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TAB Tees Up Open Government, Business Agenda for 2023 Session

- Broadcasters, Lawmakers Break Bread Jan. 31 in Austin

Texas broadcasters from each of the state’s 20 media markets are slated to convene in Austin on Jan. 31 to help launch TAB’s agenda to strengthen the state’s Open Government laws, promote new business development and ensure equitable tax policy in light of the state’s record revenue growth.

These issues, lawmakers’ own priorities, community concerns, and high-profile interests like new gaming industries and tax cuts will drive the lunchtime discussions capping the one-day conference at the Sheraton Austin Hotel. There are no programs or speeches during the Lawmaker-Broadcaster Lunch.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to Keynote Morning Briefings

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is slated to keynote the morning briefing sessions which will also feature Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, Open Government and First Amendment attorneys, and a slate of investigative journalists dissecting the myriad Open Government challenges they face and which TAB hopes to address with its legislative advocates.

The 2023 legislative session is slowly gearing up as Senate committees take shape with this week’s announced assignments and House members submit their own preferences for appointments that could come in mid-February. That’s around the time Gov. Greg Abbott is slated to present his State of the State speech. 

This “quiet period” early in the session is the perfect opportunity for broadcasters to strengthen their relationships with lawmakers and address the industry’s overriding goals for the session.

Advancing Open Government

With strong Open Government laws crucial to fostering economic development and public trust in government, TAB is urging Texas legislators to strengthen the state’s sunshine laws in four key ways to protect against public corruption and preserve the state’s reputation as a great place to do business. These include: 

  • Contracting Transparency – Clarify state law to ensure that local and state officials expedite the release of statutorily designated “super public” information such as the dollar value and descriptions of goods and services.
  • Public Information Requests & Remote Work Policies – Amend the Texas Public Information Act to clearly define what constitutes a “business day” under the Act to ensure the timely response to public information requests and that officials honor their obligation to respond to all requestors whether working remotely or not.
  • Searchable-Sortable Records – Codify guidance from the Attorney General’s office directing government officials to release public information stored in spreadsheets in their original format, rather than converting them to PDF images that cannot be easily searched and analyzed.
  • Dates of Birth – Protect Texans’ privacy and safety by ensuring public access to dates of birth records in criminal justice and electoral candidate documents.

Promoting Economic Development

Texas owes its continuing robust economy in part to its light regulatory touch and TAB is encouraging lawmakers to sustain that approach on three key fronts, including:

  1. Averting Barriers to New Industry – Reject efforts to quash new industries with onerous and convoluted advertising, labeling, branding, or marketing restrictions.
  2. National Time Zone Consistency – Oppose attempts to pull Texas out of the current national time zone framework which would harm advertisers in the state’s five cross-border designated market areas, diminish Texans’ ability to participate in live national broadcast programs, and hinder farmers, ranchers and other communities that rely on local AM Radio broadcasts.
  3. Fair and Equitable Tax Policy – Ensure that changes to property tax law benefit commercial and residential payors alike and that the franchise tax law protects against divergent treatment of similarly situated businesses.

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

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