Why the legislative system works in Texas

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Professional headshot of Mark Lehman

01/19/2016 | Author: Mark Lehman

In Lehman's Terms

I recently sat down with a group of real estate professionals from other states to compare our states’ legislative missions, successes, and challenges.

The conversation took a surprising turn, as representatives from state after state talked about the legislative gridlock and chronic bickering they encounter that makes passing the simplest pieces of legislation impossible. And when legislators in these states do take action, it’s often to pass sweeping legislative reforms that are just knee-jerk reactions to isolated or minor events. 

Unfortunately, as we see in the federal government, these reactionary laws produce bureaucratic quagmires that frequently worsen the situations they’re trying to fix—and never really help the people they were attempting to assist. As we know in Texas, if left alone, many of these matters self-correct through free-market adjustments or private-sector solutions.

I had very little to contribute to the conversation comparing legislative compromises and failures because the Texas Association of REALTORS® never has an unsuccessful legislative session when it comes to pro-business and pro-private-property rights. Instead, our challenge becomes how to prioritize our successes, such as major tax reforms, a reduction in property-taxes, a ban on future real estate taxes, and comprehensive reforms in the appraisal process.

So why is Texas different from so many other states and our federal government?

Unlike these governments, the Texas Legislature doesn’t meet on a full-time or annual basis.  Our state’s philosophy is volunteer legislators should meet for only 140 days every two years to address the issues of Texas. (They are basically volunteers, and the $600 they make monthly doesn’t cover most of the expenses they incur to serve in positions of public trust.) When those 140 days end, they go home to their districts, work in their businesses and, like all Texans, live under the laws they just passed.

This is a system that works, and it’s what makes Texas the free-enterprise envy of the nation … and that’s a conversation I’ll gladly join.  

Mark Lehman is vice president of Governmental Affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

Categories: In Lehman's Terms
Tags: in lehman's terms, governmental affairs


Paul Casmedes on 01/28/2016

Mr. Lehman, I find that your blogs are always very well written and to the point.  Keep up the great work!

John Harrell on 01/21/2016

As always, well-written and well thought out. The State Legislature in Texas works, and should be an example Washington, D.C. should follow. Texas leads in being pro-business and pro-consumer as Mark’s blog points out. Great blog post! Keep ‘em coming.

Adam Majorie on 01/20/2016

Couldn’t agree more!

Barbara Russell on 01/19/2016

TAR has the finest when it comes to our legislative staff.  They are trusted by the Realtors and the legislature to give accurate information.

Tom Morgan on 01/19/2016

Mark Lehman and the Texas Association of REALTOR know how to lead!

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on texasrealestate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on texasrealestate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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