CASE Event Recap
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January 29, 2015 — CASE Members gathered at the Texas Hospital Association’s classroom to receive a lunchtime legislative update from John Carlton with Carlton Law Firm, Trey Lary with Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, and Billy Phenix with Billy Phenix Government Affairs.

The 84th Texas Legislative Session started on January 13, 2015, starting a new term of leadership for the state for the first time in 12 years. While a lot of change is underway at the Capitol, business is just getting started. With the official inauguration a week into the start of the session, the passing of the torch has been causing some delays compared to the past as state officials’ staff and offices move through this transition.

While newly elected Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already established the committee assignments on the Senate side, fourth-time elected Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, has not yet announced his appointees. The Speaker takes on a considerably larger assignment in organizing 151 Representatives, while Lt. Governor Patrick assigns only 31. Without having committee appointees, House members could reserve their potential bills until the committees are assigned and jurisdiction is established.

After receiving an update on the general atmosphere of the Capitol at this pivotal time, CASE members received an update on the currently filed bills affecting water districts, as well as insight into anticipated bills and the support, or lack of support, expected. Topics ranged from the water and bonding capacity, to public notifications, election rules and term limits, as well as record keeping and open records requirements and regulations.

Highlights included:

  • A refresher and update on the 2013 Sunset Review initiatives by Senator Watson and the 83rd Legislature; transferred Water and Wastewater Utility Rate Jurisdiction from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, effective on September 1, 2014.
  • Utility Rate Setting bills and the impacts on the districts
  • Brackish groundwater development and bills to regulate research, development and utilization of this resource.

Handouts: CASE 2015 Legislative Preview, CASE Bills of Interest

CASE will hold another Legislative Recap in September to update on the actions of the 84th Texas Legislature.

A special thanks to: The Texas Hospital Association for the space, our speakers for their time, as well as lunch by In Good Taste Catering.

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