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For over thirteen years, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation has been one of the nation’s top policy conferences, selling out each year while bringing together lawmakers, policy experts, and engaged citizens from across the political spectrum to discuss critical issues facing the Lone Star State and America. 

Policy Orientation 2016 will be held January 6-8 at the Hilton Austin. For more information and to register, please visit policyorientation.com.
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Wednesday, January 6
 

10:30am

Registration Opens
Wednesday January 6, 2016 10:30am - 12:00pm
Sixth Floor

12:00pm

Opening Luncheon Keynote
Speakers
avatar for Sgt Dakota Meyer USMC

Sgt Dakota Meyer USMC

Medal of Honor Recipient & New York Times Best-Selling Author of "Into the Fire"
Sergeant Dakota L. Meyer is a United States Marine Corps veteran, the recipient of the Medal of Honor – the military’s highest honor, and the New York Times best-selling author of Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War. He is also an entrepreneur, having founded a successful construction company in Kentucky. Meyer earned his medal for his actions during the Battle of Ganjigal, which... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Austin Grand Ballroom

1:30pm

Three Felonies a Day: How Everyday Behavior Affects Everyday People

With the ever-growing breadth and depth of criminal law and administrative laws that carry criminal penalties, it is no surprise that the average American is estimated to unknowingly commit three or more felonies each day.vThis panel will highlight some of the successes TPPF has experienced in pushing back against overcriminalization and illustrate ground to be gained from further reform.


Moderators
avatar for Greg Glod

Greg Glod

Policy Analyst, Center for Effective Justice & Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Greg Glod is a Policy Analyst for Right on Crime as well as the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. | | Based in Austin, Texas, Glod is an attorney who began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Laura S. Kiessling on the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He subsequently practiced at a litigation firm in Annapolis, Maryland before joining Right on Crime and the Texas Public Policy... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Doug Deason

Doug Deason

President, Deason Capital Services, Deason Foundation
Doug has been the president of Deason Capital Services, LLC, the Deason family office, since 2009. DCS manages family assets including a large holding of Xerox Corporation shares; municipal bonds; a majority holding in FUNimation Entertainment and 1200 Media; a substantial holding in oil and gas operating company Foreland Resources, LLC; and a large holding in the global tax services firm Ryan, LLC. DCS also has investments in PE funds, debt... Read More →
avatar for Shannon Edmonds

Shannon Edmonds

Director of Governmental Relations, Texas District and County Attorneys Association
Shannon Edmonds is the Director of Governmental Relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association (TDCAA), the largest statewide association of prosecutors in the nation.  Mr. Edmonds serves as a liaison between prosecutors and the Texas Legislature on criminal justice, juvenile justice, and government representation issues.  Upon the conclusion of each legislative session, he authors TDCAA’s popular Legislative... Read More →
avatar for Representative Matt Krause

Representative Matt Krause

Texas House of Representatives
Matt was born in Tyler, TX, where his father was a youth pastor at Green Acres Baptist Church. He is a constitutional attorney, college professor of American history and government, and public speaker on America's Founding Fathers. He and his business partner also work with financial institutions, businesses, non-profits, and churches on ways to creatively reward and retain key employees and also putting in place transition plans for those... Read More →
avatar for Bill Kuntz

Bill Kuntz

Executive Director, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Bill Kuntz was appointed Executive Director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) in September 1999.  The TDLR is the state’s umbrella occupational licensing agency, regulating many diverse occupations and industries such as electricians, elevators, boxing, and property tax professionals. Currently there are 25 programs, with over 683,000 licensees being regulated by the department. TDLR has been the recipient... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Salon K

1:30pm

Spending vs. Taxation: Does the Conservative Texas Budget Meet the Needs of Texans?
A child’s education is one of the many things that can’t get funded unless the state’s budget is passed, making passing a budget arguably the most important thing a legislator does. Given that the 84th Texas Legislature passed a budget increase of less than population growth plus inflation, does this constitute a conservative budget and can it meet the needs of Texans? Join the Center for Fiscal Policy’s session with budget experts who will discuss these issues and more.

Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Talmadge Heflin

The Honorable Talmadge Heflin

Director, Center for Fiscal Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is the Director of the Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy. Prior to joining the Foundation, Heflin served the people of Harris County as a state representative for 11 terms. Well regarded as a legislative leader on budget and tax issues by Democratic and Republican speakers alike, he for several terms was the only House member to serve on both the Ways and Means and Appropriations committees. | | In the... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Greg Bonnen

Representative Greg Bonnen

Texas House of Representatives
Dr. Greg Bonnen, a practicing physician, small businessman, and longtime resident of Galveston County, was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2012. Representative Bonnen has resided in Galveston County for more than twenty years since attending UTMB in 1988. After finishing his medical education with high honors, Representative Bonnen completed his residency in neurosurgery and served as assistant professor at UTMB... Read More →
avatar for Representative Donna Howard

Representative Donna Howard

Texas House of Representatives
Representative Donna Howard has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2006. She is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and sits on its Article III Subcommittee which oversees education spending in the state budget. Donna is also a longtime member of the House Higher Education Committee — on which she currently serves as Vice-Chair — and the House Administration Committee. A native of Austin, Donna earned... Read More →
avatar for Bob Williams

Bob Williams

President, State Budget Solutions
Bob Williams is President of State Budget Solutions. He is a former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate an auditor with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Bob is a national expert in fiscal and tax policies, election reform and disaster preparedness. Because of his unique experience and expertise, Bob is a frequent guest on talk radio and at public forums. His commentary on state budget solutions appears frequently in... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Salon J

1:30pm

Uncompensated Care, Medicaid, and Solutions to Texas’ Health Care Crisis
A supplemental spending bill passed by the 84th Legislature caused total state spending on health and human services (Article II) to exceed education spending (Article III) for the first time in Texas history. As the state’s Medicaid rolls continue to grow (even without the ACA Medicaid expansion), hospitals face looming federal funding cuts, and the state grapples with unprecedented healthcare costs, how can we stabilize the growth of state healthcare spending while improving access to and quality of care?

**This panel is CLE accredited** 

Moderators
avatar for John Davidson

John Davidson

Director, Center for Health Care Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation
John Davidson is director of the Foundation’s Center for Health Care Policy. Davidson began his career in journalism, and has worked for a wide variety of publications and media companies. Before joining the Foundation in 2012, he was Executive Editor for Issue Media Group, where he oversaw 19 weekly publications in the U.S. and Canada covering the creative economy, business innovation, and urban development. | | A graduate of Hillsdale... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Garnet Coleman

Representative Garnet Coleman

Texas House of Representatives
Garnet F. Coleman has served the people of District 147 in the Texas House of Representatives continuously since 1991. Throughout his years of service, Representative Coleman has earned a reputation as a diligent leader in the areas of health care, economic development and education. He is currently the Senior ranking member of the Public Health Committee as well as the Chairman of the County Affairs Committee. Representative Coleman also... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Vance Ginn

Dr. Vance Ginn

Economist, Center for Fiscal Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Vance Ginn, Ph.D., is an economist in the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas, one of the nation’s top free market, state-level think tanks. He has expertise in fiscal policy and energy economics. | | In 2006, Ginn graduated with honors from Texas Tech University with a B.B.A in economics and accounting and minors in political science and mathematics. After interning for a U.S. Texas... Read More →
avatar for Camille Miller

Camille Miller

President & CEO, Texas Health Institute
Camille D. Miller has been the president and CEO of the Texas Health Institute (THI) since 1996. After completing bachelor's and master's degrees in sociology and social work at the University of Texas at Austin, Miller gained extensive experience in policy research and development while she served in Texas for three governors, two lieutenant governors, a state comptroller, and state senator, planning, researching and developing state policy to... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Meeting Room 616

3:00pm

The Uber Debate of Health Care: Telemedicine and Texas

In April 2015, the Texas Medical Board issued a rule that made Texas the most restrictive state in the country for the regulation of telemedicine. In response, Teladoc, a major telemedicine firm based in Dallas, filed a federal lawsuit against TMB. This came on the heels of a SCOTUS ruling in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC that will likely have major implications for the future of telemedicine regulation in Texas and across the country.


