BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 16, 2019)



Austin City Manager Cronk Lays out Land Code Revision Process (BG Blog)

In a City of Austin memo distributed yesterday (May 14, 2019), City Manager Spencer Cronk outlined the basic elements of a process to adopt a new Land Development Code and introduced the City team to complete the work.

Keys staff include:

  • Rodney Gonzales - Executive lead

  • Andrea Bates - Environment

  • Annick Beaudet - Transportation

  • Greg Dutton - Zoning

  • Erica Leak - Housing

  • Brent Lloyd - Master Editor


City eyes Palm School, bigger convention center (Austin Monitor)

City Council Member Kathie Tovo, with assistance from Mayor Steve Adler, has produced a 23-page resolution outlining Council’s desire to create a plan for the southeast part of downtown, including use of the Palm School for cultural programming and expansion of the city’s convention center. The resolution is set for consideration on Council’s May 23 agenda.

The resolution sets out the need for planning the entire area, including Waller Creek Park, the Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and the Rainey Street neighborhood.

While the convention center expansion looks at first glance to be the most controversial part of the resolution, the heart of the resolution relates to Palm School, which belongs to Travis County. And Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is not ready to simply give away such a valuable piece of property… (LINK TO STORY)


Texas farmers could begin growing hemp under legislation gaining steam in both chambers (Texas Tribune)

Wednesday at the Texas Capitol was hump day — or hemp day, state Sen. Charles Perry joked before the upper chamber unanimously approved a bill that would legalize the farming of industrial hemp in Texas.

After a relatively short, amiable debate, the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1325 by state Rep. Tracy King. The bill would legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC. While hemp-based products that contain no THC — like clothing and twine, protein powder, moisturizers and essential oils — are legal in the state, the plant cannot be legally grown here, and Texas businesses often have to source it from other states.

If the bill becomes law, marijuana would still be illegal… (LINK TO STORY)

Fear spreads across Texas, as U.S.-China trade war escalates (Houston Chronicle)

Another round of tariffs by the Chinese government Monday sparked fears from Wall Street to the Texas farmland that an escalating trade fight between the United States and China threatened to damage the global economy.

Following from President Donald Trump's announcement last week he was raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, China said it was raising tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. The prospect of a prolonged trade war between the world's two largest economies sent global financial markets reeling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were both down more than 2 percent by Monday’s close, with Texas companies including Cheniere Energy, Schlumberger and Westlake Chemical recording deeper drops… (LINK TO STORY)

Paxton again rejects document demand from U.S. House Democrats (Austin American-Statesman)

For the second time in two months, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has rejected a demand from U.S. House Democrats to provide documents related to a now-halted state investigation into the citizenship status of Texas voters. The Democrats requested the documents over concerns that the state investigation had improperly identified naturalized citizens as noncitizens, placing their right to vote in jeopardy.

But state First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer, in a letter sent Monday and made public Tuesday, defended the voter inquiry and said Congress lacks the constitutional authority to force Texas to release the requested documents. “Your (request) fails to acknowledge several incontrovertible facts about the American system of government that prove fatal to the committee’s argument,” the letter said, noting that Texas is not a subdivision of the U.S. government that would give Congress oversight over state actions… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump Takes Aim At Huawei, Paves Way For Ban Of Foreign Telecom Equipment (KUT)

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday designed to bar U.S. telecommunications networks from using equipment from foreign suppliers, a move apparently targeting Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The order declares a "national emergency" and says that "foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services" and committing economic and industrial espionage against the U.S.

Trump's order directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to draft rules to restrict the purchase of information and communications technology from companies "owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary."… (LINK TO STORY)

As US warns of Iran threats, skeptics recall claims on Iraq (New York Times)

As the Trump administration draws up war plans against Iran over what it says are threats to U.S. troops and interests, a senior British military official told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday that he saw no increased risk from Iran or its proxy forces in Iraq or Syria.

A few hours later, the U.S. Central Command issued an unusual rebuke. The remarks from the British official — Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, who is also the deputy commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State — run “counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region,” a Central Command spokesman said in a statement… (LINK TO STORY)


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. 

Check out Episode 46 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.


Twitter #binghamgp 

Instagram #binghamgp