Sine die! This is a term that we all have heard when the Legislature adjourns at the end of a session. Over the years I have come to look forward to this adjournment more and more. In the dictionary, the term “sine die” is defined as a Latin noun meaning “without day.” As used by the Legislature, it has the meaning of adjourning without fixing a day for future action or meeting.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some time when the Legislature has no fixed day for future action or meeting. Each session it seems that counties must work harder and harder to maintain our ability to govern at the local level in an efficient manner while meeting the needs of the public. I believe this is created because there are so many members of the Legislature who have no experience in local government; therefore, they are either driven by their preconceived opinions based on their personal experiences with their local county government, and are convinced that all counties function the same, or they are misled by information provided to them by individuals whose motives are to promote special interests that do not always have the best interests of all Texas citizens at heart. Either way, local government must be diligent and inform the Legislature how local government functions in the real world. We must also be very careful to give them true and accurate information and details concerning how their actions affect the people we both are elected to serve.
Throughout this year you have heard me say that we all are involved in county government through our jobs, but we must also be engaged in the process of protecting and improving county government. I want to say a big “Thank You” to my fellow officers, Hays County Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe and Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon, our Legislative Committee Chair Judge John Thompson, and all those who took time away from their counties to support county efforts during the session. Your phones calls, e-mails, letters, and trips to Austin made a great deal of difference, and your respective counties should be very proud. There are some issues that still need work, but all in all we came through the regular and special sessions fairly well considering the economic condition of the state.
One individual who deserves a big “Thank You!” is our General Counsel Jim Allison. Jim is a man for whom I have great respect, and he has done a tremendous job again this session. We, as an Association, owe him a great deal of gratitude for his tireless efforts. I don’t know how one man does so much. He is on top of every issue, is at every hearing providing accurate and informative testimony, is a respected adviser to many of our legislators and state officials, is a walking law library, prepares and submits legislation that will be beneficial to local government, finds time to answer all of our questions on the listserv every day, operates a law firm, and somehow always finds time to be a friend when needed. I believe his days during the session must have around 30 hours in them. The next time you see Jim, be sure to tell him how much we appreciate him.
I also want to remind everyone about our Annual Conference coming up Oct. 3-6 in Odessa. We are hard at work to make sure this will be one of our best ever. The education classes will be relevant and will include all of this year’s legislative changes. We are also planning some new and exciting activities that you don’t want to miss.
Remember, knowledge is the key to success. Also, a family who plays together stays together. See you in Odessa!