Economic Development in the Houston Bay Area
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Region’s legislators give personal perspectives on results of 84th Texas legislative session

    Approximately 20 percent of the bills that were introduced during Texas’ 84th Legislature passed.  At first glance, that doesn’t seem like a lot until you look at the actual numbers. Of 6,476 bills introduced, 1,323 survived.  
    Eight Bay Area Houston legislators spoke of their successes and disappointments during the legislative session at a General Membership Meeting of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership held at South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center on July 15, 2015. The meeting was hosted by BAHEP’s Political Protocol Committee.   
    Sen. Larry Taylor noted with the passage of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) bill, TWIA’s funding level is healthy enough to cover a 1 in 100-year storm, having $4.88 billion in total funds available to pay claims this year.   
    Sen. Sylvia Garcia reported that one of the most important accomplishments for the entire region was the nearly $300 million taken from the $1.3 billion Rainy Day Fund that will be applied toward regional transportation issues.   
    Most of the legislators commented on a storm surge suppression system for Galveston Bay that is also known as the Ike Dike Concept. BAHEP, in partnership with Texas A&M University at Galveston, has been advocating for this system for over four years.     The legislature’s Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System was approved for another two years. Rep. Greg Bonnen, M.D., stated that a coastal barrier system has to be a joint effort between the state and federal governments. Sen. Taylor said that there is a lot of support at the state level for the system. "They get it,” he emphasized.  
The region’s state legislators participated on a panel to give their perspectives on Texas’ 84th legislative session. Shown (l to r) are: Reps. Gilbert Peña (District 144), Dennis Paul (District 129), Wayne Faircloth (District 23), Greg Bonnen, M.D. (District 24), Ed Thompson (District 29), Wayne Smith (District 128), and Sens. Sylvia Garcia (District 6) and Larry Taylor (District 11). The Political Protocol Committee of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership hosted the meeting at South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center on July 15, 2015. BAHEP President Bob Mitchell gave introductory remarks and introduced elected officials who were in attendance. BAHEP Board Chair Vic Pierson, president, Moody National Bank, served as event moderator.  

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