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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Apr. 2, 2013

TAB News Briefs
Apr. 2, 2013
TAB Quick Links >    Home     Education     Legislative     Publications     Calendar     Sunbelt Builders Show     Resources

Limit on growth of state budget may imperil plan to use Texas rainy day fund for water, transportation, education
Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Got money? Thanks to the oil and gas boom and the economic recovery, state lawmakers do. They also have a desire to spend much of it. But it's not that easy: For the first time, they risk bumping up against a constitutional ceiling on spending growth. And some see a politically fraught vote to exceed the limit. "No one wants to be voting for busting the spending cap," said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. "The moment you vote for that, you put a target on your back for the Republican primary." (Registration may be required to view full article.) More

Home builders go back to the earth
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A handful of builders in South Texas and the Hill Country are using compressed earth blocks — a modern cousin of adobe formed in mechanical presses from dirt, clay and aggregate — in new construction. Builders stack the gray-brown blocks by hand to form the walls of the homes. Instead of cement mortar, a slurry the consistency of a milkshake made of the same dirt and clay mix is spread between the blocks. They're heavy — 20 or 30 pounds per block — but not brittle like bricks. The biggest perk, the builders say, is energy efficiency. More
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Green remodeling can help grow your wallet
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Owners of green homes said in a survey that 85 percent of the time they were happier with their new green home, due in part to the lower operating and maintenance costs that come with energy- and resource-efficient homes. But for the 120 million existing homes in the United States, remodeling is the only way for homeowners to incorporate green. More

Lower operating costs mean new-home buyers can afford more house
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During New Homes Month in April, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is showing home buyers why they can afford a higher-priced home — if it's new construction. Using data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2011 American Housing Survey, NAHB found that buyers can purchase a more expensive newer home and achieve the same annual operating costs as an older, existing home. "Home buyers need to look beyond the initial sales price when considering whether to buy new construction or an existing home," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. More

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Lennar enters Austin student housing market at MLK site
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Travis County is one of the top 25 markets for student housing development, according to the National Student Housing Council. The West Campus area of the University of Texas at Austin is a hotbed of activity with numerous student housing projects under construction. The Austin Business Journal recently reported on the development of 21 Pearl and Callaway House, two very different student housing projects being built by two very different developers. More

Builder award
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Southern Living magazine named Mike Grimm of Silverton Custom Homes in Jonestown as the 2013 Custom Builder Member of the Year. His work will be featured in one of the magazine's summer issues. Silverton Custom Homes, in partnership with Henley Homes Inc., built the Southern Living Showcase Home in Lago Vista. It was open to the public in February. The top national honor was based on Grimm’s contributions to building the $1.5 million mansion. More

Recruitment Opportunities --
Texas State University

Construction and Concrete Industry job fairs for construction employers recruiting for summer jobs, internships or full-time:
October 24, 2012 or February 14, 2013.

SpaceX eyes beach law for Boca Chica
The Brownsville Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
City, state and county leaders testified in favor of a bill that would temporarily close Boca Chica beach for rocket launches, should Space Exploration Technologies decide to set up a launch site in the area. The officials testified before the Texas House Committee on Land and Resources Management in Austin, stating the passage of House Bill 2623 is necessary to keep the Brownsville-Cameron County area in the running for the SpaceX site. More

East Texas education officials cheer curriculum reform
Longview News-Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Educators throughout Northeast Texas applauded a sweeping education reform package passed by the Texas House. HB 5 slashes the number of tests students must take to graduate, changes the way schools are judged on accountability and gives students more flexibility in their curriculum. "Finally, the educators have been heard," said Spring Hill Superintendent Wes Jones. More

El Paso County proposed Tornillo regulatory zone gets smaller
El Paso Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The area near the Tornillo Port of Entry that the county may be able to regulate keeps shrinking. El Paso County is currently asking the state legislature to pass a bill that allows it to have zoning authority around the new border crossing to avoid incompatible land uses. State Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, is sponsoring the bill in the House of Representatives and Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, is carrying the legislation in the Texas Senate. More

