On Thursday, June 22, the Austin Council adjourned for its July recess. Outside of a Special Called meeting this Wednesday on proposed CodeNEXT regulations (agenda here) and other such meetings, they will re-convene Tuesday, August 1 for Work Session, followed by a Budget Work Session the next day, and a Regular Meeting on Thursday, August 3.
Looming over the recess and upon Council’s return is Governor Greg Abbot’s Special Session. Commencing on July 18 through August 17 (30 days), the governor through official proclamation will set the priorities on which the Texas House and Senate will deliberate (or not, depending on who you talk to). A point to underscore is that Legislators can file bills regardless of the priorities (and some have already) however, unless the bill fall under one of the governor’s listed priorities it can be defeated on a point of order (Note: Gov. Abbott can add to the call as he pleases in that 30 day span). No official proclamation has been made yet, and once done there should be some level of certainty about how Austin’s lobbyists will proceed strategically.
Two priorities on the governor’s unofficial proclimation we are watching closely relate to real estate: (1) Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects; and (2) Speeding up local government permitting process. On the two, the latter issue, expedited permitting, is of major interest as it was resolved over many months last spring between industry and community stakeholders (See the City of Austin’s Expedited Permitting Program). There will most certainly be some industry who would not mind the Legislature stepping in, but in particular to City of Austin matters, it may be more trouble than it’s worth.
//The Bingham Group