Moderators
avatar for Kate Murphy

Kate Murphy

Mental Health Policy Fellow contributing to the Center for Health Care Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Kate E. Murphy is a Mental Health Policy Fellow contributing to the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. | | Kate interned for Justice Johnson at the Texas Supreme Court. She was also a Judge K.K. Legett Fellow. As part of the program Kate interned at the Washington Legal Foundation where she drafted arguments that were included in amicus briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining the Foundation... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Dr. Elliot Justin

Dr. Elliot Justin

CEO, Justin MD, LLC
Dr. Elliot Justin is a residency-trained, board-certified emergency medicine specialist with over 30 years of experience as a physician, departmental director, and corporate leader. He is the founder and CMO of SwiftMD, a telemedicine firm that provides on-demand access to physicians, and in 2008, Dr. Justin established Pegasus Emergency Group, his third successful venture in emergency medicine services, which he sold in 2014. He trained in... Read More →
avatar for Commissioner Sid Miller

Commissioner Sid Miller

Texas Agriculture Commissioner
Sid Miller is serving as the 12th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, with his first term beginning in January 2015. Commissioner Miller brings a wealth of knowledge to the Texas Department of Agriculture. He is recognized as one of the state’s most dynamic and effective conservative leaders, as well as one of the state’s staunchest defenders of constitutional freedoms. | | During his six terms as a member of the Texas House of... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Billy Philips

Dr. Billy Philips

Executive Vice President and Director, F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health
Dr. Philips is the Executive Vice President and Director for the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.  He is Professor of Family and Community Medicine.  In addition to his other duties, he is responsible for the direction, implantation, and overall programming of telemedicine for the multi-campus Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He is also the principal... Read More →
avatar for Mari Robinson, J.D.

Mari Robinson, J.D.

Executive Director, Texas Medical Board
 Mari Robinson is the Executive Director for the Texas Medical Board, an agency she joined in 2001. Prior to joining the agency, she worked for a short time in private practice in the area of civil litigation as well as for the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In her current role, Ms. Robinson oversees the Texas Medical Board in general, as well as in particular the legal and administrative issues within the agency. She has a law... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Meeting Room 616

3:00pm

How Will Texas’ Rising, Low-Income Majority Afford College?

Today, the majority of Texas K-12 students are minorities and/or from low-income families. The panel will offer possible solutions to make college affordable for this new majority once they reach college age.


Moderators
avatar for Dr. Thomas Lindsay

Dr. Thomas Lindsay

Director, Center for Higher Education & Center for Tenth Amendment Studies, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Tom Lindsay, Ph.D., is director of the Foundation’s Center for Higher Education. He has more than two decades’ experience in education management and instruction, including service as a dean, provost, and college president. | | In 2006, Lindsay joined the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) staff as director of the agency’s signature initiative, We the People, which supports teaching and scholarship in American... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Jorge Klor de Alva

Jorge Klor de Alva

President, Nexus Research and Policy Center
Dr. Jorge Klor de Alva is President of Nexus Research and Policy Center, an independent, non-profit research and policy advocacy organization whose goal is the improvement of colleges in all sectors striving to educate nontraditional and underserved students. Earlier he served as President of University of Phoenix. Previously he was The Class of 1940 Professor at University of California-Berkeley, before then, professor at Princeton... Read More →
avatar for Representative Armando

Representative Armando "Mando" Martinez

Texas House of Representatives
Elected in 2004, Rep. Martinez proudly represents District 39 located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  He has served on the Higher Ed Committee since 2013.  Rep. Martinez played a critical role in the passage of SB 24 during the 83rd Session which led to the creation of UT-RGV and the medical school. He currently serves as Vice Chair on the Transportation Committee and Secretary of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus.
avatar for Dr. Ronald Trowbridge

Dr. Ronald Trowbridge

Trustee, Lone Star College System
Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Ronald L. Trowbridge was director of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the United States Information Agency, directing the Fulbright Program.  His position required U. S. Senate confirmation.  Later he became chief of staff for U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, publishing a book on the Chief Justice.  He holds a Ph. D. in English from the University of Michigan, where he taught... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Salon K

3:00pm

Government and Poverty: Do Our Policies Help or Hurt?

Government has a range of policies designed to help the poor. Do these programs work? What is the best way to lift up those in poverty? Some claim that a rising wealth gap points to an inherent problem with free markets while others point to government itself as the source of the problem. What approach helps the most people to live the American Dream?


Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Chuck DeVore

The Honorable Chuck DeVore

Vice President of National Initiatives, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Since 2011, Chuck DeVore has been with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and is its Vice President of National Initiatives. | | From 2004 to 2010, Chuck DeVore represented almost 500,000 people in the California State Assembly in coastal Orange County. He was the Vice Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and served on the Budget Committee as well. | In 2010, Chuck competed for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Alan Graham

Alan Graham

President & CEO, Mobile Loaves & Fishes
Alan Graham is the president and founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a social profit enterprise that delivers meals to homeless and working poor people on the streets of Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Providence, Rhode Island, New Bedford Massachusetts and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Additionally, Mobile Loaves & Fishes is involved in providing housing to the homeless through its Community First! program by purchasing gently used... Read More →
avatar for Fred McMahon

Fred McMahon

Resident Research Fellow, Fraser Institute
Fred McMahon is a Fraser Institute Resident Fellow and holder of the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom. He manages the Economic Freedom of the World Project and coordinates the Economic Freedom Network, an international alliance of independent think tanks in over 90 nations and territories. He is the co-author of Economic Freedom of North America: Annual Report and Economic Freedom of the Arab World: Annual Report. His... Read More →
avatar for Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. O’Toole’s research on national forest management, culminating in his 1988 book, Reforming the Forest Service, has had a major influence on Forest Service policy and on-the-ground management. His analysis of urban land-use and transportation issues, brought together in his 2001 book, The Vanishing Automobile... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Salon J

4:30pm

No Voice, No Vote: Forced Annexation in Texas (Plenary session)
**This session is CLE accredited** 

Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Chuck DeVore

The Honorable Chuck DeVore

Vice President of National Initiatives, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Since 2011, Chuck DeVore has been with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and is its Vice President of National Initiatives. | | From 2004 to 2010, Chuck DeVore represented almost 500,000 people in the California State Assembly in coastal Orange County. He was the Vice Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and served on the Budget Committee as well. | In 2010, Chuck competed for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Donna Campbell

Senator Donna Campbell

Texas State Senate
Dr. Donna Campbell is a board certified emergency room physician, retired ophthalmologist, and proud parent of four daughters. She lives in New Braunfels and represents Senate District 25, a six county district which includes parts of San Antonio and Austin. She serves as the Chairwoman of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee and sits on the Education, Health and Human Services, Administration, and Intergovernmental... Read More →
avatar for The Honorable Phil Gramm

The Honorable Phil Gramm

Former United States Senator, Texas
Senator Gramm joined Lone Star Global Acquisitions as Vice Chairman in December of 2012. He served as ViceChairman of UBS Investment Bank from December 2002 to December 2011. At UBS he provided senior leadershipin such landmark IPOs as Visa, the Bank of China, the China Merchants Bank and LGPhillips in Korea. He wasinstrumental in the follow-on equity offering for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the privatization ofTelstra in... Read More →
avatar for Representative Dan Huberty

