BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 22, 2019)



BG Podcast Episode 47 - Bobby Jenkins, Owner and CEO, ABC Pest Control

On BG Podcast episode 47 we speak with Bobby Jenkins, owner and CEO fo Austin’s ABC Pest Control. On this business focused discussion, he and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham touch on growing and sustaining a company culture, planning for expansion and service development, and customer service, among other topics.

Check out Episode 47 here!


Austin’s scooters could come under same rules as taxis (Austin American-Statesman)

The Austin City Council on Thursday could create an unprecedented level of regulation governing electric rental scooters, putting the budding and controversial industry under the same rules applied to taxis.

Austin would be the first city in the U.S. to employ such a model, giving it broad authority over dockless scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, that would provide avenues for kicking them out of the city.

But even as city transportation staffers floated the idea Tuesday, when council members discussed an array of possible ordinances designed to update the city’s regulation of scooters, cracks started to show in the support for a franchise model that some industry insiders oppose.

“My instinct is not to support a franchise model,” Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said. “I think there are other ways to do this that won’t cause barriers to innovation.”

A franchise model would give the council direct authority over which vendors can operate in the city.

“We believe it could potentially negatively affect our ability to innovate,” said Tim Alborg, director of government partnerships at Spin, which operates 500 scooters in Austin… (LINK TO STORY)

Travis County commissioners move forward on first-ever strategic plan (Community Impact)

 Travis County commissioners voted 4-1 to appoint county executives to develop a scope and cost estimate for a strategic plan at a May 21 meeting.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents Precinct 3, voted against the motion.

“This would be our maiden voyage into a strategic plan,” Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said.

While this would be the first such plan for the Travis County Commissioners Court, other local government agencies have also paved the way.

In March 2018, Austin City Council adopted its first strategic plan, a five-year effort inspired by Imagine Austin, a vision for the city in 2040 that council members passed in 2012… (LINK TO STORY)

Long-planned downtown tower lands law firm as anchor tenant (Austin Business Journal)

Law firm DLA Piper will be the anchor tenant at 405 Colorado, a 25-story office tower being developed by Brandywine Realty Trust a block west of Congress Avenue in the heart of downtown Austin.

Brandywine said May 21 that the law firm leased the top four floors, roughly 66,000 square feet. DLA Piper is the first tenant to sign at 405 Colorado.

DLA Piper plans to move in during the first quarter of 2021, leaving the Frost Bank Tower, where it has an office on the 25th floor. The London-based law firm has 86 employees in Austin… (LINK TO STORY)


State Lawmakers Approve Legislation Shielding Most Texans From Surprise Medical Bills (KUT)

A surprise medical bill may be a thing of the past for many Texans. In a unanimous vote, the Texas House approved a Senate bill banning health care providers from sending steep medical bills to insured Texans in emergencies.

Senate Bill 1264 passed the Texas House on a 146-0 vote. If signed into law, it would remove patients from the middle of disputes between a health insurance company and a hospital or other medical provider. This doesn't apply to Texans with federally regulated plans, which account for roughly 40 percent of the state's health insurance market…(LINK TO STORY)

'Save Chick-fil-A' bill approved by Texas House, despite emotional pleas from LGBT members (Dallas Morning News)

A bill cast by conservatives as religious freedom protection and by liberals as a tool to discriminate against LGBT people was tentatively passed by the Texas House on Monday. The "Save Chick-fil-A" bill needs one more procedural vote from the House before it heads back to the Senate for final approval of a House amendment.

Then it goes to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature or veto. Senate Bill 1978 passed by a 79-62 vote; Houston-area Republican Rep. Sarah Davis broke with her party to oppose it. Fort Worth GOP Rep. Matt Krause, the House sponsor, said the bill stops the government from taking adverse action against a business or person for their contributions or memberships in religious organizations… (LINK TO STORY)

State of the city: Turner announces park plan, renews pitch for transit, startups (Houston Chronicle)

Mayor Sylvester Turner used his fourth annual State of the City address Monday to announce a plan aimed at drawing private investment to city parks in underserved areas, while casting the state of the city as "strong, resilient and sustainable," a depiction his mayoral opponents swiftly rejected.

Turner, who is up for re-election in November, also renewed his call for a multimodal transit system with rail and bus rapid transit, urging residents to give Metro borrowing authority for its long-term plan in November. The agency is expected to put a multi-billion-dollar bond request on the ballot. "This is not the city of the 1990s," Turner said. "This city has changed. The region is changing. People are demanding multimodal options, and we have to give it to them."… (LINK TO STORY)

Progressive stronghold embodies San Antonio’s political divide (San Antonio Express-News)

About 24 hours before Councilman Greg Brockhouse pushed him into a runoff, Mayor Ron Nirenberg took the stage at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre downtown to welcome Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and give him a green-glowing digital key to the city.

The crowd of about 760 — a mix of young techies, entrepreneurs and other “creatives” — excitedly called out and hooted as the mayor settled in behind the podium. They were Nirenberg’s people. If it had been up to this audience alone, Nirenberg would have trounced Brockhouse in the May 4 election. The council district where the theater is located and where many in the audience live, work and play came out big for the mayor. District 1 voters chose Nirenberg by 65 percent to Brockhouse’s 28 percent. Among the 10 council districts, it was Nirenberg’s best showing on election day and Brockhouse’s worst… (LINK TO STORY)


US slows hiring of Chinese nationals by chip makers (Wall Street Journal)

The U.S. has sharply slowed approvals for the nation’s semiconductor companies to hire Chinese nationals for advanced engineering jobs, according to industry insiders, who say the delays are limiting access to vital talent.

The disruption, which started last year, has affected hundreds of jobs across the industry at companies including Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Globalfoundries Inc., impeding their ability to hire Chinese employees or move existing employees to key projects in the U.S., these people said. It is significant in part because Chinese nationals account for a large share of non-U.S. citizens hired for such technical roles, where the talent supply domestically is often scarce… (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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