Visit San Antonio: Legislative update, April 2022
During the second quarter, Visit San Antonio monitored the governmental activity at the federal, state and local levels for any impacts on the travel and tourism industry.
The Government Relations team joined the annual SAtoDC trip led by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce with support from the North Chamber, the South Texas Business Partnership and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to advocate for issues important to the hospitality industry.
The team worked with our federal, state and local elected officials and their staffs, state and national advocacy organizations, Visit San Antonio partners, local Chambers of Commerce, local businesses and thought leaders to promote the regional and local hospitality and tourism industry. This includes monitoring of the City of San Antonio’s proposed changes to the city’s Noise Ordinance and the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP).
While in Washington, D.C., on the SAtoDC trip, Visit San Antonio joined the other members of the hospitality and tourism group and met with Congressmen Cuellar, Gonzales and Castro and their staffs. During these meetings, group members thanked the Congressmen for their support for our industry through passage of the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Funding provided by these bills was critical to many businesses in the hospitality industry.
The group also thanked the Congressmen for their support and passage of the $1.5 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022, also known as the omnibus spending bill, which included $250 million in funding for Brand USA that will help the nation’s destination marketing organizations. The group also acknowledged their thanks for the release of 35,000 H-2B visas by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While these visas will help the hospitality industry, the hospitality and tourism group noted the difficulty our industry continues to have in securing workers for our businesses. Congressmen Cuellar, Gonzales and Castro emphasized their continued support of the hospitality industry.
On March 10, the Texas House of Representatives’ Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan, issued the interim committee charges for the 87th Legislature. The interim charges provide members of the House of Representatives the opportunity to review and analyze legislative and regulatory issues before the 88th Legislative Session commences.
On April 4, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released the Senate Interim Committee charges. Similar to the House of Representatives, senators will have the opportunity to review and analyze legislative and regulatory issues before the 88th Legislative Session commences. This year’s interim period will be shorter than previous years due to the 3 Called Special Session. Days, times and location interim hearings for the Senate can be found here and interim hearings for the House of Representatives can be found here.
Visit San Antonio’s Government Relations Team is working with Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Vice Chair of the House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee, to host an interim hearing in San Antonio. The team will notify partners, stakeholders and other interested parties as we learn when this hearing will take place.
At the conclusion of the 3rd Called Special Session of the 87th Legislature, $16 billion in federal funding the State of Texas received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was allocated to various state agencies. The Travel Industry was able to secure $180 million in funding for the Trusted Programs within the Office of the Governor: Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Grants. The much-needed funding will help a burdened industry regain a foothold for more future growth in jobs and revenue. The Government Relations team engaged the Legislature to advocate for these funds along with other destination management organizations, convention and visitors’ bureaus and the Travel Texas Alliance (TTA).
Governor Greg Abbott’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism is currently in the process of establishing grant program rules and guidelines. Visit San Antonio will work with the Office of Economic Development and Tourism and TTA in the development of this grant program. As grant information becomes available, we will provide additional information regarding availability and eligibility for this grant program.
On Feb. 10, the San Antonio City Council approved the Final Projects List for the 2022 Bond Program and voted to call for the City of San Antonio General Obligation Bond Election. The 2022 bond package now goes to voters and will be held on the May 7 ballot.
The final project list for the 2022 Bond Program includes 183 projects, with the following estimated allocated budgets for each of the six propositions:
- Streets, bridges, and sidewalks: $472 million
- Parks and recreation: $272 million
- Drainage and flood control: $170 million
- Housing: $150 million
- Municipal and public safety facilities: $78 million
- Library & cultural facilities: $58 million
The Bond Program will be split into six propositions on the May 7 ballot, and San Antonio voters will have the opportunity to consider each of the propositions when voting on that date. Early voting for this proposal will be April 25 through May 3. More information about the 2022 Bond program can be found here.
The City of San Antonio is currently reviewing proposed changes to the city’s Noise Ordinance and the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The Government Relations team will continue to monitor the work of city staff, task force members and the business community. As additional information becomes available, we will provide updates.
Visit San Antonio continues to monitor the city’s noise ordinance and the actions of the 15-member Task Force created in March 2021 to study this ordinance, adopted 20 years ago. The city’s adopted FY22 budget created a “pilot program” for code enforcement officers to accompany police officers to noise complaints and determined how to make the noise ordinance more effective. The pilot program began activity in October and is slated to operate for three months. At the end of city staff’s work, the task force will make recommendations addressing the noise ordinance to the city based on the findings. Government Relations will remain engaged in this issue and provide additional information as it becomes available.
Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
On June 22, 2017, City Council passed Resolution No. 2017-06-22-0031R in support of the Paris Climate Agreement; directing city staff to develop a plan to help San Antonio meet the objectives of this agreement. On Oct. 17, 2019, City Council adopted the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) by Ordinance 2019-10-17-0840.
To implement the CAAP and prioritize strategies, externally recruited committees were established: The Technical and Community Advisory Committee (TCAC) and Climate Equity Advisory Committee (CEAC).
Members of both committees were selected based on technical expertise in elements related to climate mitigation and adaptation or other important areas related to plan implementation; representation of important perspectives; and an interest in collaboration to bring about successful outcomes. On Oct. 8, 2020, City Council approved the full slate of recommended candidates for the Technical & Community Advisory Committee and the Climate Equity Advisory Committee.
The mission for this TCAC includes advising city staff and the city council on the implementation of the CAAP and long-term sustainability plans such as the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan. The Committee is designed to provide expertise, diverse perspectives, and input regarding implementation of the CAAP as the City works to achieve greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation goals.
The mission for the CEAC includes advising city staff and city council on the advancement of equity-centered implementation of the CAAP and long-term sustainability plans, such as the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan.
More information can be found on the City Clerk’s website.