Representative Dan Huberty

Texas House of Representatives
State Representative Dan Huberty was sworn-in to serve District 127 in the Texas House of Representatives on January 11, 2011. Within weeks of his arrival, he was appointed to two very highly-respected committees: Public Education and State Affairs. Huberty’s strong efforts as a freshman were also recognized by those outside the Capitol as he was named “Rookie of the Year” by Texas Monthly Magazine. By the conclusion of the 82nd... Read More →


Wednesday January 6, 2016 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Austin Grand Ballroom
 
Thursday, January 7
 

7:00am

Registration Opens
Thursday January 7, 2016 7:00am - 8:00am
Sixth Floor

8:00am

Breakfast Keynote
Speakers
avatar for The Honorable Tom Coburn

The Honorable Tom Coburn

Former United States Senator, Oklahoma
Tom A. Coburn, M.D. was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University with an accounting degree.  He married former Ms. Oklahoma Carolyn in 1968, and they now have three children and seven grandchildren. From 1970-78, Dr. Coburn was the manufacturing manager at the Ophthalmic Division of Coburn Optical Industries in Colonial Heights, Virginia, growing the division from 13 employees to more than 350 and... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 8:00am - 9:15am
Austin Grand Ballroom

9:30am

Regulatory Water World: How to Best Prepare for Growth in Texas
With drought having so recently plagued Texas, the need to streamline and unclutter burdensome state regulations has become apparent.  In order to meet future water need, legislative action in the form of an omnibus water bill that enacts widespread reforms to existing water law is needed. This panel will provide a discussion on what future water need will be, what existing water regulations exist and what the possible reforms to them might look like. 

**This panel is CLE accredited**  

Moderators
avatar for Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson

Policy Analyst, Center for Energy and the Environment, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Leigh Thompson is a Policy Analyst in the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas. | | Prior to joining the Foundation in January 2015, Thompson studied at St. Mary’s University School of Law and Graduated with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) in 2014. She was raised in the Dallas area and completed her undergraduate coursework at Dallas Baptist... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Bech Bruun

Bech Bruun

Chairman, Texas Water Development Board
Bech Bruun's professional experience spans positions in the executive and legislative branches of government as well as in the water industry with one of the state’s largest wholesale water providers. Bruun has served as a Board Member of the Texas Water Development Board Since September 1, 2013. Governor Abbott designated him Chairman in June 2015. Prior to his service on the Board, Bruun held a variety of positions in Governor Rick... Read More →
avatar for Representative Jason Isaac

Representative Jason Isaac

Texas House of Representatives
State Representative Jason Isaac is a fourth generation Texan.  Jason, his wife, Carrie, and their two boys call Dripping Springs home. Since his election in 2010, Rep. Isaac has proved to be a knowledgeable and effective legislator. He has passed legislation to assist veterans, protect Second Amendment rights, and strengthen election integrity.  He's dedicated to providing Texans with great schools, an efficient transportation... Read More →
avatar for Martha K. Landwehr

Martha K. Landwehr

General Counsel, Texas Chemical Council
Martha serves as the General Counsel for the Texas Chemical Council, a statewide trade association representing nearly 70 chemical manufacturing companies with over 200 research and manufacturing facilities across the state.  In her role at TCC, Martha has worked on a broad range of environmental regulatory and policy issues and leads TCC’s air and water advocacy efforts on behalf of TCC members before the Texas Legislature, the... Read More →
avatar for Mike Mason

Mike Mason

President and CEO, Weathermatic
Mike Mason is constantly at the forefront of new industries. As President and CEO of Weathermatic, he is currently revolutionizing the green industry through cloud-based water management technology and services. Under Mason’s leadership, the 70 year old company has transitioned from a traditional irrigation manufacturer to the industry-leading sustainable, high-tech, socially conscious water management brand. Through their social... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 9:30am - 10:45am
Meeting Room 616

9:30am

Educational Choice: Is It Good for Texas?
Approximately half the states have some form of private school choice.  Texas has none.  This panel will explore the most impressive parental choice programs adopted nationally.

Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Kent Grusendorf

The Honorable Kent Grusendorf

Senior Fellow, Center for Education Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Kent Grusendorf is the Senior Fellow in the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Education Freedom. | | Grusendorf was born near Abilene in Stanford, Texas, grew up in Waco and went to Arlington to attend college with only a band scholarship and $90 in his pocket. He spent most of his professional life in Arlington as a businessman and successful entrepreneur. Three months after graduating from college he started his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Scott Hammond

Senator Scott Hammond

Nevada State Senate
Scott Hammond was born in New York. As Scott’s father was in the military, the family was then stationed in Alaska where he attended school. He graduated from Delta Junction High School. During the next few years he attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the University of Utah. He finished his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in political science and then earned his teaching... Read More →
avatar for Stacy Hock

Stacy Hock

Board Member, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Stacy Hock is a philanthropist, public policy activist, and business owner.  She serves on the boards of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the leading state-based conservative policy think tank, Aminex Therapeutics, an immunotherapy cancer drug company, and The African Dream Initiative, educating tomorrow’s African leaders.  Stacy recently transitioned off the boards of City Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in the... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Charles Luke

Dr. Charles Luke

Coordinator, Coalition for Public Schools
Charles A. Luke (born 1961) is an American educator, ordained minister, author, nonprofit leader and consultant and one of only a few sitting superintendents to run for a state political office in recent years. Luke has served as a leader in the Texas education and nonprofit arenas for over thirty years. His published writings include political analysis and educational funding. Luke attended Texas Tech University, graduating magna... Read More →
avatar for Senator Larry Taylor

Senator Larry Taylor

Texas State Senate
A native Texan, Larry attended Baylor University where he received his BBA in 1982. He and his wife Kerri are the proud parents of three adult children and a granddaughter, Lila. Larry owns Truman Taylor Insurance Agency in Friendswood, an independent agency started by his father more than 50 years ago. | Senator Taylor serves as the Chairman of the Senate Public Education Committee and as a member of the Senate Finance, Business and... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 9:30am - 10:45am
Salon J

9:30am

Breaking Point: Texas' Property Tax Problem and Finding a Fix

This panel will examine the accomplishments of the 84th Session, the decision of voters in November 2015, and the ideas that should be focused on during the interim and through the next legislative session.


Moderators
avatar for James Quintero

James Quintero

Director, Center for Local Governance, Texas Public Policy Foundation
James Quintero is the Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, one of America’s premier conservative think tanks. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Fox News and Breitbart. | | Since joining the Foundation in 2008, Quintero has focused his research efforts on: state & local government spending, debt, taxes, financial... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Dennis Bonnen

Representative Dennis Bonnen

Texas House of Representatives
Representative Dennis Bonnen serves the 25th Legislative District in the Texas House of Representatives representing southern Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County. First elected to the Legislature in 1996, he began his tenth term of office in January 2015. At the beginning of the 84th Session, Representative Bonnen was appointed by Speaker Straus to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore, acting as presiding officer of the House in the Speaker's... Read More →
avatar for The Honorable Cheryl Johnson

The Honorable Cheryl Johnson

County Tax Assessor Collector, Galveston County Tax Office
Cheryl E. Johnson was elected to the office of Tax Assessor/Collector in the fall of 2004, becoming the first Republican woman to be elected to a county-wide seat in Galveston County.  She was re-elected in 2008 and was unopposed in 2012.  A resident of the Bay Area since 1983, she is a former real estate appraiser and has been active in many charitable and civic organizations throughout the area.  She and her husband Don have two... Read More →
avatar for Dick Lavine

Dick Lavine

Senior Fiscal Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities
Dick Lavine is the senior fiscal analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, where he focuses on state and local revenue issues.  CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.  Before coming to the Center in 1994, he was a Senior Researcher at the House Research Organization of the Texas House of... Read More →
avatar for Councilwoman Ellen Troxclair

Councilwoman Ellen Troxclair

Austin City Councilmember
Ellen Troxclair is honored to serve Southwest Austin, District 8, on the Austin City Council. She brings common sense leadership to City Hall through her dedication to lowering the cost of living and being a voice for taxpayers, while focusing on priorities such as improving mobility, managing growth responsibly, and keeping Southwest Austin a great place to live. When she is not at City Hall or working with constituents in the District, she... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 9:30am - 10:45am
Salon K

11:00am

Labor Unions in Texas: Fair and Balanced?

