SAN ANTONIO – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott put deregulation and civil liability protections for businesses among his priorities for the current legislative session during a “listening session” in San Antonio at Brooks on Tuesday.
Many of the participants at the talk, which was held at the Cuisine Solutions building, came from the construction industry.
Speaking with media after the session, Abbott said protecting businesses operating in “good faith” during the pandemic from “frivolous lawsuits” would come up during the session. Ensuring broadband internet access for every zip code in the state and cutting “red tape” would also come up, Abbott said.
“One thing we did over the course of the pandemic is that we suspended a number of regulations. One example would be alcohol-to-go. Some of those ideas are worth keeping by putting into statutes in the state of Texas,” the governor said, adding that he will ask legislators to review those suspended regulations.
Abbott mentioned other issues that had come up during the session, including: the use of opportunity zones, the state’s enterprise fund, COVID-19 testing on job sites, reducing delays because of permitting processes and growing a quality workforce.
In general, the measures seemed focused more on future growth rather than the ongoing pandemic.
When KSAT asked whether the state would direct state or federal dollars for grants to help struggling businesses, Abbott indicated it would not. Instead, the governor pointed to CARES act money that went straight to cities like San Antonio, assistance in the most recent stimulus bill, and possible future help from the Biden administration.
“Bottom line is, through multiple avenues, there could be additional funding available,” Abbott said.
The session’s participants including a large contingent from the construction industry. Joshua Surface, a project manager with the J3 Company said the construction industry had been able to stay open with the governor’s help.
“All that we ask is do all you can to allow us to work and do what we do best, and keep the projects coming because we’re eager to keep building,” Surface told the governor.
Abbott has held roundtable discussions on a variety of topics over the past few weeks as the Texas Legislature convenes in Austin to address some of those issues.
Last week, the governor held a discussion on COVID-19. On Thursday, Abbott spoke to law enforcement officers in a roundtable on policing, where he pledged to make it “fiscally impossible” for cities to reduce their police budgets.
The full list of participants at Tuesday’s session, according to the governor’s office, was as follows:
- State Representative Liz Campos
- Blaine Beckman - President, Associated General Contractors San Antonio
- Ed Berlanga - President, Greater San Antonio Builders Association
- Chase Botkin - Superintendent, Myers Concrete
- Matt De La Garza - Site Superintendent, RCO Construction
- Frank Fuentes - Chairman, Hispanic Contractors Association
- Lisa Fullterton - President/CEO of A Novel Idea (DBA Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, DBA Cinnabon)
- Leo Gomez - President & CEO, Brooks
- Mario Mejia - Equipment Operator & Carpenter, RCO Construction
- Patrick Richardson - Owner, Silo
- Annie Spilman - Texas State Director, National Federation of Independent Business
- Joshua Surface - Project Manager, J3 Company
- David Weaver - Assistant Superintendent, Stellar
- Mario Valdez - General Superintendent, J3 Company
- Stanislas Vilgrain - Founder & Chairman of the Board of Directors, Cuisine Solutions