Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Advocacy Update

David Lancaster
TSA Manager of Advocacy

The 134th day of our 140-day session was almost a spectacularly successful, historically memorable one…what with the Senate passage of three priority items—HB 2284, our “A/E resolution” bill, HB 628, the Alternative Project Delivery consolidation bill, and HB 1728, which includes the IRS 179D tax credit amendments limited to K-12 facility waivers. Rep. Rick Hardcastle has already said he will encourage his House colleagues to concur with the Senate changes to HB 2284; the same is true of Rep. Jim Keffer, the author of HB 1728.

A controversial amendment (two really) was added to HB 628. This bill will definitely be going to a conference committee to work out the differences...although, worst case scenario, at least one of the parties that's been involved throughout the negotiations may just walk away from the table and focus on simply killing the bill from this point. It will take a lot of work for HB 628 to wind up on the Governor's desk. 

However, concurrence looks like a much better possibility for HB 2284 and 1728...and (hopefully) HB 2093, too. That last one is where Sen. Robert Duncan added most of what was in SB 361, a bill providing indemnification protections for the design and construction industry that we've been supporting all session.

(HB 2284 is, of course, the AE "Peace" bill that passed the Senate today and now awaits concurrence in the House. We believe it is likely to be on the Governor's desk before the session ends.)

After thinking it was dead because it hadn't been reported as coming out of committee in time, we now know that HB 51 is still alive. This is the High Performance Standards bill, and it includes our "comprehensive" 179D tax credit amendment that includes all levels of government. Our primary focus tomorrow will be helping ensure Sen. Hinojosa is recognized to bring it up for a vote...because tomorrow is the last day for the Senate to pass a bill or resolution (for the first time).

Soooo...if we can strip the bad amendments from 628 (and the "wavering" negotiators don't switch their focus to just killing It)...and we get HB 51 out of the Senate...we may well be on our way to an incredibly, spectacularly successful session! Until this year, I never thought we'd ever approach the success achieved in 1989, when we got both our practice act and lien law...but even that could be surpassed this year.

The next 3-4 days will decide how this session will rank in TSA history, but it has to be considered a success regardless given our AE resolution, plus the likelihood of the tax credit language and indemnification protections being added. (BTW...we may get another "business" bonus if SB 1811 isn't amended to strip an amendment that would disallow state entities from using sovereign immunity as a defense in breach of contract suits. That will be a more difficult change to keep...but it's not impossible.)

Hope this isn't too much "inside baseball" jargon...if it is, please forgive me. Questions? Call us, but be prepared to hear even more technical terms, acronyms, etc. We've been living and breathing this stuff--intensely--for the last two weeks, so be patient...and ask lots of questions.

No comments: