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In the News

Legislators discuss upcoming 85th Texas session

Friday, January 20, 2017

Four state legislators, who also served on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee for 2016, provided highlights of issues likely to get attention when the 85th Session starts; Representatives Paul Workman, Jason Isaac, Eddie Rodriguez, and John Cyrier commented on issues outlined by CAPCOG as well as other topics likely to see legislative action.

“The more you can educate us, the more we can educate other members,” Cyrier said answering a question about how local elected officials can help legislators understand the roles COGs play in supporting local governments. Representative Workman noted every legislator has a COG in their district, so it is important for them to know what issues COGs face.

Commissioner Cynthia Long, CAPCOG Chair, moderated the panel and directed questions to the legislators regarding several of CAPCOG’s programs funded by the state, acknowledging that it could be a tight budget year but it’s important to maintain funding levels for solid waste management, law enforcement training, and air quality monitoring work.

During the legislative session, CAPCOG makes an extra effort to keep local elected officials informed about legislative issues that could affect COGs’ programs and services that support local communities, so they can speak at public hearings or directly to legislators. CAPCOG also provides legislators with program related data about legislative issues when requested.

COGs and especially CAPCOG have a “great track record” of providing fact based data about their programs that benefit local governments, Cyrier said.  Such evidence goes a long way in educating legislators about an issue, Rodriguez added.

Long noted COGs can also be an existing mechanism to help the state with new programs. In 2003, Governor Perry made the decision to have the state’s 24 COGs manage homeland security planning. Long also opened the floor for questions.

Texas State Representatives Paul Workman, John Cyrier, Eddie Rodriguez and Jason Isaac discuss the 85th Texas legislative session during CAPCOG's December General Assembly Meeting.

Texas State Representatives Paul Workman, John Cyrier, Eddie Rodriguez and Jason Isaac discuss the 85th Texas legislative session during CAPCOG's December General Assembly Meeting.

In summarizing the discussion, each of the legislators joined in to list the key issues to be discussed during the 85th session:

  • The state budget
  • Ground water conservation and usage
  • The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan
  • Higher education and workforce training
  • Public education
  • Infrastructure
  • Food security
  • Child protective services

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