Lobbyists representing local governments know better than to waste time stopping by the office of state Sen. Konni Burton.
The Colleyville Republican is again shunning folks hired by cities, school districts and counties to oversee their interest at the Texas Capitol. She has also refiled her bill to prohibit local governments from spending money on people peddling legislation.
“I need to speak directly to elected officials to understand the needs of the cities or the schools or the counties and that is the way it should be,” Burton told a small applauding crowd at a recent Empower Texans event at the downtown Fort Worth Hilton.
Burton did the same thing during the last legislative session. Her previous anti-lobbying bill never made it out of committee.
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She contends that taxpayer-funded lobbyists often advocate policies that are not in the best interests of taxpayers. Burton said the Legislature needs to get rid of those lobbyists.
“We put out the welcome mat for all elected officials,” Burton said. “We want to talk directly to them; there is no need for this.”
It’s a new year and some people see some changes in Texas.
The first change, some say, should be putting more women in office.
Annie’s List, a group that works to elect progressive women to office in Texas, says men make up 49 percent of the state’s populationbut hold 80 percent of the power (144 of 181 seats) in the Legislature.
“Annie’s List seeks to achieve gender equality through public policy by changing the balance of power in elected offices from the State House to City Hall,” the group said in a statement.
The group is holding local leader training sessions, including one in Tarrant County on Feb. 4, to help prepare women to seek and hold political office. Cost is $25 per participant.
A potential Texas leader
President Donald Trump is considering another Texan for a post, former U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Congressional Republicans have long criticized the bureau — created with the support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and geared to serve as a financial watchdog — because they fear that it unfairly impacts small businesses.
The recently retired Neugebauer, who once introduced a bill to weaken the agency, met with Trump recently to talk about the post.
Counter Inaugural Ball
Former state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, believes the next four years will be challenging under Republican President Trump.
But he’s calling on like-minded people to “not give up hope.”
In Fort Worth, he recently hosted a Counter Inaugural Ball, geared to raise money to benefit the nonprofit Society of Native Nations.
“We must resist the total corporate occupation of our National Government,” he wrote in an email. “I believe there’s no place more fitting to begin our efforts than supporting the Society of Native Nations, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization fighting against corporate greed and environmental destruction in North Dakota and West Texas.”
Staff writer Max B. Baker contributed to this report.