TML PRESENTS AWARDS TO FIVE LAWMAKERS
During the recent Texas Municipal League Annual Conference in Houston, the League recognized five lawmakers who have consistently supported cities and defended municipal authority.
United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R–Texas) was inducted into the TML Legislative Hall of Honor. Senator Hutchison was elected to the United States Senate in 1993 and is currently the Senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. She also serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
She has been a great friend to Texas cities and has consistently fought to protect local authority, particularly authority over public rights-of-way. Most recently, she met with a delegation consisting of City of Arlington Mayor (and TML Past President) Robert Cluck and TML staff members in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) understands the importance to Texas cities of right-of-way regulations and compensation. At Senator Hutchison’s urging, FCC staff agreed to meet with the TML delegation to hear its concerns.
Because of her tireless work on behalf of local control, and for her dedication to the State of Texas, Senator Hutchison becomes only the fifth legislator to be a member of the TML Legislative Hall of Honor.
Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) and Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) each received a Legislator of the Year Award for their efforts in the Texas Senate during the Eighty-Second Session of the Texas Legislature.
Elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, Senator Watson is Vice Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee and is a member of the Senate committees on Business and Commerce, Economic Development, Higher Education, and Nominations. He is the former mayor of Austin and a past chairman of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. During the 2011 Legislative Session, he played a key role in defending municipal authority and was instrumental in defeating legislation in committee and on the floor that would have eroded municipal authority.
Senator Seliger was elected to the Texas Senate in 2004 after serving four terms as mayor of Amarillo and as a member of the Amarillo City Commission. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Redistricting and also serves on the Senate committees on Education, Finance, International Relations and Trade, and Natural Resources. During the Eighty-Second Legislative Session, Senator Seliger authored the Texas Municipal Retirement System flexible, non-retroactive cost of living adjustment (COLA) bill. He was also a strong supporter of cities and local control and was able to defeat legislation that would have eroded municipal authority.
The League also presented Legislator of the Year Awards to Representative Harvey Hilderbran (R- Kerrville) and Representative Raul Torres (R-Corpus Christi) for their efforts in the Texas House of Representatives during the Eighty-Second Session of the Texas Legislature.
Representative Hilderbran was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1988, serves as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and is a member of the House committees on Redistricting and State Affairs. During the Eighty-Second Legislative Session, Chairman Hilderbran made sure that revenue and appraisal cap bills got the scrutiny they deserved in the Ways and Means Committee, preserving local control.
Representative Raul Torres was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010 and serves on the House Committees on Appropriations and Insurance. Although this was his first session, Representative Torres was instrumental in passing a critical amendment that restored the mixed beverage tax reimbursement to cities at a minimum rate of 10.7 percent beginning next biennium.
We hope that city leaders across Texas will express their appreciation to these outstanding leaders for their dedication to Texas cities.