Everyone agrees that workers should be free to join labor unions. But have Texas and federal laws gone too far in giving unions too much power over workers and taxpayers? Should governments function as a dues collector for unions? This panel will examine how to make sure unions remain a legitimate option for workers while ensuring that workers, employers, and taxpayers are free to not to join or support them.

**This panel is CLE accredited**  


Moderators
avatar for Bill Peacock

Bill Peacock

Vice President of Research & Director, Center for Economic Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Bill Peacock is the vice president of research and the director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He has been with the Foundation since February 2005. | | Bill directs the research of the Foundation to ensure its accuracy, integrity, and application of free market principles to the issues facing Texas and the nation. His own research focuses on economic freedom and growth, property rights, civil justice... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Paul Bettencourt

Senator Paul Bettencourt

Chairman, Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief, Texas State Senate
Paul Bettencourt is Chief Executive Officer of Bettencourt Tax Advisors, LLC., a Radio and TV personality, former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector from 1998 to 2008, and the current Texas Senator from District 7. At the Tax Office, he introduced “Smart Government” and developed a customer service-driven organization. His team created the first major online Property Tax Payment System and the first county tax office website with... Read More →
avatar for Rick Levy

Rick Levy

Secretary-Treasurer, Texas AFL-CIO
Rick Levy is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO. A labor and civil rights lawyer in Texas since 1984, Levy began working for the state federation in 1990 and has been a fierce advocate for working families in the courtroom, in the streets and in the Capitol for the last 31 years. Levy’s union memberships include TSEU/CWA 6186 (since 1986) and Ironworkers Local 482. Levy is a 1978 graduate of Stanford University and 1984 graduate... Read More →
avatar for Annie Spilman

Annie Spilman

Legislative Director, National Federation of Independent Business – Texas
Annie Spilman joined the Texas office of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in July 2014 and heads up the organization’s public policy and political programs throughout the state. | | Spilman has 15 years of legislative experience, both inside and outside the Texas Capitol. She brings valuable experience in government relations, grassroots organizing, fundraising and direct lobbying to the NFIB/Texas team... Read More →
avatar for Vincent Vernuccio

Vincent Vernuccio

Director of Labor Policy, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
F. Vincent Vernuccio is director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He is a graduate of the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Mich. Under President George W. Bush he served as special assistant to the assistant secretary for administration and management in the Department of Labor. Vernuccio has published articles and op-eds in such newspapers and magazines as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investor’s... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
Salon K

11:00am

Limits or No Limits: Will Budget Restrictions Alter Growth in Our State?

How should the Texas Legislature effectively limit taxpayers’ cost of funding more state spending? Is the current tax and expenditure limit (TEL) effective? What reforms could be made to the spending limit that would better match the state’s budget with the needs of the state? Join us as our panelists discuss these questions and more about the costs and benefits of the state’s TEL.


Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Talmadge Heflin

The Honorable Talmadge Heflin

Director, Center for Fiscal Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is the Director of the Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy. Prior to joining the Foundation, Heflin served the people of Harris County as a state representative for 11 terms. Well regarded as a legislative leader on budget and tax issues by Democratic and Republican speakers alike, he for several terms was the only House member to serve on both the Ways and Means and Appropriations committees. | | In the... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Kelly Hancock

Senator Kelly Hancock

Texas State Senate
First elected to the Texas Senate in 2012, Kelly Hancock represents Senate District 9, which includes portions of Tarrant and Dallas Counties. He previously served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives. In both chambers, he has advocated for core conservative values of limited government, lower taxes, and strong family values. | | For more than a decade, conservative leaders have supported state budget spending limit reform. Senator... Read More →
avatar for Ursula Parks

Ursula Parks

Director, Legislative Budget Board
Ursula Parks is the Director of the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB). Ms. Parks has been on the staff of the LBB since 1993. During her tenure at the LBB, Ms. Parks has worked in various capacities including a budget analyst, a budget team manager, an assistant director, and the agency's deputy director.  Ms. Parks has been directly involved in the development of budget and policy recommendations for numerous state agencies and... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Barry W. Poulson

Dr. Barry W. Poulson

Emeritus Professor, University of Colorado Boulder
Barry W. Poulson is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado. He has been a Visiting Professor at several Universities including, Universidad Autonomo De Guadalajara, Mexico; University of North Carolina; Cambridge University; Konan University, Kobe Japan; and Universidad Carlos Tercera, Madrid, Spain.  He is the author of numerous books and articles in the fields of economic development and economic history. His... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
Salon J

11:00am

After the Fall: How Will Texas Protect Its Citizens From the National-Debt Crisis?

With the national debt standing at roughly $18 trillion, there will come the time when the ability of the federal government to maintain its current funding to states will lessen or even cease. To avoid a nightmare scenario for Texas when this contraction occurs—and to fulfill the intentions of the Tenth Amendment, and with it, the rightful duties of Texas’ statewide officeholders—an accounting must be made of the amounts, purposes, and conditions governing all federal funds to the state presently. The panelists will propose measures to accomplish this purpose.


Moderators
avatar for Dr. Thomas Lindsay

Dr. Thomas Lindsay

Director, Center for Higher Education & Center for Tenth Amendment Studies, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Tom Lindsay, Ph.D., is director of the Foundation’s Center for Higher Education. He has more than two decades’ experience in education management and instruction, including service as a dean, provost, and college president. | | In 2006, Lindsay joined the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) staff as director of the agency’s signature initiative, We the People, which supports teaching and scholarship in American... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for The Honorable Susan Combs

The Honorable Susan Combs

Principal, Texans for Positive Economic Prosperity
Susan Combs knows that the answer is in the numbers. Throughout her career of public service, she has transformed government by emphasizing facts and figures over emotion and partisan passion. Her insistence on good data was a hallmark of her terms as a state representative, Texas’ first woman Agriculture Commissioner, and Texas Comptroller and Treasurer. Having stepped out of the political spotlight, she continues to apply her bedrock... Read More →
avatar for Representative Matt Krause

Representative Matt Krause

Texas House of Representatives
Matt was born in Tyler, TX, where his father was a youth pastor at Green Acres Baptist Church. He is a constitutional attorney, college professor of American history and government, and public speaker on America's Founding Fathers. He and his business partner also work with financial institutions, businesses, non-profits, and churches on ways to creatively reward and retain key employees and also putting in place transition plans for those... Read More →
avatar for Mario Loyola

Mario Loyola

Fellow, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty
Mario Loyola is a fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and he is a frequent visiting fellow at New York University School of Law. He has taught negotiations at the University of Texas School of Law and currently teaches at George Mason University School of Law. He writes regularly on international relations, in addition to public policy, federalism, and constitutional law. He is a... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
Meeting Room 616

12:30pm

Keynote Luncheon: Education Freedom and the American Future
Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Kent Grusendorf

The Honorable Kent Grusendorf

Senior Fellow, Center for Education Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Kent Grusendorf is the Senior Fellow in the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Education Freedom. | | Grusendorf was born near Abilene in Stanford, Texas, grew up in Waco and went to Arlington to attend college with only a band scholarship and $90 in his pocket. He spent most of his professional life in Arlington as a businessman and successful entrepreneur. Three months after graduating from college he started his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for The Honorable Phil Gramm

The Honorable Phil Gramm

Former United States Senator, Texas
Senator Gramm joined Lone Star Global Acquisitions as Vice Chairman in December of 2012. He served as ViceChairman of UBS Investment Bank from December 2002 to December 2011. At UBS he provided senior leadershipin such landmark IPOs as Visa, the Bank of China, the China Merchants Bank and LGPhillips in Korea. He wasinstrumental in the follow-on equity offering for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the privatization ofTelstra in... Read More →
avatar for Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison

Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison

Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison is a husband, father and grandfather, constitutional lawyer, and business owner. Mark was sworn in as the 34th Lieutenant Governor of the State of Nevada on January 15, 2015. As Lieutenant Governor, Mark serves as the President of the Nevada State Senate, Chairman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), a member of the Board of Economic Development, a member of the Board of Transportation, and a member of... Read More →
avatar for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Dan Patrick was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 2014, winning the general election by almost 20 points, including historic levels of support from female and Hispanic voters. A principled and committed conservative, Lt. Gov. Patrick continues to lead the fight to secure the border, reduce property and business taxes, protect our Second Amendment, defend innocent life and address our state's infrastructure challenges to keep Texas... Read More →

Welcome & Invocation
avatar for Commissioner George P. Bush

Commissioner George P. Bush

Texas Land Commissioner, Texas General Land Office
George Prescott Bush is a native Texan, born in Houston on April 24, 1976. He was elected Texas Land Commissioner on Nov. 4, 2014, earning more votes than any other statewide candidate on the ballot. Commissioner Bush took office on Jan. 2, 2015. As Texas Land Commissioner, Bush works to ensure Texas veterans get the benefits they’ve earned, oversees investments that earn billions of dollars for public education and manages state lands... Read More →

Thursday January 7, 2016 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Austin Grand Ballroom

2:00pm

School Finance: After 30 Years of Litigation, How Can Texas Restructure Education to Benefit Students?
This panel will discuss the school finance case before the Texas Supreme Court and opportunities for reform this litigation effort presents. Additionally, this panel will discuss the structure of educational delivery from a historical perspective, explore structural changes to enhance educational opportunities for Texas students, and examine new formula concepts to achieve that objective.  

Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Kent Grusendorf

The Honorable Kent Grusendorf

Senior Fellow, Center for Education Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Kent Grusendorf is the Senior Fellow in the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Education Freedom. | | Grusendorf was born near Abilene in Stanford, Texas, grew up in Waco and went to Arlington to attend college with only a band scholarship and $90 in his pocket. He spent most of his professional life in Arlington as a businessman and successful entrepreneur. Three months after graduating from college he started his... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Michael Barba

Michael Barba

Policy Analyst, Center for Education Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The second of three sons, Michael Barba was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Dallas, where he majored in philosophy and politics. Following graduation, he completed a Graduate Student Fellowship at the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. While working on his graduate degree—also from the University of Dallas—he began working for a small Austin-based start-up... Read More →
avatar for Chris Diamond

Chris Diamond

Sprague, Rustam & Diamond, P.C.
Chris was licensed to practice law in May 1995. His experience is in civil litigation including insurance defense (first- and third-party), insurance coverage involving auto, home, garage, and construction policies, personal injury defense, general liability defense, and commercial litigation. He has tried in excess of 50 first-chair jury trials in areas including general negligence, automobile negligence, construction injuries and... Read More →
avatar for Rick Gray

Rick Gray

Lawyer, Gray & Becker, P.C.
Preparatory education: Washington and Lee University, B.A. with honors (1973); legal education: University of Texas School of Law, J.D. with honors (1976). Private practice of law with BUTLER, BINION, RICE, COOK & KNAPP, Houston, Texas, specializing in litigation (1976-80); Executive Assistant to Attorney General Mark White (1980-82); has served as Special Counsel to Attorney General Jim Mattox (1983-86) and Special Counsel to Attorney... Read More →
avatar for Senator Don Huffines

Senator Don Huffines

Texas State Senate
Senator Don Huffines is a real estate developer serving his first term in the Texas Senate. He believes in liberty, limited government, personal responsibility, and that individuals have the God-given right to pursue their own path, to succeed or fail. He represents Senate District 16, which serves the north half of Dallas County. In his first session - his first time holding public office - Senator Huffines was a champion for more transportation... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 2:00pm - 3:15pm
Salon J

2:00pm

Local Control vs. Local Liberty

This panel will examine the local control vs. local liberty debate that transpired in the 84th Session and where this dispute moves to next. Panelists will also discuss the benefits and perils of autonomous local governments. 


Moderators
avatar for James Quintero

James Quintero

Director, Center for Local Governance, Texas Public Policy Foundation
James Quintero is the Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, one of America’s premier conservative think tanks. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Fox News and Breitbart. | | Since joining the Foundation in 2008, Quintero has focused his research efforts on: state & local government spending, debt, taxes, financial... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Sylvia Garcia

Senator Sylvia Garcia

Texas State Senate
Senator Sylvia R. Garcia is a native of the South Texas farming community, Palito Blanco. The eighth of ten children, Sylvia learned at an early age the value of education and hard work. Growing up, she saw her parents struggle to raise those ten children. And because of their struggles, her parents wanted to make sure each one their children had a good education in order to better their lives. As a result, Sylvia worked hard and attended... Read More →
avatar for Senator Bob Hall

Senator Bob Hall

Texas State Senate
Texas Senator Bob Hall has proven himself to be a true champion of liberty.  Senator Hall graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina with a degree in Electrical Engineering and received a Regular Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force. While a cadet at the Citadel he received numerous awards for leadership. He was the only Air Force Cadet selected to be a Battalion Commander and was awarded the coveted Wade... Read More →
avatar for Luke Metzger

Luke Metzger

Director, Environment Texas
Luke Metzger is the founding Director of Environment Texas, a statewide, citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces. The San Antonio Current has called Mr. Metzger "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has played a key role in dozens of successful environmental campaigns, including winning permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big... Read More →
avatar for Representative Matt Rinaldi

Representative Matt Rinaldi

Texas House of Representatives
Matt Rinaldi of House District 115 was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2014 to represent the Northwest portion of Dallas County. Representative Rinaldi sits on both the Committee on Business & Industry and the Committee on Agriculture & Livestock. | | Representative Rinaldi attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he graduated cum laude with a B.B.A. in Economics, and Boston University... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 2:00pm - 3:15pm
Salon K

2:00pm

Mission Accomplished!? What Should Happen After a Protected Species Under the Endangered Species Act Recovers?
This panel will focus on the efforts to remove species from the endangered species act that are not threatened with extinction and the federal government’s lack of constitutional authority to regulate intrastate species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is important that valid science plays a significant role in making the ESA listing and delisting decisions, and this panel will discuss the left’s blanket opposition to any lessening of ESA regulation despite current objective, scientific studies.

**This panel is CLE accredited**  

Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Robert Henneke

The Honorable Robert Henneke

Director, Center for the American Future, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Robert Henneke is the Director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. | | Before joining the Foundation, Robert served as the twice-elected Kerr County Attorney where he fought to protect the community through tough prosecution and brought conservative values to county government. Robert began his legal career serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the General Litigation division under... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for The Honorable Susan Combs

The Honorable Susan Combs

Principal, Texans for Positive Economic Prosperity
Susan Combs knows that the answer is in the numbers. Throughout her career of public service, she has transformed government by emphasizing facts and figures over emotion and partisan passion. Her insistence on good data was a hallmark of her terms as a state representative, Texas’ first woman Agriculture Commissioner, and Texas Comptroller and Treasurer. Having stepped out of the political spotlight, she continues to apply her bedrock... Read More →
avatar for William Perry Pendley

William Perry Pendley

President, Mountain States Legal Foundation
William Perry Pendley, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mountain States Legal Foundation, was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, received B.A. and M.A. degrees in Economics and Political Science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, after which he received his J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, where he was Senior Editor on Land and Water Law Review... Read More →
avatar for Adam Zerrenner

Adam Zerrenner

Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Adam Zerrenner is the Field Supervisor for the Austin Ecological Services Field Office, which has Endangered Species Act responsibility for Central and West Texas, where he has served for over eight years.  Under Mr. Zerrenner’s leadership, the office oversees one of the fastest growing regions in the country that also has some of the highest numbers of threatened and endangered species. For more than 20 years, Mr. Zerrenner has... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 2:00pm - 3:15pm
Meeting Room 616

3:30pm

Watchmen or Warfighter? Finding a Policing Model for the 21st Century
With high-profile police/citizen interactions grabbing headlines around the country, it has never been more important to discuss the role of law enforcement and policies that better enable police to keep communities safe.

