Visit San Antonio: Legislative Affairs, December 2018

We are anticipating the 86th Legislative Session that will begin Jan. 8. After the November elections, we haven’t found much of an appetite for the return of what was labeled the “bathroom bill.” Both Governor Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick have indicated that issue is not on their agendas. Although we do anticipate a bathroom bill being filed, we do not believe it will progress very far.

What we do anticipate facing in the next session are attempts to divert Hotel Occupancy Tax usage. In late December, the Austin Tourism Commission indicated they would be seeking legislation to allow Hotel Occupancy Tax to be used for homeless, live music, arts and watershed preservation, among other items. Protection of Hotel Occupancy Tax against diversions will be one of our highest priorities in the next session.

Another critical priority is the protection of summers for our children. More than 500 school districts across the state start on random dates in August making family time, summer jobs and summer learning difficult. Ample studies show there is no scholastic benefit of an earlier school start date, yet at the same time there is significant damage to the overall state economy. In addition to our efforts, our partners at TTIA and their lobbying firm Hance-Scarborough have been actively working with state officials, including the Lieutenant Governor, on this important issue.

We will also be actively looking for any moving legislation that could potentially lead to economically damaging travel bans. After the passage of the adoption religious freedom bill in 2017, our industry has faced a travel ban by the State of California and we have seen some loss of business as a result. We will continue to work with our federal partners to highlight the damaging nature of travel bans and their significant impact on front-line employees, and at the same time, we will be looking for any additional legislation that could potentially damage our industry’s ability to remain competitive.