TAC Legislative Conference

August 29 - 31, 2018

Fairmont Hotel
101 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78702

Thank you for your interest in the TAC Legislative Conference. While online registration has ended, you may still register at the conference.

Restore What’s Right.

Your Voice.
Your County.

The Legislative Conference, set for Aug. 29-31 in Austin, helps county officials and staff get involved in the upcoming 86th legislative session.

  • Connect with your county government peers, legislators and key decision-makers in Austin;
  • Review ways to communicate essential information back to your county and constituents;
  • Learn about legislation that could affect your county and your office;
  • Hear about new tools to better communicate the county message; and
  • Exchange your experiences, know-how and contacts with other attendees.

Check back often for conference updates. Many county officials can earn hours of required continuing education at the conference.

Registration Fees​

Early Fee​ ​After Aug. 6
County Official or Staff​ ​$230 ​$250
​Half-Day (Wednesday only/County Official/Staff Only) $75​​ ​$75
​Single-Day (Thursday only/County Official/Staff Only)  $155​ ​$155
Half-Day (Friday only/County Official/Staff Only) $75​ $75​
​Spouse Event​ $30 $30
​Non-Member (government) $280 $300
Non-Member (corporate) $430 $450

Make checks payable to "Texas Association of Counties."

It Pays to Connect!

Contact your legislator​​​ today and invite them to join you at no cost at the Legislative Conference. The first county official to register with their legislator and have them attend, will be reimbursed for their conference registration fee.

To take advantage of this special offer, be the first to register your legislator and answer “Yes, my legislator is attending.” Enter their name on the registration form when prompted. Reimbursements will be given after the conference. Contact Haley Click or Deanna Auert.

Press Releases

Legislators, use this press release to inform your constituents about your commitment to connecting with local government to better serve the state and your district.

County officials, let your community know you are dedicated to local government by filling in and sharing this press release about the information you’re learning and the good work you’re doing this week on behalf of your county and Texas.

Opening Session, Aug. 29

              Delivering World-Class Service to your Constituents: Lessons from the Mouse
Dennis Snow, author of "Lessons From the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career and Your Life." Read more about Snow.
Taking Responsibility for Your County’s Success
Nancy H. Baird, Training Strategies, Inc. Read more about Baird.
Restore What's Right: Your Voice. Your County. The Truth.
Rick Thompson, Legislative Liaison. Read more about Thompson​.
Thursday, Aug. 30 Lunch Entertainment by Django Walker
Thursday, Aug. 30 Reception Entertainment by The Warren Hood band

To ensure that our conference is ADA accessible to all, please contact Deanna Auert at (800) 456-5974 if you need assistance.

Fairmont Hotel - As of Aug. 6, group room block is closed
101 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 600-2000

Rates: $185 single/double, plus applicable tax

Check-in: 3 p.m. | Check-out: Noon

Conference registration is required to reserve a hotel room in the conference block. The hotel will not accept any call-in reservations. Hotel reservations are subject to cancellation or an increased hotel rate. Once online registration is completed, a confirmation email including a hotel room reservation link will be sent to the email address on the registration form.

Hotel reservations must be secured by Aug. 6. After Aug. 6, all rooms are subject to availability and a price increase.

The Fairmont has extended the group rate three days prior to Aug. 27 and after Aug. 31 if you would like to spend more time in Austin.​


High-speed internet access in guestroom and all areas of the hotel is complimentary for all Fairmont President Club Members. Sign up for free membership​


Rates shown include a 25 percent discount for attendees.
Valet Parking​ ​Self-Parking
​0-3 Hours $15 ​$11.25
​3-6 Hours​​ $24​ ​$17.25
Daily/Overnight​ ​$33.75 ​$24

​​Surrounding Hotels

Hilton Austin
110 E. 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 482-8000
Courtyard Marriot
300 East 4th St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 236-8008
Hyatt Place Austin Downtown
211 E. 3rd St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 476-4440
*To be placed on the waiting list for the host hotel, please notify Deanna Auert​.

Check back often for updates.

Agenda is subject to change. Check back often for updates​.

Wednesday, Aug. 29

8 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk
​9 a.m.-noon Preconference Session: National Incident Management System (NIMS) Workshop
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was established after 9/11 to provide a standard, consistent framework for government, non-governmental and other entities to work together to prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from any disaster.

This pre-conference workshop will provide attendees the knowledge and resources to take the exams for the NIMS courses recommended for county officials who have an operational role in emergency response.