Moderators
avatar for Derek Cohen

Derek Cohen

Deputy Director, Center for Effective Justice & Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Derek M. Cohen is a deputy director in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Right on Crime campaign. | | Cohen graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation on the long-term costs and outcomes associated with correctional programming. His academic... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Eric Johnson

Representative Eric Johnson

Texas House of Representatives
Eric Johnson represents District 100, which includes parts of Dallas and Mesquite, in the Texas House of Representatives. He was first elected in a special election in April 2010. He was re-elected in November 2010, again in November 2012, and once again in November 2014. Today, he serves on three prominent committees: he is Vice Chair of the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, a member of the House Committee on Homeland... Read More →
avatar for Representative Linda Koop

Representative Linda Koop

Texas House of Representatives
Linda has supported the community through a long list of Civic and Community service endeavors during the last 30 years. She has served on the DART Board of Directors, McKinney Avenue Transit Authority Board of Directors; Dallas Park and Recreation Board; Fellow of the University of Texas Law School - Center for Policy Dispute; Send-A-Kid to Camp; and as a Mentor for the North Dallas Chamber's Young Professionals Program. Additionally, she is a... Read More →
avatar for Matt Miller

Matt Miller

Managing Attorney, Texas Office, Institute for Justice
Matt Miller serves as managing attorney of the Texas office of the Institute for Justice. He joined the Institute and opened the Texas office in 2008 and litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases protecting the property rights, economic liberty, free speech and other individual liberties in both federal and state courts. Matt’s has litigated to defend the property rights of craft brewers and victims of civil forfeiture; the First... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Meeting Room 616

3:30pm

Advancing the Texas Model: Will a Simple Tax System Drive Prosperity?

The Texas model of low taxes, no individual income tax, moderate regulation, and a good lawsuit climate has generated prosperity for many Texans. Despite these gains, is the state’s tax system with an onerous business franchise tax and burdensome local property taxes the most efficient? Join us as the panel discusses potential improvements to the state’s tax structure so that the budget meets the needs of Texans while providing an environment conducive to the greatest economic opportunity for them to succeed.


Moderators
avatar for Dr. Vance Ginn

Dr. Vance Ginn

Economist, Center for Fiscal Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Vance Ginn, Ph.D., is an economist in the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin, Texas, one of the nation’s top free market, state-level think tanks. He has expertise in fiscal policy and energy economics. | | In 2006, Ginn graduated with honors from Texas Tech University with a B.B.A in economics and accounting and minors in political science and mathematics. After interning for a U.S. Texas... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Paul Bettencourt

Senator Paul Bettencourt

Chairman, Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief, Texas State Senate
Paul Bettencourt is Chief Executive Officer of Bettencourt Tax Advisors, LLC., a Radio and TV personality, former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector from 1998 to 2008, and the current Texas Senator from District 7. At the Tax Office, he introduced “Smart Government” and developed a customer service-driven organization. His team created the first major online Property Tax Payment System and the first county tax office website with... Read More →
avatar for Scott Drenkard

Scott Drenkard

Economist and Director of State Projects, Tax Foundation
Scott is the director of state projects for the Tax Foundation. He is an author of the annual State Business Tax Climate Index and editor of the 2012 and 2013 editions of the popular handbook, Facts & Figures: How Does Your State Compare? In 2013, he co-authored books on North Carolina tax policy and Nebraska tax policy which laid the groundwork for fundamental tax reforms in each state. Scott... Read More →
avatar for Senator Craig Estes

Senator Craig Estes

Texas State Senate
Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) represents the 30th Senatorial District located in North Texas and was first elected to the Texas Senate in a 2001 Special Election. The Texas Senate elected him president pro tempore during the 83rd Interim. | | A life-long conservative, Senator Estes is committed to promoting the conservative principles he shares with his constituents in his role as a legislator. Since his election to the Texas Senate... Read More →
avatar for Representative Chris Turner

Representative Chris Turner

Texas House of Representatives
State Representative Chris Turner serves the people of House District 101, a rapidly growing and diverse area of Tarrant County, which includes major portions of Arlington and Grand Prairie. During the 84th Legislative Session, Chris was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means, charged with addressing our state's tax policy. In his three terms in the Legislature, Chris has authored several tax-related measures, including... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Salon K

3:30pm

Time to Bring Migrant Worker Programs Under the Control of the States?
The federal government has failed to fix the legal immigration system or prevent illegal immigration to the states. Is it time, then, for the states to be given a freer hand to determine their own migration policies? The panel will debate a proposal to pass state-level legislation that asks the federal government for a waiver to create a state-based migrant worker program, under which states would regulate and control the entry of additional migrants into the state for work or any other economic activity the state wants to encourage—but under the control of the state rather than Washington.

Moderators
avatar for Dr. Thomas Lindsay

Dr. Thomas Lindsay

Director, Center for Higher Education & Center for Tenth Amendment Studies, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Tom Lindsay, Ph.D., is director of the Foundation’s Center for Higher Education. He has more than two decades’ experience in education management and instruction, including service as a dean, provost, and college president. | | In 2006, Lindsay joined the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) staff as director of the agency’s signature initiative, We the People, which supports teaching and scholarship in American... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Bob Hall

Senator Bob Hall

Texas State Senate
Texas Senator Bob Hall has proven himself to be a true champion of liberty.  Senator Hall graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina with a degree in Electrical Engineering and received a Regular Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force. While a cadet at the Citadel he received numerous awards for leadership. He was the only Air Force Cadet selected to be a Battalion Commander and was awarded the coveted Wade... Read More →
avatar for Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute
Alex Nowrasteh is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, and elsewhere. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the Fletcher Security Review, and Public Choice. Alex has... Read More →
avatar for Representative Gilbert Peña

Representative Gilbert Peña

Texas House of Representatives
Gilbert Peña was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2014 to serve District 144, encompassing Pasadena and portions of Houston, Baytown, Deer Park, La Porte, and South Houston. Gilbert was born in Galveston in 1949 to Spanish-speaking parents. He moved to Houston when he was nine years old, where he started school and began learning English. Coming from a meager upbringing, Gilbert worked picking cotton during the... Read More →


Thursday January 7, 2016 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Salon J
 
Friday, January 8
 

7:00am

Registration Opens
Friday January 8, 2016 7:00am - 8:00am
Sixth Floor

8:00am

Breakfast Keynote: Strategy and Democracy: A Conversation on the 2016 Presidential Elections
Moderators
avatar for Benjamin Domenech

Benjamin Domenech

Publisher, The Federalist & Fellow, The Manhattan Institute
Benjamin Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist, host of the syndicated Federalist Radio Hour, and writes The Transom, a daily subscription newsletter for political insiders. Domenech also serves as a fellow at The Manhattan Institute. He was previously a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute; editor in chief of The City, an academic journal on faith and culture; and a speechwriter for HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and U.S. Senator John... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson

Chief Strategist, Ted Cruz Campaign
Jason Johnson is the chief strategist for the Ted Cruz 2016 presidential campaign. Johnson is also owner of J2 Strategies, which provides turnkey campaign and political consulting solutions to Republican candidates and officeholders. With 39 campaign victories, J2 Strategies has earned one of the most successful political win records in Texas. Johnson previously served as campaign manager for Greg Abbott’s attorney general campaign... Read More →
avatar for John Noonan

