TAC Legislative Conference

September 4 - 6, 2019

Fairmont Hotel Austin
101 Red River St
Austin, TX 78701

For more information, contact Haley Click or Deanna Auert at (800) 456-5974.

TAC Legislative Conference Focused on the Future

The 2019 Legislative Conference, set for Sept. 4-6 in Austin, offers county officials and staff an overview of the 86th legislative session and an opportunity to network with county officials from every office, plus legislators, and other experts about the issues that affect your county and your constituents.

Keynote Speaker

Evan Smith is the CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a pioneering nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization whose deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org, in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state, and in the print and online editions of the Washington Post. Since its launch in 2009, the Tribune has won international acclaim and numerous honors, including a Peabody Award, sixteen national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and three general excellence awards from the Online News Association. Evan is also the host of “Overheard with Evan Smith,” a weekly half-hour interview program that airs on PBS stations around the country. Previously he spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as the magazine's editor and a year as its president and editor in chief.

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

Registration Fees Early Fee After Aug. 12
County Official or Staff $230 $250
Half-Day Fee (Wednesday only) $75 $75
Single-Day Fee (Thursday only) $155 $155
Half-Day Fee (Friday only) $75 $75
Non-Member (government) $280 $300
Non-Member (corporate half-day, single day or full attendance) $430 $450
Spouse Event $30 $30

*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 2019 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. For questions contact Haley Click or Deanna Auert

Special Services

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

TAC Legislative Conference Focused on the Future

Fairmont Hotel Austin (Host hotel room block is Full)
101 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 600-2000

Our host hotel, the Fairmont, is FULL but an overflow hotel has been secured a short walk from the conference. If you would like to be put on the waiting list for a room at the Fairmont, please contact Deanna Auert.

Cancellation of individual reservations made up to 24 hours prior to arrival will be accepted, and any deposit fully refunded. If you must cancel a room reservation, please notify Deanna Auert​. In the event of a waitlist, this allows others an opportunity to stay at the host hotel.

Overflow Hotel
Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin
78 East Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

Conference rate: $189, plus applicable tax.

Hotel reservations must be secured by Aug. 18. After, all rooms are subject to availability and price increase. Hotel reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-HILTONS and refer to group code TAC.

All reservations must be accompanied by a first night room deposit OR guaranteed with a major credit card.


Fairmont: Overnight Parking

Prices shown include a 25% discount for attendees.

  Valet Parking Self-Parking
0-3 Hours $15 $11.25
3-6 Hours $24 $17.25
Daily – Overnight $33.75 $24

*prices may change

Internet at Fairmont

Complimentary high-speed Internet access in guestroom and all areas of the hotel is complimentary for all Fairmont President Club Members. Membership is free! Sign up at www.faimont.com/fpc.

Wednesday, Sept. 4
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk (level 5 foyer)
9 a.m. TAC Board of Directors Meeting (Indigo, level 4)
10 a.m.-noon Meet and Greet Exhibitors (Congressional Ballroom, level 3)
Noon Opening General Session Lunch (Manchester Ballroom, level 5)
1-3:30 p.m. Opening General Session #254Strong (Manchester Ballroom, level 5)

Welcome
Larry Gallardo, Hidalgo County Constable & TAC Board President
Susan M. Redford, TAC Executive Director


Focused on the Future
Evan Smith, CEO and founder of The Texas Tribune

Focused on the Future - Legislative Panel
Evan Smith, CEO and founder of The Texas Tribune moderates a legislative panel to discuss rebuilding the relationship between the state legislature and counties.
Panel: as of 7.12.19
Royce West, Senator, Texas Senate
Celia Israel, Representative, Texas House

Focused on the Future - County Officials Panel
Michael Pichinson, Director of Legislative Services, moderates a panel of county officials to discuss rebuilding the relationship between the state legislature and counties.
Panel: as of 7.12.19