IS 700: NIMS, An Introduction
IS 100: Introduction to the Incident Command System
IS 200: Basic Incident Command System
​10 a.m.-noon Meet and Greet Exhibitors
Noon-1 p.m. Opening General Session Lunch
1-3:30 p.m. Opening General Session #254Strong

​Keynote Speaker: Dennis Snow, Delivering World-Class Service to Your Constituents: Lessons From the Mouse. 

As a county official, you know that your constituents have high expectations of those they've elected. They want the standards of service kept high and they want you to demonstrate good value for taxpayers' money. They want to know that you care about them and are responsive to their needs. The bottom line is that they expect world-class service.

World-class service is not simply a matter of smiling officials and county employees who say "please" and "thank you." It is an all-encompassing approach to county operations, making excellence business as usual.  Everything that a constituent sees, hears, or touches impacts their experience with county government - "Everything Speaks."

Based on his 20 years with the Walt Disney World organization, along with many years of consulting with organizations around the world, Dennis Snow will provide a "how-to" program for delivering outstanding experiences. 

In this program you will learn:
  • ​Approaches that help you and your team move from a task mindset to an experience mindset.
  • A process for ensuring that  your office's "backstage" environment never impacts the "onstage" experience.
  • Four specific strategies for wowing your constituents.
  • A mechanism for ensuring that  your office's processes are designed through the "lens of the constituent."​
Taking Responsibility for Your County’s Success 
Ms. Nancy H. Baird, Training Strategies, Inc.
County leaders must set the tone for the vision and success of their office, courthouse and constituents. And in our current moment, it’s become your duty to set the tone for all of Texas. 

Inspirational leaders must establish the direction, build a positive approach and lead others to succeed. Those who focus on the current hot topics, news of the day or state and national political drama will always fall short of their duty. Leadership is about mapping out where we need to go to accomplish our vision – failure should never be an option. This keynote will help you increase your leadership skills by defining and incorporating dynamic, solution-searching leadership qualities that will ultimately lead you and your county to success. 

Restore What’s Right: Your Voice. Your County. The Truth
Rick Thompson, Legislative Liaison, Texas Association of Counties

A preview and plan for restoring the voice of local leadership that stands for what is right and true while representing the people of Texas during the 86th legislative session. 
The more recent trend towards concentrating state authority (but not responsibility) in Austin is antithetical to everything we hold dear and a significant departure from our tradition of self-governance. We must remind ourselves and others why local decisions are best made locally through the people’s representative government. 
​3:30-5 p.m. Welcome Reception

Thursday, Aug. 30

7 a.m-5 p.m. Registration Desk
​7-8 a.m. Breakfast with Peers
8-9:05 a.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions (1-5)
For your convenience, sessions repeat from 9:30-10:35 a.m.
  1. The Indigent Defense Mandate: Where Do We Go from Here?
    As budgets dwindle, meeting the requirements of the Fair Defense Act and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel remains a challenge for many counties. Learn how got here, what the Texas Indigent Defense Commission is doing about it, and where we might go from here. 
    Moderator: Laura Garcia, Deputy Legislative Director, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC 
    Speaker(s): Mr. Geoff Burkhart, Executive Director, Texas Indigent Defense Commission 
    (Note: This session will repeat at 1:30 p.m.) 
  2. Disaster Recovery – A Discussion with the General Land Office
    This session will include a discussion on the State Action Plan, which includes available disaster recovery funds under the purview of the General Land Office.
    Moderator: Rick Thompson, Legislative Liaison, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC
    Speaker(s): Ms. Ginny Lewis, Executive Director, Texas Association of Regional Councils, Mr. Pete Phillips, Sr. Deputy Director, Community Development and Revitalization, General Land Office
  3. Spotlight on Criminal Justice
    What's on the horizon for criminal justice in the 86th Legislature? Join us for a spotlighted discussion on what criminal justice reforms the Legislature might consider in the next session and what it all means for counties.
    Speaker(s): Mr. Shannon Edmonds, Director of Governmental Relations, Texas District and County Attorneys Association
  4. The Texas Property Tax and Appraisal System Reform
    Property tax and appraisal system issues have been consistent and contentious issues in the news. This session will look back at the headlines and discuss the most pressing county property tax and appraisal district issues for Texans. Panelists will also discuss possible reforms that may help address those issues.
    Moderator: Garry Merrit, General Counsel and Director of Legal & Legislative Services
    Speaker(s): Hon. Hugh Shine, State Representative, District 55
    Hon. Kristy Roe, Tax Assessor-Collector, Brazos County
    Mr. Roland ​Altinger, Chief Appraiser, Harris County Appraisal District
    Mr. Jim Allison, General Counsel, County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas
  5. Courthouse Security
    The 85th Legislature passed the Judicial and Courthouse Security Act of 2017, named in honor of District Judge Julie Kocurek. No one can predict when a tragic event may quickly unfold in the courthouse. Are you prepared? Join us for an update on the specifics after one year of the bill's implementation.
    Moderator: Nanette Forbes, Legislative Liaison, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC
    Speaker(s): Chief Deputy Bobby Gutierrez, Travis County Constable's Office, Precinct 5, Rebecca L. Lundberg, Assistant District Attorney, Kaufman County District Attorney's Office, Hector Gomez, Court Security Director, Office of Court Administration, Hon. Julie H. Kocurek, District Judge, 390th Judicial District
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Exhibit Hall Hours
Open during lunch, Noon-1:30 p.m.
​9:30-10:35 a.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions 1-5 (repeat)
10:55 a.m.-noon Legislative Discussion Sessions 6-10 
For your convenience, sessions repeat from 1:30-2:35 p.m.
  1. The Plan for Ending Unfunded Mandates
    Unfunded mandates remain significant cost drivers for county government. Join us for a conversation on the 2018 Unfunded Mandates Survey. Learn why the survey is an important tool in telling the county story on this issue and how the next Legislature might address these mandates.
    Moderator: Rick Thompson, Legislative Liaison, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC
    Speaker(s): Hon. DeWayne Burns, State Representative, District 58
    Mr. Nathan Cradduck, Tom Green County Auditor

