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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Apr. 18, 2013

TAB News Briefs
Apr. 18, 2013
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White House said near decision on leader of Fannie Mae
Bloomberg Businessweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Edward J. DeMarco, who has served as acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency since 2009, is scheduled to update a Senate panel on the FHFA's oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It's unclear how much longer he'll be guiding those efforts. Long-stalled White House plans to nominate his replacement are now accelerating, according to two people familiar with the discussions who asked to remain anonymous because the process isn't public. More

Authorities say between 5 and 15 killed in West explosion
Waco Tribune-Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Several firefighters and dozens of others were injured in a fertilizer plant explosion in West shortly before 8 p.m., April 17. Multiple buildings caught fire, including West Intermediate School, 1212 N. Reagan St., after the explosion at West Fertilizer Co., 1471 Jerry Mashek Drive, and a dispatcher calling for ambulances said "we do have a lot of injured here." Some of the buildings that caught fire were near the 1300 block of North Reagan Street, and a dispatcher said people were trapped in a nearby apartment building. More
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Fed says 'moderate' growth across US was led by housing
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Federal Reserve said the U.S. economic expansion remained "moderate" amid gains in manufacturing, housing and autos that offset weakness in defense-related industries in some regions. "Most districts noted increases in manufacturing activity since the previous report," the central bank said in its Beige Book business survey, which is based on reports from the Fed's 12 regional banks from late February to early April. "Particular strength was seen in industries tied to residential construction and automobiles." More

Housing shortage prompts Texas Forest Service to leave Midland
KOSA-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The sounds, the sights, and the loss are all too familiar to west Texans. City and county fire officials along with volunteer firefighters worked day and night in the battle against the wildfires of 2011. But once resources were exhausted The Texas Forest Service stepped in to help. The Forest Service used county's former Midland County Exhibit Building for an office as the wildfires required more of their presence. More

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Galveston public housing plan moves forward
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The city of Galveston has taken a major step toward beginning the rebuilding of public housing facilities demolished after Hurricane Ike in 2008. After months of back-and-forth with the General Land Office over details related to rebuilding 529 public housing units, the Galveston City Council voted to adhere to terms set by the land office. Had the council voted differently or failed to take action, the city would have been at risk of losing at least $105 million in state and federal disaster recovery funds. More

Landowners and pipelines look to legislature for eminent domain reform
StateImpact Texas    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would take heavy crude oil from sand pits in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas, is getting new scrutiny after an oil spill from another pipeline in Arkansas carrying that same kind of heavy oil. Environmental groups say that allowing the Keystone XL pipeline, owned and operated by the pipeline company TransCanada, will harm the climate and risk severe spills, while the oil industry says pipelines are the safest way to move the fuel, and that oil will help the economy and national security. More

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Statement from NAHB Chairman Rick Judson on Senate immigration bill
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C., issued a statement regarding comprehensive immigration reform unveiled by a group of eight bipartisan senators. More

Board of Education bristles at losing power over charter schools
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The State Board of Education lambasted a high-profile proposal approved by the Texas Senate that would strip the education panel of its power to authorize new charter schools. The legislation, which still needs approval from the House, moves that power to the state commissioner of education. Approved overwhelmingly last week, Senate Bill 2 expands the maximum number of charter schools authorized to operate statewide, raising the current cap of 215 to 305 by September 2019. More

Stage 3 water restrictions scheduled to start May 16 in Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi Caller-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Corpus Christi water officials plan to trigger Stage 3 of the city's drought contingency plan May 16, about a month ahead of the projected date when the city's lake levels dip below 30 percent capacity. Residents and business owners will be limited to landscape watering once every two weeks. The day of the week to water will match each property's recycling schedule, Water Director Gustavo Gonzalez said. "We want to try to get ahead of the summer," he said. More

High school curriculum bill headed to Senate floor
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Senate Education Committee chairman had choice words for those who believe the state is "dumbing down" its high school graduation standards. As he opened a hearing on proposed changes to diploma requirements, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, slammed The Washington Post and The New York Times for critical coverage of a push at the state Legislature for more flexible diploma requirements and fewer high-stakes exams. More

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Bastrop County awarded disaster recovery grant
Office of the Governor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gov. Rick Perry announced the Governor's Office has authorized a short-term grant of up to $1,612,500 for Bastrop County for the purpose of wildfire recovery and securing additional funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This grant is being awarded from state funds appropriated for disaster relief, and contingent upon reimbursement from the Texas Legislature through supplemental appropriations. More

Lawmaker: Texas isn't 'dumbing down'
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State Sen. Dan Patrick, supporter of legislation that would allow Texas students to focus more on vocational training than on college prep courses, scoffed at coverage of the issue in two leading U.S. newspapers that asserted that Texas is about to drastically ease its public school curriculum and standardized testing requirements. "Nothing could be further from the truth," the Houston Republican said Tuesday as he opened a hearing on the bill. More

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San Antonio outer areas' job numbers up 56 percent in decade
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While employment in downtown San Antonio fell between 2000 and 2010, it exploded on the city's outer reaches, according to a new Brookings Institution study on "job sprawl" — the shift of jobs from the inner city to the suburbs. Employment within 3 miles of the center city dove 18.8 percent in the 10-year period. At the same time, the number of jobs 10 to 35 miles outside the inner city increased 56.3 percent. More

Bill would create district to protect groundwater in Western Travis
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With increased development in western Travis County, residents and county leaders say they’re concerned about the future of water supplies there. Travis County officials took limited steps last year to protect the Trinity and Edwards aquifers from developers. But residents and representatives from water conservation groups say a groundwater district could do much more to limit pumping. More

Agenda Texas: The politics of transportation funding
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The traffic jam: It's as Texas as cattle, football and Willie Nelson. But unlike the Red Headed Stranger, we often have to wait to get on the road again, because odds are you'll quickly get stuck in traffic. So lawmakers are trying to figure out how to build new roads. But there's a problem: Money. "We say we have a $4 billion shortfall for budget for transportation. I believe it's closer to $7 to $9 billion to do what we really need to do to be successful," said House Transportation Committee Chairman Larry Phillips, R-Sherman. More

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Construction costs climb, housing market index shows discouragement
Realty Biz News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The cost of construction materials in the U.S. has been climbing continuously since the beginning of 2013. In April, a combination of limited land availability and rising construction costs led to the discouragement of professionals in the home building industry. More
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