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Visit San Antonio: Legislative Affairs, June 2019

Although legislative session in Austin has finished, there was still considerable action on various issues. The Governor had until June 16th to veto bills and behind the scenes work was still being done up until the veto deadline. In total, the Governor vetoed 58 bills, compared to 51 in 2017, and 44 in 2015 (his first session as Governor).

One large hurdle was crossed for our industry when the Governor signed HB 1 (the appropriations bills) without issuing a single line-item veto, which includes funding for the State Office of Tourism. As we outlined in our May executive report, we were able to retain unexpended HOT funds for tourism marketing use.

Locally, we kicked off our “Show Us Your District” Tours with Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran. These tours are an opportunity for Councilmembers to introduce the Visit San Antonio team to the “hidden gems” within their districts. Our partners at ETI Global Limousine and Charter provided transportation to and from the many incredible stops on our D3 tour.

The team visited the new Tree of Life Exhibit near Mission Espada, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Stinson Airport, Confluence Park and Mission Marquee. The Councilwoman highlighted the importance of these sites to the district, but also the role they play in engaging tourists who visit San Antonio.

We are scheduling tours with each Councilmember learning about their districts, and we look forward to learning more about the other districts in the coming months.

We understand there has been some miscommunication and uncertainty regarding SB 1978 (the Senate bill regarding donations to religious organizations) and I encourage you to reach out to our Government Relations team for clarification. We have developed a response that we can share with your teams should you receive questions on it from any customers. Visit San Antonio has received several questions about this and other issues, including the bathroom bill, so we want to ensure our customers and clients have the most accurate information.

Our Government Relations team has been working with various partners and members to provide End of Session Legislative Updates to their various team members. If you or your team would like an overview of what transpired during the 86th Session, how it impacted our industry and our next steps, I encourage you to reach out to our Government Relations team.