News Article | January 27, 2022
County officials discuss mass gathering permits at meeting of concert safety task force
On Jan. 6, Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas Task Force on Concert Safety convened for the fifth time, at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The task force solicited input from the Texas Association of Counties and its members after previous meetings led to a discussion about the mass gathering permitting process and the viability of a possible universal permit that would be valid in all 254 counties.
Currently, county judges possess the authority to grant, reject and revoke mass gathering permits under Chapter 751 of the Health and Safety Code. It was noted in the meeting that some counties do not have a readily available permit application, and other counties do. Brazos County Judge Duane Peters and Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne discussed the importance of county judges being able to add additional queries or sections to the application based on unique circumstances in individual counties. Peters also noted that penalties are not very steep for those who do not comply with the permitting process and that there are no enhanced penalties for repeat offenders.
Abbott created the task force in November after the Astroworld Festival turned deadly, highlighting a potential need for increased safety at music events. Brendon Anthony, Director of the Texas Music Office, is leading the task force, which consists of representatives from the following organizations:
- Texas Music Office
- Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas
- Sheriffs’ Association of Texas
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas Municipal Police Association
- Texas Police Chiefs Association
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
- Texas State Association of Fire Fighters
- At the conclusion of its meetings, the task force will issue a report with recommendations to enhance concert safety and protect concertgoers.