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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 19, 2021
~6.5 minutes | With three Texas bills set to take effect on September 1, 2021, that will expand and redefine sexual harassment, Michelle Mishoe Miller highlights the future impact of each upcoming law on the workplace.
July 12, 2021
By Michelle Miller
Effective September 1, 2021, laws pertaining to sexual harassment in Texas will be significantly expanded and redefined. This article highlights three bills signed into law that will expand protections to small business employees, extend the deadline for filing a charge, and ban settling sexual harassment claims with public funds.
July 8, 2021
Texas legislators have convened for a special session to address the 11 agenda items recently issued by Governor Abbott. This article summarizes the items up for discussion during the session, including two emergency items on bail reform and election integrity that did not reach the governor’s desk during the regular session.
June 28, 2021
While many thought the 87th Texas Legislature would be limited in scope to COVID-related needs, the end results were much more expansive. Government Relations & Public Policy attorneys Denise Rose and Kate Goodrich cover some of the key bills that passed and failed, the state budget, and the role Jackson Walker’s Legislative team played during the recent legislative session.
June 29, 2021
By Robert Harlow
Among the seven bills signed into law by Governor Abbott on June 17, 2021, is House Bill 1927, named the Firearm Carry Act of 2021. Effective September 1, the law will authorize Texans ages 21 and up, who are not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm, to legally carry a handgun without a license to carry.
June 22, 2021
By Kate Goodrich
Of the approximately 150 bills and resolutions related to COVID-19 that were filed, only 20 were passed by the 87th Texas Legislature and sent to Governor Abbott for signature. This article summarizes three pandemic-related bills that successfully reached the Governor’s desk during the regular session.
June 21, 2021
By Jamila Brinson
In the recent 87th legislative session, the Texas Legislature contended with several bills that address or may impact areas relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within Texas government, public and private schools, and businesses.
June 9, 2021
By Kate Goodrich
On Monday, June 7, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that prohibits any business operating in Texas from requiring what has been referred to as a “vaccine passport.” Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are exempt and can still require visitors to show proof of vaccination.
June 1, 2021
By Joel Glover
On May 26, 2021, Governor Abbott signed HB 54, named Javier Ambler’s Law, which prohibits the production of police ride-along reality television programs. It permanently halts the production of shows like Live PD, COPS, and (name notwithstanding) Alaska State Troopers, versions of which have aired with varying degrees of acclaim and ridicule for decades.
June 23, 2021
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 | 12 p.m. CDT
Join Jackson Walker and Echo Production for a webinar discussing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and the impending impact on the energy industry.