With the Texas Legislature set to convene in January, Haynes and Boone, LLP hosted a series of informative and lively panel discussions in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin that explored key topics the legislature is expected to address in 2019.
The panel discussions were moderated by Texas Tribune CEO and Co-founder Evan Smith and featured Haynes and Boone Of Counsel Rafael Anchia, a longtime Texas state representative who was joined by fellow Texas house members in each city. The Dallas panel included Reps. Victoria Neave (D-Dallas) and Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth). In Houston, Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place) served on the panel, and Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) participated in San Antonio. And in Austin, Democrats Vikki Goodwin and Sheryl Cole, both representative elects serving Austin and surrounding areas, and Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) joined the discussion.
Rep. Anchia (D-Dallas) is now in his eighth term in the legislature, where he chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. At Haynes and Boone, he represents financial institutions and public and private funds in a variety of transactions involving, among other things, senior and subordinated debt and equity, domestic and international syndications and distressed debt acquisitions and sales.
In the Houston session, Smith said that “meat and potato issues” are likely to predominate in 2019, led by the perennial topic of whether the state is adequately funding public schools. The panelists agreed that discussions about school finance will necessarily involve the related issues of whether school districts operate in a fiscally sound manner and whether Texas can lower property taxes, a primary funding source for public schools.
The panelists identified a host of other issues likely to be addressed next session, including covering budget shortfalls caused by Hurricane Harvey cleanup costs and the extent to which the state can restrict local ordinances, such as those requiring employers to provide paid sick leave.
Starting in 2012, Haynes and Boone has previewed each coming session of the Texas legislature, which meets biennially. Evan Smith has moderated all of the sessions, which have been heavily attended by business and city leaders in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Haynes and Boone also hosts legislative review at the end of each session, which are again moderated by Smith and look back at the key legislation and policy debates that dominated the session.
Haynes and Boone is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Chicago, Denver, Washington, D.C., London, Mexico City and Shanghai, providing a full spectrum of legal services in energy, technology, financial services and private equity. With more than 575 lawyers, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest U.S.-based firms by The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and The Lawyer.