BG Reads | News You Need to Know (May 28, 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!


Historic Landmark Commission discovers code interpretation error (Austin Monitor)

At its April meeting, the Historic Landmark Commission postponed the case for 1400 Winsted Lane in search of more context for the property. Instead, staff returned with a new reading of the code that could change how the commission does business from now on.

The commission was surprised to learn at its May 20 meeting that the case to determine whether the West Austin property was eligible for historic zoning was removed from the agenda and the property owner was issued a demolition permit without the commission’s recommendation.

“A lawyer for the developer said you were in violation of city code,” Holly Reed, who was representing the West Austin Neighborhood Group as the president, told the commissioners. “We were stunned.”

Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky explained to the commissioners that normally when hearing a case, “the commission has to make a decision within 75 days, but if you initiate we would have to have a recommendation within 14 days.”... (LINK TO STORY)

Austin ISD trustees approve cap protecting Title 1 students as part of school change guiding principles (Community Impact Austin)

Austin ISD trustees approved a theoretical percentage cap on the number of Title 1, or socioeconomically disadvantaged, students that will be directly impacted by the district’s coming school closures and consolidation decisions.

The percentage cap was tacked onto a document of “guiding principles” May 20 that district staff will use when creating scenarios to close and consolidate schools, change school boundaries and to better use district resources. The amendment to the document passed 5-4, with trustees Ann Teich, Jayme Mathias, LaTisha Anderson, Arati Singh and Cindy Anderson voting for the amendment.

The amendment to the guiding principles came after multiple failed attempts by Teich and Mathias to have the document outline in more detail the district’s plan to close schools in an equitable way when it comes to Title 1 families. Those amendments failed in 4-5 votes. Cindy Anderson had voted against the previous amendments during the course of the meeting before approving the percentage cap… (LINK TO STORY)

Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today (Austin Monitor)

Attorneys for Hill Country landowners along with the city of Kyle and Hays County have prepared for a fight this morning with lawyers for Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission over the route of the proposed natural gas pipeline and whether the commission has lived up to its constitutional responsibility in overseeing Kinder Morgan’s exercise of its power of eminent domain.

Kinder Morgan proposes to build the approximately 430-mile Permian Highway Pipeline through the Hill Country, between the Waha junction near the Permian basin and the Texas Gulf Coast. The estimated cost of building the pipeline is $2 billion and construction is slated to begin in the fall, unless something happens to stop it. Lawyers with experience in the field have told media outlets, including Community Impact, that chances of winning against the pipeline company are slim.

Although the company conducted a number of open houses to discuss the pipeline, the Railroad Commission did not require any public meetings, and according to the lawsuit, did not investigate alternate routes. What the plaintiffs are seeking would be a substantial change in the commission’s way of doing business. Government agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation must do significant analysis to show that they have chosen the best route, but private companies are not required to do so… (LINK TO STORY)


The 2019 legislative session is over. Here are the big bills that passed — and the ones that failed. (Texas Tribune)

Texas’ top political leaders wrapped the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature on Memorial Day with an air of accomplishment. They passed two major pieces of legislation that they had been working toward for years — a finance boost and a bill aimed at slowing the growth of property taxes. But there were some key failures too, most notably a sales tax increase that would have allowed lawmakers to lower property taxes even more. That measure died due to lack of support. Many others died due to lack of time or a clever procedural trick by an opponent… (LINK TO STORY)

After kumbaya session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he isn't leaving Texas to join Trump administration (Dallas Morning News)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has no plans to leave Texas, he said on the day before lawmakers finish up what he called the "most successful session in modern history." Addressing continued rumors that he might take a job in the Trump administration after lawmakers finish up their biennial meeting Monday, Patrick said he would turn the president down if he was asked to serve in any capacity, including a position that would keep him in the state.

"I would say no. ... I can serve him in many ways at lieutenant governor," Patrick said in a sit-down interview with The Dallas Morning News, Austin-American Statesman and Texas Tribune on Sunday. "I have spent a lot of time with the president. I have been in the limousine with him. I have been on Air Force One with him. I've spent a lot of time with him. We have never, ever talked about me taking a position with the administration." He added, "I love being lieutenant governor. This is the coolest job in politics in the country, and it's a very powerful job. ... This rumor has absolutely been the craziest thing I've ever seen."… (LINK TO STORY)

Embattled Secretary Of State David Whitley Resigns As Texas Legislative Session Ends (KUT)

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, who was behind the botched effort to remove alleged noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls, reportedly resigned Monday as the 86th Legislature came to a close.

Whitley, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December, needed a two-thirds vote from the Senate to be confirmed to the position, but voting rights groups put pressure on Texas Democrats to stop the confirmation following his voter purge efforts.

Under the Texas Constitution, lawmakers must confirm appointments before the legislative session officially ends. If they don’t, the appointee has to immediately vacate the position and the governor must choose someone else. That person serves in the position until lawmakers weigh in during a regular session… (LINK TO STORY)

FAA brings new scrutiny to San Antonio’s polarizing vote to bar Chick-fil-A from airport (San Antonio Express-News)

The Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation into the San Antonio City Council’s decision to remove Chick-fil-A from an airport vendors contract, breathing new life into a controversy that roiled the mayor’s race and potentially putting millions of dollars in federal grants at risk.

Chick-fil-A was founded by a devout Southern Baptist. Its CEO made comments opposing same-sex marriage in 2012, and its charitable arm has donated money to organizations opposed to LGBTQ rights. City Council members who voted March 21 to strike Chick-fil-A from a list of airport vendors said they were acting to protect San Antonio’s reputation for inclusion and equality… (LINK TO STORY)


California, Rich In Delegates, Takes On New Importance For Crowded Democratic Field (NPR)

This weekend, 14 presidential candidates will converge on San Francisco for the California Democratic Party's annual convention.

It will be the largest gathering of presidential contenders so far, and the latest sign that California's days of bringing up the rear of the presidential primary calendar are long gone.

California will hold its primary on March 3, along with several other states that will vote in a super-charged Super Tuesday. But California will play an even more outsized role for two reasons: the fact it will award more delegates that day than any other state, and the fact that its early voting ballots will be mailed out the same day as the Iowa Caucuses… (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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