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Legislative Update for February 2021

Legislative Update for February 2021

February 8, 2021

by Augustine Verrengia PE | Chair, Government Affairs Committee

January 12, 2021 was the beginning of the 87th Legislative Session for the State of Texas and leading up to this commencement, the ASCE Texas Section’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has been hosting several key events in order to educate and prepare our fellow ASCE members on advocacy best practices, as well as planning upcoming events, such as the Infrastructure Report Card release and the 2021 virtual Legislative Drive-in event.  

ASCE Government Relations / Public Relations University

On January 28, the ASCE Texas Section joined with ASCE Global to host the Government Relations / Public Relations (GR/PR) University for members that were interested in developing their skills in the public relations and advocacy environment.

This first part of this training included a session focused on government relations and how to best interact with your legislators by connecting with them through your personal experiences. This type of information could really be applied at all levels of government and highlighted some best practices as well as explored some virtual scenarios to train how to respond when interacting with these individuals.

The second session of the event included a focus on media relations and how to determine if a topic was ‘newsworthy’. We explored what type of media would best suite certain specific scenarios and how to best prepare for media interviews. These sessions were followed by guest speakers Anthony Fasano PE and Patrick Tarlton. Anthony, who is the founder of The Engineering Management Institute (EMI), briefed our members on best practices for confidently interacting in meetings with legislators and how to be best prepared for those meetings. Patrick, who is  the State Director of the Texas Concrete Pipe Association (TCPA), shared with us some of his experiences working in political and public affairs realm while sharing some insight into the impacts that our advocacy can have in the real world. 

This training session was recorded and has been made available to our members on-demand. A recording of the training session is available here: Texas GR/PR University. If you have any questions about these resources, you are welcome to contact Maria Matthews (ASCE Global Government Relations) or Kevin Longley (ASCE Global Public Relations).

2021 Virtual Legislative Drive-In

Due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic, the 2021 ASCE Texas Section Legislative Drive-In will be held virtually this year. 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 of Texas.  

The virtual Drive-in will take place from February 22 through February 26 and will include a state-wide weeklong effort to meet with our legislators across the region. The agenda will include a special pre-event training session on February 4 that will focus on learning how to determine who represents you at the Capital and how to establish contact with them to set a meeting for the week of the drive-in. This training will also be recorded and made available on-demand for those who cannot attend. As the Virtual Drive-in commences, we will have a special kickoff event with Rep. Donna Howard, Infrastructure Report Card chairman Mark Boyd and Texas Water Development Board Member Kathleen Jackson. From there we will break for the week and members will have specific dates/times that they will meet with their legislators or their staff. The event will end with a closing ceremony where we will re-cap the event and share some of our experiences from our meetings with each other.

For a look at the full agenda and to register for the event, please visit www.texasce.org/legislative-drive-in.

Join the Government Affairs Committee!

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].