Renee Couch, Comal County Treasurer
David Stout, El Paso County Commissioner
Nancy Tanner, Potter County Judge
Ben Zeller, Victoria County Judge
3:30-5 p.m. Welcome Reception (Congressional Ballroom, level 3)
3:40-4:40 p.m. OPTIONAL MINI SESSIONS (Three, 20-minute sessions)
CommCube | Level 3 Foyer

Media Relations 101: Tips of the Trade #254Strong
Module 1: Build and Maintain Reporter Relationships | 3:40 p.m.
Module 2: Plan and Pitch Proactive Stories to Reporters | 4:10 p.m.
Module 3: Sell Your Story In a News Interview | 4:40 p.m.
Presented by: Leslie Rhode, Strategic Communications Consultant and Media Specialist, Leslie Rhode Stories
 
Thursday, Sept. 5
7 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration Desk Hours (level 5 foyer)
7-8 a.m. Breakfast (Palm Park, level 7)
8-9:30 a.m. County Affiliate Organization Meetings
County official organizations host a 1.5 hour meeting to discuss legislative issues or association business during the conference.
9 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Exhibit Hall Hours (Congressional Ballroom, level 3)
9:30-9:50 a.m. Refreshment break (Congressional Ballroom, level 3)
9:30-9:50 a.m. OPTIONAL MINI SESSION (CommCube | Level 3 Foyer)

Media Relations 101: Tips of the Trade
Module 1: Build and Maintain Reporter Relationships:
Examine methods to network and connect with news reporters and organizations through traditional mediums and social media.
Presented by: Leslie Rhode, Strategic Communications Consultant and Media Specialist, Leslie Rhode Stories
9:50-10:55 a.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions

Behavorial Health Funding: The New Role for Counties

A discussion on the current and future trends in addressing behavioral health. Local officials will discuss the county role under the cap. Additionally, we will look at the DSRIP 1115 waiver as it expires and state trends in addressing behavioral health.
Speaker(s): Keino McWhinney, Director, Texas Tech Mental Health Institute & Bill Stoudt, Gregg County Judge
Moderator(s):  Noe Barrios, Senior Legislative Manager - Sheriffs' Association & Rick Thompson, Senior Legislative Manager – CJCA

Texas' Priorities: Are You One of Them? Understanding the Texas State Budget
If you want to know the state’s priorities, look no further than the State budget. The document indicates where the legislature has appropriated roughly $250 billion. Come review the budget process, programs that may be of interest, and receive some resources to help better understand and track the shaping of the 2022-23 budget.
Speaker(s): Glenn Hagar, Texas Comptroller
Moderator: Jason Hassay, Senior Legislative Counsel

Texas Court Structure: Creating More Effective and Efficient Courts
Texas counties fund and support much of the state's judicial system. Join us for a deeper look into how the courts interact with each other and how all levels of the judiciary collaborated to create successful policy this legislative session.
Speaker(s): Barbara Hervey, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Justice
Rick Hill, Brazos County Justice of the Peace
Becky Wilbanks, Cass County Judge
David Slayton, Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration

Moderator(s):  Kelsey Bernstein, Legislative Manager - JPCA & Laura V. Garcia, Associate General Counsel

Revamping and Reinventing Disaster Response
Following Hurricane Harvey, it was evident that disaster response and recovery must improve to arm local communities with better procedures prior to and after major events happening. Your county voice was heard and positively affected many disaster-related bills passed during the 86th Legislature. You'll learn what is now in place to help with financial assistance, pre-approved debris removal contracts, training and more.
Speaker(s): Lois Kolkhorst, Chair Health and Human Services, Texas Senate
Geanie Morrison, Chair Local & Consent Calendar, Texas House of Representatives
George P. Bush, Texas General Land Office Commissioner (First session only)

Moderator:  Aurora Flores, Legislative Manager - Treasurers' Association

Federal Update: The Outlook for Counties
A wide range of federal policy issues affect Texas counties, including infrastructure, disaster mitigation and recovery, and county jail inmate health care. It remains important to stay up-to-date and engaged as these issues develop. Join representatives of the National Association of Counties (NACo) to learn the latest from Washington on some of the most significant issues and how they may impact your county.
Speaker(s): Jason Brinkley, Cooke County Judge
Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge
Matt Chase, CEO & Executive Director, NACo