  2. Assessing Mental Health in Texas
    The 85th Legislature allocated millions of dollars for grant programs. They also passed several key pieces of legislation relating to mental health and the criminal justice system. The new Judicial Commission on Mental Health, a joint effort between the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, held its first meeting in the spring of 2018. It is charged with making collaborative recommendations for improving the administration of justice for those with mental illnesses. Join us to hear from those in-the-know about the prospective mental health legislation to be considered next session.
    Moderator: Susan Redford, Judicial Program Manager and Incoming Executive Director, Texas Association of Counties
    Speakers: Hon. Garnet Coleman, Chairman of House County Affairs, Texas House of Representatives, Hon. Roxanne Nelson, Burnet County Justice of the Peace, Lt. Tommy Shelton Jr., Harris County Sheriff's Office
  3. Understanding the Other Side of the Property Tax Equation: School Finance
    Public school finance is not always easily understood, yet school property taxes make up the largest proportion of local property tax bills. While efforts to provide property tax relief by reforming public school funding failed during the last legislative session, the issue will likely be revisited by the next Legislature. This session will focus on understanding the nuts and bolts of school finance, how the state’s declining share of school funding has placed a significant burden on local property taxpayers, and how the 86th Legislature might address the issue.
    Moderator: Paul Emerson, State Financial Analyst, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC
    Speaker(s): Hon. Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Judge
    Ms. Catherine Clark, Senior Consultant, Texas Association of School Boards

  4. Perspectives on Disaster Response and Recovery After Hurricane Harvey
    Hurricane Harvey was one of the most catastrophic disasters in U.S. history. It affected a significant number of Texas counties and residents. In this session, officials will share their perspectives on disaster response and recovery issues in light of Hurricane Harvey. We'll discuss the challenges faced, lessons learned, and potential policy changes to improve emergency response and recovery and better prepare all Texas counties for the next disaster.
    Moderator: Laura Garcia, Deputy Legislative Director, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC
    Speaker(s): Hon. Robert Blaschke, Refugio County Judge
    Hon. Jeff Branick, Jefferson County Judge
    Hon. Ed Emmett, Harris County Judge

  5. Transportation Discussion — Where's the Money? What Will the Legislature Do?
    Join us for a discussion about transportation issues, including available funding and policy issues important to counties as we head into the 86th Legislative Session.
    Moderator: Aurora Flores, Legislative Liaison, Legal and Legislative Services, TAC
    Speaker(s): Mr. Jim Allison, General Counsel, County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, Geanie Morrison, State Representative, District 30 and Chair of House Transporation Committee, Hon. Kim Halfmann, Glasscock County Judge
Noon-1:30 p.m. Networking Lunch
Entertainment provided by Django Walker
1:30-2:35 p.m.     Legislative Discussion Sessions 6-10 (repeat)
​2:35-3 p.m. ​Ice Cream Social
3-4:30 p.m. County Affiliate Organization Meetings
Affiliate organizations host a 1.5 hour meeting to discuss legislative issues or association business during the conference. 
4:30-6-:30 p.m. Legislative Reception in Honor of the Core Legislative Group
A celebration in recognition of those county officials who’ve volunteered their time and expertise to advocate on behalf of counties before the Legislature and protect local government. Thank you for your efforts! 