John Noonan

National Security Advisor, Jeb Bush Campaign
John Noonan is national security advisor to Governor Jeb Bush's campaign for President. He previously served as Governor Mitt Romney's national security advisor during the 2012 Presidential election. Noonan spent four years as the spokesman for the House Committee on Armed Services majority, working for Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) and his successor, Mac Thornberry (R-TX).  He is a former Policy Director of the Foreign... Read More →
avatar for Avik Roy

Avik Roy

Advisor, Marco Rubio Campaign
Avik Roy is the Opinion Editor at Forbes and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is advising Sen. Marco Rubio on policy for the 2016 presidential campaign. Earlier in 2015, Roy served as the senior advisor to former Texas governor Rick Perry. In 2012, he served as a health care policy advisor to Mitt Romney. Roy is the principal author of The Apothecary, the influential Forbes blog on health care policy and entitlement reform. He... Read More →
avatar for Tim Teepell

Tim Teepell

Media Director, Bobby Jindal Campaign
In his 18-year career, Timmy Teepell has had success in every aspect of American politics. He has managed two congressional campaigns and won them both. He managed a Governor’s race and won it, and served as Chief Strategist on Governor Jindal’s re-election campaign and won it by a historic margin. Teepell directed Governor Jindal’s transition successfully and later advised multiple new Governors on their transitions. In his... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 8:00am - 9:15am
Austin Grand Ballroom

9:30am

Who Benefits? Corporate Welfare in Texas

The battle in Washington over the Export Import Bank, renewable energy subsidies, and other forms of corporate welfare have brought this issue to life nationally. But what about Texas? What types of corporate welfare are being offered by Texas’s state and local governments? How much does it cost taxpayers? Does corporate welfare benefit anyone besides the corporations?


Moderators
avatar for Bill Peacock

Bill Peacock

Vice President of Research & Director, Center for Economic Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Bill Peacock is the vice president of research and the director of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He has been with the Foundation since February 2005. | | Bill directs the research of the Foundation to ensure its accuracy, integrity, and application of free market principles to the issues facing Texas and the nation. His own research focuses on economic freedom and growth, property rights, civil justice... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Senator Konni Burton

Senator Konni Burton

Texas State Senate
Born in Kerrville, Konni was raised in the small South Texas town of Banquete where her father was the high school principal and mother was the school secretary. Konni attended the University of North Texas, where she graduated with a BBA in Marketing and met her husband Phil—also a graduate of UNT. Konni and Phil married and moved to Tarrant County. Before long, her entrepreneurial spirit drove her to open a wedding consulting... Read More →
avatar for Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace

President, Texas Association of Business
Chris Wallace, IOM, CCE is President of the Texas Association of Business, the state chamber of commerce.  In this role, he manages TAB’s statewide team responsible for strategy, operations, membership/marketing, as well as board and chamber relations.  Prior to joining the TAB team, Wallace was the President/CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber, the third largest chamber of commerce in North Texas and the first... Read More →
avatar for Councilman Don Zimmerman

Councilman Don Zimmerman

Austin City Councilmember
Council Member Don Zimmerman is a software engineer who is best known for his efforts to fight various tax proposals.  In 2002, Zimmerman was elected president of the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District (MUD) No. 1, where he waged a legal battle against a practice that he maintained was unlawful—combining City property taxes and (MUD) property taxes. Zimmerman won when a court sided with the MUD, thereby successfully... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 9:30am - 10:45am
Meeting Room 616

9:30am

The Untouchables: A Look at Local Retirement Systems Protected by State Law
Many of Texas’s local retirement systems are in danger of fiscal disaster. The latest data shows we have in excess of $57 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and that number is only continuing to grow. Texas' pension programs are built on the defined benefit model. The panelists will discuss the viability of other options.

Moderators
avatar for James Quintero

James Quintero

Director, Center for Local Governance, Texas Public Policy Foundation
James Quintero is the Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, one of America’s premier conservative think tanks. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Fox News and Breitbart. | | Since joining the Foundation in 2008, Quintero has focused his research efforts on: state & local government spending, debt, taxes, financial... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Roberto Alonzo

Representative Roberto Alonzo

Texas House of Representatives
Roberto R. Alonzo was officially sworn in to start his eighth 2-year term as a Texas State Representative for House District 104 on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, having been first elected in November 1992, starting his first term during the 73rd Regular Session in 1993. He has also served during the 74th (1995), 78th (2003), 79th (2005) 80th (2007), 81st (2009) and 82nd (2011) Regular Sessions. State Rep. Alonzo serves House District 104 in the... Read More →
avatar for Representative Jim Murphy

Representative Jim Murphy

Texas House of Representatives
State Representative Jim Murphy represents District 133, West Houston. First elected in 2006, Murphy serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections and is a member of the Ways & Means Committee.  Murphy also serves as Floor Leader for the House Republican Caucus. His legislative accomplishments have earned Jim awards from organizations including the Texas Association of Business, National Coalition for Capitol, Texas Right... Read More →
avatar for Max Patterson

Max Patterson

Executive Director, Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems
Max Patterson is the executive director of the Texas Association of Public EmployeeRetirement Systems. Prior to joining TEXPERS, he was the executive director of the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund. He has also served as deputy director in the Finance & Administration Department for the City of Houston and as appointed city treasurer and a fiduciary on the city’s three pension funds. Before coming to Houston, Mr... Read More →
avatar for Bob Williams

Bob Williams

President, State Budget Solutions
Bob Williams is President of State Budget Solutions. He is a former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate an auditor with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Bob is a national expert in fiscal and tax policies, election reform and disaster preparedness. Because of his unique experience and expertise, Bob is a frequent guest on talk radio and at public forums. His commentary on state budget solutions appears frequently in... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 9:30am - 10:45am
Salon K

9:30am

Benefit vs. Burden: Do the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Costs Exceed the Regulation’s Impact?
During a recent congressional hearing, Chairman Lamar Smith challenged EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to justify her comments that the Clean Power Plan was “enormously beneficial” when it would only avert one one-hundredth of a degree of global warming and cost hundreds of billions of dollars to implement. These kinds of policies raise the question: What benefit should environmental regulations accomplish in order to justify their cost? This panel will discuss ongoing efforts in opposition to the Clean Power Plan, as well as the type and substance of benefits that should result from a proposed environmental regulation.

Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Robert Henneke

The Honorable Robert Henneke

Director, Center for the American Future, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Robert Henneke is the Director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. | | Before joining the Foundation, Robert served as the twice-elected Kerr County Attorney where he fought to protect the community through tough prosecution and brought conservative values to county government. Robert began his legal career serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the General Litigation division under... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Theodore Hadzi-Antich

Theodore Hadzi-Antich

Senior Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
Ted Hadzi-Antich is a senior environmental attorney at the national headquarters of Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, California.  Pacific Legal Foundation is a not-for-profit organization specializing in defending individual liberty, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulation. Ted has been an environmental lawyer for almost 40 years, and he practices in the areas of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water... Read More →
avatar for Cyrus Reed

Cyrus Reed

Conservation Director, Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club
Cyrus has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on water policy and the dispute over the Rio Grande water with Mexico. Prior to becoming conservation director, he served as Sierra Club's lobbyist on energy and air quality issues during the 2005, 2007 legislative sessions, and directed the Texas Center for Policy Studies, an environmental policy and advocacy organization based in Austin, for five years. He is... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Bryan Shaw, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Bryan Shaw, Ph.D., P.E.

