO.

In a May 2 message to members, HBA announced it had hired Carrie Ciliberto as the organization's next chief executive. She begins her role May 15.

Ciliberto most recently served as the CEO for the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts Inc., a trade association. Prior to that, she was the senior director and counsel of contracts and construction law for the Associated General Contractors of America.

Before her work in nonprofits, Ciliberto was the founder and principal of Ciliberto & Associates, a Colorado law firm… (LINK TO STORY)

Commission zeros in on scooter safety (Austin Monitor)

A landmark study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Austin Public Health Department documented that 192 dockless scooter riders were injured between Sept. 5 and Nov. 30 last year.

During that time, “There were about two injuries per day on average,” said David Zane, an epidemiologist with Austin Public Health, at the May 6 meeting of the Public Safety Commission. Forty-eight percent of those were head injuries in a rider population where only one person was documented to be wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

When those who were injured were interviewed by APH, Zane explained that while many expressed an interest in wearing a helmet the next time they rode a scooter, “they had some challenges in terms of how (they) would get access to a helmet.”

Helmet access proved to be an important consideration for commissioners for when the city rewrites the ordinances associated with dockless scooters. “Nearly half of the electric scooter injuries in Austin were considered severe,” Commissioner Daniela Nuñez pointed out.

Nevertheless, Jason Redfern, parking enterprise manager at Austin Transportation Department, noted that in the ordinance rewrite for dockless vehicles that is going before Council at the end of the month, there will be no mention of mandating helmets… (LINK TO STORY)


Texans could soon know more about how much money their toll agencies spend after debt and maintenance costs are paid (Texas Tribune)

The Texas House isn’t yet ready to remove tolls from roads whose construction costs have been paid off. But lawmakers in the lower chamber just passed a bill lauded by toll critics that would shine a light on how much money tolling entities take in — and how they spend it.

Many drivers assume that they won’t be charged tolls once construction costs are covered, but tolling entities can continue to keep charging drivers even after the initial costs are paid. While toll entities say this practice is crucial to maintain existing thoroughfares and fund new roads, toll opponents rail against the practice… (LINK TO STORY)

Texas Senate approves school finance reform bill, but opts not to fund it with a sales tax hike (Texas Tribune)

The Texas Senate on Monday approved a bill to massively overhaul public school finance, but did so while backing away from a proposal to use an increased sales tax to lower school district property taxes.

After an hours-long debate on dozens of proposed changes, the Senate voted 26-2 on House Bill 3, which under the version passed by the upper chamber would increase student funding, give teachers and librarians a $5,000 pay raise, fund full-day pre-K for low-income students, and lower tax bills… (LINK TO STORY)

Business Leaders Oppose 'License To Discriminate' Against LGBT Texans (KUT)

n Austin, Texas, a new raft of anti-LGBT legislation is working its way through the state legislature. One of the bills would allow state licensed professionals of all stripes — from doctors and pharmacists to plumbers and electricians — to deny services on religious grounds. Supporters say the legislation is needed to protect religious freedoms. But opponents call them "religious refusal bills" or "bigot bills."

Last week, on the steps of the capital in Austin, business leaders gathered to announce their opposition to the series of bills which they say would sanction discrimination against their LGBT employees… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump: 2 years of my term were ‘stollen’ (Politico)

President Donald Trump on Sunday floated the idea of extending his constitutionally limited time in office, complaining online that two years of his first White House term were “stollen” as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“I now support reparations — Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup,” Jerry Falwell Jr., a conservative religious leader and Trump ally, tweeted in a message reposted by the president… (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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