Friday, Aug. 31

8-11 a.m.  Registration Desk 
​8:30-9 a.m. ​Breakfast
9-11 a.m.​ Closing General Session

Tentative agenda, subject to change

Application for continuing education credit is submitted to each governing body listed below. Upon approval, the number of continuing education hours will be posted. Please continue to visit for updates.

Continuing Education Type Hours
CPA/Auditors 14 hours
Commissioners 14 hours
County and District Clerks 15 hours
PHRs and SPHRs 14 hours
Purchasing Agents 14 hours
Sheriffs & Constables (TCOLE) 14 hours
Tax Assessor-Collectors 14 hours
Treasurers 14 hours
Attorneys (MCLE) pending

Conference Cancellation
All cancellation and refund requests must be received in writing (fax or email acceptable). Refunds requested before Aug. 17 are subject to a $10 processing fee. Refunds after Aug. 17 will be subject to an administrative fee equal to one-half of the registration fee. No refund requests will be honored after Sept. 7. Please email Deanna Auert or fax (512) 477-1324 to cancel your conference registration.

Restore What’s Right
Your Voice. Your County. The Truth.

Register today to strengthen your connections and expand personal relationships with county officials in your district. You're invited to the most comprehensive and valuable conference in county government – every county office is represented at this event!

We offer you:

  • Two complimentary registrations with an invitation to attend the conference reception on Thursday, Aug. 30, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Your Constituents – Upon request, we’ll send a custom list of YOUR pre-registered constituents.
  • Private Meeting Space – With your registration, we offer the opportunity to visit privately with your constituents attending the conference. There will be six time slots available to host an exclusive meeting with attendees from your district. Space is limited, so choose the time and date most convenient to you and reserve the space with Haley Click or Paul Sugg.


Paul Sugg, Legislative Director, (512) 496-5301 (cell)
Haley Click, Program Manager, (512) 788-1988 (cell)
TAC Office, (512) 478-8753 or (800) 456-5974

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, Aug. 29  
Noon-1 p.m. Welcome Luncheon
1-3:30 p.m. Opening General Sessions
3:30-5 p.m. Exhibit Hall Opening Reception
4:30-6 p.m. Exclusive Meetings for Legislators and County Offficials (3 rooms)
Thursday, Aug. 30  
8-3 p.m. Legislative Discussions
Noon-1:30 p.m. Exclusive Meetings for Legislators and County Officials (3 rooms)
3-4:30 p.m. County Affiliate Organization Meetings
4:30 p.m. Legislative Reception
Friday, Aug. 31  
8:30 -11 a.m. Closing General Sessions

The Exhibit hall is sold out. For questions, or to be put on a waiting list, please contact Sarah Lazarowitz.

Restore What’s Right
Your Voice. Your County. The Truth.



The Exhibit hall is sold out. Sponsorships reserved as of Aug. 6 will not include a booth.

Please complete a sponsorship packet​​​​​​​​​ or contact Haley Click for sponsorship opportunities.​​ Sponsorships over $1,500 include a complimentary exhibit booth.

Booth Specifications

Your $700 registration fee includes a standard booth, registration for two and access to two sleeping rooms at the host hotel. Hotel reservations must be made through Sarah Lazarowitz when booth registration is set up. Company representatives are welcome to attend all conference activities.

A standard exhibit booth consists of a 10’x10’ exhibit space and will be equipped with 8’ back drape, 3’ side dividers, 6’ skirted table, 2 chairs and standard ID sign.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, Aug. 28
1-4 p.m.      ​ ​Vendor Move-in
Wednesday, Aug. 29
10 a.m.-noon  ​​ Dedicated Time with Exhibitors 
​1-3:30 p.m.    ​Opening General Sessions
​3:30-5:30 p.m.  ​Exhibit Hall Opening Reception
Thursday, Aug. 30
8 a.m.-3 p​.m.    Legislative Discussions 
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open
​3:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Tears Down
If you have questions about the conference or need assistance, contact Haley Click or Deanna Auert at (800) 456-5974.
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