Senate Business and Commerce Committee:
Hurricane Harvey Interim Charges
The Senate Business and Commerce Committee met Wednesday to consider a number of charges related to Hurricane Harvey. Of particular interest to cities, the committee took invited testimony on the following:
Examine local government regulations, including occupational licenses, as related to Hurricane Harvey and determine if any are a detriment to rebuilding efforts.
A number of city officials testified, including: (1) C.J. Wax, Mayor of Rockport and TML Past President; (2) Jimmy Sims, Mayor of Orange, (3) Christon Butler, Deputy Director of Public Works and Engineering for Houston; and (4) Jim Olk, Mayor of Lucas and Building Officials of Texas Past President.
The tone of the city officials who testified was a positive one of hope, working together, and rebuilding. They also testified that their permitting and licensing processes had done nothing to slow down rebuilding. In fact, witnesses on a subsequent panel composed of homebuilders, construction industry representatives, and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation repeatedly praised city efforts during and after the storm.
Of course, a witness from the perennial city-bashing organization called the Texas Public Policy Foundation testified that cities have done “pretty good” but “not great” during the process. That takes some nerve following the amazing panel of city officials who remain on the front line of dealing with disasters.
Hats off to all the city officials who lead us through the toughest of times.