Hopefully all of us have been in contact with our newly elected state officials. This is very important as we approach this next legislative session. I recommend that you find where their offices are located in the Capitol so when you are in Austin you can go by and show your presence. Also, remember that the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) will host a breakfast on Tuesday mornings during the session to get ready and tackle issues at the Capitol.
I recently had the privilege of participating in the Legislative Symposium hosted by TAC. During this two-day meeting many statewide associations were represented. Along with the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, there was representation from district and county attorneys, district and county clerks, auditors, tax assessor-collectors, county treasurers, justices of the peace and constables, and the sheriffs associations. Each association had their officers present the issues that would affect their respective group. The following issues were discussed and will serve as a legislative policy platform: revenue caps and appraisal caps, indigent criminal defense, UNFUNDED MANDATES, mental health, sales price disclosure, alternative sources of revenue, transparency, disclosure, and open communications. These topics affect not only small rural counties, but large urban counties as well. We all have to do our part to help each other have a voice as we communicate with the Legislature.
During this meeting we had the privilege of visiting with a friend of county government, Rep. Fred Hill, who chaired the House Local Government Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Hill encouraged us to stick together during this important session. The economic climate that we are facing is going to make a difficult time seem harder. One of the last meetings that Rep. Hill had was with Gov. Perry, one-on-one, face-to-face, as he tried to explain the concept of revenue caps and appraisal caps. He spoke of that meeting and how the governor listened. Thank you, Rep. Hill. We wish you the best in your retirement.