TMRA Government Affairs Report
By Mance Zachary, Committee Chairman
The 86th Texas Legislative session commenced on January 8th with celebrated pomp and circumstance. After the retirement of Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) was unanimously voted as Speaker of the House. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will be sworn in during their inauguration on January 15th. There are 147 current members of the House and three open seats with pending special elections. There are 6 new members of the Senate and after the special elections there will be 32 new members of the House. We anticipate that committee chairs/members will be announced within the next couple of days in Senate, and by the end of January for the House.
The TMRA Government Affairs team is already reviewing pre-filed bills that can impact its’ members including a bill that doubles the setback distances for aggregate operators, a bill that levies a tax on coal operators, and initiating a bill that clarifies an “affected person” in Railroad Commission contested cases. The TMRA GA will be meeting bi-monthly to review, analyze, and strategize actions regarding bills of importance.
Next, we are well underway planning for the end of session “Sine Die” party. It will take place on May 27th at the Long Center and this is the event of the year. An early pre-emption to deter competing events, preliminary outreach to potential sponsors, and a follow-up communication with sponsorship levels have taken place. A “Save the Date” card will be circulated within the next month to Capitol members’ offices and sponsors.
Lastly, we encourage our TMRA members to be active participants as our GA team works the legislative session. If there are bills that will impact your business we would ask that you (1) voice your opinion, (2) testify in committee, (3) file a position card, (4) be a subject matter expert that can articulate positions, and (5) participate in our team calls. We look forward to an outstanding session and as always - we welcome your input.