Moderator: Laura V. Garcia, Associate General Counsel
10:55-11:15 a.m. Refreshment break (Congressional Ballroom, level 3)
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions (repeat)
12:20-1:50 p.m. Networking Lunch (Palm Park, level 7)
1:30-1:50 p.m. OPTIONAL MINI SESSION (CommCube | Level 3 Foyer)

Media Relations 101: Tips of the Trade
Module 2: Plan and Pitch Proactive Stories to Reporters:
Create a plan for outlining talking points for your county story. Examine the difference between a news release and a news pitch. Learn best practices to reach out to a news organization.
Presented by: Leslie Rhode, Strategic Communications Consultant and Media Specialist, Leslie Rhode Stories
1:50-2:55 p.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions

Future of Voting in Texas

Hear from the experts on what's in store for voting in Texas. Learn what the legislators proposed and passed during the legislative session to address how voter's will vote at the polling place. You'll also learn what will be required of local governments to protect the integrity of elections.
Speaker(s): Heather Hawthorne, Chambers County Clerk
Christina Adkins, Staff Attorney of Elections Division, Secretary of State
Chris Davis, Williamson County Elections Administrator

Moderator: Nanette Forbes, Legislative Manager - County & Districts Clerks' Association

Criminal Justice Reforms: A Look Back and A Look Ahead
Learn about criminal justice reform legislation and initiatives from experts in the Legislature and in the field. Join the discussion on significant criminal justice matters regarding where we've been, where we are going, and what it all means for counties.
Speaker(s): Nathan Hecht, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice
Moderator(s): Kelsey Bernstein, Legislative Manager - JPCA, Noe Barrios, Senior Legislative Manager -Sheriffs' Association & Laura V. Garcia, Associate General Counsel

Transparency in Your Taxes: Keeping the Public Informed
Transparency, timelines and triggers — shaking up the property tax system. Join us for a deep dive into new reporting and public notice requirements for taxing units, what the legislature proposed, what passed, and what you should expect moving forward.
Speaker(s): Ro’Vin Garrett, Brazoria County Tax- Assessor Collector
Marya Crigler, Travis County Chief Appraiser
Moderator: Katy Reagan, Legislative Manager - Tax Assessor - Collectors' Association

When the Rain Comes: Flood Planning and Mitigation
Our state has long experienced a cycle of droughts and flooding. In order to mitigate the impact of episodic flooding, the Legislature has developed a state flood plan. Established on a regional, watershed basis, the plan requires close cooperation between and among local governments to plan, prepare, and respond to flood events. Learn more about the flood plan from some of its chief architects.
Speaker(s): Dade Phelan, Texas House of Representatives
Jeff Branick, Jefferson County Judge

Moderator: Paul Sugg, Legislative Manager - Auditors' Association

2020 Census and Redistricting
The 2020 Census is just around the corner. Take a sneak peek at what the experts expect the Census will reveal about our growing state. With that foundation established, the discussion will shift to redistricting and how it will impact your county.
Speaker(s):  Dr. Lloyd Potter, Texas State Demographer, Texas Demographic Center
Robert T. Bass, Attorney, Allison, Bass & Magee, LLP

Moderator: Tim Brown, Senior Analyst
2:55-3:20 p.m. Ice Cream Social (Congressional Ballroom, level 3)
3-3:20 p.m. OPTIONAL MINI SESSION (CommCube | Level 3 Foyer)

Media Relations 101: Tips of the Trade
Module 3: Sell Your Story In a News Interview:
Review methods for connecting with your audience and staying on message during any interview.
Presented by: Leslie Rhode, Strategic Communications Consultant and Media Specialist, Leslie Rhode Stories
3:20-4:25 p.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions (repeat)
4:30-6 p.m. The Reception (Palm Park, level 7)
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, Sept. 6
8-10:30 a.m. Registration Desk Hours (Manchester Foyer, level 5)
8:30-9 a.m. Breakfast (Manchester Ballroom, level 5)
9-10:30 a.m. Closing General Session (Manchester Ballroom, level 5)

