Backstage at the Virtual 2020 TAC Legislative Conference

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The 2020 TAC Legislative Conference made history as more than 1,200 attendees, including 809 county officials and staff members, logged on to the meeting's first virtual event Aug. 26-28. The conference was a chance to discuss the major issues that affect counties and local taxpayers in preparation for the 87th session of the Texas Legislature.

Counties are having to navigate unprecedented circumstances, and the Legislative Conference is an opportunity for them to come together and share solutions to some of the challenges they face,” said TAC Executive Director Susan M. Redford. “When we realized an in-person conference was not going to be in the cards this year, TAC staff found a way to transform the premier conference into a virtual event.”

Bill Haddad from Blue House Design mikes TAC Legislative Consultant Aurora Flores. Photo: Liz Carmack   TAC Legislative Consultants Nanette Forbes and Kelsey Bernstein pause in between sessions. Photo: Shiloh Perry

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar opened the conference by addressing attendees on the revenue and economic effects of COVID-19 on state and county governments.

TAC Legislative Consultant Katy Estrada helps stuff attendee packets. Photo: Liz Carmack   Louis Le Jeune of Blue House Design mikes TAC Financial Analyst Zelma Smith prior to the COVID-19
Grant Resources Roundtable session. Photo: Liz Carmack

Topics of interest to counties at the conference included: 

Property taxes — Officials collaborated to find solutions to challenges they experience from the recently enacted Senate Bill 2. 

Emergency management — Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd explained the necessities of disaster management, particularly as they relate to the coronavirus.

Elections in Texas — Officials and state agency staff discussed preparations amid the pandemic for the 2020 general election, which experts predict will see a historically large voter turnout.

Texas court structure — Members at all levels of the state’s judiciary shared how videoconferencing is reshaping court proceedings. 

TAC Executive Director Susan Redford welcomes conference attendees. Photo: Liz Carmack   TAC President and Comal County Treasurer Renee Couch welcomes attendees to TAC’s Federal Outreach Initiative session. Photo: Liz Carmack

Several TAC legislative staff members, county officials, legislators, state agency staff members and issue experts led discussions in various breakout sessions. Attendees also had the opportunity to network and access resources in the 42 virtual exhibit hall booths.

TAC Legislative Director Noe Barrios moderates the Q&A portion of the Law Enforcement Response
to COVID-19 session. Photo: Liz Carmack
  TAC Core Legislative Group Coordinator Rhita Koches leads the Core Legislative Group meeting. Photo: Liz Carmack