Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Legislative Update on Texas Dry Cleaning Remediation Program
By Frank J Corte Jr and Harvey Hilderbran of Capitol Chairman’s Alliance, LLC
July 21, 2021
This is the last installment of the Legislative Update for the Dry-Cleaning Remediation Program Extension Task Force. Harvey and I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of this effort. It was an extremely rewarding experience to meet and work with dedicated small businessmen and women who are committed to their profession and business interests. In the last update, it was the beginning of May and we had just been successful on getting SB 872 passed and to the Governor’s desk. You know the rest of the story; the Governor signed the bill, and it went into immediate effect since it passed the Legislature with over 2/3 votes. The effective date of the legislation is May 15, 2021, which was the day the Governor signed the bill. Our legislative authors, Senator Hancock and Representative Lambert have requested a bill signing ceremony. This would be a great time for the leaders of the DCRP Task Force to take a photo with the Governor.
We are sure you heard the news of the “political meltdown” at the end of the legislative session. Democratic members left the House floor to break the quorum required to take up legislation on Election Security. The reason we bring this up, is to show how fortunate the DCRP Task Force is by getting the extension legislation through the session before this took place. There were several other pieces of pending legislation in both chambers during the last few days of the session that met an unfortunate fate because of this walk out.
Looking back over the last 18 months, it can be said that the leadership team of the DCRP Extension Task Force was instrumental in getting this through the legislative process early to avoid the legislative massacre. While obviously Harvey and I gave the team advice, insight, expertise and day-to-day efforts in the process, the Team’s willingness to raise the funds to hire a capable team is tremendous. The sacrifices of time and other resources to meet with legislators and staff to recruit primary senate and house authors; the time to communicate with members who were possibly against this measure; testimony before the House and Senate committees; individual store owners communicating with legislators to encourage them to support the DCRP bill; and the final push to visit every House members’ office hours before the legislation was to be considered in the House of Representatives; set the stage for success for an early passage. Was it a record time to get through the process? Probably not; however, considering that this Legislative Session did not move as quickly as others in the past due to the pandemic, it was one of the first bills to get to the Governor’s desk during the regular session. So, the “early bird” does get the worm!
In summary, one could say that the work is done and there is nothing else to do. That is pretty much correct. However, we would offer some other thoughts. The Legislature will be meeting in at least two to three special sessions to pass legislation that did not make it to the finish line. One of those issues is Redistricting, which is the redrawing the lines of the legislative districts of each House, Senate, and Congressional member. While this is one of the most contentious issues that is debated in the legislative process, it effects every Texan in so many ways. It determines who will represent you. We know Texas will get two more congressional seats than it currently has. That is good thing for the State; however, it also means there will be new faces in the Congressional delegation. In the Texas House and Senate there will also be new faces that are a result of redistricting. These new faces will need to know about the importance of the issues facing dry-cleaning operators and garment care professionals. It is highly recommended that the dry-cleaning operators have a ‘Dry-Cleaning Day’ at the Capitol during future legislative sessions, even though there may not be any pending DCRP extension or other critical direct issue before the legislature. Even a monitoring of the legislative process when you don’t have a bill to pass can prove to be worthwhile and can prevent the passage of anti-business or extreme environmental regulation. Building relationships are easy when you are not asking for heavy legislative lifting, and it paves the way for future efforts that might come a long.
Just this afternoon I heard from the Governor’s staff about the pending bill signing ceremony. They are still in the process of doing these bill signing ceremonies for legislation that passed during the session, and our bill is on the list. Once we have a date and time, we will let you know. We look forward to seeing you there and any other future opportunity to assist you with public policy issues before the state legislature.