Welcome
Hon. Renee Couch, Comal County Treasurer and President-Elect, Texas Association of Counties

Living Under The Cap
Property tax reform and relief, along with school finance reform, drove the agenda for the 86th Legislature. In this session, we will discuss the changes that took place to the property tax system, how counties can best prepare to handle those changes, and how we can tell the county story to our citizens, the public, and the Legislature regarding the consequences of those changes.
Rick Thompson, Senior Legislative Manager - CJCA moderates a panel of county officials discussing the effects of SB2 on county budgets and the process to set the county tax rate.
Panel: as of 7/12/19
Barbara Canales, Nueces County Judge
Daryl Fowler, DeWitt County Judge
Sydney Murphy, Polk County Judge
Joe Schuster, Pecos County Judge
11 a.m. Adjourn

*Agenda is 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 check back often for updates.

Continuing Education Type Hours
CPA/Auditors 10.5
Commissioners 10.5
County and District Clerks 10.10
PHRs and SPHRS 10.5
Purchasing Agents 10.5
Sheriffs & Constables (TCOLE) 9
Tax Assessor-Collectors 10.5
Treasurers 10.5
Attorneys (MCLE) Pending

Conference Cancellation:

All cancellation and refund requests must be received in writing (fax or email acceptable). Refunds requested before Aug. 23 are subject to a $10 processing fee. Refunds after Aug. 23 will be subject to an administrative fee equal to one-half of the registration fee. No refund requests will be honored after Sept. 13. Please email Deanna Auert or fax (512) 477-1324 to cancel your conference registration.​

Hotel Cancellation:

If you must cancel a room reservation, please notify Deanna Auert​. In the event of a waitlist, this allows others an opportunity to stay at the host hotel.

Your Connection to Texas Counties

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, Sept. 5, from 4:30 to 6 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, Register today to choose the time and date most convenient to you or reserve the space with Haley ClickGarry Merritt or Rick Thompson to learn more.

Contacts

Garry Merritt, General Counsel and Director of Legislative
Rick Thompson, Senior Legislative Manager
Haley Click, Education Program Manager
TAC Office, (512) 478-8753 or (800) 456-5974

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, Sept. 4
Noon-1 p.m. Welcome Lunch
1-3:30 p.m. Opening General Sessions
3:30-5 p.m. Reception
4-5 p.m. Exclusive Meeting for Legislators and County Officials (3 rooms)
Hospitality Provided
Thursday, Sept. 5
8-9:30 a.m. County Affiliate Organization Meetings
9:50 a.m.-4:25 p.m. Discussion Times
12:20-1:50 p.m. Exclusive Meeting for Legislators and County Officials (3 rooms)
Meal Provided
3-4:30 p.m. County Affiliate Organization Meetings
4:30-6:30 p.m. The Reception
Friday, Sept. 6
9-10:30 a.m. Closing General Sessions

 

Your Connection to County Government

Sponsors

Please complete a sponsorship packet or contact Haley Click for sponsorship opportunities.​​ Sponsorships over $1500 include a complimentary exhibit booth.

Vendors

Please visit the County Progress website​ or contact Sarah Lazarowitz for vendor registration.

Join us in Austin this September as 800+ Texas county officials and staff gather. This is a prime opportunity to display your goods and services to decision-makers in county government.

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, Sept. 3
1-4 p.m. Vendor Move-in
Wednesday, Sept. 4
10 a.m.-noon Dedicated Time with Exhibitors
1-3:30 p.m. Opening General Sessions (Exhibit Hall Closed)
3:30-5:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Welcome Reception
Thursday, Sept. 5
8-9:30 a.m. County Association Meetings
9 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Exhibit Hall Hours
9:50 a.m.-4:25 p.m. Legislative Discussion Sessions
3:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Break Downs
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