Chairman, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Dr. Bryan W. Shaw of Elgin was appointed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by Gov. Rick Perry on Nov. 1, 2007. The Texas Senate confirmed his appointment on May 5, 2009 and he was appointed chairman on Sept. 10, 2009. Shaw is an associate professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department of Texas A&M University (TAMU) with many of his courses focused on air pollution engineering. The majority of his... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 9:30am - 10:45am
Salon J

11:00am

The Fourth Branch: EPA and the Administrative State

Agencies – the essence of the administrative state – play ever more ubiquitous and decisive roles at both federal and state levels.  Ranging from housing permits, to licensing, to environmental regulation to health care, agencies touch every facet of our lives. EPA’s recent proliferation of expansive and overreaching rules like the Clean Power Plan and WOTUS, necessitates the need to take a look at the current Administrative State and its impact on Texas and Federalism. Short of eliminating many of the agencies and their programs, what can be done to cause them to operate more in line with sound conservative principles?


Moderators
avatar for The Honorable Kathleen Hartnett White

The Honorable Kathleen Hartnett White

Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence & Director, Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment, Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Honorable Kathleen Hartnett White joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation in January 2008. She is a Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment. | | Prior to joining the Foundation, White served a six-year term as Chairman and Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). With regulatory jurisdiction over air quality, water quality, water rights... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Drew Darby

Representative Drew Darby

Texas House of Representatives
State Representative Drew Darby represents nine counties in West Texas spanning the Concho Valley and Permian Basin, an area larger than seven states. Drew is a product of San Angelo schools and received a business degree and a juris doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He also attended the Darden School for Emerging Leaders at the University of Virginia. | | Drew was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006. He has... Read More →
avatar for John R. Hays, Jr.

John R. Hays, Jr.

Partner, Hays & Owens L.L.P.
John Hays has an extensive background in government, academia, and the private practiceof law, with a particular emphasis on energy and natural resources, including oil and gas. Hepractices law with Hays & Owens L.L.P. in Austin, is a certified mediator, and hasrepresented clients in a wide variety of matters, including litigation in the courts and beforestate and federal agencies. | | Mr. Hays has written and presented numerous papers on... Read More →
avatar for Dudley McCalla

Dudley McCalla

Counsel, Jackson Walker LLP
Attorney at Law – Of counsel to Jackson Walker L.L.P., 100 Congress Avenue, Suite 1100, Austin, Texas 78701.  LLB degree, University of Texas Law School 1959.  In 1959 and 1960, served as attorney with Texas Securities Board.  From 1961 to 1963 was an Assistant Attorney General of Texas, during which time he represented the State Board of Insurance, State Securities Board, Department of Banking and Saving and Loan... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
Salon J

11:00am

Do Property Rights Help the Poor? Affordable Housing in Texas
While the cost of living is much more affordable in Texas than other large states, there are still places where housing costs are high, including Austin. This panel will examine the extent of the housing problem in Texas, and determine if there is a link between housing costs and local government regulations on land use.

Moderators
avatar for Kathleen Hunker

Kathleen Hunker

Policy Analyst, Center for Economic Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Kathleen Hunker is a senior policy analyst with the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She is also a managing editor of the Foundation’s research and publications. | | During her time at the Foundation, Hunker has testified nearly two-dozen times before the Texas Legislature and has become a respected expert on the law surrounding consumer protection, property rights, and the Texas civil court system. | | A... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Representative Diego Bernal

Representative Diego Bernal

Texas House of Representatives
Representative Diego Bernal was born in South Texas and raised in San Antonio. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in the city's west side, he attended the University of Michigan, where he earned his undergraduate degree, Master's in Social Work, and law degree. As a social worker, he helped young gang members in Detroit transition out of a rough life and into school or the workforce. He continued this work in Harlingen, Texas with... Read More →
avatar for Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. O’Toole’s research on national forest management, culminating in his 1988 book, Reforming the Forest Service, has had a major influence on Forest Service policy and on-the-ground management. His analysis of urban land-use and transportation issues, brought together in his 2001 book, The Vanishing Automobile... Read More →
avatar for Phyllis Snodgrass

Phyllis Snodgrass

CEO, Austin Habitat for Humanity
Phyllis Snodgrass has been a leader in community engagement for almost two decades. During her 17 year Chamber of Commerce Career, she served as President/CEO of three local chambers. She then went on to become VP of Chamber Relations for the Texas Association of Business, furthering their mission to make Texas the best business climate on the planet. Phyllis spent four years as the COO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce before coming into... Read More →
avatar for Geoffrey Tahuahua

Geoffrey Tahuahua

Vice President of Public Policy, Home Builders Association of Greater Austin
Geoffrey Tahuahua (ta-wa-wa) became Vice President of Public Policy for the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin (HBA) in June 2015. In addition to representing the HBA to over 30 municipalities in 6 counties, Geoffrey also advises the association's political action committee on strategy and selecting candidates to support. A graduate of St. Mary's University, Geoffrey has over 8 years of experience in politics and government with... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
Meeting Room 616

11:00am

Right-Sizing an Overgrown Criminal Justice System

After decades of growing incarceration rates and public spending on criminal justice, legislators have started to embrace a holistic view of the criminal justice system instead of addressing each segment as a standalone component. This approach begets better long term results as offenders are advanced through the system in the manner best suited to reducing recidivism and controlling costs.This panel will take a top-down look at the entire system, from arrest to discharge, juvenile to adult, and identify best practices to be applied in future legislative sessions.

**This panel is CLE accredited**  


Moderators
avatar for Marc Levin

Marc Levin

Director, Center for Effective Justice & Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Marc A. Levin is director of the Center for Effective Justice & Right on Crime at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Levin is an attorney and an accomplished author on legal and public policy issues. | | Levin has served as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Staff Attorney at the Texas Supreme Court. | | In 1999, he graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a B.A. in... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Devon Anderson

Devon Anderson

Harris County District Attorney
On November 4, 2015, the voters of Harris County elected Devon Anderson District Attorney. Devon is leading the office forward and establishing it as the flagship prosecutor’s office in the United States. Devon's career in the law began as soon as she graduated from the University of Texas School of Law.  In 1992 she started a 12-year career at the Harris County District Attorney’s office.  While there, she prosecuted... Read More →
avatar for Zoe Towns

Zoe Towns

Manager, Policy Public Safety Performance Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Zoë Towns manages state policy work on adult sentencing and corrections for Pew’s public safety performance project. She partners with policymakers, agency leaders, and other stakeholders to identify policy solutions for sentencing and corrections that fit each state’s needs. Before coming to Pew, Towns worked on youth detention policy for the Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom and on pretrial policy in New York. She holds... Read More →
avatar for Representative James White

Representative James White

Texas House of Representatives
James White is a native Texan and grew up in Houston, where he attended public schools. He graduated with honors from Prairie View A&M University in 1986 with a degree in political science and military science. The United States Congress subsequently commissioned James as an officer of Infantry in the U.S. Army, where he served his country in assignments throughout the world, most notably from 1987-90 in the Berlin Brigade during the demise... Read More →
avatar for Senator John Whitmire

Senator John Whitmire

Texas State Senate
Senator John Whitmire represents the 15th Senatorial District comprised of north Houston and parts of Harris County. He was elected to the Texas Senate in 1982 after serving 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives. With over 32 years of service in the Texas Senate, Senator Whitmire ranks first in seniority and is the "Dean of the Texas Senate."  | | Senator Whitmire serves as Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and works... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 11:00am - 12:15pm
Salon K

12:30pm

Closing Luncheon Keynote
Speakers
avatar for Governor Greg Abbott

Governor Greg Abbott

Governor of Texas
As the 48th governor of the great State of Texas, Greg Abbott continues to build on his long record as a conservative leader who fights to preserve the values Texans hold most dear—faith, family and freedom. Governor Abbott’s vision for a better future for Texas is founded on economic opportunity, education excellence and limited government. His detailed Bicentennial Blueprint helped drive a successful 84th Legislative Session... Read More →


Friday January 8, 2016 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Austin Grand Ballroom