Government Relations & Public Policy

Effective state representation is about relationships and cultivating trust.

The Jackson Walker Legislative team knows the key players under the dome, but more importantly, they know us. Our Legislative team’s reputation is unparalleled and the team has longstanding relationships with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, the Railroad Commissioners, and key members of the Texas House and Senate. Jackson Walker knows the importance of maintaining current relationships and forming new ones to accomplish goals set by our clients. In short, this team knows state government and the people who make it work. Our experience and relationships protect and advance the interests of our clients in their business endeavors.

Our Legacy

Jackson Walker has been engaged in Texas politics since the early 1900s, and our involvement has continued throughout the firm’s history, with several of our partners and lobbyists regularly involved in legislative initiatives. In addition to the firm’s longstanding record of legislative success, Jackson Walker’s service to its clients is unparalleled among law firms in the state.

Our Legislative section is comprised of professionals with varied experience serving clients in diverse industries such as agriculture, energy, healthcare, and public utilities. These attorneys and lobbyists have significant experience representing clients before state and federal agencies and the Texas State Legislature regarding development of new legislation, responses to legislation that would disrupt or end current practices, and regulatory compliance.

Our current Legislative team has over 145 years of combined experience practicing before regulatory agencies and the Texas Legislature. We have a professional history of representing businesses and associations, and have coordinated efforts with private consultants, representatives of government agencies, elected officials and staff as a method of achieving goals and objectives for clients. We are skilled at building statewide coalitions of stakeholders to achieve consensus and make progress on complicated issues. Furthermore, we have been public servants and active members of our community.

Our relationships with members of the legislative and executive branches of state government are both personal and professional, and we have a solid reputation for implementing winning strategies, as well as thoroughly understanding the intricacies of the legislative process, working with leaders of both major political parties, and finding solutions where others only see problems.

Ali Abazari
Ali Abazari

Partner, Austin
512.236.2239

Heath Armstrong
Heath Armstrong

Senior Counsel, Austin
512.236.2098

Craig R. Bennett
Craig R. Bennett

Senior Counsel, Austin
512.236.2087

Jennifer Ferri
Jennifer Ferri

Partner, Austin
512.236.2029

Kate Goodrich
Kate Goodrich

Governmental Affairs Consultant, Austin
512.236.2086

Alisha Mehta
Alisha Mehta

Associate, Austin
512.236.2340

Denise Rose
Denise Rose

Partner, Austin
512.236.2075

Environmental and Energy Policy

Attorneys and lobbyists throughout Jackson Walker’s statewide offices have significant experience serving the environmental needs of clients in a broad range of industries.

  • Power generation technology – Assisted in the drafting and passage of several pieces of legislation, the net result of which is the most comprehensive financial and regulatory incentive package in the nation for new electric power generation technology and related carbon dioxide storage projects, including enhanced oil recovery projects.
  • Steel manufacturing and recycling – Passed targeted legislative initiatives to ease the compliance costs for members of the steel manufacturing and recycling industries, as well as the mining and reclamation industries.
  • Advanced biofuels – Preserved key incentives and developed market protection mechanisms for the biodiesel industry and worked in concert with key statewide elected officials to establish the Texas Bioenergy Policy and Research Councils.
  • Renewable energy – Preserved and extended key incentive programs essential to the continued growth of the renewable energy industry in Texas. We also assisted in the drafting and passage of a first-of-its-kind grant program for electricity storage projects related to renewable energy that could pave the way for utility scale solar energy projects and further expansion of Texas wind energy.
  • Special utility districts – Drafted and assisted in the passage of legislation to create special utility districts, including one of the largest, geographically, in the state.

Healthcare

Jackson Walker’s healthcare lobbying team has over 40 years of experience dealing with an ever-changing healthcare landscape in Texas. Our experience includes:

  • Legislative and Regulatory Issues – Representing client interests on matters pending before the Texas Legislature and various state and federal regulatory agencies; resolving regulatory and legislative issues with the Texas Health and Human Services Enterprise agencies, and the Sunset Advisory Commission on behalf of healthcare providers, healthcare trade and professional associations, and higher education; providing guidance and counsel during an agency’s rulemaking process.
  • Medicare and Medicaid – Advising healthcare clients on Medicaid reimbursement and billing issues and hospital financing issues; assisted clients in contract negotiations and management.
  • State Appropriations Process – Advising clients on and during the interim legislative appropriations request process; guiding clients through the state’s biennial budget process during session, including drafting and submission of budget riders and agency funding requests.
  • Healthcare Workforce Issues – Representing client interests before the Legislature and various healthcare licensing bodies on issues related to clinical practice and education of healthcare professionals in Texas.

Public Utilities

The Legislative section’s experience includes service to public utilities such as electric, water, and wastewater.

  • Rulemaking – Evaluated rule proposals, drafted comments and reply comments, and coordinated meetings with Commissioners and Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas staff regarding rule proposals, and oral presentations on rulemaking matters.
  • Administrative Proceedings – Represented clients in administrative proceedings and consultations concerning creation and permitting of water and wastewater utilities, including transfers of permits and certificates issued by TCEQ, rate cases, defense of permit violations, and other enforcement proceedings before TCEQ.

