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.
May 14, 2021
By Gary Fowler, Sara Harris, & Brooke Willard
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced revised guidance for persons who have been fully vaccinated. The CDC stated directly, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.” However, employers and employees feeling the urge to discard masks and social distancing rules should take a moment before rushing to do so.
May 13, 2021
~9.5 minutes | Following a shift in U.S. presidential administrations and changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christian Triantaphyllis, who leads the Investment Immigration practice, covers some potential changes and current trends in the EB-5 industry and for its investors.
May 10, 2021
With deep experience in government regulation and legislative policy, Heath Armstrong boosts the Firm’s representation of private and public clients involved in government regulation, including expanding the teams working on electric, water, telecommunication, and energy development projects.
May 7, 2021
By Jackie Staple
Back in February, Jackson Walker summarized several of President Biden’s executive orders and memoranda that addressed areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Since taking the Oath of Office, Biden has signed over 40 executive orders, a number of which touch upon DEI.
May 6, 2021
By Amanda Crouch
On May 5, 2021, a federal judge in the District of Columbia vacated a nationwide ban on many residential evictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hours later, in response to a request from the Department of Justice, the judge temporarily stayed that order, effectively extending the CDC’s eviction moratorium through at least one week.
May 6, 2021
Brad Nitschke spoke with FOX 26 Houston about a DC federal court decision to vacate the national eviction moratorium and what protections are available to renters.
March 10, 2021
Austin and San Antonio Require Businesses to Continue Posting Health and Safety Policies as Texas Lifts Statewide Mask Mandate and Occupancy Limits
As Texas lifts the statewide mask requirement and occupancy limits, the City of Austin and Bexar County have both issued orders requiring businesses to post and implement health and safety policies.
March 10, 2021
~14 minutes | Time is of the essence for businesses to apply for relief from the Paycheck Protection Program. Lindsey Berwick and John Wittenberg cover recent updates to the PPP regarding eligibility and forgiveness.
March 9, 2021
~6.5 minutes | While the state-level requirement for masks and occupancy limits has been lifted, businesses and other establishments retain the right to require customers and employees to wear face coverings. Jamila Brinson and Brad Nitschke discuss how this impacts business owners and employees.
March 2, 2021
Governor Abbott Ends Statewide Mask Mandate and Allows Businesses to Open at 100% Capacity Effective March 10
Beginning Wednesday, March 10, Governor Abbott’s statewide mask mandate and COVID-19-related occupancy limits will be lifted. While the the state’s occupancy limits and mask mandate are lifted, Abbott’s order GA-34, issued March 2, reopens the door to limited local restrictions.