Through their various trade associations, construction executives from all over Texas are letting state lawmakers know what they think about issues that impact the industry. The Texas Construction Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, and other groups have compiled lists of reforms and proposed changes to state laws that they hope will be enacted during this legislative session. As you may know, the Texas Legislature only meets in regular session for five months every two years.
There are some fairly complex policy questions involved, which is part of why lawmakers must first hear from those who are directly affected before any changes can be made during a limited time frame.
This past week, I had the honor of speaking to contractors gathered in Austin for the Texas Construction Association’s bi-annual Walk on the Capitol. I've been pleased to be part of this great event for three legislative sessions in a row. This session, the TCA has prioritized reforms to the state’s lien laws, worker misclassification legislation, and other things.
“Texas’ lien laws are considered by many to be the most burdensome and complex in the country and it is extremely difficult to navigate through those laws,” the TCA has said. The lien law was originally intended to “provide a statutory remedy to secure payment for labor, materials, or machinery furnished in the improvement of property.” That good intention, the TCA argues, “has been lost, among other issues, the different notice requirements and deadlines placed on claimants to secure their lien rights.”
“Texas’ lien laws should be revised to make the procedures for perfecting and maintaining one’s lien rights straightforward, and compliance with those procedures should not be difficult, nor a stumbling block to maintaining lien rights,” the TCA said.
Lawmakers learned quite a bit about that issue and others during the Walk on the Capitol, said Texas Construction Association President and CEO Raymond Risk.
“Based on the responses from many of the 120 members of the Texas Construction Association who attended our Walk on the Capitol, the event was a rousing success,” Risk said. “Staff at the Capitol have reported TCA members did a great job educating the legislators and their staff."
“The day before, our members were treated to a panel discussion by political pundits Tom Pauken and Glenn Smith and a special briefing by TCA's lobby team," Risk said. "The reception that night for TCA members and Capitol people was a blast for all.”
Meantime, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas will have its legislative days later this month, per the ABC newsletter called “Merit Shop”:
“This will be my first time attending Legislative Day and I’m looking forward to the experience,” said Craig D. Messer, Vice President of ISC Constructors, LLC. “I’ve been preparing by attending board meetings, reading legislative updates, and remaining up-to-date on the issues we’re focusing on. I think it’s very important for us as contractors to stay involved with legislators and ABC has given us this opportunity.”
“I’ve attended Legislative Day more than four times in the last eight years and am excited to attend this year,” said John Hinson, Division President- Dallas/Ft. Worth of Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. “This session, I will be focused on the Worker Misclassification Issues, Lien Law, and the Retainage/Trust Fund. I was nervous the first time I ever attended Legislative Day, but if you do your research and share real accounts of how these issues are affecting your business, you will be amazed the type of impact you can have.”
For more information on the legislative priorities of these groups, see our previous Construction Citizen coverage here.