Agriculture

Attorneys in the Legislative section have served the agricultural industry throughout Texas for decades. Examples of the areas in which Jackson Walker attorneys have assisted these clients are listed below:

  • Agriculture Product Container Disposal Task Force – Represented clients in evaluating regulation of hazardous waste residue in grain and other agriculture product containers for permit-exempt regulation.
  • Animal Health Regulatory Actions – Drafted statutory language and regulation language for Brucellosis and tick regulations.
  • Wastewater / Air Environmental Regulations – Represented clients before TCEQ and Texas Legislature relating to permit-exempt regulation
  • Endangered Species Regulation – Represented clients in negotiations with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department concerning potential endangered species modification and actions necessary to avoid need for an incidental take permit.
  • Water Rights – Drafted legislation, served on committees to create language for legislation on water rights and other private property issues.
  • Taxation – Drafted and helped pass legislation for taxation based on value of agriculture land.
Denise Rose with Jackson Walker logo

September 27, 2021
Attorney News

Denise Rose Presented With First-Ever Pink Granite Supporter of Women Award

Jackson Walker proudly congratulates Denise Rose on receiving the first-ever Pink Granite Supporter of Women Award in honor of her work at the Texas Capitol and her service to the community.

September 22, 2021
Attorney News

Jackson Walker Congratulates Its 57 “Texas Super Lawyers” of 2021

Each year, less than 5% of attorneys in Texas are named to the list. Selection is based off of peer nominations that are then reviewed by a research team. Each nominee is evaluated on his or her professional accomplishments, peer recognition, and community involvement.

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card with JW logo

September 17, 2021
Insights

COVID-19 Employment Update: President Biden’s Vaccine Mandates

By Sarah Mitchell Montgomery

On September 9, 2021, President Biden introduced his administration’s “Plan to Stop the Delta Variant and Boost COVID-19 Vaccinations,” which will be instituted through two executive orders that will mandate vaccines for employees of the Executive Branch of the federal government and for employees of federal contractors and subcontractors.

Arthur Gollwitzer with Jackson Walker logo

September 8, 2021
Mentions

The Changing Face of Fraud During the Pandemic | D Magazine

“The intersection between COVID-19 relief funds and health care fraud is one of their highest priorities,” Jackson Walker partner Arthur Gollwitzer told D Magazine as the Department of Justice sets out to investigate COVID-19 related fraud.

Texas Capitol with Jackson Walker logo

September 2, 2021
Insights

New Texas Laws Impacting Businesses

On September 1, 2021, more than 650 new Texas laws went into effect. As businesses ensure compliance with several of the new laws, Jackson Walker provides a summary below of a number of newly effective and upcoming laws related to “Constitutional Carry”; COVID-19; diversity, equity, and inclusion; open government; sexual harassment claims; and the Texas Business Organizations Code.

Jamila Brinson with Jackson Walker logo

August 31, 2021
Mentions

Jamila Brinson Discusses What Employers Should Know About Texas’ New Sexual Harassment Laws

With three new laws in effect concerning sexual harassment claims in Texas, Jamila Brinson spoke with Law360 about what these changes to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act mean for employers.

Texas Capitol with Jackson Walker logo

August 30, 2021
Insights

The 2021 Legislative Session: Texas Broadcasters Taking Victories Where They Can Find Them

During the 2021 Texas legislative session, Stacy Allen was in the trenches alongside longtime client Texas Association of Broadcasters, advocating for bills that advance the interests of open government and journalists. Of the eight newsroom legislative priority bills from TAB, only two made it to the governor’s desk and will become effective September 1.

Face coverings COVID19 coronavirus pandemic masks with Jackson Walker logo

August 26, 2021
Insights

Texas Counties Challenge Governor Abbott’s Order Banning Mask Mandates

In response to Governor Abbott’s Executive GA-38, which banned local governments from issuing mask mandates, several of Texas’ largest counties filed lawsuits challenging GA-38 and seeking permission from the courts to issue local orders.

August 19, 2021
Attorney News

‘The Best Lawyers in America’ Honors 178 Jackson Walker Attorneys in 2022 Edition, Including 8 “Lawyers of the Year” and 31 “Ones to Watch”

The Best Lawyers in America has recognized 178 Jackson Walker attorneys across 6 offices and 67 specialty practice areas in its 2022 edition, including 8 Lawyers of the Year and 31 Ones to Watch. Best Lawyers listings are based on an exhaustive peer review survey of thousands of attorneys who vote on the legal abilities of others in their practice areas.

Kate Goodrich with Jackson Walker logo

August 12, 2021
Attorney News

Kate Goodrich Presents on Recent Legislation Impacting Energy and Environmental Laws in Texas

During the 33rd Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, Jackson Walker attorney Kate Goodrich joined Elizabeth Fazio Hale of Gulf Coast Authority for a legislative update on recent legislation related to the electric market, energy, and environmental laws.

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