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Legislative changes reviewed at conference

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Bandera County District Clerk Tammy Kneuper, County Judge Richard Evans, County Clerk Tandie Mansfield, County Tax Assessor-Collector Gwenda Tschirhart, her Deputy Rebekah Douglas and County Commissioner Jody Rutherford joined more than 700 Texas county officials and legislators for the Texas Association of Counties 2019 Legislative Conference in Austin last month.

The three-day event was a chance to discuss new legislation that affects counties and local taxpayers following the 86th legislative session that was held earlier this year.

“As a result of the last legislative session, Texas counties are facing some interesting new challenges,” said TAC Executive Director Susan M. Redford. “The Legislative Conference offered opportunities for county and state officials to share solutions to these challenges.”

Topics of interest to counties and county operations at the conference included:

Texas court structure: Members at all levels of the state’s judiciary, which is heavily funded and supported by counties, collaborated to create new policy.

Disaster response: Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush shared how local communities will be better equipped with new procedures to handle major events in the post- Hurricane Harvey era.

Federal policy: County officials and state lawmakers discussed a wide range of federal policies affecting Texas counties, including those targeting infrastructure, disaster mitigation and county jail inmate health care.

Voting in Texas: Officials discussed new voting requirements and how local governments will protect the integrity of elections.

Transparency in setting tax rates: Taxing entities have new reporting and public notice requirements.

Keynote speaker Evan Smith, CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, moderated a panel of legislators discussing health care, infrastructure issues and other topics.

The conference also included breakout sessions covering different issues of interest to county officials.

The association supports and provides services to Texas counties so they can more effectively serve their communities.