Protestors rally for safer working conditions for construction workers
KVUE-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Hundreds of advocates, friends, family members and construction workers took to the streets of Austin, marching from the Federal Building at 8th Street and San Jacinto to the Texas State Capitol. They were armed with a message for state lawmakers regarding improving safety measures for the state's thousands of construction workers. According to the Worker's Defense Project, a group advocating for safer working conditions in the construction industry, Texas leads the nation in the number of construction deaths. More

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As fracking proliferates in Texas, so do disposal wells
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a dusty lot off the main highway in this South Texas town, Vern Sartin pointed to a collection of hose hookups and large storage tanks used for collecting wastewater from hydraulic fracturing jobs. "We run about 30 to 40 trucks a day, 24-7," Sartin said. "Depending on how the oil fracking is going out there, if they're hustling and bustling, then we're hustling and bustling." More

Austin relaxes 'grandfathering' rules, possibly allowing more dense development
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Austin City Council settled a brewing battle between developers and environmentalists, voting to repeal the city's "grandfathering" rules and effectively allowing more dense development in some cases. After more than a month of debate, the council sided with the city's legal staff, which concluded that some of Austin's environmental rules were on legally dubious ground and exposed the city to lawsuits. The clincher came from Casey Dobson, a private land-use attorney hired by the city to help the council sort through the various assessments coming from real-estate interests, environmental activists and the staff. More

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Gov. Rick Perry stands firm: No Medicaid expansion in Texas
Fort Worth Star-Telegram PoliTex Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas' top leaders said that they are standing firm — and will not accept federal money to expand Medicaid in Texas. Even as protesters stood outside Gov. Rick Perry's office, chanting and calling on leaders to change their minds, Perry — flanked by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, local U.S. Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess and a handful of state lawmakers — said that's not going to happen. More

Homebuilding recovery accelerating from slow start
Builder and Developer Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
After pausing at the start of 2013, homebuilding's recovery resumed in the month of February. Compared to January, construction starts increased incrementally and permits authorizing future construction notched a solid increase. Compared to a year ago, starts and permits were up 24.3 percent and 27.7 percent respectively. Between 1992 and 2001, homebuilding's generally upward trend was only occasionally (and briefly) interrupted. During that span, housing starts increased an average of 5 percent per year. More

Lumber prices skyrocket on housing rebound
Wealth Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Timber!" We've been hearing a lot of that in the forestry sector lately. And by the look of the housing market, that cry should continue to ring out. "The U.S. housing market is continuing to improve," proclaims WebWire. "Lumber and forest-product stocks have been on a huge tear over the past year as the U.S. housing market recovers," echoes Canadian newspaper The Financial Post. More

New opportunities: Go east in Eagle Ford
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Is the Eagle Ford moving to the east? Most of the Eagle Ford Shale activity has been concentrated in a cluster of South Texas counties, particularly crude-oil-rich Gonzales, Karnes, DeWitt, La Salle and McMullen, with companies focused on drilling those highly profitable areas as quickly as possible. But oil and gas companies have also leased acreage and started drilling wells on the eastern edge of the trend closer to Austin and Houston where the Eagle Ford Shale meets the Woodbine Sandstone. More

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Severe drought returns to Houston
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's official: The Houston metro area has sunk back into a severe drought. A report released by the U.S. Drought Monitor found nearly all of Harris County, save a sliver of the southeastern part, in such a drought. Conditions are more extreme still just to the west of the metro area. (Registration may be required to view full article.) More

Seeking best management practices for aquifer recharge
The Eagle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Water recharge to an aquifer is highly dependent on vegetation and soil type, but what are the best management practices for landowners to ensure maximum environmental returns and economical livestock and wildlife production? Team members from Texas A&M University's ecosystem science and management department and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are working to answer that question with the "Effects of Brush Removal on Distributed Recharge of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer" project, funded by the Wintergarden Groundwater Conservation District. More

Prairie park moves forward even as Fort Worth grows
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Older than civilization itself, yet fresh and alive as if born this morning, the 2,000-acre Fort Worth Prairie Park is becoming a regional grassland park for all of North Texas and a national epicenter of ecological health. After seven years of hard work, it's time to complete the park. People and foundations from Fort Worth, Dallas, elsewhere in the United States and even Paris, France, and Australia have supported this globally significant preservation effort and the education and eco-therapy programs it offers. More
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