Texas Section Legislative Update >> December 2020
Written & compiled by Austin Messerli PE, Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair
The ASCE Texas Section’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has been hard at work planning various events, educating the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (A/E/C) industry, and working with members of the Texas legislature across the State. Despite the challenges we are all facing, the Texas Section GAC has not wavered in working to meet the needs of our members by contacting our policy makers to educate and advocate on behalf of Texas Civil Engineers.
CECON 2020’s Legislative Panel
Just days after the November election, ASCE Texas Section hosted the Texas Civil Engineering conference (CECON) where the annual Legislature Panel went off with resounding success. Moderated by Texas Section 2020 President Susan Roth PE, in attendance there were Senator Bryan Hughes (District 1) and Representatives Donna Howard (District 48) and Dennis Paul PE (District 129). They answered questions from the upcoming shortfall of the state budget, gas tax and long-term funding, to professional licensure. This was a great and positive session to hear the Senator and both representatives discuss these items with our civil engineering community. One topic that all the panelists agreed on is the value we have as constituents to help contribute to the legislative process. Each of the legislators implored the audience to reach out to connect and communicate with your representatives in the legislature and make them aware of important issues, infrastructure related and beyond. This reinforces the significance that we have as civil engineers in our communities, especially the impacts that committees such as ASCE’s State and Local Branches of the Government Affairs committees have on improving the quality of life for us all.
November 3, 2020 Election Day
As November 3rd came and went, I am sure there were countless feelings across the board about the election. On the Federal level it was tough not to get bogged down from either side of the aisle. However, there were multiple proposed propositions for infrastructure improvements and packages at the local level. Plans were prepared and presented to citizens for a vote, and many of them passed with a resounding positivity. For example, across Central Texas, multiple Counties and Cities were proactive in improving their infrastructure with plans ranging from parks and green spaces to transit plans that will help these communities build for the future and improve the quality of life for their citizens. The passing of these initiatives reinforces the view that our communities are supportive of our efforts to make significant improvements to infrastructure, that they understand the economic benefits, and the positive impacts we can have on people’s everyday lives. Learn more: 
Legislative Drive-In Announcement
Due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the 2021 ASCE Texas Legislative Drive-In will be held virtually this year—a “Dial-In” as it were. This bi-annual event brings civil engineers from across the State to meet with their representation in the legislature to discuss issues important to our industry and our communities. With our industry seeing a direct correlation from the pandemic on infrastructure funding, this will be a critical moment to ensure we are making progress on improvements necessary to serve the ever-growing population in Texas.
Mark your calendar for February 22 – 26, 2021 as we host a weeklong effort to meet with our legislators. We are currently planning for two trainings opportunities to be held in the weeks leading up to the virtual drive-in to best prepare our membership for the event. Registration is now open and additional information will be released here soon.
Looking to get more involved?
Lastly, we are always looking for ASCE members to join in our efforts so if you or someone you know would be interested in being part of the Government Affairs Committee, do not hesitate to reach out the committee at [email protected].
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