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TAB Sets Statewide Legislative Briefing for Feb. 26

- Virtual Event Outlines Key Advocacy Goals

Texas broadcasters will convene online Feb. 26 for TAB’s biennial policy briefing outlining our key advocacy goals for the 2021 Texas Legislature.  The agenda ranges from advancing multiple Open Government and business development initiatives, to protecting a wide range of tax, regulatory and newsroom policies secured in previous sessions.

The one-hour program, slated for 11AM in consideration of our El Paso members, will move briskly and focus entirely on policy, with time reserved for questions. Briefing materials will be distributed in advance to member stations only.

The Legislature’s meeting schedule remains severely truncated by COVID-19 precautions, though the House now has its committees in order, allowing hundreds of House bills already filed to be referred to the appropriate panels for potential consideration.

Still, no action can be taken on any legislation until the second week of March which marks the end of the 60-day period during which lawmakers are constitutionally restricted to acting on matters designated an emergency by the Governor. Among those matters are expanding broadband access, changing the bail system, and providing civil liability protections for businesses.

Overriding Issues
Adopting the state’s next two-year budget is the only task the Constitution requires lawmakers to complete during their biennial gathering. While the COVID-19 disaster continues to rage, the state’s economy has performed far better than initially feared, and actions under consideration by President Joe Biden could make the budget-writing process even smoother.

The budget process usually comes to a head in mid-April after both the Senate and the House have agreed on their own positions and compromises have to be hammered out.

Another significant challenge – redrawing legislative and congressional districts – already is playing out as separate House and Senate panels begin taking testimony from citizens.  The U.S. Census data that ultimately will be the key to drawing these lines won’t be released for a few more months, making a special session on redistricting almost inevitable.

TAB Legislative Updates
TAB member station GMs and news directors can expect to receive regular email updates on key interests and concerns throughout the session, so be sure your e-mail service “white-lists” messages.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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