2007 Legislature in Review

Joey Park
2007 Legislature in Review
2007 was another busy year for CCA Texas lobbyists Joey Park and Billy Phoenix. Below is a brief summary of 2007 activities and items that are presently being addressed as we enter 2008 and towards the next Legislative year in 2009.

The 80th Texas Legislature drew to a close on May 28th after 140 days of contentious debate over a broad array of issues including efforts to unseat the Speaker of the House. It was a session which saw the Governors authority challenged on several issues and many of the states important issues were held until the very last moments for action. Once again for CCA and its membership, our most important issue this session was protecting our states instream flows for our rivers and bays.

Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 3 which passed in the final hours of the session, were the third step in a series of water conservation bills dating back to 1997. SB 3 will for the first time require the state to set aside an amount of water to satisfy the inflow requirements for our state's bay and estuaries. There will be studies to determine those amounts for each bay system. It will also allow for the conversion of senior water rights held for other purposes to be converted to environmental flow permits and allow for that water to be delivered to the confluence of the river and associated bay system.

We also were heavily involved in the fight for TPWD funding. Millions of dollars collected from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses were going unspent by the legislature. CCA has worked to have this money appropriated back to the department for hunting and fishing related activities, hatcheries, game wardens and biologists.

In the coming months the legislature and the Sunset Commission will be looking at how TPWD does business. CCA will be working with these groups as well as TPWD to insure that the programs that benefit our coastal resources receive the attention and money that they will need in order to continue and expand. There are still many issues to address as our states population grows and increasing pressures are put on fish stocks. We have already begun to meet with department leaders to set a course that will provide these protections.

In 2008, CCA will continue to advocate and fight for what we feel is one of this states most precious resources, and the members of the Legislature are hearing this louder and more clearly than ever before; 2009 will be another Legislative year and once again CCA Texas will be at the forefront representing the voices of concerned conservationists throughout the state.