Visit San Antonio: Legislative Affairs, September 2018

We kicked off our “Back To Session” activities with a meet-and-greet breakfast with Chairman Lyle Larson. Larson, representative for State District 122, has several tourism attractions in his district, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas and TPC San Antonio golf courses. We hosted Larson, our board of directors and the president and CEOs of our partner organizations at The Barn Door restaurant.

Larson laid out his vision for the 86th session, and provided insight on several issues such as school start date and the bathroom bill. He also indicated his priories would continue to be water and natural resource issues – Larson currently serves as chair of the Natural Resources committee – and school financing, specifically post-Harvey issues.

The meeting was productive and we were able to deep dive into the state-wide impact of the unequal school start date, and specifically the need to remove the District of Innovation exemption that enables schools across the state to randomly set their start dates. We highlighted the significant negative economic impact it has to our local working population, including students, as well as to businesses.

As you may also know, the special election runoff for Texas Senate District 19 was held on Sept. 18. Republican candidate Pete Flores handily defeated Democrat Pete Gallego. This is the first time in the 139-year history of the seat that it will be filled by a Republican. The Lt. Governor and Governor both campaigned and donated heavily on behalf of Flores, which led analysts to correctly speculate that the seat would flip to the Republican candidate.

We continue to support our partners at the San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association and their efforts to establish a Tourism Public Improvement District that will generate additional advertising dollars to promote our city as a top tourism destination. SAHLA has undertaken a monumental effort to obtain a supermajority of owner approvals and signatures. They have accomplished in a few short months what has taken other cities years to complete. We hope that you will continue to remain engaged on this important issue as we appear in front of Council for final ratification of the TPID.

This year is whisking by and Nov. 6 will be here before we all know it. Mid-term elections are typically low-voter turnout years and as we’ve mentioned SATC, SARA, SAHLA and VSA have undertaken a voter-engagement effort. We encourage you to ensure your staff are registered to vote and will be heading to the polls on Election Day.